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 k / o
                                       politics + culture

Sunday, September 18, 2005

america america america

Walking down the aisles of my local grocery market, I think,

"How much of this stuff is really poison?"

Chips, Pretzels, Ice Cream, Frozen Dinners, Sugar Coated Cereal, Processed Sandwich Meat, Bread sweetened with High Fructose Corn Syrup, Protein Bars with Palm Kernal Oil, Crackers made with Partially Hyrdrogenated Soybean Oil, Flavored Water, Saline-injected hormone-fueled Chicken Breasts, Tomatoes, Potatoes and Peppers grown and sprayed and sprayed and sprayed again in California's Central Valley.

What can you buy that's real? That isn't corporate factory food?

Not much.

We're factory made here in the USA. And, in some ways, after conversations with so many friends, in so many places...I'm coming to realize...that in some ways, Rockwell's Thanksgiving America is already over, we just haven't realized it yet. The wallpaper is peeling off the walls. Grandma's dead. She won't be baking any more pies. They've got a new development off the interstate though. Stop on by.

At one time those levees in New Orleans were new. Then they settled, they needed repair.

Societies founded on feats of engineering need to understand maintenance, to prepare against eventualities, to use science to hold back nature.

We didn't. We haven't. The levees broke. It's as simple as that.

The Space Shuttle is old. We're not talking about Mars anymore. We're coming back down to earth.

One reason millions of Americans have been in a funk lately...it's not just Katrina, or Iraq, or Enron. It's the fact that somehow, underneath it all, we understand now that those Reagan parades...were nothing but a bunch of flag-waving, reality-blurring lies.

(Hell, in 1984 they just recycled them...and included footage of old men who'd already died.)

We're a nation addicted to fries. To fast food. To our microwaves. To deferring responsibility. And, let's face it, we're corrupt as hell.

We just call corruption by a different name. We turn our eyes. We pretend that, let's say, giving confiscated counterfeit toys to children at the Astrodome is a "nice gesture." Or that tax cuts for the wealthy while we're at war...is somehow not really that "out of line."

In 1984 Walter Mondale told America the truth. We told him to go screw himself. You really don't need to spell it out much more than that. We did the exact same thing in 2000, Al Gore's home state said, "Fuck you, your lock box, and your global warming, Al, we prefer George."

The rest is history. No use getting mad about it. Or in pretending that the Supreme Court didn't vote to...uh...stop counting votes. Or that George W. Bush wasn't in over his head but propped up by folks who should have known better.

It's ad hoc, and has been since 1980. Cakes to Iran. Guns to Honduras. George Schulz and GHW will be long gone by the time the shit really hits the fan. John Kerry knows the truth. So does every congressional Democrat. But most of Congress, on both sides of the aisle, have been phoning it in for decades. Fiscal conservatives? My ass.

Bill Frist is a three dollar bill.

And like a bunch of con men, D.C. knows that the bill will come due. They've been running from the table for years. Making a hasty exit and leaving the chumps with the check. The real money is in big business. And only the banks really know how much we're in debt.

I love America. I know you do too. You know, to tell the truth, I love people, period. And I love this earth we call home.

And, like you, I know there's a better way. There has to be.

And personally, I think it's high time all of us started working on it...one blank sheet of paper and our ideas.

We've got good ones.

We've gotta be better than this.


  • Hasn't it all been done before? We've got the Constitution, we've go the RICO act, we've got all the lessons learned from history. I think we need to stop believing that we're so much cleverer than people who came before us, and that whatever we invent has got to be the best answer. All we need to come up with is 'how do we stop the decline?'

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:04 AM  

  • Hey kid... You say,

    "John Kerry knows the truth. So does every congressional Democrat."

