The day the announcement came that the Supreme
Court had changed the rules of the game, the 5/4 stood for an official
photo. In the back the four, the five in the front. In the middle of the
five Chief Justice Roberts with a smile he obviously barely could
suppress from bursting into a guffaw. Yes, they did it. Exxon-Mobile
will be the next President. The other corporations will fight among
themselves for 41 Senate seats. But they already locked everything. Is
that why Chief Justice Roberts smiled so widely?
Smiling is a very American thing. The first
thing that any American baby learns is to stretch the mouth on command,
and as the teeth come in, show teeth. No other country has so many
glaring white teeth to show. In fact, there are many cultures where
showing teeth is a sign of aggression. When a dog smiles he is very
careful to not show any teeth. Dogs smile with their tails. Cats don't
smile, but they know how to snuggle up and show affection.
I think of the American show teeth! as
one of the "Only in America.'
As is a relatively recent overwhelming obsession with what we
call "security,' which hides what it really is: fear. We have become
afraid of people. It started half a century ago, I think. Vaguely I
remember an apple with a razor blade in it. That was a Halloween prank
and it spoiled all Halloweens after. Then there was one bottle of
aspirin (?) that had a drop of some poison in it. Now every bottle has
to have at least two and preferably three closings that get more and
more difficult to open. Almost every bit of food that is sold has to be
packed in one or two plastic sheets, often vacuumed tightly around what
used to be part of an animal.
We now know that the kind of plastic that
is in tight touch with food sheds some wicked chemicals, but our
"security' is more important than our health. Why those horrible thick
plastic shields that are sucked tight onto things you buy in the
hardware store? First there was one man who had something explosive
hidden in the heels of his shoes. So, obviously, everyone who wants to
go anywhere has to pass through the electronic gate barefoot. And you
cannot take anything fluid on an airplane. Now one man hid some kind
explosive in or under his underwear, so now we have full body Xray
machines. Oh yes, security is a big, big money making industry.
And Haiti. Everyone must have seen the utter
destruction, the milling people, needing water, food, and medical
supplies. Our country's immediate reaction was to send troops who took
over the airport and so could determine who could land and who could
not. Military reinforcements a priority of course. Doctors without
Borders with tons of frantically needed medical supplies was told to
land in the Dominical Republic, a 30 hour delay to get it to Port au
Prince. Wonder how many people died because of American obsession with
I saw a clip of a helicopter that had landed--I think in
another, small, city--and as soon as people approached took off, then
threw bread to the people on the ground. The people wondered why the
helicopter did not stay on the ground and handed the bread to people
instead of taking off and throwing it down. "As if we were dogs that you
throw some food at." All the footage I have seen, all the reports I
have heard (yes, from white people) stressed that remarkably there has
been no violence anywhere, except some stealing perhaps at night
(without any light, of course).
Clips show military personnel saying
they come to help, but fully armed, and worrying about being swamped by
hungry people. The men looked round and well fed but of course in their
uniforms they look extra stuffed. How would any of them feel or act or
talk if they had not eaten anything for four, five, six days, no water,
no shelter in the burning sun. A group of young women were complaining
of the cold; a sign of dehydration.
How are we going to deal with disasters at home? An earth quake,
a forest fire near a big city. Remember Katrina? Security the first and
apparently only concern.
Hey, smile. The Banks are doing fine, we are armed
to the teeth. No job, no home? Smile, the people in Washington are
working on it, but of course nothing gets past the now 41 Senators who
are against whatever the president is for. They have made
no secret of that. No plan, no plank, just blocking the president.
Another mountain is having its top blown off to give us more coal to
burn. Nobody worries about the real cost of all we do. SMILE, show
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