It's easy to focus on those things that are going well, science, technology and so on, and those things that don't matter at all, sports, entertainment, the Kardashians, while ignoring those things that should horrify us all, austerity, torture, war, climate change, corruption, the lopsided distribution of wealth, impunity for upper class felons and so on – it's what most of us do most of the time. How else could we live with ourselves?
Who wants to dwell on the sweatshops where desperate children make our iPods for peanuts? Who cares to mull over the Iraqi dead and tortured as we pump their gas into our cars? How many people at Lockheed Martin think about the youthful Afghan goatherds to be blown to smithereens by the Hellfire missiles rolling by them on the assembly line? How many Americans consider those who die for their convenience? Why entertain such troublesome thoughts with the TV just a click away?
The one thought that virtually everyone seems to want to avoid is that we need, in no uncertain terms, to change our ways. The so-called American Way of Life™ isn't worth the cost. Not only is it not worth the cost, it is in every way untenable, unsustainable and irreconcilable with the notion of a decent society.
No honest appraisal of The American Way of Life™ can justify the means by which it is maintained. We need to face the fact that we are a gangster nation. It has long been this way.
I spent thirty-three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country's most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.I've been in recent email communication with a dear old friend, a high-minded man whose opinions count for something, in my humble estimation. He believes there is no better medicine than the naked truth. I tend to agree. We argued (so to speak) over whether or not a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down - a more flies with honey sort of thing. I am often tempted to think a little sugar can't hurt when the medicine is sufficiently foul. But I may be wrong. It may be the sugar that's messing up the message. Maybe people need to be told the naked truth, as shameful and hurtful as it is, as horrifying as it may be. Maybe there is no way to soften the blow. Maybe a good smack to the head is what we all need.
U.S General Smedley Butler (1933)
People must hear different things when the phrase The American Way of Life™ is mentioned. To some, I imagine it means a life of relative comfort and ease, with a bunch of, you know, freedom and stuff thrown in there. That's the vision pushed by the greatest propaganda machine ever to exist.
My own vision of The American Way of Life™ has evolved over the years as a result of paying attention and giving the matter some thought. To me it means the right of the 1% to profit hideously from the labor, deprivation and suffering of others. When 'our boys' fight for The American Way of Life™, they are fighting for the right of the 1% to continue their ongoing rape and murder, not only of other peoples in far away lands, but also of our planet. They are killing her as we speak.
We need to change our way of life. Continuing the status quo will kill us all.
Some of the challenges we face:
humane distribution of resources
population and resource management
peace as an absolute necessity
With respect to that last item, here is a horrifying truth for us all: If hostilities continue to be ramped up across the globe, it's only a matter of time before some bad actor initiates some sort of WMD attack that will likely devastate some portion of humanity. From dirty bombs to shipping container nukes to biological atrocities, the possibilities are horrendous. Only the aggressive pursuit of peace can avoid such an outcome. If we continue to bully, torture and slaughter people around the world, karma will find us.
We must have peace.
The people driving the boat are not going to give it to us until we make it happen. We must force the issue. We must not take no for an answer. More of the same will not do.
We must have peace.
Our world is much smaller than it used to be. The means for robust global communications sits on your desk and mine. If we don't use these new tools to learn how to get along, we will kill each other. It's undeniably true and we are way too close to seeing it happen.
We Americans can't continue to go stomping around the globe like we own it, killing and torturing anyone who gets in our way. Think of how many more people have come to hate us over our crimes against humanity in the middle east and elsewhere in just the last couple of decades. There will be revenge.
Someone has to break the cycle of violence. Let it be us.
It is as horrifying as it is unbelievable that we would stoop so low as to torture and murder by the thousands and millions for crass material gain. I remember people asking, after 9/11, why would anyone hate us so? Well, now we know.
We are fools to continue enabling this madness. And we will pay.
What can any of us do? Stop supporting those who are culpable. You know who they are. Stop supporting the system that does these things. Do not cooperate. Do not make excuses for them. Resist. Throw yourself on the gears of the machine. These bastards must be stopped. The American Machine cannot roll on. We must reinvent ourselves as cooperative and benign world citizens, and responsible stewards of this beautiful planet. We can't live by war anymore. Peace is an absolute imperative.
We have to dismantle/repurpose the Military Industrial Complex and the machine that supports it – meaning our entire political system. We cannot trust any of our institutions to solve any of these problems. Our institutions are the problem. We will change them or we will perish.
It's time to think anew. We've got to start over. We've got to reinvent America. We can't keep partying like it's 1899. Enough with such madness. Let's get serious about humanity and posterity. Let us think about your grandchildren and mine.
Let's stop this machine before it kills us all, and invent a new one that will work in a crowded, limited and finite world.
If we fail we die.
In my estimation, Big Money corruption, the 1% and the Military Industrial Complex are our greatest challenges. We can't let them win.
"Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us." ~ Jerry Garcia