To all but the most critically astute American minds, a precious few it must be said, the USA is the most dynamic country to appear in recorded history. In the American mind, all problems, foreign or domestic, are, the faithful say, solvable with another election cycle, a court decision, a high profile resignation or, perhaps, another war on something (drugs), someone/some country (North Korea), or some mythical army of millions (terrorists). America’s bounty is endless, they say, the US Constitution unchangeable, and the US military, led by archangels and their legions of fighting angels, undefeatable. There are infinite sums of money and limitless ingenuity to throw at whatever difficulty may come the American way and, besides, Americans trust in an omnipresent God, so how in God’s name could God abandon those who trust so blindly? All of this propaganda is peddled to Americans, beginning in utero and ending on a slab in the morgue, by America’s myth making machinery in religious institutions and the media. The engine for that machinery is the individual and collective ideological and monetary wealth of Wall Street.
The powerful of the country run a minimum security, open air labor camp called the Unites States of America in which the wardens are the Republicans and Democrats located in the executive, legislative and judicial branches of the US government, along with their governments-in-waiting at think tanks around the country. The hideous and anticompetitive one-party system with two faces is an abomination, a monster disguised as an American politician, or maybe even a General or CEO, who claims to be the leader of the free world. The fact is that 21st Century Americans are little more than laborers, captives and, like all prisoners throughout recorded history, are fearful, afraid to challenge the system in any serious way, anxiously waiting on the next meal and a decent night’s sleep before the alarm signals another wretched day in the hive. But the routine is safe and predictable but results in a form of imprisonment for the vast majority of Americans. Oh, the bloggers and and other journalists get excited about a Karl Rove, or a Supreme Court nomination, or the actions of insurgents justified by stupid American policy, or even a ham-handed spy operation. But these are busy-body issues that keep the faithful followers occupied while the foundation of the country rots away beneath them. The American masters have created a system based on the necessity to accumulate material goods, the necessity to believe in lies and myths, and the necessity of believing fantastical hyper-threats to justify internal security and repression, and world domination To date, the American people have bought the goods since they believe no alternative exists. Yevgeny Zamyatin wrote about such a society, prior to George Orwell, in his classic work WE.
In the American system of life, the dollar value of an individual, of a group of people is what matters. It’s easily calculated. “People are fungible,” said Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. It’s all about the return-on-investment, the metrics and the data whether you are a military or civilian American. You’re just another number. In this system, platitudes like “freedom is not free,” “military service is the highest calling,” “freedom to buy and sell,” are little more than the equivalent of a cosmetic makeup base designed to disguise the hard face of reality that Americans are taught and encouraged to ignore. For example, it costs roughly $30,000 to train a regular US soldier and, perhaps, $40,000 to train a special operations soldier or military academy graduate. Multiply those figures by approximately 2,000 US KIA, and 16,000 US maimed in action or non-operative and returned stateside. Do the math. Using the $30,000 figure and 2,000 US dead equals $60,000,000. Taking the 16,000 maimed and multiplying by $30,000 equals $480,000,000.
So those American lives–men and women–mostly youngsters, were worth $540 million dollars (have the insurgents spent this much?). What kind of people can tolerate being fungible, can live with the lies of their “leaders”, and be happy being a number in a balance sheet? These calculations take place every day in every organization large and small. It all makes a mockery of the mythical American way of life. Of course, it’s not a way of life, it’s a cold, calculating system.
Will people ever confront the silent horror that is the American system of life?
Can one seriously argue that the 9am to 5pm work cycle (more likely 7am to 7pm including commute, shower, dress) is dissimilar to the daily life in a labor camp? Ridiculous, you say. I’m free! Are you really? For at least five days a week you are owned by your company/organization. The boss/master says, “Oh, Mr/Ms ABC, you are 10 minutes late. I expect you not to be tardy.” “I’m sorry, it will not happen again,” you say. What can you do? Nothing because you are afraid. These days, your job slot is imperiled by the availability of overseas labor that is as good as you are, maybe even better at satisfying the job requirements. Fear drives your performance. Fear of losing your food, shelter and clothing, your reputation, or the gadgets that define you. Who or what really owns your home or condo and the other 95% of residences in the USA? Mortgage companies and banks. In reality, there is no difference between renter and owner. As an owner, you have the right to sell your home and take interest deductions, but that’s it. How about the automobile you drive? More than likely it’s owned by a bank or finance company. Have credit cards? The bank owns them and you. Even the water you drink is most likely owned by a company whose stock is traded on Wall Street. On that note, your 401K is not yours until you retire and is dependent on the whims of Wall Street investors. The corporate pension plan and government social security–that social compact between corporation-government and the people–has disappeared. Americans simply do not take care of each other any longer.
