Afterbirth of a Nation
By American Zen’s Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari.
“USA… Ulcered Sphincter of rear end-erica, I mean what else can you say? Here was a country that had everything, absolutely everything. And now, 20 years later, is what? The world’s biggest leper colony. Why? Godlessness. Let me say that again… Godlessness. It wasn’t the war they started. It wasn’t the plague they created. It was Judgement. No one escapes their past. No one escapes Judgement. You think He’s not up there? You think He’s not watching over this country? How else can you explain it? He tested us, but we came through… Immigrants, Muslims, homosexuals, terrorists. Disease-ridden degenerates. They had to go. Strength through unity. Unity through faith. I’m a God-fearing Englishman and I’m goddamn proud of it!” – Louis Prothero, “V For Vendetta”
I don’t recognize my own country, anymore. It’s as alien to me as Dick Cheney became to Brent Scowcroft and Larry Wilkerson.
We’re no longer a heterogeneous melting pot of all races, nationalities, creeds and religions. Instead, we’re a Frankenstein monster in which all the mismatched chunks of its cobbled anatomy are rejecting each other.
I blame the lily-white blood cells, the immune system that is immune not to disease but to truth, reality, tolerance and common sense. It’s this immune system of white antibodies that’ll eventually make the whole fall apart in a heap of pus-streaked limbs and organs, the body no longer greater than the sum of its parts.
It all began in earnest nine years ago today.
Once the story was established that Muslim jihadists attacked us on the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001, it was the first day of open season on anyone who was dark-skinned and wore cloth on their heads. It didn’t matter if they were Muslim, Hindi or Sikh. They all became “ragheads.”
Little pockets of retaliation began forming that same day as Muslims were attacked with little or no provocation by baffled and furious white Americans who were abruptly, violently and irrevocably disabused of their cherished delusions of invulnerability and impunity.
Then the Pretender to the Oval Office decided to invade and indefinitely occupy a defenseless, sovereign country that had, at worst, a tangential involvement with 9/11 and was run by a regional group of Islamic fundamentalists (and former business partners once hailed by Reagan as the moral equivalents of our Founding Fathers) with no involvement with 9/11. Our main rationale for invasion and endless occupation was seemingly legitimized by one man who never took responsibility for 9/11 and whom we let escape even when our French coalition partners literally had bin Laden in their sights not once but twice.
Less than a year and a half later, with little to no opposition from Congress, we then let this Pretender widen our crusade (while he literally called it “a crusade”) by invading and indefinitely occupying another defenseless, sovereign country without even a tangential involvement with 9/11 and was seemingly legitimized, once again, by one man.
And, as with Afghanistan, even though that single man in Iraq is long gone, we still have about 110,000 troops in both countries and well over 200,000 contractors. War profiteers are getting rich while we’re getting poorer at the expense of health care, education and infrastructure.
Yet, in spite of no credible evidence of the necessity of an unholy Crusade, we supported these invasions, shouldered the expense, sent our dearest flesh to these bloody fronts, endured and rationalized the necessity of torture and murder-by-collateral-damage even as our government stripped from us the freedoms our troops are allegedly protecting.
And some of us, believe it or not, still view Iraq as “a necessary war” just as many of us still view Vietnam, another futile effort to tame a home-grown insurgency, as necessary.
Keeping up With the Joneses
Virtually the only people who recall the anti-Asian fervor that swept the nation for several succeeding decades are our dead ancestors. It wasn’t merely a grassroots movement but one that was, as now, legitimized and mainstreamed into the national discourse by Congress and the Oval Office.
Nowadays, we in the dwindling reality-based community are joined by those whom we hardly usually consider voices of reason, namely Glenn Beck and even Sarah Palin (who nonetheless still believes that the “mosque at Ground Zero” is an act of provocation and reminds us that burning a Holy Book of a major religion is still his Constitutional right.).
Historically, as the Rev. Wright would remind us, our Republic may have been founded on tolerance but rather than a bedrock principle, that pious foundation for the Constitution has proven to be mere sand. For the entirety of our nation’s 234 year history, we have expelled, detained, robbed, marginalized, uprooted, murdered and otherwise have persecuted every single ethnic group and religion with the exception of WASPs. Be it Native Americans, African Americans, Asians, Hispanics, the Irish, Jews, Catholics and the LGBT community, everyone but white, heterosexual, Protestants has taken their place in the wooden stocks of white public opinion. Furthermore, when one of their own is criticized, however rightly, they’re the first ones to scream racism and of being persecuted.
