It Can’t Happen Here. No, Really. I’m Totally Serious. And Stuff.
Oh, please. It is already happening here, and has been, for years. We’ve got torture chambers and secret police and warrantless spying and rendition and invasion of sovereign countries and dismantlement of the social safety net and black box voting and war crimes and government capitulation of our rights – all fed by endless, rampant corruption and greed and power lust. Habeas Corpus has been rendered meaningless, along with pretty much all of the Constitutionally guaranteed goodies that used to set America apart from third world countries.
You can no longer say with complete certainty we still practice actual Democracy. You certainly cannot assert we are the Democracy the Founders attempted to create. I’m not sure what we are – part fascist state utilizing pseudo-democracy and unbridled police power? We are not quite yet the capitalist/corporate anarchy we are becoming. Close – but not quite. I think. Maybe.
When Bush was systematically tearing up the Bill of Rights and giving our national treasury away by the pallet full, there were marches and demonstrations and such appalled indignation from “the left,” in America. Citizens who believed the rendition and tribunals and torture and illegal wars were impeachable offenses raised their voices in opposition to such atrocities being committed in their name.
How do I know “It” can happen here? Because Obama is doing pretty much the same things Bush did, and in some cases, more than Bush did, and there is only token outrage from “the left” for his continued practice of atrocity, continued erosion of our Constitutional rights and guarantees, and total dedication to moneyed interests poorly masked as weak-kneed, ineffective bipartisanship. Most polls show high Democratic approval for the President. And it turns out most Dems are as fiercely delusional about Obama as Repubs were/remain about Bush. All of this, of course, leaves the door wide open for some truly vile stuff from future puppets/Presidents. Since we’re letting Obama continue Bush’s master work, we’re really giving the current power structure and how it is being utilized a big American “thumbs up.”
What’s not happening in the where, now?
Your Values – In Practice – Suck.
So this is a very religious nation. Something approaching 90 percent of the American population believes in a God or “higher power.” We are often (and desperately) termed a “Christian” nation by the media, a variety of pundits, and of course, by opportunistic/shallow politicians. Our cultural battles over the past century have been dominated, specifically, by Christianity’s whimpering need for legitimization, which manifests primarily in nonsensical/unsympathetic laws continually thrust upon our republic. Americans do not easily tolerate other’s religious beliefs, nor have we historically been effectively critical of Christianity, and consequently we have – all of us – allowed Christianity to become woven into our national symbols, laws, and conduct. Yes, Americans are quite accustomed to the pronouncement that “Christian” values are synonymous with “American” values.
But in practice, American/Christian values SUCK. Homelessness, wealth disparity, war, intolerance, poverty, violence, and a demand for the only actionable manifestation of Christianity, outside of its loud and constant proclamation as superior to any other system of values in every way, to be decidedly and single mindedly “Old Testament” in flavor… ”Leaving the Christ out of Christianity – America℠ Brand Christianity Will Keep You Feeling Smug & Superior – And Minty Fresh!! Get Yours While Supplies Last!!”
So where has the practice of these values/this value system led us? Does it make you proud, how these values have performed? Do you hope your children reap similar results for their futures, for their lives? Do you want them to practice these values themselves? If you do…well, you may as well stop reading. Otherwise, how about trying something different?
Forget your Christian values. Forget your American values.
How about we give HUMAN VALUES a try instead? How about that? Sound good?? Anybody? Anybody at all?
What Is A Revolution?
You automatically think of guns and violence and terrorism and death and blood, when the thought of revolution occurs. Given our violent national birth, it is the first definition we were taught, and the first we probably truly understood. Even if you consider Egypt’s relatively bloodless revolution and see it as a potential model, most of us cannot help believe if there was revolution here, it would likely be bloody.
A violent revolution will not succeed in America – and you know it. At best, it would destroy most of the infrastructure we would need to build and maintain any national cohesion, for generations to come. At worst, it would grow into a worldwide conflict and do untold damage to our species, and the planet’s current ecosphere.
