Is this America?
Years gone on, and years gone by, and still the question comes: "Is This America?"
When Fannie Lou Hamer of the Mississippi Freedom Democrats asked that question in 1964, she was a Black woman courageously trying to create justice in the "Whites Only" political world of the Democratic South. The rest of the world took one look at the racists running our country back then and knew the answer was no. "Land of the Free, Home of the Brave"? Cheese whiz. That was just some huckster's slogan used to sell canned apple pie. Always was, always will be. Or so some say (as if it justifies their apathy.)
But still the question comes: Is This America?
They've been killing it before our eyes all along. They sold us an ever diminishing fractionalized slice of the pre-reamed American Pie and an adjustable-rate monthly lease on a gas hog Chevrolet with three recall notices. They claimed our military, thick as locusts on a carcass, was merely scattered about the world as a global force for Freedom and Justice, as we either razed whole societies or rebuilt them in the image of our whores. Then they trained their dictators at our School of the Americas.
The media told us it was the Blacks and the Browns who were responsible for the crack epidemic, and so we were right to hate and marginalize them. But they failed to mention it was the CIA who brought the stuff in, in the first place, to fund their covert war in Nicaragua, so they could also secretly sell weapons to our enemy Iran. They told us to fear the "gansta" more than the bankster. Then they sold us billions of dollars worth of bling and blather and wrapped it up in saggy pants. Then told us we were right to hate the Blacks because they didn't even know how to dress. They still wag the finger at the Blacks and Browns at all the drugs they supposedly use. Meanwhile the government openly does business with the world's number-one opium producing family, Hamid and Ahmed Karzai. Meanwhile, both parties refuse to address the real source of Mexican drug violence -- American demand for Mexican drugs and secret American sales of Mexican drug violence weaponry, also smuggled, but in the other direction.
They told us only they knew how to make us happy and we would only be happy if we let them do as they please with our -- meaning their -- economy. If we did not interfere with "legal protections," they could get so much more accomplished for us, and then we could focus on our true happiness: ourselves. Of course, that kind of happiness could only be purchased if we could just consume more, indulge ourselves more, insist on our inadequacies, and obsess on them without actually fixing them. And those kinds of comforts could only be purchased at cut-rate prices with someone's sweatshop labor; but we told ourselves we didn't know, as if that justified the fact we didn't care and thus inflicted our own self-conflicted wound, again and again and again.
AND, in the due course of human events, they have killed America and we've all helped. Like the dreaded "silent but deadly" cloud of noxious fumes that wordlessly wafts its way through the pews at the Easter Sunday service, we all knew the stink of the rotting corpse of America was rising, but tried not to speak of it. Ignore it and it may go away. But the only way this particular stench is going, is towards getting worse.
You know that famous chart of the hallmarks of fascism by Lawrence Britt? It's this 14-point list of societal traits to determine if your country is headed the way of an Orwellian dystopia, except with better TVs and more flavors of Victory Gin. Britt's chart has been around since 2003, and has been widely republished. It scared Naomi Wolf so much she went and wrote a full length book and even did a cross-country series of speeches about it with her End of America Tour in 2007.
The list is Britt's compendium of uniformly defining traits of dictatorships and fascism regimes around the world. If you've ever seen it, you should give it another look. If you've never seen it, you should read it now. Here you go:
1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism, 2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights, 3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause, 4. Supremacy of the Military, 5. Rampant Sexism, 6. Controlled Mass Media, 7. Obsession with National Security, 8. Religion and Government are Intertwined, 9. Corporate Power is Protected, 10. Labor Power is Suppressed, 11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts, 12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment, 13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption, 14. Fraudulent Elections.I hope he's wrong. I sure would like that, but that list looks a lot like the America I see. Even if your vista's not that dark, we all know America is not what it used to be, or what it's supposed to be. I, for one, am afraid of what we are about to become. One thing I know is, this is not America anymore. They've sold it off piece by piece and lie by lie.
In the midst of all these crises around the world, CNN recently took the time to do a lifestyle piece about the bumper crop of millionaires America has been growing. Now nearly three-percent of the population -- more than eight-million people -- among the 311-million of us are millionaires. And, as the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, the pace of the lies picks up speed. Our will to fight back is eroding. Once upon a time they sold us a losing president and dared us not to call them on it. And no, history students, I am not referring to Jefferson, John Q. Adams, Hayes, Truman or Kennedy. You know this story: "sold us the losing president and dared us not to call them on it"? Come on, it's George W. Bush.
In 2000, millions of Americans actually did exactly that: called Bush on his election fraud and got told to stuff it by the Supreme Court's five-four split. Meanwhile, Republicans saw it as a mandate to foul the country up the way they've always wanted. And, as usual, the Democrats rolled over and pretended not to notice. At times, a majority of Americans believed that George W. Bush was not the legitimate president. On Network TV, attorney cum pundit Jeff Toobin himself declared recounts showed he wasn't. The government didn't act on their citizens' complaints. They had some money to make and went about their business.