The Normalization of Empire
I have a question for both Republicans and Democrats. There’s something I don’t understand. Since the 1970s both of these parties have systematically and consistently sold out the American people to corporate, military, big oil, and big banking interests. The result has been the largest upwards transfer of wealth in history, an economy based on fast food, banking, and selling each other houses. And the largest pile of debt in history, debts our grandchildren will be paying off. Or more simply put, every year since the mid 1970s the poor and middle class have lost ground, while the rich got richer … every step of the way overtly or tacitly accepted by both parties.
And here we are, forty years later, and I hear fervent republicans and democrats claiming that their party will fix this mess, and the other party will make it worse. So here’s my question. How can any inteligent person think that the people who made the problem in the first place are going to fix it? It defies reason, though boy, the rationalizations, prevarications, and denial coming from both camps is fast and furious. How come so many people are passionately defending the status quo, because if they vote for either party that’s what they have been doing for decades, while being absolutely convinced that their party will make the needed changes?
It’s not a rhetorical question. It is however a question that I think I have some insight into. I think there’s a number of things going on here that have created and are perpetuating this mess. Some of them due to human nature, some due to the nature of society and culture at large, and some due to very cynical propaganda and advertising by the people at the top who are profiting enormously from all this mess. This is sort of a collated rant, bear with me.
A key part of our current situation is hyping social controversies to the point of no end. Things like abortion, prayer in school, gay marriage, gun control, immigration, and others. These are all social policy issues that people have been programmed (easily enough since people do tend to feel strongly about them,) to think of as major issues of national importance. No, they’re not. That’s right, abortion, gay rights, and all the rest are not issues of national importance. They may be divisive, they may be emotional, but they don’t have anything to do with running the country. Because they have been shamelessly politicized by politicians pandering for votes does not actually make them political issues.
They serve their purpose though, they are a great way from distracting people from the real issues. Or more accurately, they really help convince people that their party is the right party … and completely obscure that fact that on important issues of national policy, both parties are the same. Both parties are pro war, pro big government, pro foreign meddling, pro deficit spending, and anti constitutional. These are important issues, but because people are so focused on social issues, they get ignored. Or worse. people tacitly support them by not rocking the boat and staying in their designated republican or democratic lane.
Another part of this is that people deep down hate and fear change. Especially sudden and unexpected change. So they tend to be very wedded to the status quo. Which doesn’t mean things can’t change, it just means they change incrementally and people accept it. The boiling frogs syndrome. Now the the banks and big business own everything, they are very concerned about not rocking the boat. And it’s easy enough to convince people that they don’t want that either, since that’s just how people are. In fact we have all sorts of powerful forces who very much want things to remain as they are, no matter how bad it is for the country at large.
Lastly, one final way the powers that be continue to keep people in line is divide and conquer. IE a great deal of effort is made to blame (take your pick depending on your party,) immigrants, gays, liberals, evangelists, unions, welfare recipients, etc. Anything but the actual people in power. Which is of course exactly why the Occupy Wall Street movement is so dangerous to the people in power, it’s the first mainstream political movement in decades that is actually questioning the very foundations of power in the country, so of course it must be stopped at all costs. The Empire must go on, money must continue to roll into the coffers of the wealthy.
This may get a lot more interesting before it’s over. Have a great weekend everyone.
(The above image is claimed as fair Use under US copyright law. It’s not being used for profit, is central to illustrating the post, and is properly attributed: Free Speech “Zone” at the 2004 DNC Convention. (Photo: Jonathan P. Berger, flickr) These are fenced zones where free speech is allowed. I don’t think people truly understand what a horrific development this is for a free country. If free speech is only allowed inside the designated area … that implies it’s not allowed outside of it. So almost all of us are on the wrong side of the fence.)