I'bve written countless diaries about the United States turning into a country concerned only with money and controlled by corporate interests who care far more about net worth than human worth. However, only in the last couple of weeks have I come to realize how effective the media have been in completing the job of wrecking the principles on which the country was founded and substituting corporate values for democratic ones.
The task of combining capitallism and democracy has been in full swing for some time and for a highly effective and practical reason: while people will wilingly risk their lives to defend democracy and the principles of equality and human freedom, very few will sacrifice an arm, a leg or a life for the advancement of corporate welfare. So, from Vietnam to Iraq, we were told that we were fighting for the "American way of life," without very many details being provided.
We now have a pretty good idea that corporate interests were very much in play during both of these wars. The truth is, war makes some people very,very rich and this is especially attractive when the sons or daughters of these people don't have to fight. We saw this especially clearly during the Vietnam war, when our vice-president, who was instrumental in promoting it, availed himself of five military deferments to avoid putting his rear end at risk fighting in it. During the Iraq debacle, the military who served five or six tours of duty were not the same people who made fortunes in the real estate scam, the hedge fund robbery or any of the other thefts that masqueraded as multinational capitalism. Money talked and those without money were conspicuously silent.
Now, America is up in arms because the government has been literally tapping the personal lives of millions of Americans with the cooperation of some of its biggest corporations. This is odd, since many of those same corporations had been doing the same thing for years. The difference was that the government was, according to its press releases, snooping in order to keep us safe from terrorism, which is not the same thing as the far nobler motive of snooping so that companies could make money. Anything that makes money in today's America is okay, you see, while "the government" is evil and is only trying to take away your guns.
On PBS, which is where I hide from the hordes of talking cars, sagacious dogs, insanely smart children and stupid fathers, I heard one evening several commercials telling me 1) how committed BP petroleum is to the health of the Gulf after damn near destroying the while economy of the region, 2) what a benefactor Wal-Mart is to the poor and minorities by giving them incredible opportunities for advancement, despite being sued for screwing anyone with no access to million-dollar attorneys out of their last dime and 3) the reason Boeing is in business is bringing good to the world and saving us from evil. In my day, this was known as "The Big Lie" and was popular with Joseph Goebbels and his friends in the Third Reich. Tell a lie often enough and it becomes the truth.
In short, America has indeed met the enemy and he is indeed us. But we're not completely to blame. We have billion-dollar people who are working day and night to dumb us down, sell us more than we can afford and segregate those who have from those who have not. They're very successful and making lots of money and whenever we think of something that saves us money - like single payer health plans like Sweden has - they scream "socialism." Sure they do. Socialism might cost them cash. It might save a few thousand ives here and there, but let's put first things first.