A Hard Rain’s Already Falling, Colltalers
The revolting parade of self-righteous politicians doing the talk show rounds, and calling for the death penalty against the stupidly misguided 19-year Boston bomber, has got our stomach rejecting any attempts at self-sustenance this Sunday.
That’s because they were mostly the same ones who, while the nation agonized in the aftermath of the attack, managed to shoot down a diluted but 86%-publicly approved gun control bill, even as it won the majority of votes.
And then again, many of the same cast of Capitol Hill dwellers took a decisive step to kill any hope for individual rights to privacy on the Internet, under the explicit ‘guidance’ of their corporate sponsors just a day after.
With elected politicians like these, who needs the American democracy? Seriously, there’s something very wrong about the fact that those who we’ve voted to represent us would go so far against our will, and are still capable of appearing on TV, as if nothing happened.
Thus, while we try to comprehend the magnitude of last week’s events, and what they may mean to us as citizens and as a society, we also have to find ways to understand when our institutions got so out of hand, that’s now virtually impossible to have them serve us, and not them serving us notice.
Watching these pants-on-fire advocate for the right of whatever, and how ‘the American people’ this and that, makes us wonder whether we were really awoken when things got so bad like that. Or rather, when did we all stop caring just long enough for them to take over as they did?
Nevertheless, out of the carnage and the anxiety-driven manhunt, fusillade, and capture that followed it, there were displays of truly remarkable citizenry, as if to say that we no longer will be cowed into a corner, no matter how loud the explosion, and we’ll still run towards the fire to rescue our brothers and sisters.
That was nice and moving. Now, can we apply the same resourcefulness and willingness to break through water and fire when it comes to our ailing system? Or rather, how do we expect to see a new day rising when we can’t stay awake through the darkest of the night?
We’ve been living such an absurd and altered reality that even a satirical paper, such as The Onion, at times, manages to be more to the point than our 24-news coverage. When they ‘report’ that next week’s school shooting children thanked the Senate, they’re being way more eloquent than anything that CNN’s round-the-clock speculation, and (obvious) Fox News’ criminally insane rumor mill put out this week.
Which is deeply sad, of course, and as devastating to our democracy, as the possibility that big corporations will be protected from liability for making a profit out of our privacy, just like Monsanto is, from damages its Gen-Mod food may cause to our health.
One by one, they’re getting those dollars spent on our pseudo-representatives put to their direct protection against us. How come there’s no ‘patriot’ grinding teeth over that? Well, perhaps we’d better not count on those guys anyway.
At least, amid the confusion and imminent threat, not of another attack, but that some more civil liberties may be curtailed under the excuse of national security, one certainty has emerged, unlikely to be highlighted by any headlines you’ll read about this coming week:
Despite the fact that the U.S. military budget surpasses the combined budget of 13 other industrialized nations in the world, over inflating and outspending every other U.S. federal expenses, we still felt last week as if anyone can take a shot at us and hurt us.
Now, despite such a libel against the failures of our political system, and the downright disrespect our current political classes have about our needs and their role towards us, that’s the system currently in place and you know what? it’s underutilized.
If a percentage of those who vote for American Idol, or spend their hard-earned dollars on Murdoch’s rags, for instance, were to vote on the last (or next) elections, or donate to political grassroots movements, we simply wouldn’t have them doing as they please once elected, and we complaining about it, on over-the-top and under-the-reading radar blogs such as this one.
Which also means, never doubt the power of words, specially when put on writing as the Internet made so much easier to do these days, in order to promote change. Not all politics is dirty, not all politicians are out to get your vote.
We did have a horrible week in America, but most of us survived it, and have another story to tell. We had a particularly shameful patch as a nation out of synch with its own ideals, and as a society, stunned by random acts of cruelty and violence. That doesn’t mean, though, that it’ll be the same next week.
Finally, the bad news had to hit us on Earth Day weekend, as BP’s catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico did three years ago, and as some marked the anniversary of so many mass-killing incidents we don’t care to name here. So be it.
This planet is still alive, and so are we, knock on wood. We came a long way and we’re not going to give it all up. Have a safe one. WC