    Do they really? Do they really care about higher ideals like the truth? Because it doesn't appear that way. They don't seem to be doing anything to fix the problem(s). If they know the truth, why aren't they screaming it from the rooftops? They appear timid and weak. We all talk about what a terrible job Bush and the current Repubs in power have done, but what does it say that the Dems can't show real leadership in the face of the worst presidency we've seen? If they're that scattered and unable to take the reins, then what does that mean for the future?

    In democracy, a healthy and strong opposition is paramount. (In Canada we have the reverse of your situation: a weak and ineffective - and laughable - conserv party, and Libs running around unchecked). That is one of the lessons I've taken from witnessing government in action over the last few years. I may not agree w/ the basic platforms, but I do want that push and pull to keep all parties honest and accountable.

    By Blogger olivia, at 5:25 AM  

  • On Grandma's irradiated & preservative stuffed (chicken) breasts: read John Brunner's 1972 "The Sheep Look Up" - if you haven't.

    & as to the Dem's "knowing the truth": if you don't act on what you know, what does it matter what you know? "Knowing" as a verb in the case of the Pols seems just like "informing" as a verb re the MSM. At this point a nostalgic hope. And most people confuse freedom & nostalgia. I know I often do.

    By Anonymous Volcofsky, at 7:23 AM  

  • Thanks for these comments.

    What I've been thinking about, and didn't express clearly enough in this piece...even though it's a shout out for this way of thinking...

    What is the fifty-year progressive vision?

    What is the hundred-year progressive vision?

    What would a green, global, digital economy look like?

    What is the progressive alternative to the multi-national, militaristic, conglomerate model?

    ie. What if we quit focusing on "small-ball" "anti" politics and used "vision" and the "long term" as our motivating organizing principle?

    The reason I started with the supermarket was to point out the utter failure of the current system...it's poisoning us.

    I think the failure of the Democratic party exempliefies this...we don't think BIG enough and BOLD enough.

    The world is hungry for this vision, for REAL food and real answers.

    By Blogger kid oakland, at 12:38 PM  

  • kid, kid, kid,

    We humans(especially USAers, who used to be some others) have a very long and prodigous career of just packin' up and leaving when the fishin's no good. It's our 'nature'. It's how we got from a tiny little corner of Africa to...well, everywhere. I don't know what the answers are, but I do know there are people all over this orb working out ways to survive, if not prosper. Maybe that is why most USAers don't want serious innovation on the questions of survival. Most are not(?) in real survival mode. Enough of our needs are met by the current system that any change is seen as a threat. In fact this is how people of wealth all over this globe feel about change. This is why you will never see a social democratic, if you will, party win an election in the USA until there is a disaster.
    IMHO, this is one of thr reasons why Progressive thought seems so limp at the moment.
    Just saying.

    From the shores of the USA, ed

    By Anonymous ed, at 1:10 PM  

  • P.S.
    "The world is hungry for this vision, for REAL food and real answers."

    The 'world' is not looking for the above. They just want the rich folks to stop fulkin' with them. See the Zapatistas in Ole Mexico.


    By Anonymous ed, at 1:15 PM  

  • I think people want more than that....

    more than isolationism and being left alone.

    People need trade, cooperation, education, engineers and physicians, they need a pact on global warming..and functioning protocols. They need solidarity and outreach and information.

    What they don't need is someone chopping down trees so the price of my Drive Thru Super Meal stays under $5.

    And we both know that's exactly what they're getting.

    By Blogger kid oakland, at 11:49 PM  

  • Kid: more than isolationism and being left alone.

    Where did I say this? I said they want to be free of the pernicious influences from the Plutocrats. They in fact already have global connections, i.e., the World Social Forum, for one.

    Maybe you are only thinking in USAer neo-lib terms, I don't know. Maybe you are stuck with the theory that only states can provide relief, I don't know.

    Look, get the USA to join the people of the world in building a better world or atleast tie-up the neo-lib agenda in the USA so the people can have space to grow.

    From the shores of the USA, ed

    By Anonymous ed, at 7:52 AM  

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