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Words. November 27, 2007

Posted by littlebangtheory in Love and Death, Politics and Society.
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We’ve lost a lot, you and I.

Over the past few decades, we’ve lost one hell of a lot.

We’ve lost friends, and loved ones, and love itself.

We’ve lost our trim figures, the shine in our hair, the spring in our step, a couple of teeth.

And so it goes, and so it goes. The wheel turns, the seasons change; the future blows through our present like a Southbound Train, recedes into our past, and is gone.

And that’s OK. These are necessary losses. The Sun can’t rise tomorrow if it doesn’t set today.

We’ve lost other things though, things which didn’t have to go. Things which were taken from us, not as part of Nature’s plan, but as part of something else entirely.

We’ve lost some good words, hopeful words, words with heart. Words like “values” and “morals” and “compassion.” Where did they go?

They were snatched by Think-Tank Theocrats, swept up by the social architects of the Reicht, grafted onto evil ideas, and flung back at us transformed, transmuted into the slings and arrows of Outrageous Othering, hammered into swords of bigotry and divisiveness and deceit.

And with these words went their meanings. “Compassionate” now means a kind of conservatism which replaces the helping hand with a boot in the ass. “Morals” now means swallowing a peculiar diet of dogma without daring to ask, “What’s in this stuff?” “Values” has become a codeword for a narrow Fundamentalism which preaches the disenfranchisement of any who disagree.

This is no quirk of etymology, no gradual shift in meaning brought on by ignorant mis-usages of nebulous words. This is the willful, blatant theft of ideas, kidnapped from the high ground of hope, dragged into the shadows, taught to kill, and then let loose among us.

And there are others.

There’s “freedom.” “They hate our freedom. ” What is it, this “freedom? ” Is freedom our God-Given Right to turn the world’s limited resources into monuments to excess, strutting around with our avarice on display and dumping the toxic by-products of our indiscretions down the Global Drain? Is freedom our incontrovertible right to usurp cultures, invade countries, support despotic dictators and proselytize in the name of our moral superiority?

And what of “Democracy? ” Now there’s a word. It used to mean a system of government where the people have a voice, make choices, vote. Now it means “capitalism.” We aren’t spreading Democracy. We’re spreading corporate greed, crushing national debts, the Privatization of Water.

And we’re calling it Democracy. I wonder why the world’s poor aren’t impressed.

And then, People, there’s “Government. ” Sneer when you say it. Bite off the word, and spit. It means “big,” it means “bloated,” it means “inefficient.” It means people who don’t know you, taking your money, getting into your lives, telling you what to do. It means corrupt politicians, tap-dancing in public bathrooms…

Do you see what they did there, People? They took our word for a system of organization, a way of building ourselves into a society, a solemn compact to all pitch in and help each other, and they turned it into a dirty word. And in so doing, they took the concept of shared rights and responsibilities and a common future and warped it into a New Pariah, so that Ordinary Americans want nothing to do with it, and Extraordinary Americans stagger before the daunting task of diving in and trying to make a difference.

I’ve heard you say it, even here in the ‘sphere, the Last Free Voice of We The People. I’ve heard it from friends for whom I have nothing but respect, the message of futility and resignation, “Government can’t help us. ” Lord knows the Neocon think-tanks have been pushing that pretty hard, repeating it endlessly until it reworks our synapses into a hopeless tangle of despair and disempowerment.

I feel it, too. I feel it taking hold in my brain, sapping my will to fight, resting responsibility and control from my hands, shouting down the part of me that wants to scream, to kick, to fight back.

So I come here, where there are others who get it, who see what’s being done to us and to others with our money and in our names, hoping to find a network of support, and sometimes I do.

But sometimes I hear smart, caring people say things like, “People have to stop looking to government for help.

Why? Is our government too busy to take care of its people? Is it doing something more important with the trillions of dollars we give it?

I hear, “We have to save ourselves. ” Sounds great! I’ll have a bake sale to fund our public schools, you send a collection basket around so we can all have health care. And this weekend, we’ll get the guys together and rebuild some of these collapsing bridges.

The Corporate Juggernauts which have their hooks in YOUR government and MY government would like nothing better than to see us walk away from their power-grab. But we can’t. Because WE THE PEOPLE ARE THE GOVERNMENT. We’ve established institutions and mechanisms to collect taxes, pool our resources, and TAKE CARE OF THE PEOPLES’ BUSINESS.

We’re three hundred million strong, people. And we are the government.

If We The People walk away now, if we buy the lie that our government is something other than us, we will be defining a new reality, a new paradigm, a New World Order where the role of The People will be to pray, and to shop, and to pray for more shopping.

