[Adapted from an essay written July 15, 2015]
There is an economic divide between the extremely wealthy and the poorest citizens of the contemporary, disconnected United States of America that has been stimulating thoughts of rebellion that will make the decollated violence of Bastille Day seem like the celebration of a minor Christian festival by octogenarian nuns in a third-world country. Our political manifestation is experiencing the late beginnings of a cultural revolution, the low rumblings of sizable seismic energy ready to extravasate its molten pyroclastic contents onto our nation’s heartland with Vesuvian fury, and this droning defiance against austerity is the focal point of current conservative rhetoric that calls for the destruction or weakening of any governmental agency that might hinder corporate profits while insidiously murdering the middle class and our planet.
Our nation’s exclusive two-party political system is a skein of emotional twine that is as convoluted as advanced Calculus is to me! Some blame Republicans, some Democrats, some the business sector, and some the judicial branch of the government. I think that it’s mainly a conflict between conservatism and progressivism. Let’s face it, the two major political parties have blurred boundaries over which any member from either party can cross with impunity; although, the ubiquitous 24-hour news media has helped stir me to believe that the majority of the GOP is struggling for its very survival now that the subtle racism of the past thirty years has become so overt; the inappropriately misnamed “Tea Party” is ultra-conservative to the point of racial intolerance. With that acknowledged, it is very interesting, to me as a progressive, to watch the GOP as it helplessly recoils into a vortex of self-destruction.
What does one expect from a party that claims that government is the evil of our society then does everything in its power to undermine it by rejecting any legislation, especially legislation for which President Obama may receive positive response? Yet, they run for the very governmental positions that they vocally oppose. To think that any member of the GOP wants to eliminate abortion, Obamacare, Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, et al. is either willfully imperceptive or hopelessly ignorant. Conservative politicians don’t care about morality. They merely use these themes as diversions to direct public attention away from their true agenda: tax cuts for the very wealthy; elimination of the EPA so that big businesses can pollute the environment with impunity; privatization of Healthcare; the availability of weapons for anyone regardless of mental acuity; and any other potential legislation that will enable them to increase their wealth at the cost of practically everything. This has been the GOP’s rhetoric for the past thirty years, yet Donald Trump and Mike Huckabee have currently put this ilk of rhetoric on steroids, using brash racism instead of subtlety in order to procure votes from their egocentric constituency.
In 2008 after President Obama won his first election, the GOP held a meeting wherein they vowed to do whatever they could to make sure that his presidency was for just a single term, and the racial baiting of our society took on a more collective urgency. This is why Donald Trump, the racist bully with a prepubescent proclivity to revert to puerile diatribe when he feels threatened, is currently the leading GOP candidate for the presidency, and to convince one’s self that the blatant racial undertones of his entire campaigning has no relevance to the more conservative political party is either ignorance or an unrecognized hate and fear within the deepest recesses of one’s hidden, and thereby unrecognized, racist psyche. If you think that Donald Trump isn’t speaking for the GOP, you’ve not been paying attention or you get your news exclusively from Fox News, the preferred entertainment media for the new Confederacy.
Our nation’s corrupt political system is entirely too influenced by sound bites and a montage of incoherent images ambiguously adumbrating superficial conservative values disguised as falsely but morally sanctioned rhetoric that has become a discursive, histrionic skein of hate- and fear-mongering fueled by overt racism. In reality, these mirages of superficial morality, among other effects, exploit war as a ludicrously profitable business venture at the cost of beneficent social programs as well as the deaths of too many troops composed of warriors who do not constitute the daughters and sons of wealth-hording families that have the power to declare war; the superficial images that deny or obfuscate climate-change against overwhelming scientific verification; anti-gun control even for people who are mentally challenged and the vast majority of all U.S. citizens approve of regulation for the distribution of weapons forged exclusively for mass bloody human sacrifice (…for what other reason does one need a weapon that shoots hundreds of rounds of bullets per second?); the superficial rhetoric that negates the positive attributes of planned parenthood by focusing almost exclusively on abortion, which is less than 10% of its modus operandi; specious rhetoric from religious-freedom advocates claiming sacrosanct motives to justify social discrimination; misconstrued conservative values that laud subjugation of women; caricaturing the poor as a way to facilitate making them the enemy of the state; egregious tax exemptions for the very wealthy; ambiguous values that support war by granting nearly exclusive media airtime to minor retired generals who support military aggression while simultaneously working for manufacturers of weapons of mass destruction; and undeserved freedom from litigation for major industries that destroy planetary resources.
The climax of the simmering, organized resistance of our nation’s current constituted government will be the draconian result of failed Reaganomics, more specifically, the ancient actor-president’s “trickle-down” economic fiasco that has given ridiculous tax breaks to the very wealthy while strongly encouraging the divestment of poverty, making the poor a much larger target for vitriol and facilitating the ever-widening chasm that has separated sybaritism from the most penurious at the destructive cost of the Bourgeois.
Reaganommics has also weakened governmental agencies by defunding them to the point of impotence, virtually eliminating the powers of the CDC, FDA, USDA, the U.S. Postal Service, etc., by overseeing the destruction of ecologic regulation as well as the deregulation of banking, housing industries, and big businesses (including privatization of education, health facilities, prisons, Medicare, pharmaceutical companies, and the incessant attempt to privatize social security), which resulted in the major economic crisis of 2008 and is the continued unguent that lubricates any friction circumventing access to profitability by the richest of the rich.
