We Americans, who think we are so much in control over everything (and everyone), cannot control time. We cannot stop it from catching up with us and we cannot prevent the consequences of our actions.
We think, for example, we can abuse our kids and that that will be okay because when they grow up and exhibit all sorts of psychiatric symptoms we’ll just take them to the doctor and have them medicated.
We think we can abuse our fellow Americans by outsourcing jobs to third-world countries then blaming people for not being able to find decent-paying jobs and not being able to pay their bills.
Or by blaming people for getting sick then depriving them of access to good health care.
We think we can abuse women, minorities and poor people by blaming them from suffering from discrimination and social injustice while we refuse to take responsibility for how we choose to treat others.
We don’t need to discriminate against women and people of color when hiring for certain jobs. We don’t need to pay our employees tiny wages. We don’t need to refuse to provide our employees with health insurance. We don’t need to charge unreasonably high rents to our tenants. We don’t need to charge unreasonably high prices for items we sell. But we choose too because that’s a higher profit, more money, for us. And that’s all we care about–US, right?
Us. We think we can pollute the environment and that will be okay because we can just use scientific knowledge and advanced technology to make it all go away when the s**t hits the f*n. (I mean, hey, there are other planets, right?) If we get sick from the processed food and the pollution in our air, food and water, we’ll just take some medication or have the body parts that are damaged inside us surgically removed. Heck, I’ve met people who have rods in their spine. Some people pick up radio signals, they have so much metal in them. Some people have pacemakers that help keep their heart beating no matter what. Lots of people have tumors removed, so does it matter if cell phones can cause tumors? Does your stomach hurt? Have it removed or surgically modified.
Does your heart bother you? What about your mind? Your conscience? Your soul? (Hmm… I suspect there are some things we can’t have removed or surgically modified, though I could be perfectly wrong. Am I?)
Oh yeah, we Americans can survive anything. But what’s more important is that we can do anything we want. And no one can do what we can. We’re just better than everyone else in the world, right? Greatest country in the world, right?
On this day, December 21st, 2012–doomsday or day of transformation, I wanted to share my own personal observations and predictions for the future (if there is one) of this country. Yes, I’m not so well-known. If I’m lucky, I’ll get 3-4 readers of my blog per day. (And some of them are mere paid trolls hired out to discourage us “liberals” from uttering dissenting voices on the web. Yep, we’re on to ya’, so don’t even bother.) That’s okay because I haven’t had the time or the desire to promote this blog, as, like most Americans, financial concerns “occupy” my mind most of the time, unfortunately. And in a sense, it doesn’t really matter. Famous media personalities such as Michael Moore, Naomi Wolf, Noam Chomsky and Amy Goodman have tried and continue to try to inform the American masses. Yet I continue to meet Americans who have never even heard of any of those people despite their collective decades of activism.
So there ya’ go.
A lot of people (quacks in my not-so-humble opinion) have been predicting a transformation on this day. A spiritual transformation. Suddenly human beings will no longer be human beings. We’ll suddenly stop hating, stop war-mongering, stop being selfish, greedy, etc. We’re going to transform into loving, spiritual, god-like creatures no longer capable of social injustice.
In other words, we’ll all cease to exist as humans.
But what is actually happening today in everyday America is exactly the opposite of that. We’re continuing to hear of layoffs, employees losing their jobs, companies outsourcing labor to third-world countries or downsizing (trying to get more work out of fewer people and for less pay) while we’re also hearing the propaganda–that the economy is getting better, that jobs are being “created,” that poor people are lazy and don’t want to work, that some people are creating their own problems by causing themselves to get sick then complaining they have no access to affordable health care, etc.
Yep, the propaganda machine is alive and well, and we will hear more of it. People will continue to lose their homes, their jobs, their friends and sometimes their families. Without a livelihood and with no hope for a better future, many people are finding themselves isolated in a society that values money over everything else. What, you don’t have a car? You don’t have a computer? You don’t have Internet access at home? You can’t afford to go to the concert? To eat dinner at au restaurant on the hill? Heaven forbid, you have no home? No job? Are you collecting public assistance? Horror of horrors! What kind of person are you?
A human person.
But that’s beside the point. Rather than a spiritual transformation that makes us kinder and more loving, I believe the opposite is happening and will continue to do so. The transformation we’re undergoing is making us less human–that is true, but not in the way the new-agers were expecting.
We are changing, transforming, into drones who care for nothing or no one, who follow orders mindlessly, who never even think of thinking for ourselves. We don’t even ask for permission. We just wait for our orders which we obey without question. Soon the human race (that of thinking, rational, compassionate and empathetic creatures, capable of creativity, imagination and sometimes questioning authority) will be one we might read of in history books or hear tale of from our grandparents–if such history is allowed to be told.
