The International Writers Magazine: Comment USA
What’s Wrong With This Picture?
When I was a kid I refused to accord credibility to any party who did not adhere to classical European leftwing values. Now that I am older, I am starting to discover the charm of utter nonsense. That’s the only way you can appreciate American politics, through Alice’s looking glass.
It’s perfectly obvious to me that the insurgency in Libya is a coalition of the international oil cartel, which is able to control events on the ground in Libya as well as in the corridors of the foreign ministries of Italy, France, The UK and the US; and al Qaeda, which has boots on the ground there. Both sides are counting on being able to eliminate the other after the fact. We are not playing beanbag here.
Of all the world’s leaders who have been bulldozed into this enterprise, US president Barack Obama has advanced the most convincing rationale for stamping out Muamar Gaddafi with a sledgehammer: “If we waited one more day, Benghazi, a city the size of Charlotte NC, could suffer a massacre that would have reverberated across the region and stained the conscience of the world”.
You can’t argue with the logic with using Gaddafi’s own incontinent statements against him. Except that there is a large rump of the US population that chooses to believe Obama to be a foreign-born, Muslim Manchurian Candidate who was infiltrated into power with the goal of delivering us into foreign-dominated slavery. You can’t make this stuff up.
Even as the means for disseminating knowledge expand exponentially every day, stupidity and ignorance are advancing at an even faster rate. The witch-hunt against Mexican day laborers continues at an accelerated rate, even as restaurant owners and farmers complain of an increasing labor shortage. Americans won’t touch those jobs, but conservatives have got a solution for that: cut off all social benefits, including food stamps, until people are starved into rediscovering the logic of Tom Joad and all the other Okies who were forced into breaking their backs in the California lettuce fields in Steinbeck’s depression novel “The Grapes of Wrath”.
It’s a logic of enslavement. Even as Europeans are enjoying the benefits of social democracy, Americans are rebelling against a health insurance plan put in place to ensure them a modicum of security and job mobility, and supporting a suppression of the labor movement, which, notwithstanding its corrupt nature, is the only hope for the average witless citizen to enjoy the benefits of his/her own productivity. Nobody is complaining about the employers’ associations, who act in concert with union-busting law firms to roll back employees’ rights. This social movement of retrogression and vindictiveness, stemming from a tradition of puritan self-flagellation, is like a snake that is intent on devouring its own tail.
Where is our Léon Blum or Clement Atlee, who, notwithstanding their obvious defects, were dedicated to advancing social progress? An American equivalent simply does not exist, owing to the primitive present state of contemporary culture. We have to await the equivalent of Charles Dickens or Victor Hugo to ignite social consciousness in juvenile (and adult) minds. Technology is a double-edge sword. On one hand it makes possible the dissemination of culture, on the other its control by reactionary elements ensures the suppression of modern thinking. Old wine in new bottles.
Is there a solution for advancing contemporary ideas that would be palatable enough to the public consciousness to break through the reinforced concrete façade of ignorance engendered by society’s emasculated opinion makers? The answer is obviously the entertainment industry. Advance social concepts through entertainment. This is an old story dating back to the progressive Hollywood writers and directors of the 1930’s. We all know what happened to them – shredded and destroyed by the Stalinist-style congressional witch hunts of the 1950’s, for electoral purposes.
||You have to look back to the realist authors of the nineteenth century – Dickens, Hugo (who spent 14 years in exile), Zola – for the roots of modern social consciousness. How many centuries will America have to await an equivalent movement to take root? We are already ancient history, and irrelevant.
© Dean Borok April 1st 2011