Ignoranus: Massive ignorance meets massive arrogance; the kind of thinking behind Mad Cowboy Disease. See “assaholism”.
Last week, Trudy and I went to see Michael Moore’s latest, Where To Invade Next, and we were heartened by the positive — yes, positive — message. Iconoclastic Moore traveled the world looking for ideas to “capture” on behalf of the USA, and the result was a glimpse into the relative “sanity” of the rest of the world, compared to the USA.
There was Italy, where ordinary working people enjoy at least six weeks paid vacation, and France, where school lunches consist of REAL food, Slovenia where higher education is free, and Norway where maximum security prisoners are greeted with a video where the guards and other prison employees sing, “We Are The World.” Seriously. Not tongue in cheek.
Then there is Iceland, where banksters were put “on ice” and got to serve prison terms for their perpetrations. And lots, lots more.
Moore does a good job relating disenfranchisement of black males via prison to the southern states remaining largely Republican. (In most European nations, prisoners still have the right to vote and candidates actually campaign in prisons!)
In every one of these cases where our common wealth could have been spent to enhance the wellbeing of the commonwealth, in the USA that money has been scarfed up the military industrial complex, the medical industrial complex, drug companies, agribusiness, the petrochemical industry, and of course corruption and speculation.
The movie begs the question, how did the American people get so %#&&@ STUPID?
One clue emerges during Michael Moore’s visit to Germany, where children get an unflinching look at the Holocaust. Some 70 years ago at Nuremberg, the world’s eyes were opened to the Nazi’s perpetrations. Instead of shrinking from this horrific moment in their history, the Germans have “owned it.” They have nothing to hide. They have scanned and scoured their history, and they are spiritually richer for it. No skeletons in the closet. No closet.
Here in the USA, we have of course acknowledged slavery … and the genocide of Native peoples not so much. Conversation has devolved into the toxic substitute for truthful discourse, “political correctness” and arguments continue about whether it’s proper to call the Washington football team the Redskins or our baseball teams the Indians and the Braves.
I’m sure on reservations or casinos, the day it is announced that the Atlanta baseball team has reverted to its pre-major league nickname, the Crackers, a huge audible cheer will go up — not.
Nobody — except a few political poseurs and their well-meaning white liberal allies — will care. The life of Native peoples will pretty much go on as before. Just as the lives of black folks matter about as much as they did BEFORE Obama became president.
But that’s not even the biggest reason for the America public’s willful ignorance.
I would chalk it up to PTSD.
Ever since the United States entered Orwell Country when it renamed the Department of War the Department of Defense, ever since the moment where our leaders imagined we could use the Nazis’ scientists and technologists without being tainted by their heart of darkness, the stage was set for our experiment in self-governance to become consumed by its own shadow. Several years ago, the dark joke came to me that with the Civil Rights era, the KKK morphed into the KKK-KKK … Kill Kennedy, King, Kennedy and the Kent Kids.
If you’re one of those “coincidence theorists” who cling to the self-serving myth that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone, I double-dog dare you to read James Douglass’s book, JFK And the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters.
Interestingly and appropriately, the picture of the year at the Academy Awards last night was Spotlight, a film about exposing pedophile priests in Boston. Using their clerical garb — and the mighty sword of their religious dogma — these individuals intimidated and traumatized young people, leaving them to believe they were somehow responsible for bringing on their own abuse.
Same with the American people.
We have been abused by the American empire since the beginning of the Cold War. We now know that Stalinism killed more civilians than Hitler did, and the worker’s paradise was a living hell. True enough, and … much of postwar American foreign policy was really about thwarting economic justice across the globe, making the world safe for United Fruit and US Rubber. Disguised as anti-communism, it was really anti-populism, anti-economic justice, and anti-human. Imagine if we HAD been on the right side of those issues … communism could never have gotten a popular foothold.
With the JFK assassination, America’s body politic was so traumatized that half a century later, we are still unable to discern truth from lies. We “bought” the 9/11 story, the anthrax scare, the “Patriot” act, the invasion of Iraq, etc., etc., etc.
Today, one third of our electorate is poised (or is it “poisoned”?) to elect Donald Trump. Meanwhile, the mainstream Democrats rather than standing up for the working people and middle class seem reminiscent of the timid tourist asking a New Yorker, “Excuse me … could you tell me how to get to Times Square — or should I just go f— myself?”
As Trudy and I walked out of the movie theater, it became clear that for the United States to reclaim its political and spiritual heritage there would have to be a “peoples upwising” — where we collectively awaken to what has been done in our names, and wise up and rise up to a higher view that we humans are indeed all it in together.
Perhaps it will take something like what South Africa did, a “truth and reconciliation” movement … where truth, justice and forgiveness replace the desire for punishment and an “eye for an eye”. Keep in mind that at the root of every religious, spiritual and ethical path is some version of the Golden Rule. Now science too is telling us, cooperate and survive.
No law, no policy, no elected official will be able to change things one iota in this country until and unless this shadow is faced, and healed. With nothing left to hide and protect — either in our governance or in our psyche — we will actually be able to “go sane”.
Meanwhile … see the movie. See what we’ve been missing. Support Bernie because his candidacy represents a movement for awakening. Discover and embrace the truth, speak it from your heart, and watch the relief on people’s faces as they recognize their truth as well.
Support Bernie’s campaign here: https://go.berniesanders.com/page/content/splash
March Forth 4 Bernie. Join Swami for a fund-raising event for Bernie Sanders on March 4th in Santa Cruz. Details below.
And … go ahead. PATRONIZE ME!
I’ve recently discovered a crowd-funding site called Patreon that allows fans to support worthy endeavors that are given away rather than sold (like blogs and podcasts). Prior to setting up on that site, I would love to get a sense of how my audience values my contribution. If you feel so moved, you can make a contribution now via PayPal, and if response warrants it, I will set up a Patreon page. And in any case, I love getting your feedback … and feel free to share this post widely.