I'm generally "the glass is half full" kind of person, and meditate on a semi-regular basis, which tends to help through most down episodes. But, sometimes you want to just chuck it all and scream, "stop the world, I want to get off." Read a piece recently on AlterNet titled "The Clownification of America" by Stephen Pizzo. He wrapped an article around that particular quote by James Howard Kunstler. It summed up for me-in a small way- just why I am feeling a bit of disquiet right now.
We've been American Idolized damn near to the point of no return. It is, after all, Orwell personified; up to and including the ubiquitous electronic eyes and ears of Big Brother surrounding us completely.
As well, there is no identity anymore; we have lost that over these past many years as we aimlessly search to co-opt another feel-good panacea offered via the electronic airwaves or the "How to" genre to divorce us from reality.
Americans want to be Native American, Buddhist, Hindi, Pagan, Celt, or immerse themselves in the Kabbalah. They wish to have "life coaches" to help them make their way through it all. What happened to common sense? You know, that old "All I ever needed to know I learned in kindergarten" type thing. Are we that disgusted with ourselves that we have this overwhelming desire to find something (someone) else to be? Is there a national, collective guilt trip going on here? Are we finally horror-struck with ourselves for the global death and destruction always being carried out in our name? Do we all really need a daily dose of Dr. Phil, Oprah, or for Christ's sake The View?
We are the "bully on the playground," and very few want to admit it much less talk about it. Bush and company are committing the most horrendous war crimes and genocide; and through it all some 50 million plus souls call in a vote for their favorite idol. For me, that's depressing as hell. It makes one want to just reach out and smack the crap out of someone. Perhaps that is just what is called for; a huge collective smack across the chops to see if possibly some sense could still be instilled in the Amerikan psyche. Somehow I quite doubt it, wishful thinking on my part.
The loss of intellect is but one small part of this Clownification of America. Being viewed as possessing intelligence and a streak of individualism is to be scrutinized in this day and age of mass corporate, political and media control. To be an individual and think intelligently (logically) is to bring oneself into the spotlight of the Department of Homeland Security the Defenders of the Fatherland, as it were. Individual thought runs counter to the dictates of the corporate state and will get you thrown off a plane, or worse thrown in jail.
In no way do I consider myself to be an "intellectual" along the lines of the great thinkers of this or past - ages. I can't be a Noam Chomsky, or a Susan Sontag, Howard Zinn, or Cornell West much as I'd like to be at times. No, I'm just a logical, always searching, kind of human that likes to believe I am a free thinker; of course Bush and Company despise all free thinkers, regardless of their intellectual prowess.
I read a great line attributed to Orson Scott Card: "Forced to turn off our brains." For me, that says a hell of a lot, the vast majority of John and Jane Q. (Amerikan) Public have done just that; turned off their f*cking brains. How else to explain the fact that a nation of otherwise (supposedly) intelligent human beings will allow themselves to submit to a type of mass hysteria every time the f*cking government, through the corrupted media, issues a specific color code? Isn't that sort of, kind of, nuts? Crazy even? We are creatures of our fashioned environment; an atmosphere created whole cloth by plutocrats with the twin goals of greed and control. And we eat it the f*ck up.
It's really challenging for me to try and follow that concept, I can think of no close, familiar, or personal precedents that I can wrap my brain around. There are a few that come close; the military, which is automatically set up to control and instill the model of group think and blind allegiance to orders. But that doesn't really explain (for me) why the Amerikan public is where they are at today, blind, unquestioning, submission; despite the fact that most of what they are being asked to do, or believe, flies in the face of reality, or logic.
I suppose it really is easy to brainwash an entire country. History tells me that people have blindly followed dictators, despots and Presidents through the ages, but history also tells me that eventually (in most cases) the people finally woke the hell up. Will the Amerikan public ultimately wake up? I'm entering my 70th year traversing this Universe, I sure as hell would like to live long enough to see that awakening, and my optimism is draining fast. And no, I'm not just another "keyboard warrior," I've been knocked around plenty over the years by the enforcers of this police state we live in, no doubt will be knocked around some more before it's all over. But, that isn't the point; the point is that many more millions of us need to be knocked around before we can make a change for the better. We cannot keep on being dictated to and walking this hateful edge that is being made up for us daily. We've become a nation of haters, brainwashed into this all-consuming hatred by those who would control us.
