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The recently deceased Reverend Moon ain’t got ish on American politicians when it comes to mesmerizing the masses. I mean, Moon could only get, what, a million couple to wed, sans courtship, dinners, drinks and kisses, and even without a common language, but an American politician can induce an entire nation to say “I do” to their own death. Amazing is right.
Several nights of watching the Republican and Democratic National Conventions has left me with post-traumatic stress disorder, at least, if not permanently brain damaged, but maybe it’s better this way. Thinking is hard, because it exposes one to contradictions and hypocrisies, in oneself and others. When Bill Clinton presented himself as Mr. Prosperity, for example, I couldn’t help but think, Hey, isn’t this the guy who repealed Glass-Steagall, which led directly to the banking shenanigans that destroyed our economy, from which we have not, and won’t any time soon, recover? And didn’t Clinton, through NAFTA and “free trade,” open the flood gate to offshoring, thus causing the job hemorrhaging that will cripple us into the foreseeable future? A key saboteur of the American economy, society and way of life, Clinton now painted himself as their ultimate defender, and yet the lemmings cheered and applauded. I mean, who are these people? Don’t they have a memory? Are they insane? Many of them were dressed like clowns, but still.
During one of these endless sessions of cosplay, Michelle Obama appeared as a hybrid of Mother Teresa and Florence Nightingale, a comforter of sufferers, especially kids. Military families are her special concern, she said, stuttering often to convey authenticity and choked up emotions, as if she could barely find the right words to express her gratitude and grief, though the teleprompter was always there, of course. As her husband destroys family after family, American and foreign, through his many wars, Michelle commiserates, very photogenically, I must say, with some (American) loved ones left behind. Do you know that 20% of US Army troops are on at least their third tour of duty to either Iraq or Afghanistan? What are they fighting for again? Not access to oil, natural gas and opium, no way, but to contain Al Qaeda, our government claims, though the US has admitted to backing Al Qaeda in its undeclared war on Syria. The US created Al Qaeda in the first place, remember?
Hardly anyone remembers anything, apparently, and some of those who do, who must know better, are lying. Speaking about the Vietnam War, Kerry famously said in 1971, “How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?” Now, he’s extolling our current rabble of mercenaries, desperate fools and psychopaths as this nation’s “most exceptional men and women” who are “on the front lines every day defending America.” To invade and occupy foreign countries and kill their people, mostly civilians, is not to defend this country, Mr. Kerry, but to sow hatred and invite blowbacks, it is to dishonor America, but of course Kerry already knows this, but as a politician, he has to stick to this tiresome imperial shtick. If great wealth wasn’t enough to corrupt, then decades on the Hill would almost certainly do it.
Fast and furious, the lies and spins kept thundering down onto the assembled bozos, in Charlotte and at home. Ducking, I nearly flung a Molotov cocktail at my flat screen. Next came Shinseki to reassure us that returning grunts were taken care of, and there would be no more homeless vets by 2015. Holy scitan! Last time I checked, there were more homeless vets than ever, and military suicide was spiking like crazy, but what the intercourse do I know? I’m just a clueless war refugee, like Mitt Romney.
Exhaling a colorless, noxious yet EPA-sanctioned fume cocktail, Romney promised 12 million new trabajos in the next eight years, while Obama, pinned by a track record, could only trumpet that he had created four million jobs in nearly four years. Since it takes 125,000 new jobs a month to just keep pace with population growth, Obama has been treading water, if that. In fact, an empty chair couldn’t have done much worse. At least it wouldn’t have started more wars, and created a kill list that can target anyone, including Americans.
If nothing else, these conventions showcased the advance state of American acting, with the best performances turned in by purported amateurs, who outshined, by far, the two pros on stage, Clint Eastwood and Eva Longoria, though Eastwood is decades beyond his prime. And so it goes. Every four years, the American masses are sucked into this farcical contest, where each side ridicules and blames the other for their joint failures, though they play for the same corporate team, the military banking complex. It’s funny how they routinely accuse each other of being clueless, yet their looting and destruction of the world and America have been relentlessly systematic. When your business is war, no war is pointless, and they rape all nations within reach, including this one, obviously. Stuffed with Wall Street cash, they will pretend to fight for Main Street, instead of against it. Serving the bosses of bosses, they will jive, awshuck and heehaw with the working men while on stage or the campaign trail.
