Well it 's time to wake up, America. Welcome to the new American "dream. " Over the past five years, the steering and driving mechanisms our country 's founders designed for our ship of state have been progressively (or rather, regressively) taken out of our hands. Our elected representatives ... our courts ... the "loyal opposition " ... the press ... the electoral process itself, have all come under the influence of some dark force. We find ourselves in an intractable, costly perpetual war. Civil liberties are being taken away, and those who have taken an oath to protect us are inexplicably going along with the program. Gold collar criminals and high-ranking officials are looting the commonwealth, as the middle class in our country disappears. Scientists who point out global warming or environmental distress are being silenced. The media keeps us numbed up and dumbed down by distracting us with the most divisive or trivial issues.
Aside from the real massive problems we face if we would only face them -- peak oil and global warming, and a house-of-cards economy where the Chinese hold the strongest hand -- we face the gravest political and moral crisis in our history. Yes, there was the bombardment of the Capitol during the War of 1812, the Civil War, the Great Depression, the war against fascism sixty-five years ago, and the ongoing cold war, ostensibly against totalitarian communism. But never, never in our history has the "enemy " been so starkly and obviously our own rulers.
This realization is a hard gulp to swallow. None of us have wanted to go there. But now, we must courageously wake up to the realization that "there " is already "here. " The body politic is gravely ill, and unless we open our eyes and face this condition squarely in the face, government of the people, by the people, and for the people will indeed perish from this earth, only to be replaced by neo-feudalism disguised as Big Brother totalitarianism.
This is not a time to push the panic button, but a time to push the "calm button " that activates our highest values of love, courage, imagination and curiosity. Einstein has told us that a problem can never be solved at the level of the problem. So as the "political " solutions seem to dissolve one by one, we must find the solution at the next level up.
Amazing Disgrace: How America Got Eaten By Her Own Shadow
First though, let 's see if we can get a handle on where we are and how we got here, as a nation and as a species. There is a phrase in America the Beautiful, our spiritual national anthem, asking God to "shed His grace on thee. " Indeed, grace has shone on this country, perhaps because of the radically enlightened principles and documents this country was founded on. The progressive forces of truth, freedom, and extending opportunity to all have created enough graceful momentum to counterbalance genocide against native peoples, slavery, and our own unique brand of imperialism.
But I submit we 've finally used up our grace. We hit "peak grace " right after World War II, and we 've been burning a dwindling supply of it for the past sixty years. Some would say that the downward turn began when we took a page from Orwell and renamed the "Department of War " the "Department of Defense, " and sold our soul to the military industrial complex. Since the end of World War II, we have sponsored over 200 wars resulting in the deaths of millions, all to protect "the free world. " Now I have a fierce practical streak in me, and an understanding that there are indeed "evil-doers " in the world, and we need to take steps to contain these toxic forces and protect ourselves. But now it 's time to face the sad fact that we 've become the toxic force we 've been protecting ourselves against.
Something happened back there in the late 1940s, and we took a wrong turn. We empowered a secret government, and we instructed them to do whatever they needed to do to "protect us, " as long as they didn 't tell us what they were doing. The way to beat the evil-doers was to out evil-do them, and the way to do that in a democratic republic like ours was to make sure we the people never had to directly face the moral dilemma of contradicting our highest spiritual values in a misguided effort to protect ourselves.
But when you set out to act in stealth and secrecy -- even in the service of "good " -- at some point you become the very thing you oppose. For who thrives in the darkness, but the dark forces? So it is that in the world of spyfare, we 're necessarily dealing with murderers, criminal syndicates, drug runners, and at some point we morphed into the anti-life force we claim to be fighting. Even worse, over the past two generations we have become addicted to the war economy. And thus we began our downhill slide from grace, slowly being devoured by our shadow.
The first obvious time the dark forces broke through the invisible "membrane " of decency was the Kennedy assassination. Even for those who bought the lone assassin theory, it was a perpetration that forever damaged our political psyche. Think of how the 60s began -- with hope, with the Peace Corps, with Alliance for Progress -- and how it ended -- with the assassinations of King and RFK, with angry anti-war protests, with Kent State. For those of us who grew up reciting the Pledge of Allegiance -- and believing in "liberty and justice for all " -- America would never be the same.
As the 60s gave way to the 70s, 80s and 90s and the hippies and yippies became yuppies, we the people "sold out " or rather "bought in " to the pervasive dominant meme that it was money, money, money that mattered. The culmination of the "me " society was the 90s, when a Democrat, Bill Clinton, raised more money than any Presidential candidate had ever done before. Under the guise of "benevolent " globalization, corporate rule and privatizing resource-rape was extended even further.
By the time 2000 rolled around, we had done run out of grace. Had we still had a little cache of grace in the bank, the scale would have tipped to Gore. 9/11 might have been thwarted or averted, and in any case not turned into "the New Pearl Harbor. " Had we had an even a little emergency stash of grace under the mattress, Congress or Colin Powell or someone would have been able to stop the Iraq War before it started. In 2004, voting fraud would have been exposed in Ohio and Florida, and Kerry would have been declared the rightful winner. And on and on it goes.
And here we are. We have seen our economy go from a "value-adding " economy to a "wealth-extracting " one. The dollar is now probably worth less than the paper it 's printed on. We 've devolved into a debtor nation, little more than a banana republic in a super-power suit, armed to the teeth. We 've watched the country of Martin Luther King regress back to the country of Pat Robertson. We have allowed ourselves to be dragged along into an illegal pre-emptive war for empire based on lies. Our President has been brought up on charges by an International Tribunal (with arms control expert Scott Ritter, Gen. Janis Karpinski and other respected authorities testifying) and the story isn 't even worth a paragraph in the "liberal " San Francisco Chronicle. We are flat out of grace, and have in fact disgraced our Founding Fathers. We have hit spiritual bottom -- and most Americans don 't even know it.
The Truth Shall Upset You Free
The first step in facing any grave illness -- particularly when the disease is addiction-based -- is telling the truth. This may not be pleasant or easy, but as the Swami says, "The truth shall upset you free. " The condition we face is life-threatening, not just to liberty and justice, not just to our democratic republic, but to human life on the planet itself. (We can assume that whatever happens to us, the roaches will very likely survive.)