Think On These Things
Love and best wishes to you all for the New Year. I realize that we all experience life in different shades, but I’ll take a leap and guess that this past year was at least somewhat bewildering. I say bewildering because it encompassed feelings of pure bafflement, disorientation, complexity, difficulty, being confounded, perplexed, befuddled, mystified and upset. That should cover about 70 percent of us anyway. For me, it was all of this in spades, plus a large dose of anger. Looking back through my year of notes and wall calendar scribbles, was akin to seeing a photographic image gradually develop in a photographers darkroom. The image that appeared was clear. 2017 was freaking nuts, and the clarion call I heard was, DO NOT GET USED TO THIS. Within this call, I began to see my anger in a more positive light, beyond the tendency to see it as a darker emotion. This was fully clarified when I happened upon a quote of St. Augustine: “Hope has two beautiful daughters; their names are Anger and Courage. Anger for the way things are, and Courage to see that they do not remain the same”. This is the key. Hope is transformed from a mere wish, into meaningful action.
2018 will be a pivotal year. We must not be distracted by the chaotic veneer being created by the ringleader of this political freak show. Trump is dangerous, but he isn’t entirely responsible for the present situation. He is a symptom of deep systemic problems. The only reason he has been allowed to remain in office up to this point is because the forces that want to weaken the Government by dismantling the administrative state know that he will facilitate this. If we don’t activate Hope for a just and peaceful society, we are headed toward an authoritarian state and a new form of Corporate Totalitarianism. This is also referred to as Inverted Totalitarianism: ”Inverted totalitarianism is different from classical forms of totalitarianism. It does not find its expression in a demagogue or charismatic leader but in the faceless anonymity of the corporate state. Inverted totalitarianism maintains the facade of electoral politics, the Constitution, civil liberties, freedom of the press, the independence of the judiciary, and the iconography, traditions, and language of American patriotism, but it has effectively seized all of the mechanisms of power to render the citizen impotent”. There is a blueprint for how we have arrived at the present point of corporate domination. It is the Powell Memorandum, written by Lewis Powell in 1971. He eventually became a Supreme Court Justice. This memo was directed at the US Chamber of Commerce and to corporations throughout the country. The essence of the document was a call to arms for Big Business to wrestle control away from the “excesses of Democracy”.
If we care about quality K-12 public education, affordable or tuition-free college, good jobs that pay livable wages, a free and open internet, a more equitable justice system, improved infrastructure, a greener economy, gender equality and healing racial divides, we are going to have to fight for it. There are more of us than there are of them. Putting even a Bernie Sanders in the highest office is useless without movements. The corporations and moneyed interests control most of the politicians at this time. Our only power is to organize. If we are not active it won’t matter who is in power. Look back at progressive changes in the past. President Roosevelt was no enlightened oligarch. It was pressure from the Progressive Party, the Communist Party, and the Unions (CIO) that enabled the New Deal to come to pass. Roosevelt wrote a private letter to his fellow oligarchs which basically said, “We better give up some of our money now; because if we don’t there may be a revolution, and we might lose all of it”. That’s how we got ‘public works’ 12 million jobs, Social Security and all the rest. Who was the most powerful person in 1968? Martin Luther King. This was because when he went to Memphis, 50,000 people went with him. President Johnson was terrified of King; especially when he denounced the Vietnam War. Now in our time, movements must be created, rebuilt and sustained. Ella Baker, probably the most influential woman in the Civil Rights Movement, said “We don’t need strong leaders. We need strong people”.
We have no time to fool around. The train to a meaningful future is at the station, and it ain’t leaving until we get on board. All of us, and I mean all of us, irrespective of race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or economic status, have got to get this proverbial ‘Love Train’ rolling down the tracks. To those of you who can’t see stepping on board now; we will take the journey for you, no regrets, no judgments. What’s gotta be done, will be done. Terence McKenna said in one of his talks, “Love dissolves boundaries. Distances and separations are illusions. What is real is the unbroken plenum of being. Our present societal construct is based on the establishment and maintenance of boundaries. We are boundary obsessed. Power and technology are only safe in the hands of community-minded creatures. Ego driven cultures lead straight to Auschwitz and the Hydrogen Bomb.” This may be a bit hyperbolic, but it’s essentially true.
With this in mind, when people tell us that there isn’t enough money for tuition-free college, properly funded schools, higher pay for teachers, a solid safety net for all ages and all the rest; just tell them to have a look at our $700,000,000,000 a year military budget. This year’s increase alone of 80 billion would more than pay for free college for everyone who wanted to go. 640 billion goes to basic Pentagon operations, and 60 billion goes to support the wars in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and elsewhere. We spent more than ten times the amount than our next ten rivals combined. Three times more than China and ten times more than Russia. We account for 1/3 of the military spending on planet earth. Here’s a thought; one nuclear-armed submarine can destroy every major city in the northern hemisphere, and I think we have 14.
Transforming our society is not a matter of resources. It is a matter will, and establishing priorities. I am confident we can turn the tide, but even if we fail, our children and grandchildren will look back say that “at least they weren’t complicit. At least they put up a fight”.
“What’s so funny about peace, love and understanding”. Let’s get on board that train and “Imagine”