By Frank O’Brien,
Troy, New York,
It struck me as pure truth that when we by default give our consent, by our apathy in not participating in electoral politics, that we ourselves become partly responsible for the evil done in our name. Just in Iraq alone, over 1 million civilians died after America invaded, basically from less than precision bombing, causing ‘collateral damage,’ being that ugly little euphemism for the deaths of innocent people. America has also water boarded prisoners from the War on Terror, besides other heinous acts, plus our drones have been used to assassinate targeted individuals who were deemed enemies of the state. We have allowed ourselves to be too tied up in our own individual lives, working outrageous hours just to bring home the bacon, losing sleep from stress stemming from our financial balancing act, and worrying about, and dealing with our children.
I have no doubt that these are unavoidable reasons why so many people don’t participate in the political system, yet things have gotten so bad in our government from there being only a select few, usually the well off, who get to decide who gets into office. In other words, the reason for non-participation isn’t so much simple apathy, or frustration with the system, but rather real world, and unavoidable things, such as trying to financially survive[just to survive!!!] in an economy that is on a big downward turn. For those though that do have enough free time, they should be involved or be engaged in political activity.
The system is now ultimately the most corrupt that it has ever been, with candidates, and standing politicians accepting too much money from the 1%[the super rich!], and even illegally from foreign individuals, who look to have influence on American politics. Thanks to our ideologically right wing Supreme Court, billionaires are able to flood the political campaigns through what are called super PACs[political action committees], since the justices ruled in favor of not restricting campaign finances, and instead making it an open air bazaar, where the candidates are for sale to the highest bidder.
This corruption in our system is now systemic because politicians will be hired after their political career is over to work by the private sector, or now, the opposite where former CEOs[chief operating officers] will run for political office. Being that it goes back and forth like this, some refer to the ‘revolving door‘ in relation to big business and political office. There certainly is a corrupting influence, and conflict of interest in this relationship, accompanied by the undo influence, for example, of defense contractors contributing to campaign finance, in essence bribing the politicians for continued cushy contracts, and favored standing.
People know of these irregular connections, yet no one ever really has gone after it, nor tried to stop this creeping towards fascism. The wedding of big business with government is by definition a fascist one, seeing how the supposedly democratic model is replaced by the one in which government works for the highest bidder, leading to policies only being reflective of this symbiotic kinship. Out of it, in terms of the arms industry, comes a foreign policy that favors war so that industry can sell its guns, bombs and technical equipment. Meanwhile less gets spent on more important things like education, social security and rebuilding dilapidated infrastructure.
America’s war and occupation in Afghanistan, and Iraq has cost us so damn much, that our borrowing money to prop up the country has gone sky high. The nasty war crimes that have also come out of the War on Terror have violated international law, along with domestic law, or at the very least, our supposed values that we pride ourselves on. Our values, such as they are claimed to be, are in question when the government turns a blind eye to torture, targeted assassinations and the ill treatment and abuse of prisoners of the war. Our foreign policy that includes the use of subterfuge, like coup d’etats, manipulation via buying our way into favor in certain countries, and deliberately fomenting terrorism, demonstrate the hypocritical nature of the supposed War on Terrorism. To be the good guy you better be on the up and up if you aren’t to be seen as the trouble maker, or school yard bully, which is how we are seen in many parts of the world. Uncle Sam helped build and train Daesh/ISIS/ISIL, and have had proxies like Saudi Arabia and Turkey propping it up through back door business arrangements, even continuing to have them armed too.
These dirty political realities are reflected back to us in the mirror by the Islamophobia that is current in our country, in the racism from whites towards blacks by cops, and the increased financial gap between the rich and the poor.
Are these really what our values are now?
Perhaps in the sense that these social ills existed long before they got reported on lately, so therefore goes our foreign policy. When the Bush administration got the public behind the perpetual War on Terror, they also asked us to give up many rights too. The reflection of the mirror is and has been growing into almost a sequel of Oscar Wilde’s “The Picture of Dorian Gray,” since as we age from our 9/11 rebirth, the picture or reflection becomes more and more ugly. Many that I listen to call for a sea change in the government, or close to a revolution rather than trying to change it from within through the political process.
I really in my heart advocate for a velvet revolution coming from people having awakened to the ugly reality of the political system, especially in the case of its relation to big business, and the super rich. Whatever needs to be used in this education, whether it be the shocking extra-judicial killings and torture, or the talk of globalization leading to one world government, or the unbelievable corruption in government, just needs to be simply taught. If we aren’t to be doomed to the fate of the Roman empire we had better wake up and smell the coffee.
The meek are supposed to inherit the earth only if the head the monsters of the world off at the pass, so now is the time to proceed with boycott, perhaps with a massive workers’ strike. We can all work out the fine details after it has been done, but it needs doing if we are to survive. If we want our children to have better lives than us it is a must that we take action in the near future, other wise we wholeheartedly deserve whatever we get.