by Carol Warner Christen
(Swans - January 29, 2007) Humankind has four enemies: fear, knowledge, power, and old age according to Carlos Castenada. Fear is the first enemy of humanity: we will live fearfully until we conquer it. (1)
Knowledge is the second enemy because there is so much information to know, to read, to understand, that humans can become bogged down under its current massiveness.
Power is neither good nor bad until it is used. Power used ethically and with respect, as in guiding locomotives or operating on patients, has benefits; power used to demand payoffs, to kill, to destroy, to feed egos, to imprison, to buy legislators, to steal resources and lands is a detriment. Power creates tyrants. Tyrants feel that they are above humanity with their "power." They hallucinate being gods in their certainty. (2)
Last, but not least, old age is our final enemy. Preventing old age is impossible without dying young but we try with Botox and tummy tucks, hair dyes and fashion, pretense, money. Some in our society become frantic at their potential loss of life and its pleasures. Rather than grow in ancient beauty, wisdom, and joy, many revert to fear, the first enemy.
With the above definitions understood, this essay concentrates on the current national fear of the Other: the terrorist, the alien, the non-Christian, the poor, and We, the People. For far too long in our country's history we have attacked the Other: the Native Americans, African American slaves, women, the Philippines, Hawaii -- the list is long and ignominious against peoples and countries. Our next target is the illegal immigrant and to capture that human, the Executive Branch has decided to list citizens in a monster database. They fail to understand this is illegal under the Constitution and that We, the People, are above the government, the State, and are equally inalienable, each and every one of us. (3)
The current national fear began in the 1980s. The hidden and tyrannical elitist powers realized the world's population was growing; and, if this growth kept up, there would be no special space for anyone, much less for those used to wealth and ease. Elite fears were transferred to the poor who were suddenly reviled as lazy, among other epithets. The media spread these slurs and slanders until the general population began to feed them back. The corporations downsized, outsized, degraded pay, fought unions, and went overseas for cheaper workers whom they do not respect any more than American citizen workers. Life has become cheap except for fetuses. What are a few deaths among citizens anymore? Scientists say the murder rate went down every year since Roe vs. Wade because teenagers were no longer raising poor, unhappy children. This is not an advantage, apparently, because we need death to cull the human herd. The religious have made abortion problematic and the murder rate is rising again.
In 1991, the United States attacked Iraq by air. Iraq was a creation of the British Empire; its leader a CIA asset who dared to march boldly into Kuwait to take its oil. Our bombing stopped Hussein. As a penalty to the Iraqis, we created a no-fly zone and rationed Iraq's supplies to the point that 500,000 Iraqi children were killed, one way or another, causing Lesley Stahl of CBS News to say: "I mean, that's more children than died in Hiroshima, and you know, is the price worth it?" Madeleine Albright answered: "I think this is a very hard choice, but the price -- we think the price is worth it." (4) Certainly, some human children have inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness while alien(able) children do not. "Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive." (5) That's tyranny of power killing children, alien children. Of course, we also dropped as many bombs as we could before the embargo. Bombs from the air do not discriminate. Neither do tons of uranium nano-particles coating those bombs. The particles get into our DNA and never come out and the radioactivity lasts 4.5 billion years showering us with the gifts of birth defects.
During this time and up to the year 2000, many men following Leo Strauss, a Chicago professor, promoted an idea to take over the Middle East for its oil, one last large source since Saudi Arabia was having trouble with its fields full of salt water. Then Saddam Hussein announced Iraq would change from the American dollar to the Euro to sell Iraq's oil. The men who want that oil were appalled. They created fears. They had the Supreme Court elect an oil man president of the United States of America. He was elected by one vote from Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, not by We, the People, who were left out of the election.
This happened because the "powers" decided to mess with the election machinery to save an un-owned resource in a foreign land. Their goal is, and was, not to govern this country as required. The world's newspapers and "media" (a dilution of the previously honorable Fourth Estate of the Founders) took up the cry of all the imaginary fear-mongering and catchy terms dreamt up to elect G. W. Bush. The fear-mongering memes haven't ceased for six long years. Mr. Bush went to war against Iraq because of the Euro. American politicians and corporations needed our fiat dollars backed by oil so the high living of the mighty and powerful can continue forever. Since then, the "media" have treated us, day in and day out, to fear. Hopefully, the changing of the majority in the Congress from one party to the other will dilute the unrelenting chorus of fear and war.
Amazingly, the terrorists did not take away our freedoms; the Congress and the Executive Branch did. Gone is habeas corpus; gone is the right to trial for anyone declared alienable, citizen or not; gone is freedom to travel without astonishing airport ceremonies looking for terrorists, and, now, we all need passports. The future is to implant each citizen with an ID chip so she can be read like a bar code, an animal, or a piece of stuff. How will we know if Mr. Bush or Mr. Cheney has a chip implanted when the time is right? Will the rich and famous line up for chips as examples for the People to follow or not?
