Some random thoughts along the armadillo highway . . .
Americans spend millions of dollars each year as part of their health insurance costs to pay medical management companies to deny them health care. These companies reap profits by denying medical help to some of the most critically ill people in the culture, and Americans pay them exorbitantly to do so.
All these law-and-order Republicans are falling all over themselves urging Imperial President George Bush to pardon I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby. Libby, a former aide to Imperial Vice President Dick Cheney, was recently sentenced to 30 months in jail for obstruction of justice, perjury and lying to the FBI. These forgive-the-criminal Republicans are the same people who promote an ideology of stiff prison sentences for the most minor criminal offenses, such as simple marijuana possession.
Americans now live under a government that sanctions the systematic torture of its prisoners, widespread wiretapping of its citizens, and a corrupt, politicized justice system. But many still believe somehow the country remains a democracy? Call it neofascism or American imperialism or the military-corporate-industrial complex, call it what you like, but what we have here can, in all candor, no longer be termed democracy.
When you privatize public institutions, you take away citizens’ interest in public service. The allegiance is now to the company’s profits, not the government nor even the individual. Eventually, government privatization leads to a collapse of government and any sense of civic loyalty.
The GOP has failed once again to produce any type of meaningful immigration reform on the federal level. Yet its rank-and-file members consider the issue one of the most pressing dilemmas in America today. Republicans today deconstruct. For example, a typical law-and-order Republican will be against amnesty for illegal immigrants but a strong supporter of Imperial President Bush or GOP presidential candidates John McCain and Rudy Giuliani, all who favor amnesty to allow companies to exploit workers and keep wages low for everyone. This type of accepted irrationality—the unspoken suspension of logic, clarity, and consistency—is the most dangerous ideology facing the world today.
Gasoline prices skyrocket. Energy companies report record profits. Somehow, though, the corporate media fails to tie the two together in any meaningful way. The media deflects the issue, making the issue about available fuel supplies and future investments in refineries, not about real people losing financial stability as ultra-rich oil barons fleece our families.
If a pro-choice, amnesty-granting Republican like Rudy Giuliani is nominated as the GOP candidate for president in 2008, does it mean the party no longer exists in a philosophical sense? We can only hope the party of Bush dies of its own contradictions and hubris.
If anyone wonders why people are so depressed these days over the country’s direction, just turn on the cable television news programs and watch the latest right-wing military general tell us the violence will continue in Iraq for years and years to come. In addition, relatively few people in our culture are even allowed to speak out against the Iraq occupation without suffering major repercussions in their lives, much less given time on a major cable news show. Those people who can and do speak out are marginalized by corporate media outlets, which support the continuing Iraq occupation either implicitly or explicitly. Those who speak out against the Bush regime and its failed policies are right, but those who support it are rewarded in government and the corporate world. Until this dynamic changes, the country will not be able to restore its democratic structures.
Graduating seniors this year spent their entire high school years under a violent, pro-war, pro-torture tyrannical despot and regime. This graduating class came of age during a time when logic and reason were replaced with crass manipulation of citizens to secure power and wealth for a relatively small group of American neofascists. The main tool of this manipulation was simplistic appeals to nationalism. What has been the impact on this group of students? Will they have the reasoning and critically-thinking skills to advance knowledge? How can students even think rationally when most of the government leaders they have ever known are calculated liars?