Yes, revolution is possible in some parts of the world. People who suffer for long periods of time are bound to develop some discontent and rebel. But, of course, a mass rebellion requires one thing that we wealthy/formerly wealthy Americans just don’t have: cooperation.
In order for people to rise up and vent their dissatisfaction with the social order of things, people need to be able to cooperate, to work together, to trust in each other, and yes, to help each other. Americans have been conditioned to believe that helping other people makes the people receiving the help lazy and dependent. How many times have we heard about the cycle of dependency, the “nanny state,” or heaven forbid, the dangers of “socialism?” Your next-door neighbor is just another dog in a dog-eat-dog society who’ll eat you if you don’t eat him/her first. So be glad they lost their house, their job, their car… That’s one more house, job, car, etc., for you!
We’ve become a nation of rugged individualists with each one of us thinking we are some sort of island or fortress that can stand against the world. Problem is, we can’t.
A society, by definition, is people, a group of people, working together, collaborating together, sharing and helping each other. A society is not a collection of selfish people who don’t like each other, are afraid of each other, are unable to trust each other or to make sacrifices for each other. No, what we have here in the US is not a society at all, and that is what is disturbing.
Because no matter how bad things get, no matter how many surveillance cameras spy on us, no matter how many stories we hear of political activists dying mysterious deaths or finding their careers ruined, we, the people, outnumber the wealthy elitists who’ve taken over our country. We, the people, ultimately prevail, and those in power are afraid of us. Yes, they are very much afraid. That is the reason, after all, for all the surveillance and the taking away of our civil liberties. Attempting to oppress millions of free people is dangerous indeed. But what if the people aren’t free? What if they all hate each other? Are afraid of each other? Can’t trust each other? Can’t cooperate or work on projects with each other? Can’t trust each other? Are completely dependent on authority figures to tell them how and what to think?
We the people could change this entire country in an instant. In fact, the entire world could change in an instant! (Yes, perhaps I could market this idea because I think I’ve just solved the world’s problems just now… Or have I, my dear naive, capitalist friend?)
And yet it is true. Painfully true! Everything could change in a heartbeat. All we have to do is change ourselves. Instead of “waiting for superman” to rescue us, protesting what other people are doing, complaining, crying, lamenting, etc., we just need to stop going along with it. That means becoming the peace, freedom, change or whatever we wish to see in the world. That means stop buying from large corporations. Stop supporting them. We know they are greedy for money and power. Let’s stop giving it to them.
We can stop watching television. We can recognize their propaganda and resist their fear mongering.
We can visit our friends and neighbors and start congregating in public places again. We can have barbecues and invite our neighbors over. We can stop stealing from and assaulting each other. We can start being kind and loving rather than judgmental and vindictive toward each other. We can welcome our differences, for they make us interesting, rather than attack each other and discriminate against each other for them. Men, women, rich people, poor people, red people, brown, black and yellow people, fat people, thin people, smart and not-so-smart people. We are a diverse humanity. Some can run faster, think faster, shoot faster, talk faster than others, but that’s what makes life interesting. Our weaknesses are also our strengths and vice versa. The one who moves slowly might have more patience for solving complex problems. The one who runs faster might have trouble stopping and listening to others and may be slow at understanding.
Once we understand that we realize that no one is really “weaker” or less important as everyone has something to offer to the world. We need the slower among us along with the quicker. Those we label as “weak” might have strengths we’ve ignored. An elderly relative wasting away in a nursing home has tremendous wisdom that is left untapped. Why? Why do we throw away people when we, the people, are all needed so very much? Everyone has inside him or her something great and wonderful, some special form of knowledge or experience that can heal someone else if only it were shared.
Yet we don’t share. We’ve forgotten how to share. And those who still know how to share are often prevented from doing so. We’ve forgotten how to appreciate and show gratitude to those who want to share by preventing them from contributing to our society. Remember, the person collecting the welfare check may not contribute by working at a regular “job” but contributes to society in many other ways. Raising one’s children properly, lending a kind hand to a neighbor, giving helpful advice to someone who’s lost, inviting someone who’s hungry or lonely over for dinner, being a good listener or just a good friend to another human being in need are only some of the ways in which everyone can contribute, regardless of employment status.
On a certain level, we used to know all this. I’m not saying/writing anything new here. But somehow we’ve lost our way. We’ve forgotten who we are as human beings. We’ve allowed a tiny minority of wealthy aristocrats to manipulate us into becoming like they are: greedy, selfish, egotistical, self-servingly ignorant–instead of giving and selfless, connected as a part of one race, the way we were meant to be as humans.
