Wednesday, July 9, 2008

In Our Name

Dear George,

I give you Exhibit A:

At a moment of serious challenge, battered by two wars, ballooning debt, and a faltering economy, the United States seems to have lost its capacity to think clearly.

Sometimes the smallest, most innocuous shift in phrasing reveals volumes. But, I’m not going to point this shift out to you right away. First, I’m going to take you around the barn a couple of times.

Americans are go-getters, hard working and ambitious. They are fueled by a dynamic that knows only building and growth. To them, nature is a shopping mall waiting to happen; a forest is a future condo waiting for the financing to be approved. The American psyche knows only accumulation and commercial development.

This describes, at best, five percent of the population.

The remaining ninety-five percent are content to live quiet lives centered on friends and family. They could care less about empire or conquest and rarely bother to follow the ups and downs of the Dow. All they want is contentment.

Perhaps the greatest PR coup in history has been to conflate the actions of a rogue corporate state with “America.” To be accurate, the above quote should have said, “…America’s rogue elite has lost its capacity to think clearly.”

The brilliance of this conflation is that it makes it so much easier to accuse critics of our rogue corporate state of being “unpatriotic,” because their attack on a coterie of rapacious old men is spun as an attack on the fundamental American values that these old men are trashing.

We have reached that ideal state in which our government has completely severed its ties with the American people even as it commits act after act of evil in their name.

Granted, the public has certainly contributed to this situation. They have allowed themselves to be seduced by the need to work two or three jobs to keep their heads above water; they have spent too much time wandering he malls of America or sleeping soundly in the warm embrace of American Idol. Their conviction that they are free citizens has made their gradual enslavement all that easier because they mistake consumption for freedom.

It’s all high comedy, George. Especially now when we have a gaggle of old men engaged in a bureaucratic turf war that may end with our attacking Iran for no good reason other than a morbid desire on their part to court disaster. Once again, another bull turd will lead to another war crime.

And all of it in the name of the United States of America.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

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