Swans Commentary » swans.com September 10, 2007  



Mea Culpa


by Carol Warner Christen





(Swans - September 10, 2007)   Over and over people have said to me, at work and elsewhere: "Carol, it's all your fault!" Before I get too much older, let's explore the statement. I assume there are others who have this charge flung at them from time to time by co-workers, friends, and relatives. What does it mean? It was always said jokingly.

We are almost at the end of two ages: the Pleistocene and the Holocene on this planet; plus, we are on our way to a human population explosion coinciding with a resource depletion of global proportions. So, you say. What of it? If we just keep doing what we do, everything will stay the same because that is our focus. We like the comforts, the money, the jobs, the big houses, the SUVs, the cell phones, the technology, and the big box stores full of everything. What's your problem? It's not our fault. Besides, soon each one of us will be rich and famous or beautiful, living life at the top.

That's the bait. And, bait is for catching fish or suckers because there is "one born every minute," as they say. Real fish in the water are seriously depleted; humanity is seriously over-productive in the atmosphere. No one ever seems to notice that many humans are more equal than the rest just like the book Animal Farm taught us many years ago. Has anyone read it lately? No time, you say, to read? Life is just too busy to read, to think, to relax. We have to catch the dollars as they come, even if they are shrinking in value, just like Alice did in Wonderland.

I always felt that the Preamble to the Constitution said all it needed to focus our three branches of government that, to me, are subsystems of the Constitution. I wrote several articles to that effect. The three subsystems are forever refuting my idea about the meaning because they do as they please, overwriting each other and ignoring the People completely. It is my fault if I gave anyone the idea we actually had a real backed-by-law Constitution for the People. Apparently, we don't. The Founders hedged the whole thing as I recently found out, in favor of oligarchy -- i.e., rule by the few over the many. The political parties never step down to the People's needs as theirs are paramount. The People pay them and they take donations, too, from the obscenely wealthy.

Recently, the legislative and the executive branches, with the collusion of the judicial branch, have seen fit to overwrite every freedom we thought we were entitled to as citizens. From rescinding habeas corpus to building detention camps and allowing the executive branch to decide if a law Congress passed is really a law, we have become an abject and foolish citizenry at the mercy of elites, con men, the religious (take your pick), and the Pentagon. They are paid to do what they do and it does not benefit you or me anymore. Prior to the age of technology now in the hands of children, no one could use or control people as is done today. The scheming behind closed doors must be tremendous. Everyone, except the People, has been rewarded handsomely. A mere one to ten percent of American humanity decides for the rest of us what life on this planet is to be on their terms alone.

Since resources on the planet are being depleted at ever greater rates, those small percenters are plotting and planning how to get rid of the rest of us so they can still claim their richly inherent right to everything they want. The poor and the middle class are expendable now. Corporate persons control the United States in toto. They have the cash and the resources. To survive, humans will do just about anything. That is not my fault.

Since I buy nothing from such sources, it is also not my fault that we have persuaded the Chinese to make goods for us at rock-bottom prices, fouling their own nest with hazardous wastes for our sake. Plus, they have added poison to our rapacious need-to-have stuff that killed our pets and will soon harm our babies. The number of tiny toys in children's rooms is huge today and is a disgrace laced with lead and other poisons. China has its own agendas as we do. Raise your hand if you think it will be benevolent; or, will they, one day, get on those cargo ships and come over to take over after burning our poisoned corpses? They outnumber us 5:1. They are no more wicked than we are; but, there are more of them. They consider us barbarians. In fact, we are arrogant because we believe the world revolves around us and will forever. Historical facts can easily dispute our claims in spite of our military might.

What does it profit a country to use radioactive bombs to destroy others when the radiation will come back to destroy us as depleted uranium is now doing? Will you enjoy talking without a functioning lip, writing without hands, thinking without a full size brain? Will half the population be nursing the other half when our weapons come home to haunt us? Will your children be the end of humanity's heritage?

Global warming is ignored; driving just continues as does pollution into the atmosphere from coal, from mining, from industrial processes falling into disrepair. Technology is declining for the larger infrastructures in favor of the small toys being churned out.

The elected do not listen; they go with the flow in Washington, D.C. Members of the Congress pretend their beliefs are more important than the reasons their state elected them. Few, if any, members of Congress read the bills they sign into law to our detriment. And, few ever think of rescinding these abominable bills written to promote an agenda that does not have the People's general welfare or any other concept in the Preamble in them. Our public debt is beyond payable; our soldiers are dying for speciously occupying a sovereign country whose oil some of our corporate and presidential persons covet. We drive as if we will always have gasoline for our cars or maybe ethanol, which will severely reduce the food we eat. The tradeoffs are absurd; but, we go on pretending the old song -- "The Great Pretender" -- describes us.

Yesterday I read that fascism is theology. What a surprise to me! I always thought fascism was corporate totalitarianism. Since fascism is rule of one or some who are better than the rest, I have to concede, thanks to Christopher Hitchens's book, God Is Not Great, that religions run by the religious are always more equal than people. The elites of the religions insist upon beliefs that are often too vicious to humans without the same belief. The bloodiest and nastiest of deaths were done in the public squares; today, they are done in secret prisons by the executive branch of government. Religion has moved into the White House usurping a place it has no business to be, overseen by a man with no scruples even as sixty percent of the People disagree. How fair is that?

