The Right to Waste a Mind

November 27, 2009

I think we all feel sorry for them. They, the far right in general, and the fundamentalist religious fanatics, are all people who have been destroyed by ignorance. The old phrase “a mind is a terrible thing to waste” is true. It is a terrible, sad, thing. These are people whose minds are now permanently closed and who are doomed to walk the earth like zombies lost in a fearful world of their own creation. When we see their anger it is just the frustration of people who live in a world that does not make sense to them and in which they feel powerless and pointless. The people who use them, who bait them and manipulate them, are cynical, heartless, predators. They are literally throwing away this generation of people in a propaganda effort aimed at mobilizing mass ignorance to vote Republican. This is a political strategy? It’s more like treason. These people are poor and they did not have a chance. What happened to the compact that says “all men are created equal” in America? Where are their good school systems? Where is their healthcare? Are we forever going to let the wealthy feed off the lives of the poor?

Where Does the Right Come From?

November 26, 2009
It is a scary thing to┬áconsider that the far right has a reliable 30% of the US voting public every election no matter what the issue or who is running. How could there be so many? Well, you said that in America, everybody has access to information and education. I think you might be wrong about that. The public school system in America is supported locally through property taxes and poor regions of the country have a very poor school system. The people in the above video did not strike me as looking affluent and I suspect they are the inevitable products of a life without access to what would be considered adequate education. What I mean is that these people are not willfully ignorant. Ignorance is not not something that can be willed, it is something that is imposed on you. What is sad is that in an America where the school system for the middle class has broken down in many places and created islands of ignorance, our leadership has responded to this situation not with remediation, but with exploitation. It’s not hard to fool ignorant people if that is what you want to do. We used to be all one people in America. But now 30% of the country has been thrown on the ash heap of history for the sake of easy elections.

Vietnam Redux

November 26, 2009
There was a saying back then: “no one died in Vietnam, they were all wasted.” Vietnam did turn out to be a sign of things to come as we transitioned from defensive wars with a national defense purpose to elective wars based on economic interests. Soldiers who are caught up in these things have no choice but to be effected. As they endure life and death struggles they have no firm moral footing to fall back on. The mind reels when one considers where they must end up if they allow themselves to think about who is in the right and who is in the wrong when one invades a country that never threatened us. I suppose a soldier just has to shut down thinking altogether. And when that happens the soldier is not a soldier anymore but rather part of a mob. A representative of a barbarian impulse that goes back to the dawn of time, killing for the sake of the king, killing as a way of life. We now see that Vietnam was not a war at all, it was a breakdown of our humanity from which this country has never recovered. The poison of Vietnam has entered politics, the military, the press, the schools, everywhere. America changed from the old country of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson into the brave new country that we inhabit today. Our founders would not know what to make of us. They would handle us with a chain.

Sometimes Leaders Are Great

November 26, 2009
I would not defend either Washington or Jefferson as being “pure as the driven snow”. They both had their share of faults as history has clearly described. But they stand as the irreducible authors of American exceptionalism that put this country on its footing to become a country based on unusual principles. Washington, a war leader who defeated the reigning superpower of the day and who was considered justifyable an “emperor” at the time, handed over his sword to civilian leadership and retired to his farm. This put down a political marker that has effected world history to this day. Jefferson took a normal revolution based on economic conflicts of the wealthy and turned it into a manifesto of enlightenment ideals. He wrote the Declaration of Independence, a document that has changed human history. These are facts that are not pink and fuzzy. They are facts more powerful than any that have happened in our lifetime. Vietnam was the first televised war because the 60’s was the first televised revolution and the “revolutionaries” were those kids in the street who ended up drafted into rice paddies. They didn’t have money or cameras, but the reporters did, and the story was always the anti-war movement.