Friday, April 1, 2011

Totally Baffled

A message received from a friend:

"#yemen #bahrain #libya #japan. I have no idea where in my consciousness to put all this news of the world, or how to begin to understand where I have been until now oblivious. And the children appear to be losing."

- Mir

There is no way to 'figure it out' from moment to moment. Even those who think that they rule are confused. The only people not confused, perhaps, are those ones raking in the cash. Wall Street continues to rally while the empire shakes itself apart. Our president does what he was hired to do, not by the people, but by those who pay for presidential campaigns - and the circus begins once again. Obama was elected to preserve the empire, and he is doing exactly what must be done in order to keep us in our position as the 2 percent of the world's population that consumes 25 percent of the world's energy. Even with nuclear meltdowns we plunge ahead, never questioning our wasteful use of energy, only talking about how we can maintain the supply. If we want to continue as we do, then there is indeed no alternative to huge centrally controlled networks anchored around nuclear power plants collecting enormous profits for stockholders through government subsidies. Even if it kills us. In America the numbers rule, the life of humanity is strictly secondary. In the end there will only be the machinery that counts the numbers and life itself will be obsolete. The total technocratic solution. 

As people elsewhere fight for freedom Americans have almost totally forgotten what freedom means, except as a simple extension of individual selfishness. We've mostly lost our sense of community and our sense of what being American signifies. The people who remember are those who come from other places, many of whom we chose to criminalize or send back home. It no longer matters what Americans think because America has shown the world little backbone and leadership except in the pursuit of war and the greed that's led to an unravelling of the empire. When a people become willing slaves it's up to others to take up the struggle for what is right and just. 

As I've watched events unfolding in the Middle East the myth that comes to mind is that of Star Wars. The 'Rebel Alliance' versus the 'Empire.' But who are the rebels and who is the empire? When does the revolution come home? We are only at the beginning of something. What we do now is watch the knots as they come untied, and try to understand our place in the world around us, and be ready to move when the voice of action calls. It will call. We can be present for one another and trust that the better part of our nature can never be completely destroyed by terror, propaganda or prisons. This is the message coming from the Middle East as it awakens from so many years of fear and trembling. This is the message coming from Japan as a nation collectively faces the stark realities of present and future. We can watch and learn and maybe make a move beyond denial. 

In the middle of all of this there are voices that can help us sort our priorities, should we so choose, as something other than a collection of consumers. Since we aren't likely to hear these voices on our television networks, wholly bought and paid for by the companies that sell us endless trains of crap, we have to look elsewhere. At this moment there is one powerful global source not beholden to a particular government ideology. It's here that an American voice speaks with a rare mixture of clear critique and compassion.

The children are winning.  

Cornel West*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   

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Do not squander your life.

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