Tic Toc, Tic Toc, Tic Toc

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“What can be done when an important fact is lost in a flood of impostors, and the voice of truth becomes drowned out in an ungodly din? When that voice, though freely resounding, cannot be heard, because the technologies of information have led to a situation in which one can receive best the message of him who shouts the loudest, even when the most falsely?    – Stanislaw Lem-

 

Tic Toc, Tic Toc, Tic Toc… Tomorrow, December 19, 2016, the Electoral College will convene to allow the nation’s electors to cast their votes for President of the United States.  In all likelihood, Donald Trump will become the nation’s 45th president.

Tic Toc, Tic Toc, Tic Toc… On January 20, 2017, Donald Trump will take the Oath of Office during the inauguration ceremony in Washington, DC.

Tic Toc, Tic Toc, Tic Toc… No matter who you are. No matter your party affiliation. No matter your race, your religion, your lack of religion… No matter who you are… If you are a citizen living in the United States of America, the second-hand on your clocks, watches, smart phones, tablets, will begin a countdown to the end of the country and quite possibly your lives.

Tic Toc, Tic Toc, Tic Toc… If you voted for Donald Trump and are convinced that he’s going to “make America great again”, I forgive you.  If you didn’t vote for anyone, I forgive you.  Both of you are going to face the same demise as those of us who voted, but did not vote for him.  However, when the time comes, when the second-hand stops,  I will be the first to stand, say to you and demand, “Own this moment!  Own this horror!  Own this end!  And as you face this end with all the rest of us, may your last moments be marked by the unbearable guilt of your conscience!”

Tic Toc, Tic Toc, Tic Toc… No.  I’m not joking.  I’m not sounding the alarm.  There’s no need for an alarm.  You’re already awake.

Tic Toc, Tic Toc, Tic…

 

 

 

The Fits and Screams of a Dying Nation

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It isn’t difficult to find deafening vitriol in American politics today.  Comment sections of political, social, and religious websites are littered with poisonous diatribes, insults, and threats. Even news sites are riddled with the bullet holes of seething, scathing, demonizing hatred and rhetoric. The 2016 presidential election has become the monster it was always meant to be. It is the beast that will devour a nation.

Can you hear the fits and screams of a dying nation?  If you don’t, chances are you are willfully feeding the beast.  If you do, then you’ll understand what I’m about to say.

Read some of the comment sections of the websites I mentioned earlier and you will inevitably come across some of the sharper, more vitriolic, diatribes from “patriots”. The meaning of the word, in the minds of these commenters, is far from what I’ve understood it to be.  As I understood it, the word “patriot” had a universal meaning in America.  It represented a commitment to freedom for all people in the United States of America.  To that end, wars were fought to preserve that freedom and compromise was the foundation of its governance. Differences of opinion were just that.  Differences.  When push came to shove, we always found a way to work through it all. Now, take a look at the national motto E Pluribus Unum (Out of Many One). Isn’t that the arrow that pointed to freedom for millions of people from all over the world?  Isn’t America supposed to be a melting pot masterfully designed by the nation’s forefathers, and held up as an example of what was possible?

When I hear the word “patriot” today, I cringe.  In most cases it’s being used as a declaratory barrier of self-righteousness, tribalism, and condemnation.  Who is, and is not, a “patriot” is no longer determined by a commitment to freedom and its foundation of compromise.  It’s determined by party affiliation, religion, race, culture… just about anything people want it to be other than what it truly is. Today, the question, “Are you a patriot?” has become an assessment of one’s indoctrination and conditioning for admission into the club of authoritarianism. The word has been parlayed into a call to arms, a referendum against anyone who doesn’t share the same political, religious or social values.  It’s an inducement for uncivil discourse. It’s an indictment of diversity.  It’s the judge, jury, and executioner, for anyone who will not submit.

“Patriot” used to be a word that felt visceral, tangible, normal.  It held a certain romance of fortune, knowing how lucky it is to be a part of a free nation.  Now, it embodies the fits and screams of a dying nation turning against itself, destroying compromise and devouring the freedom it once stood for.

Real Is No Longer Reality

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“But Idiot America is a collaborative effort, the results of millions of decisions made and not made, to reduce everything to salesmanship. Debate becomes corrupted argument, in which every point of view is just another product, no better or worse than all the others, and informed citizenship is abandoned to the marketplace.  Idiot America is the development of the collective Gut at the expense of the collective mind.  It’s what results when we abandon our duty to treat the ridiculous with ridicule.  It’s what results when the politicians make ridiculous statements and we do not only surrender our right to punish them at the polls but also become too timid to punish their ideas with daily scorn – because the polls say those ideas are popular, and therefore they must hold some sort of truth, which we should respect.”

 “Idiot America – How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free” –  Charles P. Pierce (2009)

Real is no longer reality.  From the stumps of the political arena, the airwaves of television and radio, and the Internet… To the eyes, ears and mouths of brain-dead consumers…  Real has become a matter of opinion.  And reality is now roadkill.  Up is down.  Down is up.  Science isn’t a noble endeavor. Science is sacrilegious. News isn’t news. News is views. Hot isn’t hot.  Hot is cold. Cold isn’t cold.  Cold is hot. The Land of the Free is no longer free.  It’s “How much can you afford to spend to be free? “

President-elect Trump and his cabinet picks should strike fear into the hearts of the 26% of eligible voters who voted for him.  “Drain the swamp” has turned into widening it, digging it deeper, building a dam, and reinforcing it with $12 billion worth of corporate concrete.  And let’s not forget Trump’s attempt to militarize the civilian controlled military.

Real is no longer reality.  As Charles P. Pierce said: “It’s what results when we abandon our duty to treat the ridiculous with ridicule.”