THINKING OUT LOUD
July 3, 2004
The Walls Come Tumblin' DownA friend forwarded me a copy of a recent column by Charley Reese in the Orlando Sentinel, and remarked about how many conservative thinkers are seeing the light about Bush.
Reese: "Americans should realize that if they vote for President Bush's re-election, they are really voting for the architects of war - Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and the rest of that cabal of neoconservative ideologues and their corporate backers. I have sadly come to the conclusion that President Bush is merely a frontman, an empty suit, who is manipulated by the people in his administration. Bush has the most dangerously simplistic view of the world of any president in my memory."
I wrote back to her that I too was thrilled by the sea change she referred to, and you see it now bubbling up everywhere. This is the spectacle of democracy, not the empty word banged relentlessly by politicians, but the natural force rising up from the earth itself. This is the earth's biosphere going into a seizure of its immune system to throw off a lethal antigen.
This is the coming to a boil of the outrage that kicked in December 13, 2000, when a massive treason was committed by a right wing cabal that had compromised the integrity of the Supreme Court to install the loser of an election, and the perpetrator of widespread vote fraud into the presidency. It began that day, and the outrages have been piling up daily since then. It is now coming to a threshold. The rage in the country has reached the boiling point.
The boiling of water, the change of its physical form from liquid to gas, is a threshold phenomenon. The steady rise in temperature registers no change in the physical state of the material until the threshold is reached, then it changes instantly. The change of matter from one of its three fundamental states to another is one of the most profound changes in nature.
This is what is happening before our eyes. Get an eyeful because this is a massive historical moment. This will be one of those things where you say, "I was alive and I waited, waited, I was alive and I waited for this, right here right now, there is no other place I'd rather be ..."
Jesus Jones was writing about the fall of the Berlin Wall, the end of Soviet totalitarianism and domination of Eastern Europe. That event has always been misinterpreted by the dominant voices in America, the corporate controllers of the national dialogue. It was a magnificent event. It was not brought about by Ronald Reagan's massive overspending on weapons, as has become conventional wisdom, conveniently for the weapons contractors like Carlyle, Halliburton et. al. It was not brought about by the capitalists, it was a natural phenomenon, the flowering of democracy. Democracy is not handed down by rulers, it is seized by populations.
The magnificent collapse of the Soviet Union was brought about by the likes of the Beatles and Bob Dylan and Allen Ginsberg much more than by Ronald Reagan. The U.S. survived Reagan's overspending, that is the only good thing that can be said about it. The fact that the USSR did not survive its overspending does not in any way credit the US overspenders. It just meant that the US was much more economically resilient and productive than the controlled Soviet economy.
Free markets, the principle does work. But it's not so simple as those words because they have become inverted double-speak like "democracy" most other words for important political concepts. A free market system does not just mean laissez-faire. Inevitably economic power will concentrate, and when it concentrates too much, it becomes oligopolistic and squelches competition, clamping down on the free market. Ironically, the so-called "free market" ideologues are really corporatists, whose real ideology is corporate power. As 19th century Republicans who opposed them recognized, corporations are anti-democratic and anti-free market by their very nature. It doesn't mean they should be abolished entirely, but they must be regulated by a democratically controlled entity, not a corporate controlled government as now exists in the United States.
What I'm getting at is that the collapse of totalitarianism in Eurasia has not had its counterpart here. It has been said that in the '80s capitalism defeated communism; then in the '90s capitalism defeated democracy. What we may be seeing now is the democratic revolution in the US that corresponds to that in Europe 15 years ago. It took a decade longer for capitalism to overcome democracy after it overcame Soviet Communism. So the democratic revolution in America is lagging behind as well.
The Soviet empire fell to forces of democracy and self-determination and freedom of information. A similar phenomenon did not take place in the US until the corporate state had sufficiently clamped down on American democracy to the point where a majority began to feel it.
The Bush administration represents the attempt of the corporate state that has been progressively gaining control of the government since World War II to finally seize ultimate control come out in the open. Finally the shadowy corporate masters felt they had consolidated enough power that they could come out of the closet and stop beating around the bush with this pretense of upholding the Constitution and democracy.
The dictatorship really declared itself on December 13, 2000, when it became clear that this government was proclaiming itself to be extra-constitutional: beyond the Constitution. (It's explicitly spelled out, rather elliptically, in Bush vs Gore.) Since then the regime has shown itself in a relentless series of outrages to consider itself above the law.
Now the regime has gone so far, piled up so many offenses, defied so many laws and principles of human decency that its own house of cards is coming down. It's imploding. The Project for a New American Century, like the Thousand Year Reich before it, is proving to have overestimated its potentials considerably.
I've found myself remarking lately that I predicted this rising up of democratic resistance and alternative media, but it's not to pat myself on the back for predicting it. It's more the experience of shaking one's head in wonder, or standing in awe at the sight of a natural force of great power. Even if one predicted it, the prediction was nothing like the magnificence of the real thing as it unrolls like a huge tidal wave.
I predicted it intellectually, or intuitively, just by the way I read the events and how I imagined them projecting into the future, and what appeared to line up as inevitable collisions. But committing oneself to a statement about future possibilities is a far cry from seeing them manifest. No one can really predict, and you can never be sure. But it's gratifying to see certain forces manifesting and proving that they truly are durable.
