Thursday, August 25, 2011

American Tragedy

I believe we are witnessing at this very moment in time the beginnings of a genuine American tragedy. As it can’t be a tragedy without a tragic ending, and as that has not as yet finally occurred, you have to be patient for the end that I’m pretty certain will occur. As with most if not all tragedies this is a result of the conflict of two parties ultimately resulting in a tragic outcome for one or both of them. In this case it is a tragedy of our own making and involves two different parties. On the one hand we have a small number of very wealthy people allied with powerful and wealthy international corporations. Their position, once summed up by one of them, is expressed in its simplest form by the phrase, “Greed is good.” Their modus operand has to do with making short term profits with no regard for anything else, not the environment, not the citizens, not the nation, and not even the planet itself. Left alone this would ultimately result in a tragedy of its own, but unfortunately it is being helped along by the second party.

The mantra of this second party was summed up brilliantly by a young college student who did not realize she was speaking for an entire nation when she tacked up on a bulletin board one day a message for her school peers, “Tomorrow is canceled due to lack of interest.” This is a brilliant description of the attitude of the majority of American citizens. By not paying attention over the past few years they have allowed the wealthy minority and the corporations to insidiously infiltrate all the corridors of power, the Congress, the Executive Branch, even the Justice Department and the Supreme Court. They have been very successful and have virtually achieved their apparent goal of a Fascist state, that is, a marriage of corporations and government. This is by now so far along there is some doubt that it can be overcome. It certainly cannot be overcome if ordinary citizens continue their disinterest in government. This disinterest has allowed their civil rights to be slowly eroded, their money to be transferred by various means to the wealthy and corporate interests, unconstitutional “wars” to go on endlessly, children to go hungry, education and superstructure to disintegrate, and millions to go without health care. Left unchecked things will get worse. In my view this is a terrible tragedy that could have been prevented had ordinary citizens been paying attention. The powers that be have cleverly hidden their greedy and evil plans through years of propaganda designed to convince ordinary citizens that unregulated capitalism and privatization are the best policies, government itself is intrinsically bad, and if we give them our money it will trickle back down to us in the form of jobs. Apparently large numbers of people believe this nonsense.

Rick Perry, Governor of Texas, and now the leading contender for the Republican nomination, I thought would self-destruct after his first week on the campaign trail. It appears this is not going to happen and in fact he seems to be getting more and more credibility as the days pass. It seems the more swagger and ignorance the better as far as Republicans (and I guess a few others) are concerned. It worked for George W. Bush so why won’t it work again. I believe it is indisputable that ignorance is preferred by the Republican Party. This can be seen in their attitude towards education in general, and Universities in particular. They constantly whine about the fact that there seems to be a preponderance of liberals in our Universities. I believe this is true. Think about it, those who become University Professors have spent most of their time in studying, history, philosophy, political science, sociology, government, and so on. Does it not stand to reason they would know more than people who do not study such things? And if studying inclines them towards more liberal positions that seems to me perfectly understandable, they understand how things came about, how the system works (or doesn’t) and so on. The Republican response to this fact of life is to deny it, to disavow education, to demean and denigrate University people. They refuse to adequately fund education, they portray Professors as “Egg Heads,” “Pointy-headed intellectuals,” “Absent minded Professors,” “Ivory Towerists,” those who teach because they cannot “do,” and insist their opinions are no better than anyone else’s, even those who sum total of information comes from the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Beck, or Hannity. I do not want to appear an educated “snob,” but I simply do not believe this is true, even though I continue to believe in one person one vote (although I’m not exactly sure why). Part of the tragedy lies in the fact they have managed to convince most of the American public this is true. Learning, education, “book-larnin,” intellectualism, are simply not highly valued in American culture, even though I believe they once were more highly regarded than they are now. The tragedy lies in the fact that the public has apparently lost the ability, and sometimes I think even the will, to resist this almost complete takeover of what used to be proudly proclaimed a democracy. Our so-called “leaders” have succumbed to the philosophy of, “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em,” and join up they have.

“Any man…is any sort of man, some time or other…”

Ford Madox Ford

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