March 29, 2012

This is where we are headed...if we're not already there

If you read nothing else today (this week/month/year), please read this.

A piece from The Babbler via Salon on the state of not just the union, but who we are. I say 'we', as we are creeping ever more steadily to a duality with the Americans we keep thinking we are so much better than. We aren't. Read this line: " And, yes, it was the Bush administration that muzzled government scientists and declared war on organized intelligence in a hundred other ways."

Gee. Seems like just a couple of weeks ago I was reading about Stephen Harper's Government (yes, I'm going to go along with calling it that; he wants it, and I want no part of it, so I figure we're about agreed on something, at long last...) was being called out for doing the same thing. Oh wait. It was.

I've spent most of the past decade wondering if I'm incredibly stupid, or just incredibly naive. Go ahead; vote. I don't mind. I actually know I'm not really dumb. But forgive me for wondering what the hell has been taking place right in front of my eyes, and forgive me for believing I've been at some David Copperfield magic show. And yes, I hate him for having that name. Sorry, magicianman. That is and always will belong to Charles Dickens. Anyway.

Like many of you, I've watched the very things this article tackles - the co-opting of the political hemisphere, academia, the media and every other damned sector by some strange forcefield that makes no damned sense at all. None. Money? Sure. We all like money. Well, we all need it, to some degree. But the insanity that has taken place since the 1980s bewilders me. I remember watching Wall Street with a guy and being horrified. I was enraged; he was engorged. I think I realized at that moment that money makes people insane. And take this from someone who gets to say that - I have a front row seat to insane.

We are corrupt. Legally, politically, financially and morally. There are no more ways to describe this corruption porn. We are knowingly being led by dealers of this, who insist they are right (and right) and the day will be saved by yet more money being funneled into the right (and right) pockets. And like the last runt to the trough, there is nothing left. Because there was nothing there to begin with.

It's a circlejerk of men in nice ties with fancy shoes (and yes, it's still men, don't kid yourselves), prevaricating over several martinis whether I should have access to an abortion without a panel of similarly attired men deciding if I can. They will make deals with the companies selling the drugs to stop my stroke to decide if my doctor can let me know that such a drug exists, and they can then further decide if I should have access to it. They will carefully not spill on their fancy ties as they decide that your children don't need special funding to succeed in school, mostly because their children don't need that funding. And if they do, well, they can afford it. The same way they can have access to the drugs that allow them to eat meals we pay for and not have their own hearts explode.

There is the sleazy leakage of people scuttering over the line like cockroaches; let me join your club and my bank will make your deals. Just this one deal and my university will prostitute itself and call it research. Three junkets, 10% of your ad budget, and a mention on page two, and we have a deal.

We've been bought and paid for, signed, sealed and delivered, and we knew it. We knew it and we kept being told we were wrong. And like an echoing nightmare, we finally gave in and accepted quiet at any cost. We watched good men mount dark horses, and bad men spin webs. We watched trusted systems break down, and noble institutions become not just less noble, but corrupt. And we watched those trusted to tell us become more than emasculated; they became dimmed and dumbed and lined up for crumbs lest this really was the last train.

Read the link. You haven't been wrong. There is a Stockholm Syndrome taking place at a mass level: how can so many be living an inch from panic every day (and they're the lucky ones, don't you know it) while I'm still reading about Wall Street criminals deciding how many stables to put on their summer place in the Hamptons? Pull down the curtain and expose these charlatans for who they really are. All of them. Take responsibility, stop thinking someone else will do it, and stop relying on people who tell you they know what's best for you. Start trusting your gut.

And Canadians? Stop thinking this is an American problem. The best and worst of America ends up here, like something that washes up on the next tide. We get great arts, great TV, great thinkers and great innovation. We also get guns and meth and American style politics. We're not that special, and there are many people counting on us not understanding that distinction.

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Anonymous Zena said...

I've been reading a history of Rome circa 400AD. It was all about wealth and corruption and patronage back then too. And oil. Yep, good old oil. Olive oil, true, but oil nonetheless.

"Living an inch away from panic every day." I can definitely relate to that. The sad thing is, when you try to talk to people about this, they get that glazed look in their eyes. And the more vocal you are, the more likely you are to be dismissed as a lazy, bleeding-heart leftist whiner who has your sights on everyone else's hard-earned money.

Amazing how the self-interested can twist things. There's just no arguing with zealotry.

So how do we right the ship? Or do we just hang on to whatever pieces of flotsam we can grab, watch the hulk sink, and keep dreaming of dry land?

March 29, 2012 9:45 PM  
Blogger Lorraine said...

I think people like to think they are maintaining a moat around themselves by dismissing others. It must be your fault. Otherwise, I might be in jeopardy. We depend on others to be less so we can be more.

But eventually we run out of 'others'. We need to stop alienating and start comparing slates. We own this country, we do.

March 29, 2012 10:03 PM  
Blogger Ann Landsberger said...

Brilliant analysis, as always.

March 29, 2012 10:41 PM  
Anonymous buzzwhack said...

America's God has been Mammon for a long time. Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin said as much in 1975. Jim Morrison said the same thing in 1968. We have become a nation of people who know the price of everything and the value of nothing. Don't follow leaders, be one.

March 29, 2012 11:15 PM  
Blogger David Moffat, Centre of the Universe said...

too many of the 99% have drunk the kool-aid prepared by the 1% and believe that they, the 99%, can become part of the 1% (ain't gonna happen, people) if only they turn against the less advantaged of the 99%.

i have some lumber out in the garage, if anyone can help me build the guillotine. and bring some knitting needles.

March 30, 2012 10:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lorraine, I once said "you have beautiful eyes, but I sure wouldn't want you to get mad at me". Hence this article is an excellant example. We do own this country Canada. The politicians do work for us. Why are we on the wrong end and can't do much of anything about this...

March 31, 2012 1:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a teenager I was fortunate to read Erich Fromm's 'The Sane Society' in the late '70s. I'm certain it has kept me from becoming an economic animal.

Some related ideas of Mr. Fromm I found online...

To Have or To Be (1976) was Erich Fromm's last major work. In it he argues that two ways of existence were competing for 'the spirit of mankind' - having and being. The having mode looks to things and material possessions and is based on aggression and greed. The being mode is rooted in love and is concerned with shared experience and productive activity. The dominance of the having mode (as he argued in The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness) was bringing the world to the edge of disaster (ecological, social and psychological). Erich Fromm argued that only a fundamental change in human character 'from a preponderance of the having mode to a preponderance of the being mode of existence can save us from a psychological and economic catastrophe' (1976: 165) and set out some ways forward.

Modern man, if he dared to be articulate about his concept of heaven, would describe a vision which would look like the biggest department store in the world, showing new things and gadgets, and himself having plenty of money with which to buy them. He would wander around open-mouthed in this heaven of gadgets and commodities, provided only that there were ever more and newer things to buy, and perhaps that his neighbors were just a little less privileged than he. (from Man in Capitalistic Society )

April 01, 2012 2:09 PM  

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