As It Happens

Chuck’s Chat – METROPOLIS 2017

Story by: Chuck Tackett


“It is an absolute fact that Republicans are aiming in their every action to create a situation where America is underfed, underpaid, under-insured, un-educated, un-informed, unsafe, unable to vote, overpopulated, overly-armed, and overly paranoid. THE QUESTION IS WHY?”

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In the year 1927, one of the first full-length motion pictures under the genre of science fiction was released. It was entitled “Metropolis.

It has been decades since I have seen this epic classic on late night television. Unfortunately, at the time, I was too young and too immature to understand and appreciate the masterpiece of this film, and it’s a deep subject matter that it was addressing. Instead, I was in awe of the special effects, wardrobe, and art deco scenery design, finding it hard to believe the year this movie was created. It was this film and other 1930’s era movies that I fell in love with art deco. In fact, another turn off to me was this film was a silent motion picture. At that particular time, I didn’t do silent or foreign language movies.

If you have a chance to see “Metropolis” you can watch the full-length movie on YouTube. Director Fritz Lang and his wife Thea von Harbor, when they collaborated on “Metropolis,” were nothing short of prophetic on the hypothesis of where they thought the future was headed, pertaining on how they viewed the way we treated each other in their present –  (1927).

The motion picture is set in the future in the year 2026 in the city of Metropolis. Wealthy Industrialists/ CEOs and their families live above ground enjoying the luxuries and extremities in the high rise luxury towers they live in. They also run the city. Normal every day working people live underground staffing the machines that give the city its power. They are treated just short of slaves: Overworked and underpaid. (Sound familiar?)

It’s an age-old story of people defining themselves better and more valuable than others because of money or power, and their egotistical insistence to belittle and mistreat them. An accident happens underground concerning the massive machines, that kills several workers, bringing these workers to the boiling point. That’s the basic premise of this movie, without giving the entire plot away, if there are those who are curious enough to want to watch the motion picture.

In 1980 when Republican Ronald Reagan won the Presidency, he tried to dramatically weaken The American Labor Movement by destroying PATCO, the air traffic controllers’ union. PATCO wanted to go on strike, mostly because Reagan reneged on his promise that he was going to update their machines. The Union was worried about passenger safety. Reagan, along with his wealthy CEO
supporters, and fellow Republicans put out a false narrative trying to pit union workers against non-union workers saying all they wanted was bigger salaries. At the time I was Executive Vice President of CWA Local 6321. (The Telephone Workers’ Union.) I was attending our National Convention as a delegate. Thousands of copies of Reagan’s letter promising PATCO their updated equipment was passed amongst the delegates, squashing the lies being told by the GOP.

Along with this, the straw that broke the camel’s back for me, and cemented my disgust and hatred for Reagan, was his inaction during the AIDS epidemic during the 1980’s. LGBTQs were expendable, until Reagan’s good friend, actor Rock Hudson, contracted the disease and died. Then, for him, it was Hello lights!

For decades, the GOP has pitted working class folks against each other. It came to a head with the Southern Strategy, when President Johnson proclaimed, “If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best-colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.” Southern Democrats, who were angry that Johnson signed The Civil Rights Act into law in the 1960’s, joined the Republicans. So throughout the decades, GOP has pitted poor and middle financial class folks against each other so they and their friends will grow richer.

In 2007, they knew the jig was up when Barack Obama was elected President, being the first Black man elected to that position. The Southern Strategy was put on steroids, furthering the divide in the country. A Black man elected President was not supposed to happen. Hate groups grew to immense proportions during President Obama’s 8 years in office. Most of the time, they stayed in the closet.

When that mango colored trick was elected in 2016, the GOP showed their true colors embracing the crazy. They didn’t care if he had no experience, that he was anti-worker, racist, misogynistic, and bigoted.  To them, he was the White Savior they had been hoping for to stop the advancement of people of color, Progressive women, LGBTQs, Muslims, etc. They wanted to go back to the days of “Mad Men.” 63 million White people showed their true colors during the 2016 election, even though they were voting against their interests as normal everyday working class folks.

To them, it was to hell with renewable energy, the environment, their fake ass Christian beliefs, their pocketbooks, and making a much better planet for their children and grandchildren to inherit.

These days, I feel like I am living in Metropolis 2017. A large number are refusing to admit rich White CEOs, automation, and robots are the real job stealers, not people of color. The GOP and their CEO ilk are laughing and growing richer, while their White Savior is stealing everyone blind that is middle or poor financial class, no matter what color they are. #WeTriedToTellYa

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