Now it’s the Hispanics’ turn all over again and we’re throwing the Muslims into the roiling pot of intolerance along with them. We even have the audacity to use September 11th, arguably our second holiest holiday after Christmas, as a launching pad for our anti-Muslim hatred.
Terry Jones is yet another attention whore who’s well-fed on several fronts for several reasons, not the least two of which being the audacity and recklessness of burning the Quran on 9/11 and the support and visibility he’s getting from not only a mainstream media that doesn’t think a message of peace and reconciliation is sexy enough of a lead story but also the racist psychopaths who now have achieved some legitimacy and tolerance for their long-suppressed views.
Please, Sir, Do You Want Another?
Let’s give the Devil his due: It was a stroke of genius on the part of the right wing to both make us simultaneously slaver and slave, victim and victimizer. When Republican screams for deregulation resulted in the 2007 meltdown of Wall Street, it was suddenly the fault of the liberals. When the Obama administration attempted some earnestly tepid reforms for health care, it resulted in an angry mob of Tea Partiers who had for decades been victimized by the very same HMO’s whose side they took.
And this brawling, fractious nation of ours, divided by the letters “D” and “R” and by religious denominations still have yet to realize these laughing jackals on Wall Street and their temp employees in the government have us exactly where they want us; Divided and with our energies and attention diffused in a thousand different directions. It’s likewise never occurred to us that the reason they need to control us is not because we’re powerless but because most of the power is, always has been and always will be invested in we the people. Without our ignorance, our apathy and our delusions, the Powers That Be would immediately become an endangered species.
Campaign finance, never a bastion of ethics and morality, had recently been made by the Supreme Court a free for all in which candidates can now take money with no strings attached by any foreign corporation that can easily rig an American headquarters. In fact, with billions now flowing from the spigots, they no longer need our money. They, however, still need our votes.
Later, that same SCOTUS decided that we need to break silence by reminding police officers of what our Miranda rights are, including the right to remain silent.
Somewhere along the way, JSOC, or the Joint Special Operations Command, became exempt from the 1878 posse comitatus law that used to prevent the President from putting federal troops on city streets. The USMC openly holds urban war games in our neighborhoods. At around the same time, we dropped out of the UN Human Rights Council. Private corporations now have the legal right to kill us while enforcing martial law through InfraGard. And this all happened during the last administration.
In this administration, we can assassinate American citizens capriciously deemed terrorist threats by the president and all without due process. We can try child soldiers for war crimes even when no war crimes have been committed. And Gitmo remains open, we’re still kept in the dark regarding our government torturing and murdering, the extraordinary renditions continue and the Dept. of Homeland Security and the USA PATRIOT Act remain in place. Yet in spite of all this, we’re still scared about terrorism suspects being tried in civilian courts even under extraordinary security. God forbid they should look us in the eye as we rattle our rusty sabers at them.
And our new president is being cast by the rabid right wing as the bad guy. Well, he is the bad guy, the most nakedly pro-corporate tool we’ve ever seen since the last boob. But he’s being cast as the bad guy for the wrong reasons. And those reasons are so incredibly based on race it’s no longer worth debating on whether or not it isn’t.
Yet, the hysterical screaming starting at the top isn’t based so much on race as pure, heartless economics. However much Obama helps Wall Street, BP, the automakers, Big Pharma, the HMO’s, the banks and the other leaseholders of Capitol Hill, they know with a white Republican like Bush, they’ll get the whole pie and not just the huge wedges served to them by Obama.
That’s why the credit card “reform” is too much, even though the lenders stand to make much more off us than ever before. Health care “reform” is too much even though it won’t kick in for a few years and the HMO’s stand to make much more off us than ever before.
With banks, HMO’s, credit card companies, oil cartels and even our own employers and government and other autonomous semi-monopolies squeezing us constantly as if there’s no end to the blood they can get out of a stone, we’re now hearing more serious talk than we ever did during the Bush years about the dismantling of the two biggest pillars of our retirement: Social Security and Medicare. Obama’s Cat Food Commission is getting closer and closer to saying that our nation’s seniors are becoming a drain on our financial infrastructure. Can Soylent Green be far behind?
September 11th was the day we lost almost 3000 lives, people from many religions, races, nationalities, economic strata and political beliefs, in a way, a good representative cross section of America’s people. But when I see what we’ve turned into since that bright, clear Tuesday morning, we may as well have lost 300,000,000. America, for good or bad, was until recently a great nation. But that status had been sold off to the Saudis, the Chinese and countless corporations. We’re not the nation we once were but the afterbirth of a once Great Experiment that ultimately failed.
(Crossposted at Give Us This Day Our Daily Dread.)