“Either we will have an awakening, or we will have a wake.”
— Swami Beyondananda
Every year on this date, the “impropaganda” machine reminds Americans why we’ve been enlisted in an “endless war”. This year for the first time, I sense that a critical mass of the heretofore-uncritical masses, aren’t buying it. The sleeping giant called “we the people” has begun to awaken.
The events of September 11, 2001 sent a shock wave of pain through our body politic, and in that most vulnerable state we acquiesced to a de facto Orwellian police state. The name “Patriot Act” reeks of newspeak and double-think, and now finally enough of us have come to realize that it is indeed a patriot “act” — what our friend Caroline Casey would call a “toxic mimic” of the real thing.
Grace works in mysterious ways.
This year has seen the revelations about NSA spying, and one example after another of an unchecked and unbalanced corporate state riding roughshod over the will and interests of the people. Disillusioned progressives watched as Obama has supported corporate rights to profit at any cost, over public welfare. The banks are in charge of our economy. Monsanto is in charge of agriculture. And after some rhetorical fancy dancing, it’s likely that Obama will give the Democratic Party’s stamp of approval to fracking too, putting gas and oil firmly in charge of energy policy.
Last November, I wrote that re-electing Obama would move the upwising forward, and boy was I right. As Swami jokingly yet seriously put it, “I’d rather have positive change in small increments than negative change in large excrements.”
Obama’s election, and his continued loyal service to the corporate state, has forced both progressives and conservatives to reexamine their ideology and confront their programming. Conservatives, who had long been counted on to patriotically support any military effort, are in cognitive dissonance because they don’t trust the commander-in-chief or the federal government.
And in spite of Ron Paul being marginalized by the corporate Republican power structure, his ideas have reverberated throughout the Republican mainstream. Awakening conservatives are asking, “Who exactly is our military protecting, and why?” They are rightly alarmed at the nationalization of local police forces, and they are as concerned about wars of empire, GMO foods and America becoming an incarceration state as progressives are.
An emerging new alignment was vividly illustrated by the recent vote on defunding the NSA’s collecting of phone records. A coalition of progressive Democrats and libertarian conservatives came within seven votes of passing that resolution in the House.
The same thing happened with the plan to bomb Syria, only this time the overwhelming opposition from people across the political spectrum has forced President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry to head straight for the only diplomatic port in the storm. If good fortune is with us, we will be able to “save face” without losing our ass.
The Little Boy Who Cried Wolfowitz
For the first time since September 11, 2001 the energy in the body politic seems to have shifted from emergency to emerging and seeing. The Irony Curtain is becoming transparent indeed, and it may not be long before an awakening body politic has a Lone Ranger and Tonto moment. You’ve probably heard the story about the Lone Ranger and Tonto being caught in an ambush. “Well, Tonto,” says the Masked Man, “we’re surrounded by Indians. Looks like we’re done for.”
And Tonto says, “What you mean WE, kemosabe?”
In fact, that moment may be here now. As the neocons and neo-libs have beat the drums to bomb Syria, Americans have been saying en masse, “What you mean WE?”
The bipartisan coalition of “cons” have cried Wolfowitz one time too many, and we are no longer sheepishly following or swallowing. And with this awakening, let’s part the curtains on a truly jaw-dropping statistic. For twenty points and a chance to compete in the enlightening round, what percentage of Americans believe Congress deserves our trust and confidence?
The answer is … 10%.
That means 90% of us don’t trust, respect or have confidence in our own government. And … before we point a finger at corrupt legislators or greedy corporations, please notice that three fingers are pointing back to us. The sobering question is, how is it that we the people have elected representatives that not only don’t represent us, but in fact, we can TRUST THEM to not represent us?
The short answer is we have allowed ourselves to be caught up in a political scam as old as the Roman Empire, older probably. It’s called divide-and-conquer, and until now the culture wars and a corporate media dedicated to producing lots and lots of heat, and very little light, has kept us confined to two separate and warring political tribes.
And now, the game is changing.
Progressives cannot fail to notice that conservative constituents overwhelmed their representatives with calls to NOT bomb Syria. And conservatives are likewise wising up to the difference between the Koch brothers’ co-optation of the Tea Party movement, and that movement’s original populist premise.
So here is the news that the mainstream media (liberal to conservative, from Fox to NPR) will be the last to report: There is a new conversation emerging that is bringing left and right front and center to address one common realization — we have all been hoodwinked by the same cadre of winking hoods.
What will happen when awakening progressives and awakening conservatives begin to speak with one another and compare notes? What lies did they tell YOU? What lies were YOU told? You can bet that a likelier story will emerge, and we will have the long-awaited chance to overgrow the current toxic and dysfunctional system.
And … while it’s true that the truth shall upset you free … this evolutionary upwising that has begun requires a spiritual, psychological and political maturity that the body politic has never yet demonstrated. If we want to “overgrow” the system, we — individually and collectively — must grow up. Instead of blaming institutions, individuals and forces outside ourselves, now it the time to “gather under one big intent” and ask how we can face the music and dance together.
I happened to be at a conference in Washington, D.C. a week or so after Obama was elected in 2008. In my 40 years of connection with Washington, I had never seen the city in such a state of joy and ebullience. It was as if the Irony Curtain itself had come down, and that now finally we could be liberated from the most deadly political disease of all time, the Military Industrial Complex.
A lad and a lack, it was not to be. Not then, anyway … no white knight (albeit a slightly darker white knight) would come and save us on a dark night. We have since lost false hope, and that’s a good thing. Now finally we can wake up to a truer truth. We have met the leader we have been waiting for … and it is US.
Steve Bhaerman is a writer, humorist and political uncommontator who has been writing and performing comedy for the past 25 years as Swami Beyondananda (http://www.wakeuplaughing.com/). On the more serious side, he is author with Bruce Lipton of Spontaneous Evolution: Our Positive Future And a Way to Get There From Here, and he is about to launch his new blog and movement, Evolutionary Upwising.