August 15th, 2010 15:33 EST
The Press and The Politicians Work At Driving Wedges Between Us
What is as remarkable in American life as the refusal of the vast majority to tear up the civil contract our politicians, pundits and media have been desecrating?
If our everyday lives were anything like the picture daily staged by self-seeking politicians and ratings-seeking media, society would grind to a halt in bitterness and grudges. But the discourse in our daily lives and, for the most part, on the web does not reflect the extremist, dog-in-the-manger nature of our politics. How could this be? We are interested in getting along and getting by; our politicians are obsessed with driving wedges between us.
Day after day we treat each other with the ordinary decency that we instinctively know is the grandeur of our society, and we do this in spite of the picture of ourselves held up to us by our manipulative media and public leadership.
We are, in short, better, much better than the people who purport to tell us who we are. We are better and we know better.
One would think, judging the daily media reports, that politics and war are all we are about. Not art, not literature, not scholarship, not science, not medicine, not mathematics, not hard work and fair play, but politics and war. And yet they are not what we are about "they are what we are dragged into by wretches who seek to convince us that we are at war with each other.
Every day of our lives the media and the politicians they idolize "oh yes they do, whatever their pretense "extend to us an invitation to civil war. They talk about red states, blue states, hopeless deadlocks, filibusters, even the taking up of arms. But they talk very little about our accomplishments, the greatest of which is our civil society. To the extent to which we have an immigration problem, we have it because our society is the envy of the world "the same society the politicians are now trying to pull apart for their own short-term gain. Again and again the daily media report is an invitation to fight with each other. Who gains when we do? Not most of us "only the politicians and swindlers.
A single breakthrough in mathematics or medicine, a single painting or book or poem is worth years and years of the many disturbances ginned up by our media and our politicos. Where are the reports about them? Every day we navigate around social problems that seem insurmountable obstacles to our self-important pols and their media lackeys. They have become so accustomed to igniting fights that they even make an issue out of ordinary weather "you know, the kind we`ve had since the world began.
Every town in America reaches agreement more readily than the United Nations or Washington. There is hardly a single artist or scientist or farmer or wage earner who is not doing more and better work than these strutters who disturb the peace and undo the civil contract that binds us. We are hard at work surviving, creating, making, growing "and they are hard at work shouting at each other and trying to divide us into camps. Our police are keeping the peace, our firemen are rescuing us, but the politicians are stirring up dissent and controversy instead of getting things done.
They are the high school bullies and we are the ones who play fair, lend a helping hand, and grow up. They are stuck in their adolescence, their cliques, their secret agendas. We are trying to get along and get on in the world. If we behaved as they do our neighborhoods would be armed camps, no work would get done, no progress would be made. A fireman would refuse to rescue someone he doesn`t like, a policeman would arrest people out of spite, everything would grind to an ugly halt if we emulated our politicians and the press that exalts them.
The picture of America fed to us by the media and our politicians "those hand-in-glove bandits "is not of an America that produces great art, that cures diseases, educates its children, gives everyone a hand, minds its own business, likes to sing and dance and laugh. No, the picture of America we are handed is grim, mean and disruptive, not unlike a prison yard.
And that is why Google and Verizon and others are now cooking up ways to limit and overcharge our access to the Internet "they fear an America that wakes up one morning and says, We`re better than this, we`re not like this, what the hell is going on? Television, newspapers and magazines are all hopelessly compromised and corrupted, and that is what Google and Verizon are holding out for the Internet.
Djelloul (jeh-lool) Marbrook was born in 1934 in Algiers to a Bedouin father and an American painter. He grew up in Brooklyn, West Islip and Manhattan, New York, where he attended Dwight Preparatory School and Columbia. He then served in the U.S. Navy.
His 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. His story, Artists Hill, adapted from the second novel of an unpublished trilogy, won the Literal LattÃ© first prize in fiction in 2008. His poems have been published in The American Poetry Review, Barrow Street, poemeleon, The Same, and other journals. The pioneering e-book publisher, Online Originals (UK), published his novella, Alice MIller`s Room, in 1999.
He worked as a reporter for The Providence Journal and as an editor for The Elmira (NY) Star-Gazette, The Baltimore Sun, The Winston-Salem Journal & Sentinel and The Washington Star. Later he worked as executive editor of four small dailies in northeast Ohio and two medium-size dailies in northern New Jersey.
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