The Death of Democracy is just a mouse click away
April 15, 2013
Now that the vast majority of the US population is facing austerity cuts, and cuts to Social Security why is it that millions of US citizens (less the 1% whose concerns lie elsewhere) are not choking the streets in protest and outrage and refusing to go home to put up with any more bullshit “business as usual.”
We know these cuts, sanctified under the rubric of Sequestration, will affect the “food security” of US elders, especially women, for years to come, and the children and families who already live on the economic edge—many of them veterans—even before these cuts go into effect. As well, they will affect everyone who benefits from state-funded entitlements.
Let it be underscored here that Social Security is not and never has been an entitlement—it is money that we as hard working—and sacrificing—citizens have earned with our labor throughout our lifetimes. Nor has Social Security ever been “in trouble” or “bankrupt” as those who would give it baptism-by-bathtub so stridently proclaim.
So why is it that, despite the untidy example of scruffy people like Cypriots, Greeks and Madrileños, the US public doesn’t hit the streets? Is it because most folks here still labor under the PR-induced delusion that they’re just one day short of becoming new millionaires? (“How Much Is A Planet Worth?” screams the ACTransit billboard. And the answer: “Believe in Something Bigger: Cal Lottery Powerball.”)
Or perhaps, on the surface at least, the Barack Obama Kool Aid presidency can be cited as a massaging factor. Surely a “black” president, elected on a “Democratic” ticket must mean well for all of us, especially if we’re willing to overlook a couple of impediments: 50% of Barack Obama is a white president—which may explain all that presidential fence straddling.
Secondly, the illusion that the political landscape remotely resembles a two party system is pure smoke and mirrors. We have one party, the business party, and change you better the hell believe in. It’s a party with a Janus face: the carrot and the stick, the good cop (Democratic) and the bad cop (Republican). But it’s a cop party all the same, and if you ever doubted it, go ask Aaron Schwarz, or Bradley Manning or the hundreds of thousands of people now practicing non-violent civil disobedience that you don’t read about in the papers.
Now that the Chinese have seen the Capitalist light, the ancient Day of Qingming has been restored to the official calendar. Journeying great distances, devout Chinese sweep the tombs of their ancestors on Tomb Sweeping Day when it’s customary to burn dollars and renminbi, and even to provide heavenly passports for their ancestor’s celestial transport to higher realms. But for those in too much of a Capitalist hurry to make the long journey home, websites spring up like mushrooms, where with a simple click of the mouse, sweeper surrogates and virtual villas with flat screen TVs, and even paper mistresses, can be purchased to keep the departed entertained.
It could be argued that reliance on superstition is the earmark of an obstinately backward country. Yet here we have grown dependent on the keypad to ease the conscience of our civic participation by signing petitions, petitions by Move-On, by the Progressive Secretary, by the ACLU, by the NAACP, by Citizens Against the Death Penalty; by World Can’t Wait, by CodePink, by the United Farmworkers; by Immigration Reform, by all the good, bleeding heart liberal causes that keep us awake at night, and contribute to our high and growing rates of physical disease and spiritual discomfort.
We have become deformed, not as a result of the assaults to our DNA of radiation and its contaminating effects on the genome, but by the conditioning that takes over every time we clickonsend. Like the DNA-damaged childbirths of Chernobyl, we have become beings with stumps for legs, legs which barely raise our genitalia off the ground; but with fingers grown grotesquely fat through millions of compassionate conscience-easing keystrokes.
We have lost the memory of walking, of taking to the streets. Of protesting with tens of millions of our fellow beings to say “hell no.” Of calling for an end to corporate rape-without-the Crisco. After all, aren’t we already in daily touch with thousands of human beings on Facebook? Don’t we tweet and twitter and fritter away our outrage where the only agency really paying attention is government surveillance?
For us virtual primates, the death of democracy is just one mouseclick away.