I do not know if the towers in New York City were an inside or an outside job; but, whatever it was, it worked. The Other had attacked us. Ergo, we must attack them; they were defined as "terrorists" and the war on them was a "war on terrorism" although an impossibility without any other country preparing an attack on us. The "media" hype was the brainwashing of the public with fear. The country chosen was not the destroyer of the towers. There was fear generated against a country (Iraq) of 25,000,000 humans, without planes or a navy, which was going to destroy 300,000,000 Americans with falsified stories of Weapons of Mass Destruction or, perhaps, Distraction.
Fear, the first enemy, was generated to this day by the media and the Executive Branch. The religion of the Iraqis and the peoples of the Middle East were Muslim. Somehow, the Crusades got play after centuries forgotten. The president claimed "they hate us for our freedoms." Ergo, we must attack them. The generals were skeptical but then who do the generals fear if not the Great Oz, the Commander in Chief. Ta! Da!
We did attack them where they lived. For over four long years, the national attention span was/is on Iraq. There is nothing but Iraq. The only items unseen in the entire national charade were the caskets and the injured soldiers. Iraq is the first piece of news in the media. We have turned the oldest country in the world into rubble, reduced its people by at least 700,000 dead, another 1,000,000 fleeing as refugees. We raid every house and every street as if we were lawless police. We have pogroms; we torture; we kill women and children in their bedrooms with rifles. We have become what we hate. Our president does justice as he sees it; he does not establish justice as the People demand in the Preamble to the Constitution, which needs to be read aloud before every legislative session and every Executive Branch meeting.
We focus on Iraq and war while we shop to distract ourselves from our fear of dying. Our poor are expendable; our corporations flee to cheap labor areas around the world; our refuse goes to China to come back as air pollution and stuff. We buy as much of the stuff as we can carry. In return, we pay China in treasury bonds. Rumor has it that China will soon write those off as a bad debt. What would the result of that be? Nothing matters but Iraq and war and war and more war. "Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely." (6) "For every action, there is an equal but opposite reaction." (7) The horrors there meet the blandness here as everyone retreats into their cell phones and the malls.
Our nation is decaying; our wilderness is being cut; our wildlife no longer has ways to move through our built-up space and paved areas. Our health system does not treat most of us; it costs us. We jail more people for little or nothing (they live longer inside the prisons than we do outside) and have the only death penalty in the civilized world. We have no serious alternatives for transportation left or for new energy sources that promote domestic tranquility.
The national attention span does not notice the real needs of our own country and its general welfare. The national attention span does not comprehend the common defense anymore since we have National Security. We are less prosperous, less secure, sicker, and less happy than ever before. The median income is down 4.4% and it is in the $44,000 range. The Congress makes almost four times that and the Congress gets free health care and a big pension.
We are hypnotized by the idea of fear. The American power mongers ask us to close our eyes and imagine a jihadist, a foreigner, a terrorist. Our homegrown tyrants will care for us if we let them; we will be safe and secure as we sink deeper and deeper into the abyss of uncaring bliss...we will give the tyrants here more and more including trillions of dollars of our hard-earned taxes.
Focus on fear. Go deeper and deeper now, deeper and deeper into debt. Go deeper and deeper into shopping; deeper and deeper into corporate lobbyists; deeper and deeper and deeper into "media" merchandizing; deeper and deeper into sound bites. As you go deeper and deeper into depleted uranium poisoning your genomes, go deeper and deeper into the deaths of young soldiers as the State hides their injuries for your sake and refuses to pay damages with your tax monies. Visualize this New World Order as made for you...
Slowly, rejoin me here; and, when I count to 5, you'll be wide-awake feeling fear and in perfect health, feeling better and better about our new way of life. Remember, go shopping and charge it! Watch television and every ad. Forget the debts you've run up. A $8.5 trillion debt is a mere $20+ thousand for each American man, woman, and child. That's not so bad, is it now? Join me here now as I count to five. One...two...three...four...five. Eyes open, wide-awake, feeling fine, ever more fearful, without the blessings of liberty for most humans in the United States of America. (8)
My hope is that We, the People, will rise once again, reread the meaning of establishing a more perfect union in the Preamble and demand that the sub-systems of our Constitution -- i.e., the Congress, the Executive, and the Supreme Court -- rededicate themselves to the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity for the next 200 years as do We! As an aside, perhaps we need to move Washington, D.C., to a drier more sophisticated spot until we solve global warming, global dimming, New Orleans, and the rape of the only planet we have.
4. Former U.N. Ambassador Madeline Albright, responding to reporter Lesley Stahl as to whether the over half a million Iraqi children killed by the UN sanctions against Iraq were "worth it." CBS May 11, 1996. (back)
6. Lord Acton: The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition. Edited by E.D. Hirsch, Jr., Joseph F. Kett, and James Trefil. Copyright (c) 2002 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved. (back)
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