Courting your votes, they always resort to the well-worn tactics of every horny cad, the empty flattery, the promise of a rosy future together, the declaration that each is uniquely meant for the other, and that the other guy is a fake, if not an outright asshole. So cast your ballot here for four more years of the worst sex imaginable. You will so wish you were an eternal virgin on a forgotten space station.
Meanwhile, the country sinks further and further because that’s exactly what our rulers want. Each dime that goes to the working and middle classes means one less for the mega corporations and banks, and that’s why our politicians will always choose their bosses’ profits over any improvement to your life. The much ballyhooed restructuring of student loans was inevitable because so many graduates were defaulting, with 53% unable to find a full-time job. The patients had to be kept alive, in short, so the parasitic banks could continue to suck their blood. Done, these vampires will feast on our children, then our children’s children, for no country has burdened its future generations with so much debts. Remember also that the banking cartel, through their Federal Reserve racket, is loaning you fiat money they have generated out of nothing.
Clinton promises that we will soon “feel” the economic recovery, and incredibly, there are those who believe him, but if you’re not a tenured professor, trust fund kid, comfortably retired or just incredibly stupid, then it is not unreasonable to snarl or guffaw. Say what?! If you happen to be a small businessman, or know a few, then you already know, with much anguish, that we are not in any kind of a recovery. Two years ago, I wrote about Mrs. Fischel, owner of a meat and cheese shop at my local shopping mall. Well, after 35 years in business, the last several in the red, she and her husband had decided to shut down. It was deeply humiliating, this turn of event. During her store’s last days, as her shelves emptied and most of her employees laid off, she even told long-time customers, “We’re just renovating. We’ll be back soon,” but everyone could see that her eyes were moist and red. Gone was the chatty woman with a plastic spoon in her shirt pocket, and the annoying habit, it must be said, of dipping said spoon into whatever dish you happen to be eating. “Hey, that’s pretty good,” she would proclaim, or, “Not too bad!” Just days after the shutdown, I received a text from her husband, “Millie went mad. Took all her stuff n left home. Said I should find another broad.” They have been married 37 years.
So don’t be telling the Fischels about no recovery. It ain’t happening. The mall itself, the Gallery, is falling apart. Recently the escalators in the main atrium were left broken for two weeks, so the mostly rotund clientele had to trudge up and down, and there’s a broken pipe that geysers whenever there’s a storm, flooding the floor and chasing off even more business. Like malls across America, this one is dying. I’ve seen a bunch. Each night, a dozen homeless sleep in the colonnade behind the Gallery, as evidenced by the pieces of cardboard and newspaper, their beddings, left behind each morning.
Similar situations are multiplying across the country, so if you want more of the same, more unemployment, bankruptcies and wars, then vote D or R this November, but I have another proposal. As a first step in a radically new direction, we must boycott this coming election and deny it of all legitimacy, and we shouldn’t do this passively, by staying at home. Instead, we should turn out in massive, unprecedented numbers on election day, in each city and town, not to vote but to announce to the world, and to posterity, that these politicians don’t represent us, that these elections are mere charades masking the fact that America no longer has a representative democracy. Before we can say yes to anything else, we must say no to this ongoing madness. To vote for mass murderers is to soak our own hands in blood, and we are only signing our own death warrants when we endorse, yet again, sinister manipulators who are openly working against our interests, and sending us overseas to kill or be killed, just to fatten their bank accounts. Enough!
Linh Dinh is the author of two books of stories, five of poems, and a novel, Love Like Hate. He’s tracking our deteriorating socialscape through his frequently updated photo blog, State of the Union.
COMING IN SEPTEMBER
A Special Memorial Issue of CounterPunch
Featuring recollections of Alexander Cockburn from Jeffrey St. Clair, Peter Linebaugh, Paul Craig Roberts, Noam Chomsky, Mike Whitney, Doug Peacock, Perry Anderson, Becky Grant, Dennis Kucinich, Michael Neumann, Susannah Hecht, P. Sainath, Ben Tripp, Alison Weir, James Ridgeway, JoAnn Wypijewski, John Strausbaugh, Pierre Sprey, Carolyn Cooke, Conn Hallinan, James Wolcott, Laura Flanders, Ken Silverstein, Tariq Ali and many others …