I am feeling tremendously pessimistic and depressed about my nation today.And it's not because of any particular, or recent, event.
Although the generalized lack of public unease regarding the extralegal assassination of a U.S. citizen seems to point up the combination of overall indifference and governmental chicanery that has characterized our decade-long movement - I can't figure out whether to characterize it as a "march" (with the military associations of the term appropriate to the "War on Terror" that is used to justify it) or a "creep" (given the underhanded and duplicitous way it has been managed, for the most part) - towards a nation set about with the machinery of surveillance, secrecy, and "Nacht und Nebel"-variety legalisms.
No one has explained to my satisfaction why what happened to al-Awaki could not happen to anyone, anywhere, who is accused of "...inspiring attacks against the U.S." The guy was an anti-American SOB and an enemy of my nation. But not an "enemy" in the sense of a soldier, not even an "enemy" in the sense of an intelligence officer. He was a propagandist, a talker, the Tom Paine of Islamism. If talking shit about this country is a capital crime, if promoting violence against our "leaders" is punishable by death by missile without the bother of trial or conviction, I'd better be damn careful about driving around outside of busy public streets.But that's not it, really.
Here we are, in Year Three of the Lesser Depression.
Millions of Americans are jobless. Millions more are clinging desperately to poor or part-time work. Corporations are sitting on fat piles of jack but neither hiring nor expanding capacity because - surprise - all those un- and under-employed Americans are purchasing two things; jack and shit.
They're mostly using this lucre to buy up OTHER outfits...which are then "streamlined" and "outsourced"...putting more poor dumb bastards out of work.
The wealthy, who have hoovered up the spare cash showered on them by tax breaks and Republican largesse like a commodities trader in Vegas going through blow and hookers, are wailing about "class warfare" (quite effectively!) while raining economic death on the lower 80% like Flying Pencils over Rotterdam. And at least half the public - those same poor dumb schmucks getting carpet-bombed with cramdowns, foreclosures, downsizing, and layoffs - seems anywhere from unconcerned to actually excited about this.
In fact, the only real opposition to this massive comforting-of-the-comfortable and affliction-of-the-afflicted seems to be coming in the form of a bunch of juggalos and slackers sitting down on Wall Street; maced by the coppers, mocked by the banksters, ignored by the press...a carnival of fools on a fool's errand.
How will this change anything?Here we are in Year Nine of the "War on Terror".
The seemingly limitless capacity of my nation for pointless diddling in ungovernable foreign nations (or should I parenthesize that - "nations", since it's hard to characterize Afghanistan with the same term I'd use for Switzerland or Belgium. Or perhaps not...) remains without a foreseeable end in sight. Perhaps the most ridiculous - the eight-year tenure of Six Flags Over Nothing, a.k.a. the Third Gulf War, a.k.a "Operation Iraqi Freedom" - is heading for the ash bin but the Afghan farrago looks set to run longer than "Cats" and given the lack of either interest in or condemnation of the Libyan capriole by press and public there seems to be no reason why this Adminstration or any other shouldn't repeat the same business in some OTHER Third World shithole tomorrow or next week.
And here we are.
We've got people running for office who spout patently comical nonsense and are taken as serious in the national press. We have a national identity that seems more than ever to be composed of trashy reality television, muscular acephalic "patriotism", fiscal and financial rapacity, and public indolence.
And the REALLY depressing part is that I have no idea what I, or "we" - those like me who dislike the idea of Back to the Gilded Age as the next three decades - can do about that.
The degree to which partisan politics has bent to wealth has made me feel like my widow's mite is less mighty than ever. Which forces me into either trying to bend one party or the other to my pitiful will or contemplating a Third Party, the iocaine powder of U.S. politics.
My hope for some sort of political backlash of the sort that blew in the New Deal after the LAST time the plutocracy shat the bed is all but gone. We had the opportunity for that in 2008 which only proved the degree to which our Galtian overlords had learned the lessons of 1932; choke the populists with cash, flood the public forum with bought stooges, and deflect the moron mob with trivialities and manufactured fears.
And - as delightful and cathartic as the notion of taking Wall Street and Capitol Hill by storm and decorating the Tree of Liberty with the plutocrats and their purchased legislators is - the idea of violent revolution isn't really acceptable. The historical examples are dire; always followed by either anarchy and counterrevolution, or tyranny.So I enter this autumn as morose about the next decade as I've been in a long, long time. I cannot see a way forward, and there is no way back.
What will come, I cannot guess.
But looking around me I feel very...fragile. A glass vessel in a wilderness of hammers.
I like to think that I can "control" my life, and have a strong effect on the lives of my family.
But it's when I look at the world and my country that I realize I'm deluding myself. We're are ALL riding the whirlwind. It's the times we think we have everything under control that are the illusion. The corrupt politician, the remorseless corporation, the random inattentive driver, the casual virus, the slippery stair...all of these are out there, waiting to change our lives in a moment.
And those of us without the wealth and power to hold back those changes...all we can do is live every day to the fullest, love our children recklessly, caress our lovers without thought of tomorrow.
Because tomorrow may bring horrors.
Or may never be.All we can have is each other, and today, and hope. And just for today, for me, hope is a guttering candle, flickering in the hard winds of a trouble world, looking despairingly close to snuffing out.