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Missed Connections from the Economic to the Social | The Nation

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The Notion

Unfiltered takes on politics, ideas and culture from Nation editors and contributors.

Missed Connections from the Economic to the Social

Is there a journalism school somewhere that teaches up-and-comers to put stories into little boxes?

Half our job in independent media, it seems to me, is putting the connections back.

Day to day, in your average news cycle, there are political stories, business reports, human interest, arts and leisure... and never do they meet.

Take today. In "politics," it's the presidential deficit tour, coming to a town near you. Will Obama voters support a plan to cut critical public services? That's question number one—and only.

In "economic" news there's new tax data showing that the tax rate for the wealthiest Americans has effectively  been cut in half since the mid-1990s, while the combined annual income of the richest 400 Americans soared from $6 billion to $23 billion. Period. End of sentence.

Somewhere in an "in-brief" box, you'll probably find a note from Orange County, California where Marilyn Davenport, a member of the Republican Central Committee recently sent an email with Barack Obama's face superimposed on that of a chimp, with a crack about a birth certificate.

We like to keep our stories separate: the economic (dollars & cents) and the so-called social (bias and bigotry) and politics—where the people have a choice. But the latter was always about the first. Right now, as before in our history, it's not just that the economy's bad—it's also that change is coming, inevitably: economic, demographic, political, inter-personal. The status-quo of the wealth gap cannot hold. Democracy can't, actually, be privatized. And a non-white majority is upon us.

Limited choices, concentrated profits, spurts of racism: what's playing out now can be seen as a set of disconnected spasms. Or it can be reported as a reconstruction story. As the century turns, the fight is on over who gets what and who keeps what. You can see it every where you look.

The F Word is a regular commentary by Laura Flanders, the host of GRITtv and editor of At The Tea Party, out now from OR Books. GRITtv broadcasts weekdays on DISH Network and DIRECTv, on cable, and online at GRITtv.org and TheNation.com. Follow GRITtv or GRITlaura on Twitter and "like" us on Facebook.

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