Posted by: facetothewind | May 24, 2004

Hope is Lost – a political rant

May 24, 2004

May 24, 2004

Hi Dolls,

I have become overwhelmed by people complaining about politics to me. At some point, one has to realize that we wear each other out about it and we get nowhere except the chance to feel perpetually cranky about what we see. If you’re preaching to the choir and missing the point…we need to reach beyond the choir if we’re to make any changes. And we need to look at ourselves in the choir and how we got there in the first place.

So this morning I wrote this essay that is, I hope, not more complaining so much as it is my desire to see the whole picture and acknowledge my responsibility in it. And a declaration that I am not going to complain any more about politics. It is a waste of time.

**

Today someone wrote to me asking if I saw 60 Minutes’ interview with an ex-general in the army who criticizes the Bush administration.

Interesting. Not surprising. But who watches 60 Minutes, anyway? Isn’t it the choir? (The so-called “liberal media?”) I think the critical question is now, how do we get the message in the heads of the religious freaks who think Bush is doing holy work fighting evil? These are the people who see the world in simple terms, as does Bush: good/bad, with us or against us. And those people, I would assert are getting progressively freaked out and the more they live in the fear, the more they are going to cleave to someone who thinks like them…a simpleton. A crusader.

I think all the ranting in the world can come from the respected media institutions and it won’t make a dent in their thinking. They don’t watch 60 Minutes, read the NY Times or go to the Human Rights Watch website. If they do, it’s just to see those wacky liberals and their silly conspiracy theories. They’re going to go to their prayer meetings and pray for a return to the way things were in the good ol’ days of Ozzie & Harriet.

This country has not yet shaken its nascent beginnings – religious fanatics who came to this country with one book. And you’ll find that same book in every motel room, judge’s bench and presidential platform.

I’m not hopeful. I think people, wherever they live, have fear. I think this country has a heavy undercurrent of fear. And it has created a complex web of people clinging to some flimsy ancient text, grossly misunderstood and misinterpreted to provide the answer to their big question: why does my life suck? Why am I suffering and miserable?

That Frontline documentary illustrated a critical point: people cling to their religions in times of distress. Clearly, this country is in distress. It is a country on the verge of a nervous breakdown, an industrial meltdown, an economic collapse (did you see Now about a month ago with Greenspan’s advisors?) because it has expanded itself beyond its ability to manage and sustain. We’ve destroyed much of the land and community and have moved on to other parts of the world in an attempt to maintain the American way of life of independence and prosperity.

In the beginning, we all wanted tobacco and cotton and yet we didn’t want to pay fair wages to farm it, so we brought boat loads of Africans to do it for us for free. Now, we all want free 24 hour technical support for our gadgetry – but we can’t afford to do that and offer cheap software and an endless supply of blinky little trinkets – so send the manufacturing and the support overseas. We all want cheap and beautiful produce, but we can’t afford to pay our farmers benefits and a respectable wage to sacrifice their lives in the fields. So we get Mexico, South America and the Philippines to grow it for us. Or, we try to alter the genetics to make produce manage itself, grow real perdy without any help – just someone throwing the master switch at the head office. And so it goes.

Well guess what? We’ve sent our jobs overseas, we’ve polluted our land, their land, and those pesky little bees cross-pollinated the mutant corn. Now we have a negative gross domestic product. We overdid it with making babies post WWII. Now we have a swollen population about to retire and no way to pay for it. So we borrow money. But our T-bills and bonds will be downgraded to useless status in our lifetime – watch! We will no longer be able to maintain roads, pay for the court systems, keep the public parks open and clean. And so the almighty dollar that we once worshipped will, over time, be about as useful as a gay marriage certificate in California.

The free ride, built on the backs of less-organized nations and using the resources we’ve extracted from their nations as if we had a right to it…(how did OUR oil get under THEIR soil??) is coming to an end. And the bottom line is that people here know it and are absolutely freaked out by it. And THAT is why this country is going the way it’s going. Because the more freaked people are by it, the more religious they get. They want to cling to something that will make them feel secure and the good old greenback will no longer deliver the goods.

And with the short-sighted approach to fear management comes more destruction, grabbing and controlling. They won’t want to see two men kissing at the altar. No way brother! That’s a sign indeed, that the end is near and we gotta get up the crusade. Well, they got one thing right. The end is coming: the end of business as usual in America. They saw it the day they saw the World Trade Towers collapsing. But did people ask why these attacks occurred? We in America always look both ways: up to god and down the barrel of a gun to solve our problems. But, Annie, while you were getting yer gun, you forgot to look at yourself. You tired old thing.

And so the great spiritual joke about the whole thing is that if the touts were really smart enough to see life in more than just binary logic (good/evil, with us or against us, saint/sinner) they would have realized that Jesus taught love, plain and simple. But no one accused them of being smart. Organized, maybe.

And so I ask myself, where do I, personally fall short of making a difference in the world? What am I going to do? Yes, Bush needs to go. But is Kerry going to make the changes necessary for us to sustain. Absolutely not. What can I do?

My answer to that is to not live in fear. To live with love and acceptance and sharing. And that means even to share with those I don’t agree with and don’t necessary like. And do I have the strength to do that? It’s doubtful. (This, by the way, was why the bible was written – because Jesus laid out some rather idealistic terms for living – but they were not so easy to implement. He kinda left us hanging on the cross. How could you just give away your food to those more needy than you? How can the meek inherit the earth? We were going to need a lot of support to live with those ideals. So the churches began to teach us how to do this. Unfortunately they lost sight of the original message because power and money corrupt…an original teaching of JC, oopsie.)

So what do we do? What DO we do?

Make love not war. Don’t live in fear. Live simply that other may simply live. It’s the hippie value system, come back again to visit the culture. Only in the 60’s aided by LSD, people were hopeful that they were creating a new paradigm. But, folks, it didn’t happen in the park with saucer eyes for longer than Jerry’s set lasted. If it is to be sustainable this time, it has to happen now using the tools we have, the reality that we live in and it has to be done one person at a time. The system has to reform itself WITH the technology it has NOT at the expense of it.

And that’s where I jump off my stump. Because I don’t know how. I don’t have the answers. I can see where we went wrong, and I can see what we need to do, but I have lost hope. I don’t think humanity is going to make it. I think we’re a doomed lot – bent on war, controlling, and stealing.

And honestly, I simply can’t imagine loving a Hummer-driving republican Christian. Ironically, they creep me out. And what is the creeps, if not fear? So there we have it.

The great pinball machine of life has just gone tilt. G A M E O V E R is flashing. I’m going to make a commitment to stop complaining about the way things are going. I think they’re going along just about the way that they should to inherit the destiny we’re due.

Love,

David Gilmore

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