Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Of Bread and Circuses

In 2007, Robert Kennedy, Jr. famously stated that “Americans are the best entertained and least informed people on the planet.”  I have to agree with him.  Thanks to the internet, though, we have access to the greatest scholars, reporters, artists and philosophers on the globe, both today and throughout history.  Knowledge in all its forms is literally a mouse-click away.  We as a collective nation simply choose not to seek it.  Instead, we passively accept our role in a society we did not create, never questioning who we are or why we do the things we do.

From an early age, my generation was taught to seek education.  That would lead to employment, and that would lead to success.  This was the blueprint.  However, school was always viewed as a drudgery from which we couldn’t wait to escape.  The real fun was at home.  It was on your TV.  It was at the movie theater.  It was found in a Nintendo controller or a comic book.  It wasn’t in your US history text, that’s for sure.  So, you did what you had to, and you got out of there when the bell rang.  Kids I’m sure will always feel that way.  It was the job of our teachers, God bless them, to reel us in and get us focused.

Unfortunately, teachers can only influence their students so far.  The childish mentality of avoiding knowledge at all costs seems to be fostered and groomed in our nation today.  Most of us do not need any help to avoid critically thinking about difficult problems.  If you are not forced to dwell on distasteful matters, why would you?  It is far easier to be entertained.  Human thought is much like electricity.  When directed properly, it can achieve astounding things.  Left to its own devices, it will inevitably seek the path of least resistance.

It is so incredibly simple to plug into our entertainment-driven culture.  It almost feels like a crime to think for oneself.  We want the reassurance of the tribe on our side.  It feels good to be on a team.  Now, that’s not to say we shy away from confrontation.  We watch sports and listen to very intelligent commentators break down every aspect of every athlete in every game.  We nod and grimace as we accept or dismiss their opinion.  Then we grab the phone to speak our mind.  But this is in a very safe and defined little gamespace, and we are confident there are others who feel just like us out there.  When they call up and echo our opinion, we feel vindicated and are happy to be on their team.

It’s the same way in politics, only instead of 30 or so teams in the league, there are only two.  Sure, you can join one of the expansion teams, but you’d be crazy to do that.  So you pick your team and you size up their strengths and attack the other team’s weaknesses.  When someone points out your team’s weaknesses, you defend them, even if you don’t feel strong convictions about those weaknesses.  It’s just part of the game.

Unfortunately, it’s not a game.  Elected officials are the only thing separating us from the peasantry of feudal empire.  It should not be acceptable to have a presidential election built on lies and subterfuge.  We should, as a people, be seeking a true alternative to the system.  Our nation needs someone who will prosecute bankers who have defrauded the American people and begin to set our economic house in order.  We need someone who will put the lives of American soldiers and foreign citizens above the oil industry’s interests.  We need someone who will take the very real problem of our environment seriously and will throw the resources we are throwing at the military behind true alternative energy research.  We may be an uninformed electorate, but I feel deep down that a majority of us understand those three basic principles of our immediate future.  These are the things that must happen if America is going to continue as we know it.

If a candidate who is capable of these things exists, I have not yet seen him or her, though.  Our current president has made a mockery of the promises he made on his campaign trail, and the Republican candidate doesn’t even look like a human being.  And the best dark horse out there, Ron Paul, is not the man he or his supporters claim him to be.  The fact is that there are no politicians who would even attempt the three main things I just listed.  They would be shot the second they tried, or suicided depending on which assassin got the contract.  I wish I was kidding, I really wish I was. 

So, if that’s the platform of the candidate we need, but there’s no candidate bright enough, capable enough and bulletproof enough to get the job done, what do we do?  Well, I like to look at history.  Somebody told me once something about being doomed to repeat it if we don’t.  There’s a man on the $20 bill that, in addition to killing a whole lot of Native Americans, once stood up to Zionist bankers and threw them out of our country.  I’m speaking of Andrew Jackson and his battle to take down the Second Bank of the United States.  Unfortunately, he was the last president to pay off the national debt, and for his trouble he was also the first American president to have an assassination attempt.  Richard Lawrence, an unemployed housepainter from England, supposedly disgruntled with the destruction of the Bank, aimed two pistols at Jackson and pulled their triggers.  Both pistols misfired.  For killing the bank and being bulletproof like Jules from Pulp Fiction, Jackson would be my favorite president of all time…if it wasn’t for all the Indian genocide.

So, what we need is a former military bad-ass with the nerve to do what is necessary and the strength to pull it off.  Clearly, we need Jesse Ventura.  Sorry, I couldn’t even type that without groaning.  Vote for Obama, I guess.  Vote for whoever you want.  It doesn’t matter.  It’s starting to become clearer why we aren’t more informed.  It’s depressing.  Time to watch baseball and be entertained.

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