And the government, our government, will by default become the Enforcement Arm of the Corporocratic State, no longer BY and FOR the People, but simply government OF The People.

So will end the Great Experiment of the Framers, their wildly courageous Dream of Self Determination, with Liberty and Justice for All.

Our salvation lies not in Canada, or Panama, or even in God. Our salvation lies in our deep understanding that there are some things worth fighting for.

…[W]e here highly resolve… that Government OF the people, BY the people, and FOR the people, shall not perish from the Earth.

– Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg, PA 1863

Comments»

1. FranIAm - November 28, 2007

Oh wow, this is amazing. Thank you dear CR. We need this. We really need this now.

2. Phydeaux - November 28, 2007

I hereby decree upon you, through the auspices of me, the title of Genius.

Seriously awesome post, Cuz.

3. littlebangtheory - November 28, 2007

Thank you both. You two are a significant part of my inspiration and motivation for being here. Without your visits and voices (and a nudge from Blue Gal,) I’d just be a lurker.

4. littlebangtheory - November 28, 2007

BTW Cuz, it still comes up “Elementary School!”   šŸ˜†

5. konagod - November 28, 2007

Very nice post. And as it pertains to “values” when I hear those fuckers like Huck attending a values conference, it shocks me that I have more values than they can even fathom. And they think I’m the problem.

6. seev78 - November 28, 2007

Thanks for describing things the way they are. If only more of us in America could see things as they are.

7. pissed off patricia - November 28, 2007

I sincerely do not believe that could have been said any better. You nailed our thoughts in one beautiful post.

8. sherry - November 28, 2007

perfectly put!

9. Kelso - November 28, 2007

What a perfect catalog. I don’t deal with this silliness anymore because I don’t live in the USA anymore but if I did I would print this post out and keep it in my wallet to pull out every time I heard any off that arrant crap. All I’d need to do is read your post aloud to win any argument.

With reference to this post and your “Bridges” post, I should probably add a little flesh to the other side of the ledger. I didn’t have a lot of money growing up but I made damned sure I wasn’t going to be left out of the fun as an adult.

Take this to the bank: if you were just bullshitting about stuff with a rich man or woman and said any kind of nonsense about how concered you were about a coming “white minority” or “values” or whatever, they’d look at you like you were nuts. Rich people are not interested in any of it. The topics of interest are money, sex, fun, and money. And money. And for a change of pace — money. I think that the current administration and the whole Republican party are a bunch of sadists who take particular delight in causing lots of pain, but they are the exception. Indifference is the rule.

Karl Marx had this well cracked a long time ago, although I think that these fantasies of a group of elites planning everything are absurd. Mostly, rich people are looking to fuck other rich people out of money. Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity’s millions of listeners are completely invisible and disposible to the wealthy. The guy at the construction site whom you are trying to convince to vote for Kucinich should be aware of that. He gets no credit whatsoever from anyone with any juice for being a racist asshole. Trust me. To the rich your pathetic co-worker’s bleatings just sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher’s voice. How sad he thinks his path to salvation is blocked by Blacks and Mexicans.

I very much admire your desire to speak collectively and reclaim your government, but I would advise one first step. LEARN THE LANGUAGE OF ECONOMICS AND FINANCE. Without being able to speak, read, write and understand that language there is no seizing control of anything. Not even your own private parts.

10. littlebangtheory - November 28, 2007

Kelso, that is so damned true. The working people of this country, and in particular “those of faith [sic]” are being PLAYED by the Neos, who don’t really give a rat’s ass about them or their God. And when the Moneymen have gained control of all the marbles (if they haven’t already) they’ll throw the Fundies under the bus with the rest of us.

Which is the gist of an upcoming post.

Thanks for the appreciative words and the sound advice.

11. DCup - November 29, 2007

When we feel like it’s a lost cause, you bring us back. It’s so easy to act as if it doesn’t matter, that what we do or don’t do doesn’t matter, but collectively, we are WE. And WE are responsible for the successes and failures of our nation, its government and those who represent us.

Excellent post.

12. Spartacus - November 29, 2007

Bravo CR! Bravo. Like Kelso, I am printing this and hanging it in my office on my refrigerator and handing out to any of my train friends that care to read it. WE are the government. WE have the power. WE must own up to this mess WE allowed others to make.

BTW…I gave you a hat-tip over at Kelso’s Nuts. He asked me to guest blog and I did my best to live up to your example of trying peace, love, and understanding before raising a hand.

13. littlebangtheory - November 29, 2007

Man, I’m so honored! It’s gratifying to hear that others feel similarly about the mess we’re in.

It’s kinda like a Twelve-Step Program for Bitch-aholics. We have to first own it, then try to fix it.

Thanks for the vote of confidence.


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