December 17th, 2011 12:22 EST
America Has Become So Politicized Nothing Gets Done
MENE: God has numbered your kingdom, and finished it.
TEKEL: You have been weighed in the balances, and found wanting.
How can politics 24/7 be good for us? Who can afford politics 24/7 except the corporations that have bought our government? [I refuse to say who have bought our government.] I regard non-stop campaigning as an environmental disaster, a major health threat.
I`m not a doctor or a psychologist, but I don`t see how a society besieged on every front by old men with astrophysical egos can do anything but puke. The certitude with which politicians affirm lies, half-truths and disinformation makes us feel as if we`ve strayed into a used-car lot and can`t find the exit. Are they going to make us a deal! It will make us ill, it will get our children killed, it will poison our water, it will take our jobs, it will put us at the head of the class of Third World nations, and we`re going to like it, we`re going to love it, we`re going to vote for it. And just in case we start getting suspicious, the politicians will whip up another war, and we`ll deck our cars in flags and surrender the infrastructure and our future to the high cost of rewarding banksters for their crimes.
Politics is like Big Pharma. It has the cure that will kill and maim. But first it will bankrupt us. And, oh yes, it will pay for a bankster`s villa in the Caymans.
Where is the time to make policy, to govern, and to negotiate the compromises a sane society must make in order to govern itself? Politics all the time is polarizing the polity, driving Americans around the bend. It has become an end in itself, a heedless way of life. And this suits the corporations all too well, because in this fog they can buy government and shut the people out.
The next time you see a picture of cows being automatically milked look at yourself in the mirror.
I`m not sure a nation can survive all the bullshit bulldozed at us, and not just by politicians, but by the press. How can so many sketchily educated men in suits be so right about so much while things are so bad? What the hell do they want? Are they motivated by a fervid desire to serve? I`m afraid we suspect they`re motivated by an insatiable hunger to feed at the K Street troughs.
What will be left of a country daily ground by politics 24/7? How can it be subjected to so much crap without going mad? The Founders envisioned men of good will putting down their hoes or pens or saws, serving their fellow Americans for a while and going home. But our political class doesn`t want to go home, it is home, in the pockets of corporations. Our politicians are an underclass of lackeys serving an uber-class of predators.
Between them, the politicians and the press simply take up too much room. They turn us into wallpaper. They pontificate and speechify and explicate, a kind of 21st Century Muzak, the elevator music of our time. They constitute white noise. We forget the sound of silence, we forget its healing properties and begin to think we can`t survive without this bullshitter`s buzz.
Our surrealistic advertising world paints a picture of America working hard, living well, going to the lake or the shore, watching baseball, fishing, dancing, living the good life. But we`re not living good lives by any definition. People in Appalachia must choose between food and heating fuel. Almost 49 million of us are poor, and that number is growing, we`re not as healthy as people in most other developed countries, and yet the high and mighty and self-righteous yammering goes on.
If I had to listen to Muzak 24/7 I would go mad. If I were harangued 24/7 by sleazy bullies who professed to know everything I would go mad, but first I might kill. If my parents or my spouse claimed to be right all the time I`d leave them. If my parents worked for bad guys and lied to me about it I wouldn`t trust them. If they had their hands in the till I wouldn`t trust them "or I`d emulate them, and in either case my life would be ruined.
Consider the latest Republican threat to shut down the federal government. This isn`t governance, it`s school yard bullying, cheap theater. If the government is shutdown it will cause untold misery for the families not only of government workers in Washington and around the country but also the sectors of the economy that depend on them. What responsible American can countenance such a pre-Christmas tactic in a time of increasing poverty and joblessness? But the emotional toll of such politics is just as bad as the physical toll. Nobody does good work under threat. An anxious worker is an inefficient worker. Where is the sanity, much less the compassion, in such politics?
So what`s up with us? Why can`t we say as a nation, We won`t let you take corporate money, we don`t want you to campaign 24/7, we don`t want you to lie? Some of us are saying it, and we see how much the chattering class and their predator overlords like it. They like it so much they first tried to ignore it, and when that didn`t work they sent the police out to silence us.
I don`t think politics 24/7 is any better for us than a dirty hospital, than cooks and doctors who fail to wash their hands, than bankers who swindle us. I think it`s driving us nuts.
Politics is, like sugar and caffeine and alcohol, a stressor. In large doses it infuses us with anxiety, it whips up our baser instincts and suspicions. We have substituted an electoral process, a way of securing leaders and dumping them when they disappoint us, with a political process in which campaigning never ends. Our politicians are supposed to win election and then consider our problems and work together to solve them, but instead of doing that they are campaigning 24/7 and casting their positions in cement.
The terminal adolescence of our political class in service to the terminal greed of our predator class has turned us into a federal security state that exists to bilk the vast majority of us. The question of how long they can go on bilking us before we collapse into dry husks of our former selves doesn`t even arise because the predator class is already hard at work bilking foreign markets. We are not rewarded for our industry or our slavish belief that we will be able to thrive on the crumbs from their table. When the pundits asked what Occupy Wall Street stood for and who its leaders were, the press knew damned well that the handwriting was appearing on the wall.
The press thinks the antidote to this mass anxiety is celebrity, trivia and serial drama laced with corpses and violence. Some cure for anxiety. Try it after 11 p.m. and see how it works for you.
Djelloul Marbrook`s first book, Far from Algiers (Kent State University Press, 2008) won the 2007 Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize and the 2010 International Book Award in poetry. Artists` Hill, an excerpt from his unpublished novel, Crowds of One, won the 2008 Literal LattÃ© first prize in fiction. Artemisia`s Wolf, a novella, was published by Prakash Books of India early in 2011. Alice Miller`s Room, a novella, was published in 1999 by OnlineOriginals.com (UK) as an e-book, and Bliss Plot Press of Woodstock, NY, recently published his novella, Saraceno, as an e-book. Orbis (UK), Smashwords.com, Potomac Review (Maryland) and Prima Materia (New York). His second book of poems is Brushstrokes and Glances (Deerbrook Editions, 2010). Recent poems were published by American Poetry Review, Barrow Street, Oberon, Meadowland Review, The Same, Reed, The Ledge, Poemeleon, Poets Against War, Fledgling Rag, Daylight Burglary, Le Zaporogue, Atticus, Long Island Quarterly, ReDactions, Istanbul Literary Review, Arabesques Literary and Cultural Review, Damazine, Perpetuum Mobile, Attic, and Chronogram. A retired newspaper editor and Navy veteran, he lives in Germantown, NY, with his wife Marilyn, and has lifelong ties to Woodstock.
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