"No matter how paranoid or conspiracy-minded you are, what the government is actually doing is worse than you imagine." - - - William Blum

March 27, 2005

The Seriously Pessimistic Mark Morford

Mark Morford always playfully pokes at the amoral and unethical fringes of our society and politics and usually suggests that they resolve their problems with some good, wholesome, stress-relieving sex, drugs and rock-and-roll (or today's equivalent). Not so, this time:

....We are in dark times. Five years of economic bloodshed and three of brutal warmongering and the worst environmental president in American history and you simply cannot deny that as the ruthless American agenda goes, so goes the populace, so goes the collective attitude, the shared vibration, the health of the planet and the feeling that this particular karmic sinkhole has no known bottom.

In other words, it is all connected. It is all of a piece. There is a direct correlation between the violent and heartless tone and attitude of our country and the mental and spiritual health of its people and by way of comparison just look at the Clinton era, which brought eight years of unprecedented prosperity and peace and a nearly balanced budget and high economic flush.

It's true. There was, we forget, a decided lack of sexual anxiety and uptight moral rigidity in the nation, minimal pseudo-religious puling from the uptight Right and much moderate lawmaking and I don't care a whit for what you say about the man's personal moral compass -- under Clinton, America had deeply supportive allies, intelligent foreign policy, more genuine concern for the planet and the health of our forests and oceans and air, and we had a president who was incredibly articulate and deeply intelligent and greatly beloved the world over and the nation enjoyed one of its most prosperous and nondivisive and peaceful periods in its history.

And now, the exact opposite. Everywhere you look, the culture is fractured and divisive and mean. Everywhere you look it's war and pollution and more toxins, red versus blue, good versus evil, more garbage and less concern where to shove it, fewer restrictions on industrial polluters and fewer controls on corporate abuse and an administration that has so shamelessly leveraged the worst tragedy in American history to further its brutal and hawkish right-wing agenda it would embarrass Mussolini.

The sad fact is, there are a great many among us who believe we have entered into a new Dark Age, that it will be a long and brutal slog indeed and BushCo is merely the precursor, the devil's handmaiden, and that we have a long way to go into the bleak and the bloody and the environmentally devastating before the pendulum begins its slow swing back toward the light.

Just look around. No one anywhere, not priests, not nuns, not healers or mystics, not Christians, not pagans, not Repubs or Demos or Libertarians, no one anywhere in this country is saying, hey, doesn't it feel like we're entering into a new era of health and healing and positivism and spiritual rebirth? Aren't our schools just teeming anew with eager students who seem to be getting smarter and more articulate? Isn't the air getting cleaner and aren't we proud of our government for protecting the health of future generations by pushing for more natural foods and signing on to the Kyoto Treaty and advocating antitoxin regulations and by protecting our forests and improving school textbooks and revolutionizing the hideous national health care system?

Doesn't that tone of enthusiasm and hope sound just completely silly, wrong, out of place, like so much Prozac-grade bulls--? Damn right it does.

There's a reason for that. We are not headed for light. Not yet, anyway. The coming years are not going to be about friendship and repaired foreign relations and a sense of our shared humanity, about equality and sexual freedom and a renewed sense of human rights. To believe this is to believe in fairy tales almost as insidious and hopeless as evangelical Christians who are right now stuffing themselves with Cheez-Its and pink wine and praying for Armageddon.

There is something freakily scary going on right now, and the Schiavo debacle has surprisingly brought it into focus. The Schiavo case is nothing new. I've witnessed, over the years, unpopular court decisions about cases similar or identical to this right-to-life/right-to-die spectacle currently playing out in Florida. Inevitably, the fringe backlash would die out as sensibilities took control.

We seem to be at a crossroads right now. The mainstream reinsert-the-tube media is already in the pockets of the corporate christian elite, and yet 80 percent of the public reject Congress's and Bush-war's intrusion into this feeding tube folly. Lethal violence is on the verge of surfacing in Florida, depending entirely on whether or not Jeb Bush maintains any semblance of sanity. Just as Bush-One promised the Kurds his support in Gulf War I and then turned his back, now Bush-War shows he supports the christian fundagelical extremists who are ready and willing to violently "save" brain-dead Terri Schiavo. Once this fringe group realizes that they have no "real" support from the Neocons in Congress and the White House, all hell may break loose within the ranks of the Republican Party, and all the rest of us are going to be caught in the crossfire. When those with all the power start shooting at each other (I'm being figurative here) we're going to see a breakdown of the civil fabric holding our society together. Say goodbye to civility and get ready to rumble.

Is it a planned diversion by the corporate-sponsored neocons to keep our focus off the illegal Iraqi war and occupation, the unethical and illegal hijacking of Congress and the courts by the religious right, the new federal policies of internment and torture, the razing of our environment, the destruction of our healthcare and education systems, the annihilation of our middle class economy, and the complete subjugation of our media and freedom of speech? You bet. Is it the beginning of the end? You tell me.

For the first time in my life I'm seriously considering the purchase of a gun for protection of my family and home. I never remember being this scared of my own country.

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