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Silencing The Lambs January 30, 2008

Posted by littlebangtheory in Politics and Society.
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7 comments

There was a time when the words “We The People” filled me with pride, a sense of empowerment, a wet-eyed wonder at the possibilities.

Ah, the Innocence of Youth.

I guess I should have known better. I guess I should have seen this coming.

I remember the day in fifth grade when we were suddenly ushered back to “home room” to hear The News, through the trembling lips of my favorite teacher, that Camelot had burned to the ground, that the vision of an America where We The People were empowered not just to Buy and to Own and to Possess, but to Do, to Dream, to make a difference, was obscured by the dark clouds of Hope turning to ashes.

I remember less distinctly the day in 1968 when Martin died, perhaps because of my unexamined whiteness, perhaps because of the sense that we had come so far with him, accomplished so much with his guidance, and would continue to walk in his presence for as long as we were willing to walk.

Of the days and years between then and now, I remember most proudly the High Point, when We The People seized the power of popular opinion and ended an unjust war. It was a singular victory for the Common Man, fueled by images of The Truth, by an unprecedented real-time accounting of the costs, by frank dinner-time discussions from dissenting voices, by a rude awakening from the American Dream. It was the Age of Television, a time of images.

But it was also a time of awakening for the Dogs of War, the captains of industry who supplied the Pentagon with its engines of destruction, the beneficiaries of this ultimate form of planned obsolescence. Build it, sell it, blow it up, build some more. They had seen the Ultimate Cash Cow, the corporate juggernaut of Eisenhower’s nightmares, derailed by We The People.

That would be the last time that the Military-Industrial Monster would be bitten by Hamilton’s Beast.

Today the Captains of Corporate Hegemony control the miracle medium of television, and with it, the message. They tell us what to buy, what to wear, what to drive.

They tell us what to think.

And We The People are buying it. Across America, in a torporific tidal wave of diminishing expectations, of curiosity being systematically replaced by complacency, we’re buying it. We’re breakfasting on bullshit, lunching on lies, supping on sound-bites designed to make us think we’re thinking,

Where are the voices of sanity in this time of turmoil, of caring and compassion in the face of callousness and corruption?

Silenced.

Where are the voices who speak for you and me, informed by facts, grounded in good will, demanding the fabled Justice For All?

Silenced.

Ask Dennis Kucinich, who dared to suggest that we demand health care instead of settling for health insurance.

Ask John Edwards, who had the audacity to suggest that we take our government back from the Corporations who control it today.

Sorry, Gentlemen, but you’re Dismissed, your ideological pair of aces Trumped by a full house of corporate kings. Voted off the island by a tribe which never really got to hear your message, who knew only that your haircut cost $400 or that you’d seen a UFO. There will be no more Dancing with the Stars for you two, just a sullen trip back to your day jobs among the American idle, you and the likes of Ross Perrot, who had the wacky idea that NAFTA would cost us hundreds of thousands of good jobs, that Globalization would lead to the out-sourcing of our tech sector, that our supply-sided economic system was broken and needed fixing.

Control the Media, Control the Message, Control our Destiny. The Opiate of the Masses, the Electric Lobotomy, Soma made Simple. Plug it in, turn it on, let the talking heads do the thinking for you. It’s the New American Way. Oh, and don’t forget to vote!

Because they will let us “vote,” alright – for a Corporacrat in magic underwear, or maybe for a Corporacrat in a skirt. And half of us will be slapping each other on the back, and half of us will be kicking stones down the road and grumbling about “next time,” and ALL of us will be getting screwed.

John Edwards asked exactly the right question: What will it take for the American People to wake up to the realization that we’ve lost our Democracy to Corporate Power?

Apparently, more than we’ve taken thus far.