Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Yeah, there's a war on--here, let me /show/ you just how one-sided this one is....

Mainly because it's been being fought under our noses and out of sight of TV screens, where far too many of us still get our news pre-digested, not even able to read between the lines of a printed page, never taught to test for truth. Maybe because there's that other war-- or two, or three--that has been built up and given the spotlight as an honourable cause--America against this, against that, a sanctioned outlet of us versus them, us versus evil. The war that goes unspoken or derided as a mirage is the one that is U.S. versus us--the steady erosion of rights and dignity and the welfare--yes, literally, the well-fare, the well-being--of the ordinary American citizen.

The one who doesn't have an escape pod for every disaster, resources and insurance and medical provisions to cover every loss without hassle or delay, names and connections to get a job in a pinch whenever he or she needs one--or hell, just wants one for the credentials. The one whose name is not a passport to perks and privilege, whose labour is for the sake of survival not amassment of landed wealth. The common man--whether common or not in skills, intelligence, honour and personal virtue--who is being edged steadily back to the feudal ages, under the triple thumb of state and church and all-powerful-&-unquestioned "employer" from whom he must beg his daily bread. Leave God out of it--he's only a name in this machine, a placebo to make people think there's someone looking out for them, a source of true justice and unbiased, unstinting love. Bullshit, at least for the daily grind--only a pill one takes with all the others, and now on the pretense that it'll help one's health, lower one's blood pressure, increase one's life expectancy--and for what? For more of this crap, this technicolour pablum, this sham of a culture, this artifically sweetened and chemically fertilized, hyped-up, accessorized, wholly inconsequential vanity of vanities that is the existence of the American consumer-subject?

iPods and circenses, my friends....an armory of mass distraction--and the unwitting accomplices in it are twofold.

There are the willing marketers, salesmen, trendsetters, survey-takers, test panels--paid and unpaid alike, selling themselves for these corporate gods, external idols, false saviours for whom one will lie, cheat and steal to get a buck, to win a prize, to land the big one, anything to replace the real with the synthetic, the essential with the persuaded luxury, the energy of integrity for the dregs of ephemeral fame, attention, something from the Powers That Be.

And there are the well-meaning but all-too-ambitious politicians who voice their outrage in every moment but the ones that might have counted in the first place, thinking so much for the long-term and the interest of lasting harmony and stability (and political tenure for themselves) that they refuse to take a firm stand against the thousands of little encroachments, erosions, cracks and lapses that the enemy has given them an ostensible choice on--and that they refuse to lead any firm alternative or argument to sway the other side of the aisle, letting the battles be lost and thinking that they have a positive war they're fighting all the same--trying to win support and dollars from the people for their moderation, when it is their very moderation that has let the fox into the henhouse and approved him having his way--ah well, bargaining and quibbling over a wing or a leg here and there, but mounting no decided objections to his presence in itself.

There is a war going on. It is the war of power and wealth against those who are ignored, underrated, have little or no voice, little choice in their lives. It is the war of privilege against a common humanity, of moral hypocrisy against a common decency. Of paperwork against people, the letter of the law against the very virtues that it was supposed to support and encourage. The administration is destroying the people--and it does not care one whit more than it has to for a good soundbite, a dramatic photo opp, another little token to keep the wool pulled over the eyes of those who want to believe that they live in a system that makes sense. But no "god in a machine" is coming down to set things right, and the fox is still feasting in the henhouse. Criticism alone won't get him out.

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