Sunday, December 27, 2009

the American Decade (or how i learned to stop worrying and love the bomb?)

As 2009 draws to a quiet close, I realize that this decade is also coming to an end. I don't know how to feel about that. So much has unfolded in this ten short years, it is almost anti climatic that it is over. What will we think when we look back on this decade? It held promise right from the start, having dodged that nasty y2k bug that some of us thought was going to cause humanity all kinds of problems, from commercial airliner crashes to the detonation of inter continental ballistic missiles. I was relieved to wake up on January 1st, 2000 to find all we had to struggle through was an intense hangover from the whiskey and the 90's.
I took ibuprophen for the hangover and more whiskey to try to rid myself of the effects of the 90's. Neither proved all that successful.
The new mallenium began with earnest. The top of the news seemed to be flooded with stories of Bush stealing the presidency, a rather new thing, it seemed, for a first world country, in fact, the purveyors of democracy itself, now plagued with election fraud. The newspaper stories coming out of Florida and Washington read like a story coming out of any small beleaguered African nation or anywhere else in the world where the people with the most guns ruled, not the people with the most votes. Surely, this was a bad dream. No, this was America, and this was you, joe public, losing faith by the second, in the democratic process and the very fabric which our collective free societies are sewn from. Indeed, this was a grave time. And stop calling me Shirley.
Then came the terror attacks of 9/11. License to shit on the whole planet. For years. Dark days. Violence unseen, at least in some time. The reaction was swift and calculated. Against the wrong country. Step aside, Saudi Arabia, we are going to blame the whole thing on a country we have already kicked around and manipulated for decades... Afghanistan!
And while the whole world shifts about uncomfortably, another country that has also been kicked around for decades, will become the new evil, the third partner in the axis of evil, in fact. Let's attack Iraq! In March, 2003, I watched with terror and defeat as the coalition of the willing bombed an already decimated country, into submission. What heroes those American soldiers were, kicking in those doors to root out the evil that lurked in the form of starving and frightened refugees.
And I can hear Toby Keith in the background, singing a new anthem of ignorance. Add nauseum.
It was at this point that I reached a new low of hatred and soon realized that we must not let these anti-intellectual, anti-democratic, anti-free thought retards take over the world, as they have done in the past, using fear tactics and public bullying to make the free speech crowd shut the hell up. Ie: Nazi Germany, Stalinist Russia, Pol Pot's Cambodia, etc.
I think a lot of other people felt the same way and a quiet, passive peace movement began to take shape. It grew into a large quiet peace movement that began to demand the end to the insanity in Iraq and other countries where the hate was being fostered.
Comparisons to the Vietnam war were being made and many people were obviously uncomfortable about that. The typically lazy and self involved boomers even began to say something about this taxpayer fueled travesty of international justice.
There were already so many horrifying movies about the Vietnam war, would this generation have to withstand yet another Hollywood interpretation of a white house mistake that cost a generation? Kubrick is dead, who could we trust with such a story? Surely, not the state department. Not the CIA, the military! Not Coppola!
In the meantime we bore witness to the most disgusting corporate greed in recent human memory. Enron, Citibank, Worldcom, et al, would destroy the economy as we know it. And all the players would either walk away, or end up dead. Let's move on, shall we?
And then Bush would steal another fucking election. And this time, the media would play along with the democratic theft like a whore promised free cocaine.
And unless morale improves, the beatings will continue. In the form of military tribunals, secret hearings, constitutional duckings, torture, confinement, coercion, black ops, private security forces, and a steady stream of bodies wrapped in old faithful coming home to roost.
Even my grandmother ended up on a no-fly list, it seemed. From that time she didn't pay the cable bill. How un-american.
Cable is God. And if isn't cable, the man who would run for the presidency next will surely believe in the man who would be God.
Or at least God would help decide who would be president.
The president is the decider. At least that is what he would come to call himself. But, really the world knows that Cheney and Bush Sr. are at the helm, with little Geo taking up the rear in the trio of the true axis of evil.
North Korea threatens the world with all the power and faux strength of a scorned thirteen year old girl and America responds in kind. Only with the known rumor of the threat of more firepower and the diplomacy of a wrestler.
We all stand by and wonder if it is even worth going to school or work at all, once again, feels a bit robotic and self defeating, at best.
The tsunami and Katrina blend together like a slurpee of suffering. The response to the wave was overwhelming and the flood dried up trust and goodwill. At least in the lower ninth.
We saw the rise of Google, Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, cyberspace places. The virtual world we all said was the future but now know is now.
It is the sacred cow of all we harbor and despise at the same time, sitting alone, trying to connect with others. We know more but care less.
We think we are informed, soldiers and patriots of a new age of philanthropic atheism that has it's base in the hackers and slackers and detractors of the way it is.
And the way it is seems silly and obscene.
Then somewhere between a housing and loans crash that causes an international market crash and a disgraced white house administration sneaking out the back door, comes a man who inspires the whole planet with an energy and innocence and determination not seen in a long time. Barack Obama. We all dreamed of a new future that we previously thought unattainable.
A future where health care wasn't just for wealthy people. We thought war would stop if this man were to become the leader of the free world.
Think again. The health care was shot down like the red baron and 30,000 new kids are headin' for Afghanistan. Iraq is far from over and elections are still being stolen. Along with identities and antiquities.
Telephones have become iphones, music has become muzak, and we have dropped pretty much all of the international agreements, up to and including Kyoto and the Geneva Convention.
We finished off the decade with headlines about a golf superstar that fucked other people besides his wife, a pop star who liked boys and had a theme park, the bombing of Pakistan and the failure of the nations of the world to come to any sort of an agreement on climate change.
Doesn't bode well for the next decade, my friends, if we are to continue down this route of collective stupidity. The medicine ball is in our court.
Newspapers are dying because people don't believe them anymore.
Read a book. Learn. Change. Tell others. Don't listen to Country music.
Wash, rinse, repeat, if necessary.

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