The Gilded Age

Mark Twain in a handshake with John T. Raymond...

Mark Twain in a handshake with John T. Raymond, the actor who played Colonel Sellers in the stage adaptation of Twain’s “The Gilded Age”. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Gilded Age by Mark Twain and Charles D. Warner. Since we are living in the second Gilded Age, I decided to read Mark Twain’s account of the original Gilded Age. The Gilded Age gave its name to the latter third of the 1800s, but Twain’s account was limited to corruption in Congress during the Grant presidency, 1869 to 1877. When we use the term the Gilded Age, we usually think of the oppression of the 99% by the 1% of the day. Certainly the original Gilded Age and today’s version feature excessive consumption by the wealthy,  poverty for the majority, deception by the media and corruption in the halls and offices of power.

NASCAR patches

Hester Prynne

Image by billhd via Flickr

Our Congressmen and -women should be required to wear attire adorned with NASCAR-like patches that show who are their sponsors, the largest campaign contributors. Then we would have instant truth-in-leading, similar to truth-in-lending. Some of those patches would be treated like Hawthorne’s Scarlet Letter, a large red “A”, a badge of shame. The problem now is that some of our elected officials show no shame whatsoever. And since NASCAR tests its participants for substance abuse, I would be in favor of random drug tests for our elected officials.

Please see Let them eat cake | Kabuki Democracy | The 12 months of campaign season