I haven't written much lately. Mostly because of a growing sense of frustration; a feeling of futility in the face of the great propaganda machines of our time. Those well-funded machines that convince the low-information citizen to vote against his own interests. Powerful stuff, that.
I was listening to a discussion on NPR some time back that further dampened my enthusiasm. People were debating the 2016 presidential race. The consensus was, the race would be between Chris Christie and Hillary Rodham Clinton. The conversation brought to mind an item I had read from Dean Obeidallah , on The Daily Beast.
He wrote, " Let's be brutally honest. If a Republican wins the presidency in 2016, the payback from Democrats will be vicious. I'm talking about something out of a Quentin Tarantino movie. And if a Democrat wins, especially Hillary Clinton, we can expect to see more of what Obama has been made to endure. That translates into more gridlock in Washington, which is bad for the rest of us."
Let's see, add this to Harvard professor, Lawrence Lessig's statement, that "if a candidate can't please the funders, they're not likely to get a chance to please the voters," and the funders are about 0.05 percent of Americans and that 99 Americans or .000032 percent gave 60 percent of the individual SuperPAC money spent in the 2012 cycle.
Now the news airwaves and Internet are buzzing about how the Supreme Court is taking the limits off of what the wealthy can spend to purchase their own politicians. As if Citizen's United wasn't bad enough to bury democracy, they put another nail in the coffin.
Don't forget last election Republicans won a 33-seat margin in the U.S. House, even though over one million more votes were cast for Democratic House candidates because of gerrymandering. And this year it's not looking so good for Dems in the Senate because they're being out-spent by wealthy donors with right wing agendas.
And as a supposed democracy how can we forget that Bush II was appointed President by the Supreme Court, two retirees of which have admitted their mistake; a mistake, the majority of conscious Americans have known from the beginning.
So once again, convince me we still have a functioning democracy. Tell me why I should even debate the issues. Tell me why I should dialogue with people barely conscious enough to repeat the memes they hear in whatever echo chamber they dwell. Is it any wonder why we have such miserable turnouts at election time?
How far down the slippery slope have we slithered when the ex-half term governor of Alaska and the wealthy bloviator from Cape Girardeau, MO are granted as much attention as the pope on matters of religion? When the disingenuous, self-serving Senator from Texas gets a $1.5 million advance on a book after he's done nothing but rabble rouse. When the extremes of the Christian right can convince believers that Jesus, a devout Jew, who never heard the word Christ or the idea of Christianity, has become a champion of capitalism and loves us above all others. When the Republican party's propaganda arm, thinly disguised as a news channel named Fox, wins the highest viewer ratings. When we send our young people off to unnecessary wars and they come home emotionally damaged enough to kill themselves and innocent bystanders.
The American illusion of a representative democracy has strayed too far from the reality. Regardless of what he or she says during elections, no individual politician's promises will ever shape his or her party's platform. It's now in the hands of the wealthy elite. Collaboration for the benefit of our society is an obsolete concept.
The days of dialogue are over and with their demise, the art of compromise is dead and gone. It's all about winning elections and raising the money to do it again. It's all about imposing an ideology on the great unwashed in the interests of sustaining a fading artifice called the real America. An artifice that serves the wealthy at the expense of anything and everything else.
We are deeply into what postmodernist and French cultural theorist, Jean Baudrillard termed a fourth stage simulation. "It masks the absence of a profound reality, where the simulacrum pretends to be a faithful copy, but it is a copy with no original."
In simpler terms, the map, as simulacrum, has become the only reality; the map being the artifice, so vehemently debated in the public narrative.
How could we not be lost? Even the original artifice of that past America was an unfaithful simulation for many marginalized people. Ask any black American. Ask any recent brown skinned immigrant. Ask any real Native American.
No, the illusion that was America never truly existed and now we only have a simulation of an illusion that never existed. Can we get further away from reality?
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