The themes, atmosphere, violence, brutality and finale of this eulogy to the western genre are a perfect representation of our current dire circumstances. The town of Big Whiskey represents the United States. The sheriff rules with an iron fist over the population, but his cronies can get away with murder. Hypocrisy abounds across the U.S. as politicians use the rule of law to keep the masses controlled while rewarding their corporate and banker cronies with government handouts, tax breaks, and free money. I see Munny, his companions and the prostitutes as symbols of the flawed citizens of the United States. They’ve made mistakes, committed crimes, made poor life choices, but they ultimately tried to make an honest living as upstanding citizens. When the authorities pushed them to the brink with their overbearing regulations, brazen criminal actions and blatant institutional corruption, each constituent reacted differently. Some responded with defiance, most rolled over, some ran away, and Munny responded with viciousness and retribution.
This is how it will play out over the next ten to fifteen years. Cynicism about solutions put forth by corrupt politicians, distrust of government bureaucrats and crooked bankers, and a society wide demoralization, as widespread unemployment and declining living standards for middle class Americans has darkened the landscape like an approaching winter storm. The disillusionment of average Americans is reflected in poll after poll, with only 20% of the population satisfied with the direction of the country versus 70% just prior to 9/11. The mood change in the country since 2005 is palpable. The gap between the Haves and the Have Nots has never been greater and continues to widen. The middle class has floundered for decades, while bankers, politicians and corporate titans have reaped vast riches through peddling debt and gaming a system rigged in their favor.
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