And so at the end of the day, you bury yourself in “intellectual” pursuits. Read the New York Times, LA Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune or Houston Chronicle? You are reading day old news from home and abroad reviewed and approved by corporate legal counsel. Of course, your favorite news sources are produced by organizations traded on Wall Street. Five days a week, you are given powerpoint-type news in print and electronic format and it is conveniently designed just like fast food: limited choices and doesn’t take a lot of time or thought to digest. On the weekends–usually Sunday– your newspaper of choice provides you with a supplemental “magazine” of essays and longer op-ed pieces that just happen to coincide with the issues appearing on the Sunday propaganda talkies aired by ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and FOX. The networks, maybe even CSPAN, carry “news making” press conferences/speeches from the Pentagon, the US Congress, the White House–sometimes in prime time–or a corporate boardroom. You think these might be spontaneous, maybe even improvised. But, of course, it’s all rehearsed and staged and hardly convincing. The questions are as empty as the answers given. It’s pathetic.
As Herbert Marcuse once said, the system is administered and managed. Your freedom, your thoughts, your actions are not your own. You are the property of organizations and institutions far beyond your control. You “do the time” as the convicts say. After all, you owe the system a lot of money. The psyche of America is created by and belongs to the ideological and monetary powerhouses of Wall Street. It is easy not to think, to accept the way the system works. But that is not in concert with the spirit of the American Revolution of Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Madison, Franklin and the many others for whom the break away from the United Kingdom was as much intellectual and spiritual exercise as anything else. Many of the signers of the Declaration of Independence lost everything for their cause. Jefferson would ultimately die penniless.
Change must come. The spirit and intellectual caliber of the American Revolution must be rekindled.
So what to do? A few suggestions.
1. Creation of the New Party Development Organization. The NPDO would initiate development of The New Party, one alternative to the status quo. The NPDO would encourage peaceful street revolt and ballot box action throughout the country. The goal would be to purge the White House and US Congress of Democrats and Republicans–the One Party with Two Faces–starting with the most banal and corrupt. New Party members would act aggressively throughout the country using the Net, home-based newsletters and word of mouth to create alternatives to Democrats and Republicans control. “Watcher” groups would be established to monitor those attempt to infiltrate the NPDO.
2. Nationwide boycotts must be initiated and sustained against corporations who destroy pension plans and defend mining companies that pollute communities in the US and abroad.
3. Red-White-Blue mini-Revolutions must be initiated against an American electoral system that ensures the safety of the status quo. NPDO members would study CIA tactics used in Georgia and the Ukraine and apply them during election cycles.
4. Cities and townships are currently rebelling against the mandates of the federal government in matters of the environment and security. NPDO members must ally themselves with these groups and encourage them to change party affiliation.
5. The NPDO Manifesto must address the need for nationalization of US defense contractors and US airlines. Taxpayers pay for the former and have bailed out the latter. Corporations must be forced to shed the status of individual.
6. The NPDO Manifesto must address the need for national, one stop health insurance.
7. The NPDO Manifesto must address the need to eliminate child poverty, hunger and homelessness.
8. The NPDO Manifesto must address the need to establish national work projects to repair infrastructure. Tax cut repeals, including “death tax” will pay for the programs.
9. The compact between government and its people must be reestablished. Outsourcing of military functions, government agency functions and the corporate sale of American jobs overseas must cease.
10. The US must engage the world. Resources must be shared with emerging nations. Grievances of peoples long harmed by US government action must be addressed. The War on Terror would be terminated and civilian control would be restored to capture terrorists.
11. Homeland Security Department would be dissolved along with the National Director for Intelligence organization.
John Stanton is a Virginia based writer specializing in political and national security matters. He is the author of America 2004: A Power But Not Super. Reach him at [email protected]