A Q and A For The People Of A Forsaken Republic: Addressing the Origins of the Who’s-Your-Daddy Nation

We must become the change we want to see.
— Mahatma Gandhi

In any case, I hate all Iranians.
–Debra Cagan, Deputy Assistant Secretary to Defense Secretary, Robert Gates

How many times do we, the people of the US, have to go around on this queasy-making merry-go-round of propaganda and militarism before we shout — enough! — then shutdown the whole cut-rate carnival and run the scheming carnies who operate it out of town? It is imperative the nation’s citizens begin to apprehend the patterns present in this ceaseless cycle of official deceit and collective pathology. This republic, or any other, cannot survive, inhabited by a populace with such a slow learning curve.

Over the last three decades, the authoritarian right has risen to create the nation they have been longing for since their humbling by the Watergate scandal. After being subdued and humiliated by the mechanisms of a free republic, the right has turned the tables — and subdued and humiliated the republic. If the trend continues, all but unchallenged and unabated, we might as well replace the torch held aloft by Lady Liberty with a taser.

How could it come to this? How did so many US citizens grow so apathetic, oblivious, if not flat-out hostile to the tenets of a free republic?

The authoritarianism inherent to the structure of multi-conglomerate corporatism is antithetical to the concept of the rights and liberties of the individual. Most individuals — bound by a corporation’s secrecy-prone, hierarchical values — will, over time, lose the ability to display free thinking, engage in civic discourse, and even be able to envisage the notion of freedom.

This is true, from the florescent light-flooded aisles of Wal-Mart to the insular executive offices of Haliburton to the sound stages of CNN and Fox News. Under the prevailing order, reality for the laboring class of the corporate state has become debt slavery; in contrast, the simulacrum of reality, in which the striver class exists, is a milieu defined by obsessive careerism. Under the hegemony of corporatism, freedom might as well be fairy dust. It only exists in an imaginary land, not the places one arrives by way of one’s morning and evening commute.

In addition, economically, by way of decades of financial chicanery perpetrated by the nation’s business and political elite, we are eating our seed crop, and the consequences of this harvest of deceit have left the people of the US, intellectually and spiritually malnourished.

As a result, many attempt to sate the keening emptiness and mitigate the chronic unease by gorging themselves on the Junk Food Jesus of End Time mythology, which is a belief system wherein corporeal events and actions (personal and collective) have no lasting consequence because even the human body is to be cast aside, like a junk food wrapper, when the cosmic CEO decides to make the earth a part of his heavenly franchise.

Accordingly, the corporate state requires modes of being that evince obliviousness and obedience (the defining traits of the US consumer) on the part of the majority of the populace. Ergo, the rise of both Christian consumerists and the vast apparatus of the right-wing propaganda matrix that dominates news cycles via the electronic mass media.

All coming to pass, as George W. Bush — the reigning mascot of this fantasyland of infantile omnipotence and instant gratification — is rocked to sleep by his handlers cooing preposterous tales of how history will place him in the pantheon of those men whose greatness was unrecognized by the shallow and petty minds of their own era.

When, in fact, Bush — whose ruinous wars of aggression, deficit-ballooning tax breaks for the wealthy, and policies of crony capitalism (that enabled the economy-decimating, easy credit banking scams of the present) — displays the character traits of a man ridden with severe psychological trauma; his attempts to tamp down immense inner turmoil — by means of his grandiose bearing, his absolute certitude regarding his own infallibility, and his bullying behavior — have resulted in an exteriorizing of his pathologies on a global scale, and this is playing out ugly, for all concerned.

Why do the people of the nation (for the most part) slouch, slack-jawed and passive, before this assault upon their collective integrity and personal dignity?

For generations, the ephemeral dazzle of pop culture paternalism and tabloid Manichaeism, as confabulated by advertising and public relations hacks and corporate news courtesans, has overwhelmed gravitas, history, even self-awareness. As all the while, shallow opportunists have been elevated to the status of pundits, experts and sages. Withal, the present system generously rewards those individuals who have mastered the art of impersonating human traits and responses in utterly contrived environments. As a whole, the majority of the populi have come to garner information about the world at large, and, worse, their own self-image from a medium where phoniness is a treasured commodity, while authentic human traits and responses are banished to a beggar’s road.

Is it any wonder that the media types who thrive in these artificial settings have come to define authenticity as being only those attributes that appear authentic on television? Apropos, if you ask these “media personalities” about the shortcomings and corruption of the present system, they will plead the careerist’s Nuremberg Defense … of only being a stormtrooper obeisant to the “bottom line.”

Fantasy alert: One would hope that if one were to descend down a ladder constructed of these layers upon layers of bottom lines, one would arrive in a Hell reserved for those possessed with such shameless cupidity.

