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The Failure of Citizenship

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The Bush State of the Union address the other evening offered the same mediocrity we have come to expect from this illegitimate regime. It was nothing less than fascism incarnate and it was palpably evil. Consider it a heaping helping of dung soup served on a silver platter. It was cloaked in language to create the illusion of substance and truth. Its message was received by corporate America, by the fat cats on Wall Street, and the congressional millionaires club with applause. The remaining eighty to ninety percent of the population --those of us left out in the cold and exploited --listened with disdain and incredulity to the sickening miasma that oozed through our speakers.

As Bush himself has stated, the elite are his political base. That much should be obvious. The wealthy have been handsomely rewarded for their loyalty since the little dictator 's first inaugural, while the rest of us receive a sadistic back hand to the face. Behind the customary lies and garish displays of nationalism, beyond the euphemisms of empty meanings, lie austere truths that must be brought to the public conscience. One wonders: What planet is this man from? Where is this America described by George Bush?

In Bush 's America, truth has been so distorted, so utterly turned on its head that America is no longer a real place. It is the packaging that contains fascism, skillfully concealing the horrid product within --George Bush 's Plutocratic America. It is a place devoid of real meaning; a cesspool of sorrow and disgrace, the home of a demoralized and timorous majority. It is a place sharply divided by two classes --the predator class and the prey class. Upwards of eighty percent of the population are daily preyed upon by the wealthy minority and they do nothing about it. The ignorant even welcome the rape and contempt with smiling faces --grateful for the chains they wear, glad for the abuse they receive. This is nothing less than a modern form of slavery; it is a true master slave relationship.

Evidence that the rich are fleecing the poor abounds. The cost of insurance for a family of four rose seventy percent during the past six years. The insurance companies and the pharmaceutical industries are reaping enormous windfall profits at the public trough. High premiums combined with high deductibles render the cost of health care unattainable to millions of lower income families. Insurance companies can and do arbitrarily and capriciously drop drug coverage at their sole discretion. The robber barons might as well be holding guns to our heads.

Bush 's health insurance plan provides additional evidence of criminality coupled with a paucity of ethics. The plan removes every ceiling for limiting the cost of drugs. It provides the pharmaceutical industry carte blanche by prohibiting Medicare from bargaining with drug companies for lower prices. Who benefits? Private insurance companies and the pharmaceutical industry --the very people who write the legislation!

Meanwhile, Exxon-Mobil reported record profits in 2005 of thirty-six billion dollars, even while increasing fuel costs fifteen percent. These are the highest profits ever recorded by a corporation. Venezuela 's Citgo oil should not be lumped in with the American oil companies that are driven solely by profit motives. Hugo Chavez 's Citgo is offering deep discounts on heating oil to the world 's poor (I put only Citgo gas in my car). This demonstrates a clear delineation between Capitalism and Socialism. Adding further insult to injury, the oil companies received four billion dollars in tax relief last year. How much did you get?

Despite the baroque words uttered by Bush, his every action speaks contempt for ordinary people living from pay check to pay check --Hurricane Katrina proved that beyond all doubt. With that familiar sickly smirk on his face, Bush and his ilk are not only stealing our treasure, they are distributing it to the wealthy even as they spit in the face of the poor and the middle class. How could anyone be more openly contemptuous of working class people? Why do we tolerate such abuse and, in so many cases, actually welcome it?

We are witnessing an all pervasive mediocrity in government that has come as a result of a spectacular failure of citizenship. We are a people that value ease and convenience over self education, sacrifice and truth. We do not demand evidence in support of our views. We believe what we are told; and we do what we are told by authority. We do not like to make trouble. Asking questions requires self examining critical thinking, a skill that is rapidly disappearing from our culture of fluff and ease. We want the kind of life where the decisions are made for us --a life that does not place demands upon us. We want to be entertained, not informed by burdensome truths that may assault our conscience and cause psychological injury. That is dangerous knowledge because it would dispel the myths about what America really is. It would force us to think differently about who we are as a people. We would see us as the rest of the world sees us.
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George Bush 's Orwellian vision of America did not just happen. It is the result of the influx of enormous sums of money by the wealthiest people in the world. The return on this investment is that the financial and social interest of the very wealthy is represented at the expense of all others. If you are a republican of ordinary means and you think that George Bush is looking out for your social and economic interest, I feel sorry for you. You are a damned fool who is unwilling to confront the evidence, afraid to see what is really there. You are encouraging and cheering on the very ones who are raping you. Easily swayed by empty rhetoric, you do not examine the betrayal of language through hurtful policies. You are a pathetic specimen of humanity.

The long nightmare emerged from sinister minds lusting for unlimited wealth and unrestrained power. It was aided and abetted by the commercial media every step of the way --a media owned by the wealthiest corporations. All of us are complicit. We were not vigilant in protecting the Constitution and upholding our civil rights. Through pervasive apathy and indifference we prepared the ground for fascism to germinate and to flourish. Now we are reaping the bitter harvest that may last a century or more.

Thus we allow the most atrocious lies uttered by political and moral prostitutes to go unchallenged. These lies are endlessly recycled in the commercial media until they become ingrained in the public conscience as truth. Worse than burying our heads in the sand, we bury them up our collective ass. How do you like the view?

The disgraceful and cowardly capitulation of the Democrats to the neocons in the confirmation of Alito to the Supreme Court demonstrates that the system does not and cannot work for just purposes. There are no viable opposition parties to compete with the Republicrats. We must be the opposition with our bodies; and we must do everything in our power to disrupt and subvert the cesspool of corruption that boils and festers in the nation 's capitol, or it will consume us.

When will enough people with courage and conviction rise and fight? When will we drag the criminal Bush cabal kicking and screaming to the gallows? How much worse do things have to get? Let us stop kidding ourselves by trying to work the system, by trying to appear reasonable to authority. The fascists own the process that gives them power and wealth. Political reform is too weak to dislodge those whose tentacles are wrapped around the planet and injecting it with poison. Nothing short of filling the streets day after day with massive, unrelenting protests will dislodge the prostitutes from their seats of power. Massive rebellion is the only thing they have to fear.
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Let us refuse to give this illegitimate government our cooperation. Let us disrupt and take possession of the economic engine that enslaves us. Nothing short of revolution will dislodge the fascist rulers from power. Either we fight or we passively accept what is coming.

If we continue to capitulate to our oppressors --the apostles of Plutocracy --let us remove the lines from the National Anthem: "The land of the free; and the home of the brave. " They will no longer apply here.

 

Charles Sullivan is a photographer, social activist and free lance writer residing in the hinterland of West Virgina.

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