“BUDGETS ARE MORAL DOCUMENTS: What do we value as a nation?” A hitherto unpublished picture of a don't-slash-the-safety-net demonstration by Associated Ministries of Tacoma amidst a November 2011 downpour, the placard as relevant now as then. Pentax K1000 (my bad-weather camera), 100mm f/2.8 SMCP-M, Fujicolor 800, exposure not recorded. Photograph by Loren Bliss copyright 2013.
(Note: an earlier, more hastily written version of this essay appeared on the comment thread of Thom Hartmann's blog.)
MAINTAINING THE BIG LIE of U.S. democracy requires thousands of perpetrators, but none are more vital than the stenographic journalists of the so-called “mainstream media.” Without these political prestidigitators and their verbal sleight-of-hand, the Machiavellian treachery of USian politicians would soon be apparent to all. But the One Percent's well-paid scribes falsely portray the Democratic and Republican parties as ideological enemies, when in fact the unity of the two groups is proven by their unanimous or near-unanimous votes on any measure that worsens our socioeconomic wretchedness, expands the terrifying oppressiveness of the total-surveillance police-state or otherwise nullifies our constitutionally guaranteed rights to resist capitalism's re-imposition of serfdom and slavery. The mainstream media's pseudo-Left is especially despicable in this context; we turn to it in a desperate quest for advocacy and information but instead are deluged with deftly woven illusions of two-party governance that behind the patter of allegedly “progressive” buzzwords are ultimately no less intellectually crippling than the dreck disseminated by the mainstream Right.
The hideous truth – available only through alternative media (and then only rarely) – is that we USians of the 99 Percent are tyrannized by one party of two names, a single, wholly-owned instrument of the One Percent that has perfected the old good-cop/bad-cop routine as the ultimate means of disguising a despotism as implacably authoritarian as anything ever decreed by der Führer from the Wolfsschanze. But even alternative media, with the understanding of its reporters, commentators and editors so often limited by Ruling Class success at suppressing the historical truth of class warfare, seems unable or unwilling to tell the real story. No paycheck-dependent journalist dares acknowledge the obvious – that the One Percent has decided there are too many of us who are no longer exploitable for maximum profit, that we are therefore to be run through the Darwinian ordeals of a Skinnerian rat maze until most of us drop dead – especially those of us who are old enough to remember when the United States truly was (assuming you were white) a “sweet land of liberty.” Thus even after decades of genocidal cruelties, too many of us remain oblivious to the murderous purpose that underlies the elimination of food stamps and the slashing of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid or anything else that might have helped lower-income people stay alive.
My instinct when I think of how abysmally ignorant we are is to reflect on the savage anti-intellectuality that has tragically become the defining characteristic of our national mentality. If I could use my father's library to transcend the horrors of my own childhood (even unto recognizing him as a great teacher despite the fog of familial dysfunction), others from far more blessed circumstances could surely do no less. Then in a rage I begin to hammer out yet another denunciation of the mental demographic I long ago began condemning as Moron Nation. But one of the three women to whom I regularly turn for conscience and consciousness-raising invariably reminds me that while the 99 Percent is undeniably broken, it was allowed no choice in the matter. The breakage came from without, methodically imposed by parallel conditioning in workplace, classroom and media, a brainwashing more relentlessly total than anything Josef Goebbels might have imagined even in his most pornographic fantasies, a numbing of mind and spirit I escaped perhaps only as a result of a paradoxical combination of cynicism and desperate open-mindedness, the blessing wrought by the repetitive psychological trauma inflicted by my malevolently dysfunctional family.
That said, one of the less publicly acknowledged realities of old age is the time devoted to intense and brutally honest introspection, an extended form of the sort of self-evaluation a practicing Catholic would no doubt recognize as pre-confessional examination of conscience. In geezerhood, of course, it is obviously a preparation for death, which is the last of Nature's own seven sacraments (the others are conception, birth, orgasm, love, vocation and parenthood). Its scope is therefore as broad as one's own life experience, which in my case includes a passion for political activism that dates to the 1957-1958 academic year, when as a senior in high school I participated in a series of Sputnik-inspired public debates contrasting USian versus Soviet philosophies of education. (I was of course an advocate for the latter, which in truth was not merely Soviet but classically European, the classroom as a realm of genuine learning as opposed to a matrix for producing the “well adjusted” drones essential for maximum economic exploitability.)
