Chris Hedges, as always, is right on the money in his latest piece.
And as an extra added bonus, he makes many of the same points that I made yesterday about the media’s portrayal of the Tea Party, although he attacks from a slightly different angle.
The main gist of his argument is that of course there are lots of angry people out there who are fed up with the government. Some of them are even confused, racist, and yes, possibly even dangerous, as you’ve been told over and over and over again by the corporate media. This is to be expected, however, in a collapsing economy where the interests of ordinary people have been sold out to those of international corporations.
Hedges quotes Cynthia McKinney, who was railroaded from Congress precisely because she was one of the few to recognize our government for the corporatocracy-sustaining system that it is.
“It is time for us to stop talking about right and left. The old political paradigm that serves the interests of the people who put us in this predicament will not be the paradigm that gets us out of this. I am a child of the South. Janet Napolitano tells me I need to be afraid of people who are labeled white supremacists but I was raised around white supremacists. I am not afraid of white supremacists. I am concerned about my own government. The Patriot Act did not come from the white supremacists, it came from the White House and Congress. Citizens Untited (repealing limits on corporate campaign spending) did not come from white supremacists, it came from the Supreme Court. Our problem is a problem of governance. I am willing to reach across traditional barriers that have been skillfully constructed by people who benefit from the way the system is organized.”
Hedges covered the Balkan war in the 1990’s, and sees many parallels between that situation and the current one in the Unites States:
“The unraveling of America mirrors the unraveling of Yugoslavia. The Balkan war was not caused by ancient ethnic hatreds. It was caused by the economic collapse of Yugoslavia. The petty criminals and goons who took power harnessed the anger and despair of the unemployed and the desperate. They singled out convenient scapegoats from ethnic Croats to Muslims to Albanians to Gypsies. They set in motion movements that unleashed a feeding frenzy leading to war and self-immolation. There is little difference between the ludicrous would-be poet Radovan Karadzic, who was a figure of ridicule in Sarajevo before the war, and the moronic Glenn Beck or Sarah Palin. There is little difference between the Oath Keepers and the Serbian militias. We can laugh at these people, but they are not the fools. We are.
The longer we appeal to the Democrats, who are servants of corporate interests, the more stupid and ineffectual we become. Sixty-one percent of Americans believe the country is in decline, according to a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, and they are right. Only 25 percent of those polled said the government can be trusted to protect the interests of the American people. If we do not embrace this outrage and distrust as our own it will be expressed through a terrifying right-wing backlash.
We are bound to a party that has betrayed every principle we claim to espouse, from universal health care to an end to our permanent war economy, to a demand for quality and affordable public education, to a concern for the jobs of the working class. And the hatred expressed within right-wing movements for the college-educated elite, who created or at least did nothing to halt the financial debacle, is not misplaced. Our educated elite, wallowing in self-righteousness, wasted its time in the boutique activism of political correctness as tens of millions of workers lost their jobs. The shouting of racist and bigoted words at black and gay members of Congress, the spitting on a black member of the House, the tossing of bricks through the windows of legislators’ offices, are part of the language of rebellion. It is as much a revolt against the educated elite as it is against the government. The blame lies with us. We created the monster.”
Please visit Truthdig and read the entire piece, because it’s a message that we all need to hear and understand deeply, before it’s too late to do anything about it.
And what should we do about it?
Well, corporate boycotts, the firing of every single complicit elected official, and the development of real, independent, grass roots, alternative political parties is a great place to start. Like Hedges said above, “the longer we appeal to the Democrats, who are servants of corporate interests, the more stupid and ineffectual we become.” And the exact same thing can be said for the Republicans. We’re all in the same boat, people. It’s high time that we figure that out, get off of our asses, and do something about it that doesn’t involve pulling the same old levers that got us to where we are now. After all, that’s a very good definition of insanity.
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