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Public Like A Frog: "Where all are guilty, no one is"

By       Message Phil Rockstroh       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink

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Once again, partisan Democrats are reeling in shock and humiliation, boggled by a familiar scenario -- the sheer velocity of their reversal of fortune and the Republican right's perennial ascendency. Democrats implore, why is it voters occupying less than privileged positions in the economic order evince such ardor embracing the principles of a political creed dedicated to their exploitation for the benefit of a ruthless few?

There is truth in the one-liner that Democrats bandy: Anyone from the working or middle class who votes Republican is suffering from Battered Wife Syndrome. Although one is tempted to retort, anyone who votes for either one of the corporate/National Security State parties is closer to a half-senile spinster who still believes her prince will come.

For decades, middle and laboring class conservatives have been hoarding their resentments against phantom enemies, foreign and domestic, as the time-yellowed, eroded social contract, once, offering a better life for themselves and for their children, has crumbled to dust in their hands. By the financial machinations of elitist kleptocrats and the Pentagon's multi-billion dollar money pit, they have been endowed with little else but this stash of toxic baubles they store against reality.

"The truth is that the State is a conspiracy designed not only to exploit, but above all to corrupt its citizens." -- Leo Tolstoy

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Amid the casual brutalities and nettling banalities of the US's perpetual militarism and its entrenched culture of corporate oligarchy, two pernicious modes of being, seemingly unrelated, arise, converge and cross-pollinate: the collective compulsion to displace fear and rage intertwined with an aura of personal dislocation and collective anomie.

This has been the legacy wrought by the nation's collective will to beat its civic plowshares into the Pentagon's war machine (as well as those much needed accouterments of the commonweal such as the fleets of the tax-exempt, Gulf-Stream jets appropriated by corporate oligarchs).

As the people of a fading empire, our self-absorbed victim-swoon is only exceeded by our paranoia: We cower from phantoms and rage at realms of invisibles: Within this empire of Paxil, Palin and paranoia, collective fear of all the wrong things has made the US and her people analogous to a car alarm that issues a shrill, electronic warning to an empty parking lot. In reality, no intruder has attempted to invade its envelope of steel, aluminum, and glass. A sudden gust of wind was the culprit. Yet it disturbs all within earshot, announcing the presence of imaginary marauders.

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Attempting to cope with the degradations of a violence-prone, exploitive system and its attendant degraded social milieu, an individual can become susceptible to demagogic narratives that serve to displace overwhelming feelings of rage, shame, and mortification. Thus, around the clock, right-wing media haters -- human, hair-trigger car alarms -- admonish empty air.

Overextended empires, and the distracted and harried individuals within, will stand, bristling in a paranoid posture, with feet planted in stubborn defiance of changing circumstances, snarling at invisible threats and imagined affronts, as life moves on with indifferent grace.

A nebulous sense of anger, co-existing with free-floating ennui, has become normalized, leveling a sense of desolation and inflicting a hyper-attenuation of the will to freedom upon the psyches of U.S. conservatives of modest economic means. What remains: brittle pride, paranoia, belligerence, and empty braggadocio -- each serving to occlude from their conscious awareness the reality of the nation's plummeting quality of life.

By any metric, other than military spending and armament production, the US is nowhere close to occupying the top dog position it once held among nations ... maybe global junkyard dog. In the US, it is astonishing to hear middle and laboring class conservatives defend their degradation by the present corporate order i.e., how they refer to the leash, held by their corporate masters around their necks, as their wings of freedom.

Thus corporatism, by its diffuse nature, avoids direct critique, as, all the while, it atomizes community. The money generated doesn't remain in neighborhoods; instead, profits flow back to corporate headquarters. These practices of the corporate state (that go nearly unquestioned) have rendered US culture bland and inflicted alienation in their wake.

The culture has been reduced to a center-devoid archipelago disconnected to community commerce and communal engagement. This is revealed, in microcosm, in the nature of the bland, uniform food proffered at corporate chain restaurants which is produced for quick profits in order to provisionally assuage the disproportionally large appetites of the denizens of the consumer state.

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Hopes and dreams have been crowded out and marginalized by oversized, empty cravings ... My heart is bereft -- but I can fill my belly with giant burgers and endless varieties of donuts ... Buddhists term this state of being: existing as a hungry ghost.

As corporate chains conquer every block, waistlines expand and civic engagement shrinks ... Shuffling, bereft, through the consumer state's soul-denuded architecture of anonymity, we, in turn, have internalized the illusory image-scape of the mass media hologram. The human being as consumer is not only clad in corporate chain clothes but wears its labels within.

Due to the banality, blandness and flat out ugliness of the strip mall/big box store/fast food outlet, prefab nothingvilles of the US landscape, life under corporatism is as seductive as the glare of florescent tube lighting in a convenience store. Our suburban architecture looks as though Socialist Realist architects of the old Soviet Union grew bored of the worker's paradise of Hell, rose to earth, and went into the prefab structure design business.

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Phil Rockstroh is a poet, lyricist and philosopher bard living in New York City. He may be contacted at Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/phil.rockstroh

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