And, to further confound matters, over the course of the last half century or so, America has culturally fractured into many disparate tribes, who, practically stated, hate each other’s stinkin’ guts, and do not regard these other tribes as “true” Americans. We are no longer united in cause or belief, for each tribe seeks dominance over the other, and because geography plays a generally declining yet increasingly complicating role in this tribalism, we’re all mixed in together, pulling communities and states into constant turmoil as various tribes gain power and attempt to codify (and thereby force) their tribal beliefs onto everyone within their reach. No unity is possible in this scenario, and thus, no peace, and no real chance for meaningful change as tribes continue to war with each other for cultural dominance, to the exclusion of all other considerations. The only unity we still exercise as a nation is conspicuously cowardly fear.
So, what do you think? United we stand? Or maybe sit? Or fall…really far?
What Do We Do? What Do We Do? What Do We Do?
Why, we revolt, of course. There is no way to fix our governments (national, state, local) – they are corrupted beyond saving. The current system must be completely broken down, and rebuilt upon the lessons we have learned from the successes of our Constitution, and its shortcomings.
No, the Constitution is not perfect – even the Founders knew this. But given their cultural worldview, they did a damn fine job giving us the basics of governing ourselves according to human values. And had we stayed a nation of farmers, things might have continued under the guidance of our Constitution for a very long time.
But, through no fault of their own, the Founders screwed us – and badly. They did not – and truly, could not – account for the Fourth Power of government as it exists today.
It is power, it is privilege, and it is a force used daily as a means to an end by our various governments, by corporations and businesses, and by ourselves individually and collectively. And it is completely and noticeably unaccounted for in our Constitution.
There is one obvious fix for this problem, but unfortunately it runs contrary to the collective American ego, and well, pretty effectively neuters predatory capitalism.
1. Have a maximum economic standard. I’m not going to fill this one in for you –think it through.
2. Have a minimum economic standard based upon human values. Again, the benefits are obvious.
3. Forget elections – instead of a complicated, expensive, always vulnerable system of electing people to serve - everybody serves. Like jury duty, we all serve a term as representatives of the People.
This is just one possible path we could take away from the mess we are in – and there are countless other paths out there, if we just look. But we must start somewhere, if we all even decide to start again.
But We Won’t Start Again, Will We…?
The noise, the noise, the NOISE!!!! All of this manufactured angst, all of this feeble outrage, all of this posturing and chest banging and forehead slapping and finger pointing – it’s just NOISE. Right now there are posts on this website asking you “where is the outrage” about this, or that, or him, or her, or them. WHERE IS IT? THE OUTRAGE? WHERE? WHERE?
Good question – because it sure ain’t genuine, pretty much anywhere.
I mentioned revolution earlier, and I bring it up again to remind you the first step on the path out, is not violent – but it is really, very simple.
Stop. Participating. In. The. System.
Every action you take within the system (work, school, bills, church, shopping, etc.) all feed the system which is in total and complete control of this country – and you. The best revolution we could stage would not require violence – just the withdrawal of our consent, and the will to go cold -turkey on our addiction to an apathetic, self-centered, egotistical, arrogant, childish, wasteful, wasted lifestyle.
But…I’ll Miss American Idol! And Facebooking! And Cheeseburgers! And (Gulp!) Internet Porn!
Yup, you sure will. You’ll miss everything you are so comfortably addicted to – and you and yours will be at great risk from the uncertainty the overthrow of any political system entails. Food, basic services, water, security – the certainty of these will be compromised by any real revolution. Are you risking more than our Founders, who pledged and risked “their lives, their fortunes, their sacred honor” to show us the way forward? Perhaps, perhaps not. But the fact that you fear such, demonstrates the next point.
YOU – Yes YOU! – Are A Pathetic COWARD. No, I’m Not Sorry. And Yes, I Do Mean It. Really.
Organized weekend protests? Sure thing. Send a little cash to a group that will fight by proxy for you? Why not? Take any form of meaningful, sustained personal risk for the sake of us all?
Good God, NO!!
