© Grant Marcus
Here is what you won’t see/hear on prime-time television: We are in the end game called the theater of the grotesque, i.e. the charade of electoral politics—replete with corporate advertising, all packaged, choreographed, and devoid of substance, but filled with self-absorbed characters, or “representatives,” pitifully acting as if they were concerned about our general welfare, our security, and our freedom, which they zealously wrap in God and flag, while their illustrious careers are excessively paid for by their corporate sponsors.
Paid well to act, they tell us fatherly, that global warming is a hoax, and the 1000 mile-wide hurricane we witnessed has nothing to do with what they won’t do anything about. They rather listen to the Koch Brothers than see what’s in front of their noses.
They say we don’t need to know how Monsatin engineers our food, or how many chemicals Helliburton uses to muddy our drinking water. They insist public schools should end, then be privatized and corporatized; that the sole purpose of health care is to gouge and profit from the misery of others; that tarry sands should be keystoned through the heart of America and then sent to China; and that food stamps should be denied to our masses of starving children–in a total effort to make the rich more powerfully rich, and the working poor powerlessly poorer.
Meanwhile, these privileged political actor/millionaires legalize insider trading for themselves, so they can invest in banks, new drugs, and the latest wars, couched in the euphemism of “terror.” (Guess what, Senators, war is terror). Meanwhile they ignore the corporate money being shipped to the Caymans or Dubai, as secretaries, nannies, and gardeners pay more in taxes than the obscenely wealthiest of “Americans.”
What if we ran our households like the glitter-world of the White House? What if we spent half our paychecks on “defense” to protect us from our neighbors? What if it all went to new alarm systems, barred windows, cameras every 20 feet or so, a twelve foot wall surrounding our property, a phone system to screen out all potential terrorists, a pack of guard dogs, and a cache of automatic weapons, leaving, of course, something extra for those rich gods we seem to worship…
Then, when it comes time to face the wife, the kids, the answer is, “Well dears, we don’t have enough to cover eating today. Perhaps we’ll eat tomorrow…And clothes, you ask? Just use the rags I used to clean out the howitzers, tomahawks, AK 47s, and peacekeepers.” A house is not a house made of weapons and war.
If we spent half our money on imaginary fears and fictitious wars, we might be broke too. And like Congress proved a week ago, we might not be able to put food on the table, as Repugnicans cut the food stamp program in half, while raising a clamor when it came time to cutting the pentagon budget, “Star Wars,” or Homeland Security. There’s everything to fear, and fear itself. And in spite of all their money and power, they are still more afraid than we are. They are still crying out
for war in Syria, opposed by nearly 9 in 10 Americans. I don’t live in the Washington bubble, where the whole world is an enemy, excusing ruthless cuts, and the spying on fellow Americans–Not to mention incarcerating us, targeting the poor with “stop-and frisk,” and having the largest prison population in the world. Is this how we define our punitive “freedom?” The friends I know no longer have jobs that give them a full work week. They now earn less an hour than they used to. They are temp teachers, temp carpenters, temp grocers, and temp office clerks, without arbiters, Osha, benefits, or health care.
Their fears are more real: the I.R.S., the VCPD, the NSA, the water, electric, the rent, or just, day to day… Or maybe, just people they love instead of hate. These days, I keep extra food in my car for all the people on the street who used to live in houses, the people who could, at one time, afford rent, but now carry pieces of cardboard as signs to beg for food and work. The other night, I saw an unfamiliar car parked on our street. It was a family of six, three in the front and three in the back, who were forced to leave a seaside park or got caught at the beach, and now were dodging police. What do I tell them, that they can’t sleep here, when the rich are considering gold plumbing to go with their gold toilets? And for all the times at holidays our actor/leaders talk the talk of praise for our troops—Well, they can’t deceive my eyes, because our veterans are a third of our homeless, digging out of trashcans and toting shopping carts, and sleeping under eaves on our streets.
Democracy? Freedom? Bah, humbug. Democracy is Hypocrisy, and freedom prison—or the only thing the top 2% have, who happen to also be our hypocrites. This is no longer the America I once knew 30 years ago. It is an estranged country of misery. A third world banana republic, run by corrupt corporate dictators writing our laws and completely out of touch with the rest of us. The stage of the White House and the Capitol Building are no more than grounds for a corrupt, unaccredited hospital, facing the loss of its license. Yet, never-the-less, we must all swallow its political poison—whether it be prescribed by Dr. Jeckyl (Obama) or by Dr. Frankenstein (Chris Christie). It really doesn’t matter any longer. Playing the good doc, or the bad holds the same outcome: We the Patients will die at the hands of our two physicians, our only choices. And the administration of invisible corporate power governing them and ruling the ward only means the poorer the patient, the lesser the resistance in accepting the hemlock.
Had either of these physicians acted with sincerity, real compassion, or wisdom, and offered us some real solutions, our nation of patients would be patients no more. We would be recovering citizens, fully human, working and living equally in a prosperous and robust economy, and perhaps food and shelter. But with these greedy political docs, who must always protect their insider investments, and act more like Mr. Hydes than Dr Jeckyls, this will not be the case. The rest of us will still be patients who will fall short of an available cure.
I know by now, you detractors out there, hiding behind your fluff of patriotism, are saying to yourselves, “well if you have it so bad and you don’t like it here, why don’t you go live in_________.” Well I say to you, give us the “life, liberty…equality, and pursuit of happiness” our founders promised us, and that doesn’t mean the pursuit of empire. Give us those things which “promote our general welfare.” And that certainly doesn’t mean corporate welfare for those who have the most, and who need it least. That equation does not equality make.
Chris Hedges, a journalist, for “Truth-Dig,” says we are part of a “cash-drenched charade,” as “voters dutifully play their assigned role as a Democrat or Republican, giving legitimacy to a corporate system dedicated to our impoverishment and disempowerment.”
Hedges has it right. All the things that separate us from our own demise—Medicaid, social security, Pell Grants, Head Start, the EPA, public education—are all about to be wiped out, conifiscated by corporate greed. The majority of us will end up desperate peddlers, serfs, and prisoners in a never-ending stagnant economy ruled by corporate personhood, or NSA drone ventures, or government paranoia in our reactive police state. And that is the true “state of our nation” for the rest of us.
Grant Marcus is a nurse, writer, and activist living in Ventura. firstname.lastname@example.org