Medical care is declining as costs rise. Even veterinarians are costly today. To give an animal a shot or stay overnight is prohibitive. Emergency rooms overflow with the uninsured as costs go through the roof. Hospitals downsize staff to save money as they pay huge bonuses and salaries to administrators. Medicare and Social Security funds go to pay for wars because the United States has almost a thousand bases from which to run the world. Rome had nothing compared to our hubris.

It is my fault that when I was younger I wanted more and more technology to make life easier. Since our society complicated life with huge homes and needs, I looked for solutions at the store and the mall so we would fit in and be somebody special. It doesn't work that way. Unless you are to the manor born, you are stuck in the middle class or you are poor, regardless of your stuff or your longings for fame and fortune. I have worked for many of these middle-class entrepreneurs; they all failed or they just got by. None of them ever got rich. I opened businesses myself. I never earned enough. I don't have the family backing of the rich to pull me through failures with money or help. Now, I am a baby to eighty-year-olds, but I collect a meager Social Security monthly check because I did not work until I was in my mid-forties. If China dumps our Treasury bonds or the national war debt continues its stratospheric climb, I may have no such tiny cushion to eke out an existence. Neither will any of you have it even though you paid for it with years of Social Security taxes.

Does it seem to anyone else that our infrastructure (buildings, levees, roads, bridges, power plants, facilities, etc.) are declining? I found out that the federal government is responsible for the levees totally and has been responsible since 1935 -- 72 years! Funny, wasn't it, that the levees in New Orleans gave way without the hurricane hitting them? The payments to our contractors in Iraq to build and rebuild seem to allow toilet overflows to foul the ceilings of buildings they built or to abscond with the funds sans the work. There is no accounting; there is no accountability. I read that the section of the Pentagon that was damaged during 9/11 contained accountants who died. Since then, the Pentagon charges soldiers full price for their underwear and hires help to peel potatoes. Times have certainly changed and it isn't all my fault!

If the oceans rise eighty -- or even eight -- feet due to global warming, why is everyone coveting beach property? Will the insurance companies pay funds for flood damage when they haven't in New Orleans and other "hot spots?" The melting ice in the poles is preventing the jet stream from meandering seasonally as it used to do here. We have had wind and more wind, little rain, lots of clouds, or lots of sunshine. This is unusual for our area. The southwest is baking and drying out with temperatures above 105 degrees. Will all those people move north to Alaska or to Oregon or Washington? Perhaps they will be upset because of the subprime mess soon coming or the loss of their high-priced homes and credit cards. Will they be angry or will they settle down and help? My bet is they will be angry. With an incompetent government intent on confining "illegals" or the rest of us, there will be a huge awakening when nothing works, nothing runs, everyone walks, money is useless. Fresh water is scare; polluted water is abundant. If we are lucky, we will go back to the time when small independent farmers and shops thrived; we will survive. If we go back to the Old West and shoot-outs at any old corral, we may not be so lucky.

All my life I've saved books on survival in every form; I have 2,600 books for planting, building, simplicity, well-drilling, storing, drying, and cooking. Our house is an 1894 hops barn converted in 1914 into four apartments for WWI army wives. We took out the apartments and made a single home of it. If worse came to worse, we could build cob homes on our acres because we have clay and we drain the surrounding hills of moisture that gives us a high water table. The recreational forests out here often make cob buildings; they last hundreds of years and can be decorated in charming ways. Could we, should we, erect a cob wall around the place with lookout towers or not? That is one of the questions. Our family has been invited to share the place when the end arrives when it comes to that if the Hopi Indians, the scientists, and the Mayans are correct about 2012. We also have fruit and nut trees and an innumerable number of rodents, such as ground squirrels, and rats, since the coyotes were fenced out of this wine-growing area.

It may be that we got too much too soon by tinkering with our money for the sake of bankers and war contractors. It's not my fault. I abhor war. To kill another in war or in anger or in cold blood is wrong. We all arrived on this planet as babies without an agenda but to live and love and laugh. Look at what we've done to our young after we were indoctrinated ourselves. We need a full year of quiet thought on our wantonness without any religious or criminal connotations until we really awaken as human, once again. If we begin right now, maybe, just maybe, the tipping point will not happen. If you listen to me, that then will be all my fault!


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Internal Resources

America the 'beautiful'

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About the Author

Carol Warner Christen on Swans (with bio)... Woman born 1939, twice married, five children, 7 grandchildren; own a goat farm, rural Oregon after years in Chicago area and Ohio; Associate of Arts, Chicago Art Institute (1 year); artist, editor, mechanical design drafting supervisor; owned two computer companies before anyone had a computer; activist; antiwar; human.



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Swans -- ISSN: 1554-4915
URL for this work: http://www.swans.com/library/art13/carenc17.html
Published September 10, 2007