Wolraich: Best 'O Dag: Vote for your favorites
Ramona: Merry Christmas or Else
Two light bulbs lit up this week which key into my current hub of the universe mental state and I am writing them down here because I would be embarrassed to exhibit such conspiratorial tendencies after I get off these pain killers.
The first bulb was the revelation about the Petraeus/Kagan off-balance-sheet war investment committee. The second was the flash fact that Grover Norquist is a board member of the NRA. These two little known situations are part and parcel of what appears to be a fifth estate in our country---a continuing and contiguous network of right wingers operating a non-conforming government.
Years ago Hillary Clinton was parodied for using the term "Vast Right Wing Conspiracy" but with the more recent realization of what the Koch Bros., for example, have achieved through think tanks and political contributions, the activities of ALEC, and the territories that a host of other right wing interest groups have carved out for themselves, Hillary's description might have been an understatement of what Progressives face in terms of an organized front.
I'm not sure why the interlocking board of Norquist, et.al with the NRA should have come as a surprise but it did. In fact, I almost laughed. It's perfect. Together, they keep the masses powerless.
When a society both distrusts government and feels powerless to change it, a kind of fear and helplessness pervades the mind which then becomes the ideal climate for conjuring up more ways to isolate and protect ourselves---i.e., guns, home schools or private schools, armed guards at all public places, etc.
And keep lowering tax revenue until there is no hope of even operating a modern government. Eliminate all vestiges of government even when in the dim past while something was known to be inefficient it also helped hold us together as a society---an inefficient but worthy government service---the post office, a symbol of a new and developing country binding itself together in a rudimentary but essential service. When my rural post office shuts down and I no longer see the local mail carrier putting letters in my mail box will I feel more or less helpless and resigned, "Well, that's just the way things are now, we can't afford the post office." Why don't we just put a statue of Fred Smith in every town square in America?
"Well, there is no way with all these guns already out there and no way really to predict who at any given point in time is going to snap, it seems we have no alternative but to arm the schools, not to mention shopping malls and theaters. That's just the way things are nowadays. Do the best to protect yourself and your own."
If in a simple minded fashion one were to suggest a purposeful and foundational objective for an affiliation between Norquist and the NRA, what would it be?
I suggest that whether it's intentional or not, the effects of the Noquist and NRA endeavors together and separate are to increase our sense of helplessness in an insoluble bind---government stinks but we can't do anything about it. So eliminate what's remains of government and protect ourselves. In this context the financial and military complexes will have their way with us---for that is just the way things are these days.
As for the Petraeus/Kagan/Congressional/Defense Industry cabal, correct me if I'm wrong but have we ever seen this particular form of alternate government before, and isn't it a spectacular affront to our traditional form of democratically elected government? And does it make you feel more or less powerful as a citizen to know this arrangement happened under our, and Obama's noses and that there is a sort of "oh, whatever" response?
We as a society need to realize how close we are to capitulating to those who would enslave us in our own inability to change our society, a sense of helplessness that we are stuck---highlighted this week in the unthinkable solution of arming schools. Or I need to get off these pills.
Funny thing, though, I do not feel helpless. I want to take on the bullies in Congress. I want to take on La Pierre and the NRA. It doesn't have to be this way.
In keeping with images and connections coming into focus, for two days now after my knee surgery I have been looking at a spot on my calf where my veins have appeared to have popped out in a curious purple depiction. Then as consciousness has returned I realized that the surgeon has signed his work with a fountain pen in large cursive letters. Sooner or later all things come into focus, appropriately or not.