Unions are also vulnerable to the conservative agenda. Unions have been the equalizer between major corporations and the blue-collar worker for more than a century, eliminating child labor and promoting a minimum wage, among other major societal beneficence. By eliminating the strength of our unions, the corporations, which are by definition a group of people combined into or acting as one, have much more political influence than a single voice, especially if that singular voice comes from a minority: she who selects “other” as her race, the sexually ostracized, women in general, the handicapped, the mentally impaired, people who have been unjustly incarcerated—no wonder conservatives embrace voter suppression and “religious-freedom” hypocrisies without which the conservatives would possess an insignificant amount of political power.
Conservatives, by definition, are people who favor traditional views and values, tending to oppose change regardless of the bleakness of the status quo. This is why no progressive act has been initiated by a conservative majority. Keep in mind that I’m not calling out any specific party. The Republican Party during Eisenhower’s administration was much different than the current GOP. The same for the Democratic Party. Both parties have conservative constituents, but all conservatives are stubbornly loyal to the status quo regardless of time or party affiliation. During the American Revolution, conservatives were called Tories… they were totally against signing the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution.
I’m not sure if it’s always been, but current conservatives on both sides have come to embrace war. For the past year-and-a-half to two years, Secretary of State John Kerry has worked with nuclear experts and leaders of six other nations to agree on policies that will stop Iran’s abilities to build nuclear weapons in exchange for revoking economic sanctions. The U.S., Iran, China, Russia, France, Germany, and England are involved with the negotiations and agree that it is an effective plan to not only stop Iran’s nuclear proliferation but to slowly reintroduce Iran back into the world’s economy. Members of the UN will have 24/7 access to Iran’s nuclear facilities and if any transgression is uncovered, the sanctions will be swiftly replaced, yet conservatives in Washington are spewing negative rhetoric against the treaty. I can think of two reasons: 1) to scuttlebutt anything positive for which President Obama may receive credit or 2) conservative politicians want war so the CEOs of the war industry can make millions or billions of dollars in which the obliging politician can share.
Clinging stubbornly to the status quo is disconcerting to folks like me who want to see a political ideology that embraces a more progressive focus: the continued separation of church and state, ecological planetary stewardship, terrestrial peace, universal health care, the pursuit of happiness for everyone even when one’s happiness doesn’t align with that of the majority’s, and equality for all in the eyes of the law. Current conservative rhetoric is bullying, hate- and fear-mongering vitriol that seems to embrace egoistic superiority, which has recently been overtly manifested by the Confederate flag and its defense as a “traditional” symbol of heritage instead of the racially pejorative epithet it has become after Dixiecrats and the Ku Klux Klan adopted it as its standard for racial supremacy during the social volatility of the 1950s. The southern and mid-western contingency of the conservative network has somehow convinced itself that the Confederate flag is exclusively a symbol for positive Southern heritage instead of the conscious metaphor for white supremacy.
Because of last year’s overtly racist and terroristic murder of nine black members of an AME congregation in South Carolina, one victim the pastor and a state representative, the Confederate flag has been taken down from in front of the capital’s Capitol. This has fanned the flame of ignorance by conservative people who avail the flag as a positive symbol of heritage. To me, the Confederate flag is a metaphor for the word “nigger”; it allows anyone to cowardly communicate the word without saying it aloud, yet there is no obfuscation in its intended malice. Why would anyone want to laud four years of Southern disgrace, such an insignificant amount of time concerning the vast history of the South? Even if one ignorantly claims a positive interpretation of the controversial symbol, it is just mean and bullying to continue its encomiastic exaltation when supernumerary people of melanotic physiology are so negatively affected by it. It’s just a meaningless piece of cloth… and it costs nothing to replace it with a much more positive, inclusive symbol of unifying peace. The South is, after all, a hodgepodge of harmonic social ingredients mixed together into a savory stew of culturally amalgamated nutrition with both physically and emotionally salubrious results.
There are so many other Southern traditions that could be embraced by every Southerner, not just plantation owners: Peach cobbler; sweet iced tea; magnolia blossoms; vividly colored azaleas; Southern belles with dulcet accents; the Southern gentleman; gazebos adorned with honeysuckle; mellifluent, grape-like wisteria; swinging Dixieland music; bluegrass; jazz; square dancing; river rafting; cat fishing; hunting dogs; old pickup trucks; and moonlight through the pines. Of course, if a southerner wants an insensitive standard to represent a proud militant strength and defiance to a strong national government, may I suggest a confederate son’s mother at her bachelorette, nubile age of twenty-one dressed as a sensuously barefooted, mammary exploiting, wet t-shirt enhanced, Daisy Duke shorts-wearing, mud wrestler having sex with a black Pegasus on top of the Robert E. Lee auto from “Dukes of Hazzard” lore. Not so “traditional” when your sensibilities are affected, eh? (A similar sentiment can be delineated about the pejorative appellation of the NFL mascot for the District of Columbia, the Redskins, but that’s fuel for another fireside chat.)
I suppose this is what happens when one’s pursuit of happiness involves fervently chasing shiny materialistic speciosity instead of pursuing unadorned enlightenment. Like the holocaust, the Confederate flag should be memorialized in museums where one can somberly reflect how somatically unlike any deity and atavistically violent we humans have been throughout our terrestrial existence… and still are.
Peace Through Music
July 15, 2015