We’ll never be like them. Most of us will never become nearly as rich, as social mobility in the USA is not very common. Most Americans remain in roughly the same socioeconomic class within which they were born. But why do we want to be like them? They’re never happy, never satisfied. We hear them always complain about having to pay taxes. Poor babies–a simple tax return they don’t even fill out themselves (but that their accountants fill out for them) is enough to shatter their entire world. Inner turmoil sets in at the very thought of having to give anything to anyone else. They were born with money, they continue to make more money and yet they hoard their money. Most of it goes nowhere, just sits in bank accounts, trust funds, stocks, bonds, etc. Still they live in constant fear of losing even a mere penny of it. What a sad life they lead. They own several cars, houses, mansions, private planes, servants, etc., but they are never satisfied. It’s just never enough for them. Like the alcoholic who never has enough to drink, the greedy money-hoarder never has enough money and/or power over other people. And for what purpose? To what end? We will all die someday regardless. We can all get sick–rich and poor. We all have to use the bathroom. All of us vomit. All of us pee.
And when you’re alone in a hospital room vomiting nonstop, your makeup, your fancy hairdo, your diamonds and pearls won’t make you any better than human. They won’t save you from dying. In fact, the makeup will smudge, your hair will get messy and the jewelry might need to be removed during surgery. And people who have less money than you (who you think of as inferior) will see you undressed, unadorned–wrinkles, warts, farts, and all.
Sorry, wealthy elite, aristocrats, one-percenters, “illuminati,”reptile peeps, or whatever you prefer to be called, but you aren’t any better than the rest of us. You’re just as human, just as messy, sloppy, oily, smelly, and imperfect as the rest of us.
Except on the inside, you’re much, much uglier. Often you even lack a soul. When we try to see inside you, we see something dark and evil and sick, or we see nothing at all. It’s very frustrating really. And I truly pity the psychologist who tries this.
But physically, you’re just like the rest of us. Whether you like it or not.
Yet Americans want to be you. Americans think they can be you. Wow, you’ve sure done a great job of brainwashing Americans. And on a weird sort of level, I admire your ability to control the minds of so many people. Americans really think they can be rich someday, just like you. But what’s even worse, they want to be as cruel as you are too. Where does this come from, this need to be cruel, thoughtless, selfish and to show general disregard for others? Is it a result of anger? A need to feed the ego? If I’m cruel to you it shows how powerful I am? A sense that others haven’t been fair to us? Or is it just coming from our general disconnection from each other? Okay, I digress here.
Goofy comparison I suppose, but we’ve become a lot like the oppressed humans in the Ann Rice novel “Vittorio, the Vampire.” They are so afraid of the vampire conquerors that they forget that vampires have a weakness humans do not share. Vampires cannot go out in the light. When the light shines on them, they die. And everyday the sun rises. Yet we are afraid to expose them to the light. All we have to do is shine the light on them and they’ll burn out into oblivion.
But instead we continue to try to be like them, those vampires who’ve decimated what was once a great society. (Yes, I do think the US was once a great country that did have the ability to influence the rest of the world in a positive and democratic way.) But we’ve thrown that all away. Now our country sinks further into fascism.
We could change that, of course, in an instant. I could snap my fingers now–snap!–and make it all go away, but that would require we change ourselves, that we start loving each other and making sacrifices for each other again. We can stop supporting celebrities, CEOs and billionaires and start giving to each other. We can acquire some integrity and decide that a pair of sneakers aren’t worth $100, especially when manufactured by a corporation that put millions of Americans out of work by outsourcing labor to third-world-countries, hiring children to work like slaves for meager wages then stealing from its customers by charging $100 for a pair of sneakers that probably cost 50 cents to make. We can entertain each other instead of relying on corporate-controlled TV programs or radio stations that play the same songs over and over. Over. And over. Over. Again. (Before the advent of television and radio people played musical instruments for each other in their homes. People read books to each other. People drew, painted, composed poetry, etc.)
But I’m speaking into the wind. A wind that’s blowing in my face. (And it smells like the aftermath of a forest fire.)
Sadly, the American people just aren’t going to change anything. Perhaps there is hope for the rest of the world, but the hope is not here in the USA.
I predict for 2013 and beyond that there will be no revolt, no revolution in the US, because Americans can’t come together and work with each other on anything anymore. We’ve been fragmented, disconnected, disconcerted, discombobulated by fear, selfishness, greed, the human ego, and worship of the very wealthy, whom we’ve decided are better than us simply because they have more money. (Americans worship money, and so it is ironic that our country is losing just that very thing we “love” so much.)
Right now, many Americans are getting assistance from friends and relatives. College students, aged 22, are graduating with massive debt that sometimes amounts to hundreds of thousands of dollars. But their parents and grandparents had better lives, so they often have the money to provide them assistance. A few decades from now, those students will be parents and grandparents themselves. They will not have social security or pensions. They will not have life savings, as all the money they’ve earned from working will have gone toward paying off the massive student loan and/or credit card debt.