The principles of democracy and free markets (real free markets, not corporate oligarchies) really do work, really are powerful, really do produce successful, prosperous societies, and do reassert themselves when they have been abused sufficiently. The rebellion against the coup seemed like a long time boiling under the surface, but now it's coming over the top, and it's ... awesome.
My belief that there would be a democratic uprising and the flowering of an alternative media system was probably more a hope than either a belief or a prediction. It was really the expression of one of the most primal and universal fears, that of being totally isolated. After the events of December 2000, I was crushed, shell-shocked, and sat alone, it seemed, with my torment. There was practically no reflection of that point of view in the mass media. On the contrary, the media scorned practically any mention of it. It was all about "get over it." But I could not imagine it possible that there were not many millions of Americans who shared my outrage with what the Supreme Court and the whole damn cabal had pulled off.
I could not have been alone -- I even saw disbelief on the face of Judy Woodruff as she read the report on CNN. She was one of the talking heads who still retained enough intellectual integrity to register some awareness of the magnitude of the outrageous precedent just set by the court.
When the court announced its decision to stop the statewide recount ordered by the Florida Supreme Court (which it did not have the Constitutional authority to do) and put Bush in office when Bush had lost the election, I thought: Is everyone going to just stand by and let this happen? And then the next, sickening, thought came: Well? What about you, what are you doing?
What could one do? It was a real dilemma and I suspected -- I knew -- that millions of others must be going through the same dilemma: How do you fight a lawless regime without becoming the same yourself? How do you fight fascism without being a fascist? How do you deal with someone who won't play by the rules?
My own way of working out my frustration was to just got to work doing my Web site and sending articles to other Web sites, just trying to get an alternative message out into the world, to let people know they weren't alone in thinking things that were never reflected in the public dialogue as determined by corporate media.
I figured many others had to be going through the same thing, and I suspected that it would eventually show itself, that all those individual actions would bring forth millions of results. Now it is becoming visible. Now it is coming to a boil. Now I know that there really were many millions like me at that time going through the same thing.
When I was looking for sources of comfort or guidance during that period, I came upon some letters by Camus that really struck a chord with me. It gave me hope because it showed how the people of the democratic republic of France dealt with being taken over by fascists. I recorded some of those special passages in "Beyond Petroleum: How to Fight Fascists and Restore Justice".
In summer of 2001, I wrote that Bush would be the catalyst for a new online alternative media that would rise up in opposition to him ("George W. Bush, Father of the Internet"). Again, it was a hope more than a prediction, but it's sure good to see it happening. Now that online alternative media system has bubbled up into radio and film. TV is still pretty much ruled by the corporate war mongers, with some notable exceptions breaking through. That oligopoly will break, too. Already Amy Goodman's Democracy Now is showing on quite a few TVs.
I would say now, hang on to your hats, because what we are seeing is just a few sprinkles of surf before the tidal wave comes in. With the rising of alternative media from the Web into books and now into radio and film, the dissenters who have so far been working in relative isolation from each other can begin to see each other. Now a mass recognition is beginning to take place, a platform for an alternative dialogue has gotten a foothold. The newly blossoming alternative media, besides being a culmination of many individual actions taken over the last three years, are also major catalytic events in themselves, which will accelerate and magnify the process. Who knows what could happen? Restoring democratic power over corporate power? Wresting our fraudulent healthcare administration from the gougers and giving it back to the people and the healthcare professionals? Pulling some of the billions that go to Carlyle and Halliburton and using them for education, rebuilding the United States? De-throning Bush and Cheney is only the beginning.
But one exceedingly grim note of caution: This rising movement, now attaining self consciousness, must accommodate the colossal outrage of 9/11, and must move beyond the assumption that no one would be evil enough to allow such an event to take place for a political advantage, such as the advantage spelled out by the Project for a New American Century as the "new Pearl Harbor" that would be required to get this New World Order off the ground before Dick Cheney dies. This is not about getting over it, or dwelling the past, because it is very likely that another such event is in the wings. It could very easily be worse than 9/11. The democratic movement must steal itself and be prepared to surmount even such an assault on its will as a "third" Pearl Harbor.
The much-hyped terrorist attack that the right wing military state types keep blabbering about is the one thing that could still disrupt the party for the democratic resurgence. Without such a catastrophic event, the forces that are in motion will remove Bush/Cheney from power. It won't yet shake the hold of the corporate oligarchy on America, but it will be a good cleansing and a good beginning. A good reassertion of democratic power. Like waking up and stretching.
But those now raising their voices and those coming into consciousness of the fraud that has been perpetrated against them must steal themselves in advance for catastrophe. We may be spared a terrorist attack before the election. But we very likely will not. It is not in the interest of the Bush administration to protect the people, or to create a sense of real safety. Obviously fear has been their primary tool, the trademark of their style of government. That alone is the reason to remove them from power. And it is one of the more persistent illusions that George Bush is somehow good for the security of America, an utterly absurd idea given the events of the last three years.
It may well be that that very illusion, Bush's last trump card, is dissolving in a shockwave that is pulsating through the nation right now. The veil is dropping and the emperor is being revealed as a fraud. Now Americans have to prove themselves equal to the traditions of their ancestors. Americans must shake off the shackles of the land of the sheep and recover America's former ideal of Home of the Brave. The democratic movement is in for some serious assaults right now as its power begins to consolidate. We will be tested. We can't allow ourselves to lose our resolve.