Reality redux: Yet as much as the human heart might yearn for such outcomes, the terrible majesty and bitter reckoning of anything resembling Judgement Day, heralded by celestial trumpets and legions of naked and cowering sinners will never arrive; instead, in human affairs, dire exigencies that can no longer be ignored nor explained away will arise. The arrival of such a moment for the US is nearly at hand.

When a nation manifests a mixture of mass ignorance and official mendacity, in combination with uncheck power emanating from an insular and arrogant elite, a golden age of peace and plenty is as possible as holding a tea dance in a tsunami. As sure as a village of desperate fools who devour their seed crop, a nation that refuses universal health care to its children — yet rushes to the aid of its parasitic class of wealthy “speculators” and “investors” from the consequences of their own greed-besotted, fiscal debacles — is doomed.

This is the classic pattern of collective immolation experienced by a nation when power and privilege is increasingly consolidated in fewer and fewer hands. In essence, this is the key to the conundrum paralyzing the leadership of the Democratic Party: in a culture where an individual’s worth is determined by the degree one can be exploited by the corrupt interests that control both the private and public sector, the public at large has little value to the political establishment … other than being bamboozled every few years for their votes in the sham spectacles known as the US electoral process — a scam mostly financed, hence controlled, by big money interests.

This is the reason the Democratic Party feels little allegiance to their base. In turn, the political classes themselves are only of value to the big money corporate elite, because, by their delivery of staggering amounts of pork, massive tax cuts, and the passage of desired anti-regulatory legislation, they serve as their errand boys.

Moreover, the corporate control of congress is a microcosm of US society as a whole. Accordingly, the increasingly corporatized, ever more submissive people of the US should be termed, the Who’s-Your-Daddy Nation.

Since life does not exist in stasis, within this hierarchy of deceivers and dupes, we will gnaw at one another’s ankles until the whole pathetic pyramid collapses.

All around us, we can feel the shoddy structure starting to sway and buckle. Axiomatically, the value of the dollar is collapsing like the smooth facade of a con man called-out by a group of wised-up marks. At present, in the wake of the bust in the housing market, repo men are retracing the tracks of real estate grifters who fleeced legions of wishful thinkers who brought the American dream and now only possess the misery of debt slavery.

One would think the time for insurrection has arrived — that, at long last, an awakened and enraged public would rise up and foreclose on these reprobates and ne’er-do-wells squatting in the White House and skulking through Congress. The power and privilege of the corporately controlled “elites” of Washington should be repossessed like the Lexises of Atlanta real estate agents and the oversized pickup trucks of Tucson contractors, confiscated in the wake of the collapse of the housing market. Foreclosure signs and repossession notices should festoon the whole of official Washington.

Turn about would be fair play. Since the rise of Reaganism, the financial sector has been engaged in selling off the assets of the nation’s public sector to the highest bidders. It is amazing that, at this point, this klavern of kleptocrats haven’t yet torn from the walls and absconded with all the copper plumbing fixtures and fittings on Capitol Hill.

Is a turnaround possible?

If we wake-up and smell the jackboot. From the miasma of right-wing media propaganda, to the proliferation of predatory capitalism, to the corruption and cupidity of the prison industrial complex, to the pandemic of police brutality and the trampling of the rights of the accused, to perennial civilian shooting sprees, to the muzzling of descent, to the rise of the national surveillance state, to the use and acceptance of torture as state policy, to the adoption of an unlawful, immoral foreign policy doctrine that promotes policies of perpetual war, one is forced to conclude that bullying and deferring to bullies has become the dominate mode of being in the US.

Remedy: In order to turn this trend around, the people of the US must begin to acquire the anti-authoritarian traits of empathy and engagement. The gaining of empathy alleviates the pathological need to be a bully, while social and political engagement mitigates feelings of powerlessness that authoritarian bully-boys, such as Bush, Cheney, Giuliani, et al., exploit.

In short, remedial humanity lessons for the US population and for the corporate and political classes, in particular.

Let us start the process by having a period of grief and repentance for the death and suffering that our government, in our name, has inflicted on the people of Iraq. This should be done as the US begins the process of a complete military withdrawal from their decimated nation, and paying economic reparations to the millions of Iraqis who have suffered under the brutal machinations and murderous mayhem unloosed by our country’s contemptible invasion and occupation.

To do so, might save the people of our next target, Iran (as well as ourselves), a world of grief.

Phil Rockstroh is a poet, lyricist and philosopher bard living in New York City. He may be contacted at phil@philrockstroh.com and FaceBook. Read other articles by Phil, or visit Phil's website.

