Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Our National Barrel Roll
The “Restoring Honor” gathering on the Washington Mall, headlined by Glenn Beck with Former Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin in a supporting role, was a significant event. Whether interpreted as a spiritual “Come To Jesus” revival meeting, a political pep-rally-on-steroids, or a sincere expression of the legitimate frustration and anger of the electorate depends on personal perspective and personal opinion.
But to summarily dismiss it would be a mistake, given the context of the times in which we live. All factors, including the date chosen for the rally, and it’s various media and think tank sponsors need to be considered, as well as the curiously well-timed media and thus very public brouhaha over the building of the Park 51 Islamic community center that blossomed and overwhelmed the previous news cycles immediately preceding Mr. Beck’s attempt at restoring honor, “reclaiming the civil rights movement”, and more importantly convincing the faithful that “America today gets to turn back to God”; Or at least the version of God that the folks behind this show want you to swallow.
This is a News Corp / Freedom Works / Americans For Prosperity sponsored event, it has been developed around the incendiary bile that has spewed forth from Beck's and other Fox talking head's maws since the start of this News Corporation "programming" campaign, resulting in what may become just one of many gatherings that have absolutely and purposefully been cut from the same conceptual and public relations cloth of those memorable little get-togethers at Nuremburg. It is bald and it is obvious whose playbook is being consulted, and what pages are being torn from it for closer review.
But that doesn't mean that it doesn't exist. That agenda has worked swimmingly, and this is the coming out party and the official parting of the curtain, revealing a debutante ball on the Washington Mall. It's here, it's real, and everybody should start paying very close attention. It’s showtime!
So while God, The "Founding Father's Original Intent", and Constitutional concerns were being invoked by Mr. Beck and Ms. Palin on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, it might be helpful to actually expose ourselves to what one of our founding fathers actually thought:
Josiah Franklin, publisher of the weekly NEW ENGLAND COURANT (the first independent newspaper of the colonies), Benjamin's older brother, was jailed for three weeks without trial in the summer of 1722 by Massachusetts authorities for the crime of the "high affront" of questioning their policing efforts centered about the issue of piracy.
A young Benjamin took over the publishing duties of the paper for those three weeks.
Writing under the pseudonym of "Silence Doogood", here are a few choice thoughts from a young Franklin that might be germane to the discussion.
On free speech:
"Without freedom of thought there can be no such thing as wisdom and no such thing as public liberty without freedom of speech"
Seem like that statement lines up pretty well, no matter what point on the ideological dial you may be happening to choose to occupy. But then Ben floats this question within that three-week period:
"Whether a Commonwealth suffers by hypocritical pretenders to religion or by the openly profane?" and arrived at this observation:
"... Some late thoughts of this nature have inclined me to think that the hypocrite is the most dangerous person of the two, especially if he sustains a post in Government.... The most dangerous hypocrite in a Commonwealth is one that leaves the gospel for the sake of the law. A man compounded of law and gospel is able to cheat a whole country with his religion and then destroy them under the color of law".
Ben Franklin was 16 years old when he wrote this. Out of the mouths of babes, indeed.
So: Rather than a polarized discourse on the surface topics such as Constitutionalism and the real driving forces between the concept of "Separation of Church and State", etc., perhaps we can all agree on a basic premise:
That somehow, we are all possibly seeing the same outcome, but through different prisms of perception.
The new paradigm in corporate strategy is in re-assigning (or "externalizing") the risks and liabilities of their corporate agendas on an unsuspecting, unaware, unvoiced, and unrepresented populace. Nobody gives a tumbling rat's arse about your political and/or religious beliefs, as long as the risk is assumed outside of the corporate structure.
This is what the banking meltdown of 2008 was all about, and this is why billions of dollars are spent lobbying your elected (your "representational") officials.
This is why the Citizen's United case was decided 5-4 by the Supreme Court to further open the floodgates of corporate money into our political discourse and process.
Lobbyists had a banner year in 2009, with over 3.5 billion dollars shelled out (this equates to over 1.3 million dollars PER HOUR that Congress was in session).
Who’s at fault? It may be easy to target those promoting a "pro-business agenda", because frankly, they’re more nakedly bald about their actions. It's easier to target folks like Rupert Murdoch, the Koch Brothers, or Dick Armey because of their graceless transparency and unbridled aggression, but in reality, everyone that is in position to stick their hand in that particular river of money shares a certain amount of guilt and responsibility. The veneer of competition is only there to see who controls it.
In other words, this isn't a "left/right" argument, or at least it doesn't need to be: The polarization of the American populace only happens when individuals allow themselves to be polarized. Everybody, no matter what their political inclinations may be, can recognize that in the end, representational government is quickly becoming a farce, if it isn't one already.
So whether it's Rush Limbaugh spewing invective, Glenn Beck weeping while pontificating, Keith Olbermann bloviating, Rachel Maddow snarkily delivering a sniggering aside, or Andrew Breitbart doctoring video and then Fox News promoting it in an never ending loop... media matters. It's how we collect data to make informed decisions. And our data is corrupted, because our broken system absolutely requires that to function in the way that they see fit.
Instead of getting sucked in to the "issues" rabbit hole, maybe we should all just stop, and ponder thoughtfully at its rim for a moment. Maybe there is a different national strategy that doesn't involve jumping in it in a reactive, emotionally driven way... maybe we should all ask ourselves the question "Why am I being encouraged to jump in, by whom, and to what end?"
Why must we all shove ourselves into a barrel and then thrown off the side of Niagara Falls, given the directive of "fight it out amongst yourselves"?
This I know: The journey as the barrel rolls will not be a pleasant one. Elbows will be thrown under a pervasive environment of unadulterated fear as the political "plunge-o-sphere" rotates in free fall. Rascist hate generated centrifugal force will glue your back firmly against the curved inner wall. And for those who survive the experience of the barrel being dashed upon the rocks and you lay broken and bloodied for having taken the trouble for the trip, there will be someone at the bottom to gather you in their loving arms...and then punch you in the face, just in case you didn't quite understand.
That's a diversionary tactic. Sleight of hand via misdirection techniques. Let the masses squabble and re-direct attention, while the game is run.
I see this as a game, and one rigged for everyone to lose except for the very few that are in position to take advantage.
The only move on the chessboard that makes any sense to me, is maybe considering not getting in the barrel in the first place. The game cannot be run effectively without enough people jumping in.
So either we continue to let them play, or we devise an alternative strategy that will allow us to truly restore the concept of "We the People", instead of allowing a den of thieves, regardless of ideology, to wrap themselves in the constitution and flag, with the sole intent of forcing the American public to hold the bag for their actions.
The "Fourth Estate" used to be the press. It isn't anymore. The Fourth Column of our Government is now the flow of corporate cash, and that will only continue to slowly and painfully castrate and corrupt our sacred founding documents, and the ideals and philosophies that ALL Americans hold dear.
The Constitution and the Bill of Rights are compacts, and inviolable contracts within the context of a Republic. "These truths we hold to be self evident..."
Let's truly seek out truth and justice. Let us allow America to find her way. That journey starts with an individual decision, and that is the true genius behind those compacts.