How could this happen here? By small steps, by apathy, by a selfish desire for someone else to take the risk, to make the leap, to fight the fight - you want all the benefits of a fair and equal society, but you are too cowardly to act on its behalf. YES!! You ARE a miserable coward, and I base this view not on your words, but on your complete lack of action to do anything about it BEFORE it all came to this. Now, things will be worse…and what will you do differently tomorrow? You already know – NOTHING. For you are a true blue, through and through, American coward - and you KNOW it.
Your Pen Is NOT Mightier Than A Sword. Unless It Is A Light Saber Pen. Which It Decidedly Is Not.
Words can move mountains – yeah, sure they can – NOT!
Words inspire – BUT THEY DO NOT ACT.
You – yeah, YOU – with your texts and tweets and blogging and commenting and emails and surfing – you have become addicted to the mystique of words, and because of a selfish e-culture that rarely resists character assassination by keyboard, you have forgotten that words ALONE can never move a mountain – not ever.
Sure – you can feel all-powerful by making an insightful point commenting on a blog, or defending your point of view successfully using such literary tools necessary to defeat and humiliate those who disagree with your words. You can move people emotionally, inform and educate, and accomplish a whole lot of NOTHING other than getting an ego boost. I’m not discounting the power of words and how they can affect change – but please, a little perspective. We are literally fighting for our lives, here - and whatever power words might have, lie buried beneath the constant avalanche of words, the technological circus of words that defines our current culture. Words are everywhere, all the time, in your face non-stop, effectively diluting their power in a constant stream of meaningless invective which ultimately accomplishes little, if anything, anymore.
You are addicted to words, because they rarely require actual action. And the current Constitutional crisis we face is rooted in your word addiction. All a politician has to do is say what you want to hear – or what you don’t want to hear – and you fly into action – throwing your all-powerful words into the Intertubes to express your undying support or passionate opposition. Stroke, ego, stroke!! Stroke those keys!!
It is a good thing when online communities find a common purpose and actually do something to make a difference for people – like KO’s free clinics. But it is not enough, and you know it. Despite the good you do, NOTHING is different. We are still where we are, and the good you have done, even in aggregate, has not stopped us from this fall. But it sure feels excellent, doesn’t it? Helping a few makes you a gooooooood person…and it is ever so much safer than risking anything for real, substantial, lasting change.
Your outrage is getting old. Your constant bitching, hero worship, ego masturbation, cowardly fear and TOTAL capitulation to your own APPETITES, is getting very tiresome. Yes, I understand how righteous you are, how masterful your ideas, how moral your sacred Vote’s end result, how constant your fight, how deep your understanding, how gracious your giving, how perfect your soul.
What I don’t get is your utter FAILURE to do something – ANYTHING – about it. Here we sit, despite all you’ve “accomplished” with your awesomeness.
Words have a definite limit to their power, and then people must act. So WAKE the hell UP! HELLO??!!! IS ANYBODY HOME??? MCFLY??? HELLO???
We. Must. Act.
But, of course, we won’t.
We ALWAYS know the truth of ourselves. Always. You’ve said to yourself, “I knew better, I knew I should not, but I did anyway.” How can such a thing be? If we are brave enough to be sincerely self-honest, there can be no hidden truth within us, which is not accessible to our conscious minds. Johari Window my ass – WE KNOW. We always know.
I get that you want to make a difference, and I know you do your best with what you have. After all, you are still reading this after what I’ve written above – this tells me much. But you need to decide if your efforts, continued within the confines of a broken system, will ultimately lead to the new direction we must take, before we are swept fully into the new direction we are already taking. And make sure you know what’s in it for you, before you decide your current actions continued are altruistic.
I am not a diplomat; this is not some high school popularity contest. I don’t care if I’ve hurt your precious feelings – if I have, what I’ve stated likely applies to you – so grow a pair and deal. For those with flamethrowers loaded and ready to justify their cowardice by angrily bleating against what I’ve expressed here – have a blast! – even as such inconsequential flaming demonstrates precisely what I’ve laid out above, as does my own contribution to the general madness.
As a young Simpson once said, the ironing is delicious…