What is America? Is it merely a flag? Is it an armed force, with tanks and guns and planes? After all, that’s what many people see in villages around the world. That’s what simple groups of small villagers saw in Iraq…people with no television, no media elite, no sophisticated intellectual government in their region to explain to them the vagaries of international politics.
They saw companies of robotic-looking soldiers coming down the road, clothed head-to-toe, even in 125 degree heat, in protective armor, carrying automatic weapons. For many of these villagers, it was their introduction to Americans. A dozen or so local anarchists would shoot at the Americans and then all hell broke loose. It is not only astonishing, but a credit to the real American values of so many of these soldiers, that anyone anywhere would believe us at all. It is only the good nature of some of these soldier…even at the risk of their lives…explaining, trying to make the civilians understand. But it doesn’t work with everyone. Not when you’re blowing things up at the same time.
So, that’s us now. That’s America to many people. And when that is our image, the people who hate us, very smart people, who deal not in numbers, not in derivatives, not in electronic data transfer systems but in how to manipulate these simple unassuming village people…that is when they win. They persuade these people that they are fighting to save them from eventual takeover by those young men marching down that hot, dusty road.
Blow it up. Burn it down. Oh, that’s not us, you say? OK. Well, then let’s see what America is all about. Let’s go to the movies. Because these people don’t see American television. They see Al Jazeera. And they see real live soldiers coming down the road.
Can’t use the movies you say? Twenty people blown up in the first three minutes and then an explosion a minute or a car turning over in city traffic or a bus going off a bridge. That’s what you see in the first five minutes of any American movie. So, remind those villagers again…why would those Americans…so violent…so aggressive…not show up and make the same thing happen in their village? And often they do. Does the word travel fast around the country and around the Middle East. You bet it does.
How about American news? Not fiction. Just the facts. We see an African-looking man who shot another African-looking man. We see a 12-year old African-American girl being shot accidentally by someone who is about the same color but speaks Spanish. It seems as if all these people who are in trouble of one kind or another are either black or brown. A lot of people in our country are black or brown, but they don’t seem to be exclusively trouble makers. Some are our leaders. But in America..if you’re black or brown…seems like your odds of being shot or killed are much higher. Why? After all, if they are civilized, why would it only be black or brown people in trouble?
Well, of course what the global villagers don’t realize is that we are not that civilized. We allow drug dealers to cross the border and shoot up neighborhoods and we don’t follow them back across the border, as we did with Pancho Villa, and track them down and kill them all. Kill them all. They are killing our youth, and killing each other. We know who they are. Find them and kill them.
But we’ll give lip service to letting our young men kill each other, addict others for money, then kill their rivals. Drugs are a curse on society. We need to stop playing politics with it. Put addicts into treatment and put dealers away forever. If you do a drug deal, a real drug deal, you go away for a long, long time. We do that now. But we don’t focus on stopping the sale of drugs.
Why is it that we will pay Afghanis tens of billions to stop producing opium, but we will not spend the same amount to protect our children from drug dealers and educate them about what will happen to your life if you take drugs. Why are we not more lenient on those in the neighborhoods who want to take action where the police can’t but fear worse punishment than the ruin that the dealers are handing out?
If we are honest, the problem is us. The problem is our political system and it may be too late to fix it…at least by traditional methods. We now have courts and U.S. Attorneys offices packed with people who do not want to change things. They don’t even want the minor changes that President Obama has been able to bring about. Minuscule changes thus far. We were too lazy. We allowed the Neo-fascists…because that’s what they are, even if you don’t like the association of the word with the old-time fascists who started wars.
That’s not our Neo-fascists, you say?They wouldn’t start wars, aggressive, needless wars…would they? Our fascists are just “corporatists.” Yeah. They’re corporatists who vote in a Neocon bloc against things like taking health care out of the hands of the criminally-greedy health insurance industry. They are corporatists who vote in a bloc against preventing another Wall Street collapse. They are corporatists who vote in a bloc against giving the 7 million people that they…and their President…sent to the unemployment lines…the minimal stipend to keep them from homelessness and starvation!
You can call them Neocons, Neo-fascists or you can call them Nazis or Corporatist Republicans. But whatever you call them they do not work for Americans of the middle class or the lower class but FOR THE RICH AND RICH CORPORATIONS. That is what people around the world in villages see.
Oh, yes. Any peasant or villager in any small enclave around the world will understand. You know oppression when you are one of the oppressed. And they certainly do not understand why anyone would allow a whole population to be intimidated by a few hundred thugs coming across a border into the most powerful country in the world when you have might and power enough to travel half way around the world and show up in their village.
And yet, those same villagers over time have heard of the mass murders around the world…Somalia…Sudan…Uganda…and no one stopped it. Take the troops who are searching for a band of thugs, they would say, whom we can handle ourselves and instead go kill the people who are raping and murdering innocent people by the tens of thousands every day. That’s what a major power should do. It should use it’s power to bring down God’s own wrath on arrogant dictators and their followers. And even then, capture and kill their leaders, not every civilian in the country.