Had a phone conversation with a good friend (JP) the other day and we talked about hate and just how much it permeates the day-to-day dialogue in this country. The media parroting the Bush Administration is particularly fond of keeping the hate thing on the front burner, vis-à-vis "why do they hate us?" The media also "stir the pot" in other insidious ways and we are all familiar with those. We hate the immigrants, we hate the gays, we hate blacks, anyone who thinks or acts differently than we do. Most of us recognize it as a stupid, rhetorical, redundant tool, no more than just another weapon used to keep the "fear factor" at elevated levels and because of that we also hate ourselves; enough to turn off our brains. Or, as Howard Zinn states it: "Hysteria cripples consciousness."
All one need do is take a look at the dialogue engendered in the various chat rooms, blogs and comment sections on this big Internet community out here, it may start out as civilized discourse but then, it always seems to degenerate into vitriolic name calling. None of us are immune from that; we all tend to gravitate that way even in some small fashion, I know I am guilty of it as well.
All one needs do is look at our history. We hated the Indian, the Chinese, the Italians, the Irish, the Japanese, the Germans, the Spaniards, the Phillipinos and the Vietnamese ad infinitium. When you think about it we pretty much have enclosed ourselves in a xenophobic bubble here. Just think about that very popular phrase of a few generations back, "free, white and 21." That pretty much sums it up, don't you think? We've always been a racist nation, made up of the many individual (and corporate) racists amongst us.
We've always been the bully on the playground; it's ingrained in our psyche. Part of that is because we have always been able to back up our truculent demeanor by force and that power has generally flowed unobstructed. I believe the Vietnam War altered that unhindered flow of U.S. power; the bully's Achilles' heel was exposed and it was global opposition that exposed it. Of course, the right wing would have us believe that Vietnam was lost because of a bunch of liberal, godless appeasers parading in the streets.
Since Vietnam we've had to buck up our self-esteem, pick up the guns and run amok on the playground beating up on the smaller guys. A sort of give the folks something to feel good about scenario, never mind that we are beating up on defenseless people here, using the media we'll make it all right. And now we are in Iraq and Afghanistan, killing men, women and children with impunity, no one wants to stand up to the bully of the playground and he runs unimpeded. One wonders, for how long?
If one looks at US interventions either overt or covert - in sovereign countries, just since the end of WWII we have used millions of tons of bombs and bullets and have killed or caused to "be disappeared" millions of people; that's known as Genocide folks. Since the first Iraq venture by the US and subsequent sanctions, up to and including the present crimes against humanity now happening, we have murdered over a million men, women and children. That's known as "ethnic cleansing" folks. Are our leaders any different than those leaders who stood for trial at Nuremberg? Is ex-Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld any different than Adolph Eichmann? Is Bush any different than Hitler? I think not.
And if we dared pay attention to our history we would know that for a couple of hundred years we have been in addition to the bully on the playground the murderer of the world. The tried and true comeback: "But others have murdered also," as if this qualification somehow excuses our terrorism. It's no more than the old childhood wail; "Johnny was in the cookie jar too." As my mother was fond of rebuking whenever I rolled out that excuse, "If Johnny jumped off the bridge, I guess you would also?"
I don't know if that can sum up our foreign policy or not, somehow we all know that it is more a case of getting in first and taking what we want, rather than following anyone else. After all, the bully of the playground always wants to be "first in line," and will use whatever means or excuses to get there. Making the world safe for democracy is, of course, the current phrase (excuse) de rigueur used to justify terror and genocide. If you understand history, if you read, know, history, you realize in your soul that we murder with impunity, for the twin gods of control and greed.
Control and greed, the omnipresent nocturnal emissions that guide the plutocracy. Thinking with their penis not for sex as they rampage the Universe while bowing at the phallic altar of ravenousness.
Isn't it time to wake up Amerika? How about slapping yourself in the face, or taking a cold shower? Or, perhaps, visit your nearest orthopedic surgeon and have a backbone inserted, they do wonders with transplants these days.