Which brings me to the duplicity of President Barack Obama. Though I twice voted for him as the less-evil alternative, I now wish I had followed my conscience and cast my ballots for third-party candidates, perhaps Greens (though I have grave hesitations about their hostility to organized labor) or more likely Socialist Workers (never mind I am sometimes troubled by their Marxian fundamentalism). In any case I believe the truth of Obama's personhood is perfectly pictured in the unprecedented dishonesty of the slogan "change we can believe in," which has since been revealed as the biggest Big Lie in U.S. political history. I am now convinced Obama's sole purpose is to amass sufficient riches to protect himself and his family from the unspeakable horrors of our inescapably dystopian future, and I believe his quest for wealth is made all the more urgent by the conscious knowledge that his race – so useful in perpetrating the deceptions that won him the presidency – will never allow him or his family entry to the implacably white-supremacist One Percent or even the equally racist USian Ruling Class, here defined as not just the One Percent, but also their politicians and their institutional servants – bureaucrats, lawyers, academics, stenographic journalists, police and military officers, etc.
An even harsher portrait of Obama is provided by his innumerable lies and betrayals, the brazenness of his conduct a strong suggestion he governs from a position of contempt and hatred for the entire 99 Percent. Given how badly African-Americans are hurt by his policies, it seems too he is an equal-opportunity hater, despising all Working Class folk regardless of our race. In this sense he is indistinguishable from the Ayn Rand capitalists he so diligently emulates. Even his intent appears to be definitively capitalistic – to reduce us all to the fear, wretchedness and unrelenting despair that define the lowest levels of the USian underclass. Thus he has allowed himself to become a genuine Manchurian candidate – not, of course, from the real Manchuria but rather from the Manchuria known as Wall Street – for which he is no doubt being handsomely rewarded in terms of the riches with which he seeks to buy long-range protection for his family.
His more Machiavellian intentions, no doubt dictated to him by his One Percent masters, seem to be twofold. One is discrediting the Democratic Party, tainting it for several generations as the party of liars and betrayers, thereby ensuring the Republican Party – the real voice of the One Percent – achieves unchallenged rule. The other is cleverly discrediting or rather nullifying all the achievements and aspirations of blacks, an exceptionally diabolical application of the classic capitalist/fascist strategy of neutralizing revolutionary leadership by any means possible. Particularly since the U.S. Civil War, African-Americans have been a key part of what little genuinely revolutionary leadership the USian people have managed to produce, and in the era of the Civil Rights/Anti-Poverty/Anti-Vietnam War movements, they were the only such leadership that seemed capable of uniting the 99 Percent to the point of building solidarity across racial boundaries. Indeed, no other USian minority has ever demonstrated that capability. Fearing the emergence of another generation of effective African-American leadership, the One Percent will use any means possible to ensure it does not happen again.
There's no doubt such efforts are already underway. The commercial co-optation of hip-hop is perhaps the most obvious part of the effort to strangle at birth any resurrection of black revolutionary leadership potential. The re-segregation of public schools and the emergence of the prison-industrial complex are identically motivated. From the perspective of the One Percent, each of these modes of oppression bear the tactical and strategic advantages of also generating enormous profits. The role now being played by the president in his transformation from Obama the Orator to Barack the Betrayer would, in this context, be nothing more than a logical expansion of the One Percent's offensive. Remember this nation remains so irremediably racist the entire African-American community is invariably judged by the dishonorable or criminal conduct of its individual members.
Damning as it is, this is the only rational conclusion Obama's record to-date allows. And the fact no paycheck journalist dares point out what is so overwhelmingly obvious tells us all we need to know about the terrible reality of our subjugation.
LB/29 September 2013