08 December 2010

Looking Down The Street For The Barricades To Go Up

We are all familiar with the adage that says that if you repeat a lie often enough, you will begin to believe it. For some reason, this pops into my mind every time an elected official or one of their appointees starts talking. These folks have become so enveloped in their own special brand of psychosis; they actually assume we are buying in to it as well. And why shouldn’t they believe this? The electorate has given no indication they plan on holding anybody responsible for anything anytime soon. Here are a few examples; I am sure anybody reading this can think of many more.

From the President on down, we are told to vilify Julian Assange and WikiLeaks for endangering lives and embarrassing governments. I guess I am silly. I actually think it is the actions of those same governments that are responsible for endangering lives and embarrassing people. Governments are displaying a criminal and childish philosophy here. In their minds, it was not doing something that was wrong, it was being caught. Now that they have been caught, they want to bully everybody into shutting up about it.

How about elections? I challenge anybody to name one actual issue that has decided an election in the last 5-6 cycles? We are embroiled in a widening war with no definable goals or endgame. Our economy is sputtering along on hopes and wishes. Jingoism and slanderous bashing has replaced reasoned dialogue. The wealth and income gap has virtually destroyed any remaining shards of the American dream. The majority is routinely looted and pillaged by the minority. Racial and ethnic minorities are still crushed under the weight of structural inequality. All of these are issues. But what is on every media personality and candidate’s lips? Who should be allowed to get married? Who should be allowed to build a community center in what location? Shadowy conspiracy theories and wild claims of a holy war…The list unfortunately goes on. Lost in the noise is that issues unresolved, continue to grow.

A growing percentage of the population has thrown themselves under the wheels of various cults of personality. A partial term governor from Alaska absorbs mountains of attention, despite having no real accomplishments. Her daughter is a celebrity for no other reason than she failed to employ effective birth control. Rich heiresses careen across the landscape, dragging all of their followers along on the road to nowhere. Entertainment is redefined to create instant celebrities whose only talent seems to be the ability to be even more obnoxious than the last bunch. People are told to jump and they gleefully do so, landing on the backs of their fellow citizens in the scramble for meaningless junk. Jaded vultures mass-market carnage, disease, and despair across every aspect of our lives, simply to gorge themselves on the ensuing body count. Few even question when the ability to kill or be killed became a necessary aspect of the music industry. Pampered suburban kids argue over who was shot in the latest rap dispute as if that is how the world should turn.

Am I angry? You bet! Does it show yet? None of these things are particularly new. I am most angry because none of it seems to be getting old for a lot of people. The mechanisms change. The targets of inequality change. The lies and the oppression all change their shape and color. I guess I am not happy with those changes. I am holding out hope that there will be an actual change in my lifetime; a fundamental shift in character for the population as a whole. I want so desperately for the idealized aspects of Americanism to be true. I want everyone to be created equal, to have inalienable rights, to be good neighbors, and to prosper. If fear and anger are intertwined, than I guess the fear I have is for what will have to happen before this change occurs.