Day 1279 – Geez, Somebody Needs a Hug
I was going to title this post “We Suck” but figured that was unnecessarily negative. That phrase is a little in-joke. I’ve been accused of being “unnecessarily negative” at my job. However the person who accused me is this single most positive person i have ever met in my travels. So, you can see such accusation is, from their perspective, well-deserved.
I watched/listened to the Vice Presidential debate. And i agree with the pundits who say Ms. Palin did well. Very well. She effectively repeated the Big Lie over and over again without so much as blinking. I suspect had she been wired to the gills with lie detection sensors they would have produced nary a blip in the flatline. So much more to pity.
Tonight i can’t help but feel we are done. As a country. Simply done. We’ll drift around for some time, like a massive ship without a rudder and on-again off-again propulsion, but as a country, as an aggregate force for positive change, we’re finished. I dare say even if Barack Obama is elected he’ll be unable to effect the depth of change required. This enveloping sense of nihilism won’t stop me from voting for Mr. Obama or arguing as passionately as i can against his rival, but i hold virtually no hope for the future of this grand experiment called America.
It is ironic i happen to be in Idaho when this sense of doom grows in my mind. Idaho. The reddest of the red states. A state Orwell could only have dreamed of. A state where self-righteous fools proclaim their patriotism by offering up their children for a misguided war and crow about “personal freedoms” while eschewing any semblance of personal responsibility. A state that represents, in many ways, the very worst of humanity. A place where the scars of greed and narrow-minded pursuit of riches poison the land and drain the water left to the surplus of children produced by a host of misguided philosophies. I suppose it’s not unlike a lot of other places.
But on a country-wide scale the chief problem is systemic corruption. The very smart, largely rich, and certainly all white, men who drew up the papers defining this grand experiment put in place a brilliant series of checks and backstops to thwart the omnipresent self-interest they knew lay dormant in all humans. They came from a country ruled by a king and knew first hand the pathetic waste of resources such a system enshrined. They also knew human nature to be weak, fallible and easily seduced. So they built into their newly formed assemblage of people and land mechanisms to prevent one group, or, heaven forbid, one man, from gaining too much power.
To use a sci-fi metaphor it was like The Day the Earth Stood Still; they built a system that had power over themselves. That was their greatest gift to the world; a system of government where NOBODY would rule absolutely. But they all died and as Franklin feared we have been unable to keep it. And in a spectacularly short period of time, too.
What has ruined our country is, by degrees, the myriad systems put in place have become corrupted. Bit by bit, measure by measure, the laws governing this massive experiment have been bent and obfuscated and reinterpreted one after the other to the point they’ve become like the crown molding in my wife’s apartment; you can tell it’s there, but there’s so many layers of paint you can no longer discern the shape.
What’s the solution? Fuck all if i know. When i was younger i might have advocated something stupid like “revolution! we need to fight the power!….” But i’ve come to learn that is precisely what the power structure wants. The fact there has been no internal revolution in this country has forced the current government to go hunting for an external foe, a shadowy “other,” to point to and say “there is the evil… go and fight it!” And again we come back to Orwell, “It does not matter if the war is not real or if it is; the war is not meant to be won it is meant to be continuos.” The suicide bombings in Pakistan and Baghdad and just about everywhere BUT North America (and, i guess, Switzerland), those endless, seemingly random explosions that go off here and there and produce all manner of carnage, but achieve nothing… are they not the same as the mysterious buzz-bombs of “1984”? Sorry, but this is how i think.
Power wants only one thing: more power. Keeping the population at large afraid, off-balance and confused serves the status-quo. The worst thing that could possibly happen is that Osama Bin-Laden is caught and suddenly, miraculously, all of the bombings end. While he is at large he is Goldstein, the source of evil that must be fought, forever fought. Peace is bad for business. Oh, it’s very good for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, but that’s no longer what America, indeed most of the world, is about. The only truth, in the big picture, is those with power and those without.
Sorry, but that’s what I see.