That is why people all over the world came out into the streets and shouted and cheered when President Obama was elected and church bells rang throughout the world. It was the eternal hope of change for the better. Because if we cannot overcome a President like Bush and an evil architect of greed and death like Cheney, then the rest of the world has no hope. We are the last best hope of mankind.
If we cannot succeed for our own people, for our villagers, if Democracy cannot make life better for everyone, then we, like all global villagers everywhere must wonder…where will it all end? When will it end…the tyranny…the monstrously evil dictators…the wars…the genocides…if even in the United States, the leaders in government and media cannot see how remarkably fortunate they are to live in such a potentially great system? If 40 rich white men can prevent a country of 300 million people from having decent health care, minimal needs for survival and prevent fraudulent financiers from taking their homes and all their possessions. What good are property rights if you have no property?
It may be that our great system has failed. The neo-fascists have won…these Neocon Republicans. Greed won out. Our system has failed when even many of the politicians who avowed that they were with the good guys were, in fact, turncoats. They were bought off with a few pieces of silver, if you consider it in the context of the long view of history. It turned out that there were actually 42 or 43 Senators ready to block the future, not just the Neo-fascist Republicans.
Some Democrats could, it seems, barely contain themselves. They did, yes, vote for health care, for the workers, for reforms of powerful financial institutions. But now they are ready to bail out, ready for those big multi-million dollar paydays from that sick institution…lobbying. They are bailing out now. Going to the other side, the dark side if you will, in the midst of the most important fight for our country since World War II. No wonder many people around the world think of us as a sick, corrupt society.
One thing has made the battle more transparently clear than any speech or any sounding of cannons. The supreme court has said that the rich and powerful forces of giant corporations can spend any amount of money to elect candidates. These giant corporations may have, it has been said, as much as $75 trillion…trillion…dollars that could be used to elect their candidates. Our entire annual Gross Domestic Product is only $17 trillion.
Using the Karl Rove techniques of vilifying and lying and playing dirty tricks, appealing to racism, and religious fanaticism, corporations can now literally elect the Senator from General Motors or virtually as many Congressmen from Exxon as they want. It is hardly and exaggeration to say that they have “all the money in the world” to do it. The fact is that these people have about 80% of the income and the wealth of this country already. If you combine the people with the highest annual incomes, the people with the greatest wealth, and the people with the largest percentages of ownership in corporations…the top 1% control about 80% of this country…basically everything.
And that is now. Wait until they are able to buy off elections against Democrats who cannot compete financially against this kind of attack. We could end up with 20 Democratic Senators and lose 100 Democratic congressmen. And we may never elect a Democratic President again.
What will conditions be like if that happens…and who is to say that it has not already been planned? Taxes will not go up. The Bush tax breaks would be reintroduced. Social Security will be replaced by a 401K system, and as the radio commentator Mark Levin has said. “People must begin to learn to save for their old age.” He said that in the context of civil service workers who were losing their pensions, which he clearly said nothing against. Many people work in government for 30 or 40 years precisely for the security of a fixed pension.
When Levin’s and Cheney’s pals get into office, all pensions will be eliminated. What a windfall to corporations who have already dumped hundreds of billions in pensions by simply declaring bankruptcy and then settling pension issues in arbitration, often simply dumping them on the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation.
They will then be able to revoke new health care system, cut Medicare, cut Medicaid and turn our system into the nightmare of those in Latin America, Africa and parts of Asia where people dig around in garbage cans to survive. There are already 15 million people with no jobs. That will double. Wages will go down. The Neocon-nazis already fought hard and long against a $7.25 minimum wage, saying that it was too much, and would kill employment and shut down businesses.
But it turned out that what shut down businesses and threw people out of work was the greed of the mortgage bankers and of Wall Street where, at J.P. Morgan/Chase, for example, the average wage is $321,000, when you include the “bonus-babies” who actually make much more than that.
These investment types, not only at Chase but at Goldman, Sachs and the now defunct Lehman Bros, and other similar firms were the people who actually caused the Great Bush Recession. They aren’t criminals or monsters. They are just people trying to make as much money as they can. That’s what we do here in the U.S.A. But Neocon-nazis take it farther.
They don’t want a lot of income. The Neocon-nazis want all the income and they want you to have none. It seems almost flabbergasting that we have those kinds of people in this country at the very top…but the evidence is clear that we do. And they have their stooges in Congess. They are not hard to identify. They are called Republicans and they vote in a bloc against any progressive legislation. They vote against anything that will increase spending for the masses of the people.
No one knows yet how to fight this new challenge. Republicans, sponsored by oil, mining, manufacturing, military contrators, natural gas, discount retailers, utility companies, coal companies, pharmaceutical companies, Wall Street, health insurance….every single huge company that wants to pollute, underpay, have unsafe workplaces, send jobs abroad, cheat investors…you name it…will be ploughing millions if not hundreds of millions into the Neocon-nazi coffers.
All anyone can say is work hard for your Democratic candidates and make sure that they are working for the people. When enough people are laid off, when enough people die for lack of affordable health care, when enough people go bankrupt or lose their houses, maybe the American People will wake up. Everyone, including those far-off villagers, certainly hopes so.