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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 8/31/15

Ensconced in a cocoon, completely unaffected and oblivious

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I read Chris Hedges latest article [1], "The Great Unraveling". He is truly on the mark; a must read.

Hedges' focus is on the ravages of "neo-liberalism" and "global capitalism" in the US and the world, the "vast economic inequality, wage stagflation, chronic poverty, underemployment, factories in cities boarded up, prisons overflowing" et al.

On the Trump boom let, he writes, "the attraction of his buffoonery which is ultimately dangerous, mocks the bankruptcy of the political charade, laying bare the dissembling, hypocrisy, the legalized bribery. There is a perverted and, to many refreshing honesty in this" expressing a "courage of conviction, however unsavory these convictions are. Those who believe something, even something repugnant, are often given grudging respect".

But the purpose here isn't to give a lengthy synopsis of Hedges writings.

What I am stunned by and is so disconcerting- with the world crumbling from our unnecessary wars, occupations, our resort to torture, creating virulent terrorism, initiating instability all over the world along with the climate change phenomenon bringing droughts, wild fires, torrential rain and flooding, millions of fleeing refugees with people suffering on a massive scale- here in the US what I witness is people with cell phones in hand, madly texting away seemingly oblivious to this disintegrating world ensconced in a cocoon and completely unaffected. It's as if their "world", the deadening cult of the self, is the real world.

As it happens I frequently ride a commuter train and the Metro and often find myself inadvertently within ear shot of others conversations using "like" every other word while most others are staring intently into some electronic gadget before them transfixed on whatever it is they might be "connected" to yet in all likelihood "disconnected" from the real world.

Sometimes I feel as if I'm an alien from another world. Who are these people, many of them the newly arrived gentrified now living in the city, having displaced many of the former residents who couldn't afford to live there anymore.

I, we inhabit different worlds. Mine not wanting to be in the dark; the truth as best I can discern it, regardless of how unpleasant it might be. Theirs, oblivious, indifferent, unconcerned yet feeling "entitled, exceptional of the indispensible country."

I often get "let's not talk politics" or "you're only interested in politics". Yup, that's right. Politics affects everything from the food we eat, the air we breathe, the water we drink to the taxes we pay- not to mention the thievery of the big banks too big to fail, the $trillion each year in "defense", national security, surveillance to an electoral system completely corrupted by big money. But let's not talk politics, it's too uncomfortable.

Back to Hedges he writes, "Those of us who seek to create a world that has hope of viability have little time left. The neo-liberal order, despoiling the Earth and enslaving the vulnerable, has to be eradicated. This will happen only when we place ourselves in direct opposition to it, when we are willing to engage in the acts of self- sacrifice and sustained revolt that allow us to obstruct and dismantle every aspect of neo-liberal machinery."

Yet from here "placing ourselves in direct opposition to it", engaging in "acts of self-sacrifice" and a "sustained revolt" certainly doesn't include those I alluded to above.

To them "self-sacrifice" would be having to endure a regular coffee somewhere when they couldn't get a triple latte at Starbucks because it was closed. Direct "opposition" and "sustained revolt" would probably entail cussing under ones breathe at the Metro being late.

These are hardly the descendants of the colonials that dumped tea in the Boston harbor in December, 1773 setting the stage for the revolution.

[1] The Great Unraveling" by Chris Hedges, "Truthdig", "OPEDNEWS", August 30, 2015

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