May 1st, 2011 15:37 EST
We Have Nothing to Fear But The Fear-Mongers We Elect
The list of what Americans fear is growing:
- Unaffordable illness
- The national debt
- Gun control
- Educated people
- Complicated issues
- The other side of a story
- add your own choices.
But what uplifts us, makes us confident, happy, generous? Remember those Norman Rockwell covers on The Saturday Evening Post showing a sunnier America? True, it was a remorselessly Anglo America, but it sure was more reassuring than our daily bath of media woe today.
In the back of our minds, we think cancer is wiping us out and we suspect it has something to do with the environment we`ve despoiled. We also suspect that Big Pharma and the medical establishment would much rather treat cancer than cure it. But we`d rather worry up front about immigrants, gun rights, and taxes. We choose carefully what we grouse about so as not to offend our abusers.
Take taxes: ours are lower than those of most industrialized nations, and while our corporations are taxed at fairly high rates, they have found ways to pay very little to none at all. So when we attack the national debt in Washington and our state capitals, as the deficit hawks are squawking about, we ignore their deafening silence about property taxes, which are certain to rise as state and federal money dries up. Duh?
Unfortunately, hypocrisy is not on our most feared list, much as it should be. Nor is the pure damned creepiness of our politicians. Nor the paranoia they instill in the interests of conning us.
Fear is the grease of authoritarian government. If it can scare you to death, it can control you, so while the politicos of the right scare us about losing our right to bear arms, which isn`t really threatened at all, they distract us from the greater thefts of our right to the Internet, which the House just struck a blow against, or our rights to security, education and health. Here again, our selective indignation shows like soup on a necktie.
It`s a military tactic. Make the enemy, meaning you the people, think you`re doing one thing while you`re doing another. And the politicos and their corporate lords get away with it because they own the media, the means by which we understand or misunderstand what they`re perpetrating. That`s the right word, they`re perps, and we`re vics. And the press consists of persons of interest. "
And guess who understood this best? Ronald Reagan, who crooned to us about morning in America. He knew we yearned for a sunnier America, one in which the weather was a fact of life and not something to whip up fear about, as every local television station in the land has taken to doing.
We should fear developers, bankers, Wall Street suits, but not weather, not hydrology, not the grand circumstances given to us and being ruined by greed.
But in spite of all this, we the people, we incomparable idealists, have begun to do every day, every hour exactly what the politicians and corporatists fear most, we have begun speaking with each other all over the world. And that is why the great hooplah in Washington about the budget is hooey compared to what the House of Representatives did when it passed legislation to put the Internet in the hands of giant corporations that will be able to control access to it. We have just seen the Internet bring down governments, and while Donald Trump talks about birth certificates and his detractors talk about his hair, the real target of those who would shut our mouths is the Internet, as the House has just shown us. Are we watching?
We weren`t watching the politicians, but they sure as hell have been watching us and it scares them, because the last thing on this earth they want is real freedom of communication. To them the First Amendment is a clichÃ©, long ago co-opted by a corporate elite. They see the real threat, and it is us.
Djelloul Marbrook is a retired newspaperman. His second book of poems, Brushstrokes and Glances, will be published by Deerbrook Editions on December 20, 2010. His first book of poems, Far From Algiers, won the Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize from Kent State University in 2007 and was published in 2008. It won the International Book Award in 2010. His novella, Artemisia`s Wolf, will be published by Prakash Books of India in December. His novella, Saraceno, was recently published as an e-book. His story, Artists Hill, adapted from the second novel of an unpublished trilogy, won the Literal LattÃ© first prize in fiction in 2008. The pioneering e-book publisher, Online Originals (UK), published his novella, Alice MIller`s Room, in 1999.
Del`s book, Far From Algiers: http://upress.kent.edu/books/Marbrook_D.htm
New review of Far from Algiers: http://www.rattle.com/blog/2009/05/far-from-algiers-by-djelloul-marbrook/
Artists Hill, Literal LattÃ©`s fiction first prize: http://www.literal-latte.com/author/djelloulmarbrook/
His blog: http://www.djelloulmarbrook.com
His mother`s art: http://www.juanitaguccione.com
His aunt`s art: http://www.irenericepereira.com