I walk the streets of Sydney, stripped of my god-given american right to be a self styled and well armed militia of one. This heavy burden allows civilisation to flourish, unimpeded by the retrograde logic of the Devolutionists who are wont to cower in fear of each other.
Americans at home have the right to be armed to the teeth and engaged in a cold war with every shadow they pass on the streets.
Our corporate masters chuckle. The profit from our fear seems boundless. They gleefully sell the bullets, we eagerly wear them like chains and beg for more. For every 50 round magazine you buy, you worry that your enemy, your neighbour, will buy two. It's an arms race at the shopping mall. The beauty of unbridled capitalism is the chase to the bottom of your wallet as you try to buy freedom from fear. The gun market trades in stacks of blood money. Business is booming. Gun frenzied fear funds the inverted rise of the totalitarian state, for in the end those with guns terrorise those who refuse to play army. Fear and loathing and isolation become the proxy for community. A marketplace of death replaces the public commons. Ennui and despair settles over a nation set against itself, immobilised, "...like a patient etherised upon the table". And so democracy has become hollowed out, starts to crumble around the edges, and beneath the shell, the face of Donald Trump leers up from the slab.
There is a science we can use to describe our wicked problem with guns. There would be interventions forthcoming from a rationale analysis. But the US is not rational. It is a gun junky cultural more likely to OD in the gutter of fascism than reclaim its virtue. Uncle Sam will have to hit rock bottom before recovery can begin.
But will it be too late? The rest of the world laughs nervously at the garish symptoms of US decay, and worries about the hell-bent trajectory of our self-destruction. US exceptionalism is based on extortion at a biospheric level with the world economy in one bloody fist, and the largest arsenal of death every conceived by sentient creatures pointed directly at the head of every mother and child on the planet. You see, our obsession with guns and death is in the bones. And apparently we want it for the world.
People used to ask, "Why did you come to Australia?" They were shocked to hear that I saw Australia as the land of opportunity. They do not ask any more, but offer their embarrassed consolation. I never meant to become a refugee. Seeing Leviathan from a safe shore...I ask, can you give me sanctuary?
HRC strives to be a classic politician. These are the honorable proxy agents who enact the discourse of democracy. They are the servants of the voting public in broadstrokes, who exercise personal will in the particulars of negotiation. Given a classic forum, she would be a fair representative of the (classic) party, and a fair leader of the nation. She is, I believe a decent human being who shares the ubiquitous career flaw of the politician (the overarching desire for power), but who gamely struggles to reign in the desirous id for the public weal.
My problem in embracing her candidacy is the dark theatre of American governance. The political stage, set, and script are fully owned by a corporate cabal in service of a corporate class...or at least that is my fear. Enter the classic politician, and rhetoric becomes a means to an electoral end, posing as the discourse of democracy. Words are weapons of opportunity unrelated to social contract. Good intentions are led astray by the droning seduction of lawyers, guns, and money. Money becomes votes, becomes the proxy voice of citizens...united. When the classic politician is trained fit for purpose by corporate masters, it subjugates the public will and weal to the profits of the few. They will be costumed in populism but the true message will out in their actions.
"Make me do it..." BHO said of the hard work we wanted done. No amount of advocacy short of revolution would get him to put on his comfortable shoes. And by his words, we are made responsible for his inaction. BHO is a classic good heart who made change in the corporate space he was allowed to work and we praise him as pragmatic. But, he could have stood up to the corporate sponsors. He could have brought an empowered audience to its feet from the bully pulpit. He could have been the hero. Succeed or fail, that act would have created a new, subversive narrative to challenge the owners. But he was not a brave heart in this respect, and perhaps for good reason - it would have been a personally dangerous thing to speak Main Street truth to Wall Street power. As much as I love and respect the man, I was hoping for more from the president. I suspect that an HRC presidency would leave me wanting even more.
In the hands of the lesser good and in the trade of fungible values, democracy becomes a shadow play in a shrinking circle of light. We cannot afford the classic politician and the polished lines that simulate the world on a stage. We need a politician who can break through the third wall and convince a restive audience that we are all players, that this is our play, our history in the making.
Entering the third Act, I have my doubts about HRC in this role. When I see the candidates again on the stage, I will be looking for this spark in them all. But stage directions for Hillary...give me some improv. I want to see your heart. I want to see the 99% reflected in your eyes. I want to believe the power you seek is vested in us, not in dynasty.
I was encouraged to repost this OP from a thread on the US bombing of a hospital. It's about the need for personal and collective atonement:
Let us weave our national psychopathy into a single, tragic narrative.
We tell ourselves John Wayne tales about the inherent goodness and manifest destiny of a righteous nation that protects the meek and mild women folk with god's own christian soldiers...and from the beginning as Zinn points out, we are blind to the holocaust we brought to the first nations, conflicted on our slavers history, dismissive of women's sufferage, defensive about white privilege...at every cross roads unable to face our brutish past or our criminal nature. Over the generations the song of ourselves became increasingly narcissistic and deranged. Hunter S. Thompson marked the high water mark of our political attempt to stem the tide. It's been hippy punching and debauchery in the coliseum ever since. Corporations have co-opted every aspect of public discourse. By their leave, every thread of human concern from global warming, to peak oil, to decaying infrastructure, to neo feudalism...to guns and to our never ending war...is encapsulated, discussed in isolation so as to permanently fragment the big picture...where we are chained to the wall in the allegorical cave...never to find our feet, or the path to social justice, or our own community.
We are numb to the point of moral catatonia, and complicit in our ruin. The empire is dead, rot from within. Long live the shadow empire.
Respondeat Superior. Yes, We (the U.S. military) knew what that building was and who was in it. Don't insult our mechanics and bag men. There is a chain of command and the blood rises all the way to the top. And the top is us (The vox populi). We are guilty, the president is guilty, the military is guilty... indeed, the hand on the trigger carries the least guilt...just an extension of the blameless gun. We talk ourselves into believing that we are not a party to it. We talk ourselves into believing our leaders have the best intention for the doctors, the ones we turned into red mist and concrete dust. No, our leaders did it for shadow empire. Our shadow empire - the one we tacitly support in our piggish consumption, self-serving discourse, and deep, deep, deeply rooted ignorance and fear.
We sit before our screens and the blood is on our keyboards as well. There is one hard and honourable path forward: Lead with our democratic values; organise for collective good around action inspired by those values; and do so at every level, on every issue, networked and pushing always forward over many years of social learning. But before that is possible, we must face and atone for the evil within. Clean your own house first, and walk humbly into the future.
I have become a huge fan of Vivid Sydney. Genius concept and a great way to unite the city in a unique aesthetic experience. Made me wonder though, what are the signature events in the other major cities?
Not seeing the kind of coverage I expected, given the extent of recent damage. Wondering how you are faring out there.
My daughter is coming from the states tomorrow. She and I will be on "urban safari" exploring the greater Sydney metropolis for the next two weeks. Any suggestions for unusual or classic Sydney experiences?
NTEU sent word of a demonstration in Sydney next Sunday to protest Hockey's budget and its impact on education. I've got my comfortable shoes on...
Commonwealth Rehabilitation Services have been gutted under the new budget. Innovative pilot projects, networks of experienced professionals, and the infrastructure that connected them to the greater social safety net are crumbling away. The need remains, and will multiply in the service void. At risk are the most vulnerable, and now they will be wholly exposed. I do not have a history with this system and so I have no idea how these things play out. My new colleagues are gamely seeking ways to sustain the good we've done...trying to develop new community in the face of collapse. I'd really like to hear any insight you have in how to survive this liberal programmatic pogrom.