7 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Deadbeat said on October 3rd, 2007 at 1:06pm #

    In any case, I hate all Iranians.
    –Debra Cagan, Deputy Assistant Secretary to Defense Secretary, Robert Gates

    Her hatred is not grounded in “corporate” control. The key to disarming to to confront the source of that hatred.

  2. Deadbeat said on October 3rd, 2007 at 1:07pm #

    That should have read:

    The key to disarming IS to confront the source of that hatred

  3. Donald Hawkins said on October 3rd, 2007 at 3:01pm #

    Phil,
    Again I must say that was brilliant. I sent this to CNN today.

    Good Morning,
    James Inholfe, Dan Burton, Steve Forbes, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bjorn Lomborg, Steve Milloy, Patrick Michaels, Richard Lindzen and Steve Moore.

    Steven Hawking, James Hansen, Dr. Wingham, Richard Alley, Mark Serreze, Tim Barnett, Walt Meier, Dr. James Baker.

    In the summer July 2008 these two groups of people were in Greenland on the ice sheet. A young reporter was also there. He looked over at the first group and noticed they were all dressed in new clothes and had a big American flag that they were waving. He looked over at the next group who were taking measurements and pointing at these rather large rivers of water in the ice sheet. Now this young reporter had seen most of the people in the first group many times on TV and all the other news crews were already over at that group asking those hard questions. Well the young reporter thought to himself why not take a chance and go to the group nobody was at. He went to Dr. Baker first and just asked what do you think it is climate change, the doctor said, “There’s a better scientific consensus on this [climate change] than on any issue I know – except maybe Newton’s second law of dynamics”. Then he went to Steven Hawking and asked the same question. Steven said, “very worried about global warming and that other group over there jumping up and down on the ice waving that flag might not want to do that as the ice is a little unstable.” The reporter then went over to the first group and told them what Steven had said. Well at that point they all said you can’t tell us what to do as they began to sink lower into the ice.
    Don

    This republic, or any other, cannot survive, inhabited by a populace with such a slow learning curve.

  4. deang said on October 3rd, 2007 at 9:09pm #

    There are no signs of insurrection in the US. You’d be lucky to find more than a dozen young people in the whole country who would unreservedly take a progressive political stance.

  5. Brian said on October 4th, 2007 at 8:30pm #

    This is not the typical rant or rave, and I agree with Phil 100%. What I see is a classical perspective that is valuable on the causes, and on the horrors of war. That said, anyone who invades our nation deserves complete destruction. Blood for Blood. Death for Death. But this naturally leads on to ask, have we caught Osama Bin Laden?

    It took us less than four years to defeat the biggest threats to the world, the most substantial threats in human history during World War II and we cannot find one guy in a cave after six years? Give me a break.

    You see, there is a thing in international law called “reciprocity” it is quite different from the idea of pre-emptive non-congressional approved war.

    War without an act of congress- even in special session- the action is not a war at all, it is “limited” conflict or whatever what you want to call it, in fact, it is illegal and does not follow international law. A rubber stamp congress paid off by multinational corporate terrorists excepted.

    Read the book the Great Chessboard before you get the idea that this war and the changes in our country have not been in the making for a long, long time. 9-11 was an appropriate pre-text to allow an anything goes attitude; and one must ask, how does a nation who has consistently spent more on war and intelligence than the next combined 15 nations not have the foresight and intelligence to see something like 9-11 coming.

    Read the project for the New American Century documents, they lay it out in stark terms “Unless America has another pearl harbor…” we will never regain our national honor.

    All this is useless of course, without a manufacturing base and solidity in the economic system- and, there are two ways and only two to counteract a downturn in economics, 1. is ala FDR’s social programs for national and domestic development and 2. is ala Hitler’s unrelenting warfare.

    Which do we have? And, which kind of America do you want, one modeled on FDR’s ideas or one modeled on the greed of the few at the expense of the common man and the many?

    It is not a question of patriotism; it is a question between freedom and slavery. Which would you prefer?

    For me the question was answered most perfectly by James Otis in 1775, and Patrick Henry answered the question just as well when he said “Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it Almighty God. I know not course what others may take, but as for me, give me Liberty or give me death.”

    And I answer with Washington, Jefferson, Garibaldi, Bolivar, O’Higgins and Lincoln that there is a lighthouse of human freedom and human dignity that hegemony, slavery and colonialism have no part or share in; that all men are created equal, that all are endowed with inalienable rights, that the enlightenment ideals of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are important and worth protecting and dying for. Maybe Bush and his cronies and their hegemonic wars can dim that lighthouse, but they will never eradicate it- as long as Americans and others believe that freedom is worth having, there is nothing that anyone can take away from them that they do not willingly give.