So what then? What happens when the future generations of struggling Americans are faced with not only the lack of government safety nets but the lack of social safety nets as well? What happens when kids ask their parents for money only to find their parents ask them in return? ‘Have no money to lend you, son, ’cause I’m struggling myself. Sorry, grandkids, can’t celebrate Christmas this year.’
What happens when families lose their homes but their parents and grandparents are also homeless? There will be no sister, brother, mother, father, cousin, aunt or uncle to move in with. No living room floor to sleep on. No extra room in the basement or attic. No friend/relative to help you get a job at his company. No $1000 we can borrow from Grandma to help us catch up on the rent or mortgage. At the same time, we’ll continue to hear the propaganda: if you’re poor, it’s your own fault. Get a job! So our friends and acquaintances who are doing better than us won’t loan us the money, won’t put us up for a few weeks–or perhaps years!–while we search for a better job, a job that may not even exist–won’t help us to survive. No, more than likely they will shun us because everything they hear on the “news” tells them the economy is getting better, jobs are being created, and poor people are lazy and just choosing not to work. They won’t want to “enable” us and our “dependency” by helping us. Dear me, no! Jamais de la vie!
You bum! Why don’t you get a job?!
That’s what we’ll hear. Until they lose their jobs. Then they’ll understand. But of course, we won’t be able to help them ’cause they weren’t there to help us so… Oh yeah, it’s a lot like that famous poem, a poem that haunts me frequently these days as I watch Americans get meaner and meaner toward each other: “when they came for the communists, I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist…”
Oh yeah, history repeating itself. Again. What else is new?
I guess what is new here in the US is fascism. Don’t think we’ve experienced it before. So it’s almost impossible to get the average American to recognize the obvious symptoms of it. (I’m sure if we traveled to Europe and talked with people about fascism, most would agree that that is something to be concerned about. But Americans seem to think we’re immune only because it hasn’t happened here…yet. A young country, we forget that it has just taken time for fascism to catch up with us, that there is a Hitler in every country, everywhere in the world just waiting for the right, fertile environment to let him grow into the great dictator he intends to be.)
So yes, we will continue to deteriorate. Ignorance is bliss, but only temporarily. Many people will suffer here in the US. As we’re unable to cooperate with and trust each other, Americans will not come together and revolt but will instead begin attacking each other, and the country will implode. We’ll kill ourselves really. When people lose their jobs and cannot find another means of supporting themselves they will have to find some other way of feeding themselves and their children. If they can’t do it legally, they’ll do it illegally. If there is no friend, relative or anyone to help them, to show them kindness, they will learn that it is a dog-eat-dog society and each one of us must fend for him or herself. That means, I can’t care about you because, after all, you don’t care about me. If I am hungry, painfully hungry, and I need to eat, I know that you won’t feed me. You’ll judge me. You’ll attack me for being hungry. You’ll accuse me of being some sort of lazy bum because I don’t have a job. There is no government assistance for me and no one in my life to help me. So what am I going to do?
For most people the answer will be crime or violence. People will be forced to steal their food, to break into each other’s homes, to hack each other’s computers, to steal credit card numbers, or to somehow find a way to survive outside of the normally acceptable means of earning a living (as those normal means–i.e., jobs–have been taken away.) We’ll be able to trust each other less and less, become even more disconnected and fearful, and this will result in more policing, more military force being used against us as the American people become increasing violent and dangerous to each other. And the more threatening we are to each other, the less threatening we’ll be to the wealthy elite who’ve created this mess in the first place. Of course, that’s exactly how they’ve planned it. (Yes, I’m a conspiracy theorist on this one, babe.)
Now, I’m running out of time. Aren’t we all? Perhaps I’ll have time later to edit and to elaborate.
But what I’ll say now (to the air blowing back at my words) is this: the future is bleak in the US. It is too late to turn things around.
if you really are a diehard activist who refuses to give up then please, take a look at the power and strength of community: Bringing people together, getting people to work together and to help each other again, to feel connected with each other again. If we the people could start loving each other…if we could trust each other…then, yes, a revolution would be possible.
That is why the US government dislikes the hippie Rainbow gatherings so much. People coming together and loving each other is too reminiscent of the 60s movement–a worldwide movement in which people began disobeying authority (heavens to Betsy!) People were empowered, united, and striving for peace, kindness and love. (Or at least they claimed to be.)
My, how times have changed. In these days, when peaceful, loving people are seen as ‘weak’ while aggressive, violent people are seen as ‘strong,’ political activists would have a difficult time changing the mindset of the average American, but I, for one, would love to see the effort made.