It’s happened again. Another well meaning soul insisting that EveryOne is to blame for the mess that engulfs the U.S. politically, militarily and economically because in our political system, the country gets what it votes for. Therefore, ‘we are all responsible.’
Some may get their kicks from an existential guilt trip, but please count me out.
First, we almost never get what we think we voted for. Just a few examples: Remember George W. saying he’d be a ‘uniter, not a divider’? Before the vote he also said yes to more social programs, lower taxes and a balanced budget. Franklin Roosevelt said he’d keep the U.S. out of foreign wars and Richard Nixon said he’d end the war in Viet Nam.
Before election day, voters are bombarded with ads, negative and positive, and promises, some vague, some not. Complicating the process is the media which prefers sound bites to substance. Voters negotiate the mine field and cast their ballots for the person who does the best job of convincing them that he or she will fulfill their fantasy.
Every few years we go to the polls and pin our hopes on a Rorschach ink blot shaped like a person.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that predatory bankers in possession of great fortunes are in want of media lackeys, especially after savaging the American Dream. Actually not, considering the corporate media outlets reinforcing the clownish social gospel from Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs: conglomerates do good, indeed “God’s work.”How would any CEO richer than Midas know God’s mind or presume entry to heaven, according to a more reliable source, any more likely than a camel through the eye of a needle?
Propaganda aside, hear the hosannas this Great Recession isn’t so bad, no national tragedy, no generational plague, barely involving predatory lending. When viewed correctly this healthy downturn “will improve all of our lives by bringing us back to the original vision of the American Dream.” In the meantime, hard times cleanse debtors and clear books: thus, mystical free markets self-balance, punishing those lovers of excess and betrayers of contracts. Verdict; blame consumer spendthrifts for toppling our shining city on the hill. Rich people, not so much.
The media loves tough love that regains more than lost affluence but transcendent virtues: self-control, family togetherness, even, brace yourself, Yankee introspection. This Sunday CNN blessed us with its Pollyanna sermonette, profiling a perky Bernie Madoff survivor happier than ever. She’s not bitter towards this thug, so outlandish he dared capture, awash instead in wise acronyms, like SNT – Stop Negative Thinking. Unfortunately, no empty platitudes wash away unarguable research testifying joblessness and foreclosure can kill, with an array of anxiety disorders sharpened by depression, addictive and abusive behavior, divorce, even suicide – no endorsement for positive thinking. Note, those justifying pain always have jobs.
It’s a brilliant strategy if you think about it. Make the public afraid of each other. Every person could be a terrorist – everyone is suspect. There is no better way to defeat an organized anti-war opposition than to make the people terrified of each other.
The corporate oligarchy is now doing under Obama what it could not accomplish under Bush. Total war. The anti-Bush movement in the US and worldwide was gaining too much ground. So the oligarchy let the air out of that balloon. In Bush’s place they put in a magician who has proved very effective at keeping the left off balance and thus unable to pump new life into the reeling anti-war movement.
So now it’s Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Somalia and Yemen. Next could be Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan. National Public Radio (NPR) reporter Tom Gjelten did a story called “Afghan War Could Spill Over Into Central Asia” on December 31 that upped the fear meter and brought back the Vietnam-war era worry of the “domino theory”. You must watch the slight of hand ….the modus operandi in action again.
Bush, or John McCain for that matter, would have been resisted at every step of this new escalation. But many “progressives” are frozen into place by the handiwork of the magician and a deferential Congress under the control of the other war party. The “execution” of this masterstroke has worked as well as the insides of an expensive Swiss watch.
The oil and military industrial oligarchy have created a situation where the public is so primed for fear by the slavish media that they are ready to strip their constitutional rights down to the bare bone in order to be “protected” by big daddy.