    These ideas transcend time or space and 9-11 does not alter them one iota. When the White House was burned down by the invading British in 1813 did we institute a system of National Surveillance? Of course not, we attacked them- well not this time, you could say, the enemy is more diffuse, but I would argue that if you are looking for the real cause of these problems you need look no further than your own bathroom mirror.

    Patriotism means resisting the evil for the sake of the good of your nation, it does not mean turning over your rational faculties to someone else like a Hitler, God Emperor or Mussolini. It does not mean being so caught up in the desire for war that you forget the real need for war is to bring peace. A friend of mine once told me an “oncologist does not ignore a tumor or pretend it is not there, he also does not presume to know how to cure every cancer, and a good oncologist, will remove the tumor without killing the patient.” This seems a pretty good analogy, war is only used as a means to bring just peace in defense of one’s homeland, but “just peace” is a misused term unless we agree that it follows the standard of international laws and norms.

    Whether you live under a democratic state or a socialist-democratic state makes little difference as long as freedom and the dignity of the human person and their rights under their own constitution are protected. Consider for example three points:

    First, under a system of totalism, under a system of fascism, under a system of economic corporatism these ideals are not protected and human beings go from being liberated to being slaves. In fact such debt or real slavery precludes human freedom.

    Second, anyone who violates the inalienable laws violates the natural laws of the Constitution. So being a red, white a blue patriot which do you protect, liberty or security? You can do both in a non-aggressive and deterrent way without attacking central Asian countries for their resources.

    Third, if you choose security or a false sense of it, then you deserve neither liberty nor security because you will always be terrorized by real or imagined enemies and you will always live in fear through intimidation because you have given your dignity over to others.

    This is how the classical world and the world of the enlightenment thought of and saw slavery. This is how they imagined Persia was and British Yoke would be, and they did not respectfully disagree- they resisted. This is why despite the Nazi blitz across Europe, when they reached Russia they found a nation that would not submit, but resisted.

    You see, Roosevelt’s goal after World War II was to end once and for all colonialism and imperialism in all of its forms so that hegemony would no longer occur between nations, he did not want a conflict with Communism in Russia, but he died too soon for his goals to be realized, and since him, we have been marching in the wrong direction toward an untenable hegemony that can only be controlled by force, often unbridled, and by controlling others against their free will.

    But I assure you this dream Roosevelt had, this dream that is only whispered for fear that the Department of Homeland Security might catch on to it, will be realized whether we want it to be or not. It is simply impossible for 1/5 of the world’s population to control 4/5 if they no longer choose to be controlled.

    So, I ask again, what kind of America do you want?

    If you want American fascism, or friendly “corporate fascism” you can count me out, and better send your jack-booted buddies to get me and throw me in jail now, if they can.

  6. iyamwutiam said on October 6th, 2007 at 10:47pm #

    From Brian 10/4 8:30 PM.

    It took us less than four years to defeat the biggest threats to the world, the most substantial threats in human history during World War II and we cannot find one guy in a cave after six years? Give me a break.

    You might want to add – that 4 planes (4!!) were all hi-jacked – not oe of them shot down by our trillion dollar air force- all it seems with boxcutters!! No survivors – even n the plane that didn”t hit anything – no tangible wreckage!!

    That was some amazing planning – that is WHY – they can hold off the US on both Afghanistan and IRAQ and despite over 250,000 troops from US/NATO/ ENGLAND and private contractors – we can’t find Bin Laden!!

    Obviously you CAN make this stuff!!

  7. Shabnam said on October 28th, 2007 at 11:37pm #

    “People’s Voice” wrote that Ben Laden who died shortly after September 11, 2001 has been buried in an unknown location. There were only 30 people present at the time of his burial. He used to go to hospital located in Dubai for kidney dialysis during his friendship with CIA, according to Richard L. Franklin of “People’s voice.”
    According to Franklin, Osama who became ill with kidney problem, during the Soviet Union occupation of Afghanistan, gradually lost both of his kidneys due to this disease despite the fact that CIA sent him to Dubai for treatment. He and CIA were working together during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan to force the Russian out of the country. Reports by Franklin show that kidney dialysis on average can extend patient’s lives for another 10 years if they regularly receive kidney dialysis. But this was very difficult for Ben Laden due to his activities which made it difficult for him to have access to medical facilities. Purvis Mosharraf also in one of his interviews said that most likely Osama Ben Laden is death. However he later ignored this confession to satisfy his masters. Ben Laden and Al-Qaeda are used to fool ignorant people to cover up Zionist- imperialist war crime activities around the world through “War on Terror” which is a phony war.

    http://abna.ir/textnews.asp?id=16349