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There’s language used daily for the purpose of broadcasting current events, urgent portents concerning impending crisis of critical importance, worthy of vigilance and swift, rapid response: terrorism by any name or definition (Can we ever forget “weapons of mass destruction?”) constitute a constant threat, worthy of redress and must be faced head on. There’s also the the relentless enemy, who never sleeps, and will stop at nothing until he/she destroys “our way of life” (we are also vigilant, and relentless too, and will make those who are the enemies of freedom and democracy pay for what they’ve done…). There’s proof that the prevailing vernacular of the single-minded prevails, for, if you truly love your country, why not “go shopping,” spend, consume, etc… Perhaps we’ve come a long way from “ask not what your country can do for you?”

And of course, there will always be that something that people can do to better their country, their nation, “fatherland” even in bleak economic times. No doubt, the citizenry has nothing to lose by embracing the gospel of austerity; those at the top have made it their business to frame it in patriotic sounding terms… Should we be thankful we have pundits and politicians who can better phrase and put into words the right jargon that passes off as wisdom? We may have a sneaky suspicion we’re been sold a bill of goods, mind you, we have other things to worry about: our daily chores, routine, family, bills, commitments, deadlines… and debts. Getting by becomes everything; we breathe anxiety, uncertainty, and are always on an unnerving, joyless roller coaster ride to nowhere, from paycheck to paycheck.

I’ve been there too; I am still there. And I too watch PBS, CNN, MSNBC; I also read The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and I know that the one being read is me. The truth is, I am read between the lines. After all, I am part of the pack too (the rabble?) and can be easily led, cajoled, bamboozled, manipulated, mishandled and misguided because I’m ignorant and apt to be controlled and told what to believe… If I let them.

Read between the lines, always, and believe that you’re not alone and that there are many like you, with small microphones, but eager to give voice to what’s important to them and the rest of humanity. The world needs us, we need the world, to speak truth to power, mendacity and the tyranny of words. May you never fall prey to those who weave the “tangled web” of lies, deceit, and “newspeak” in the verbal maze.

Francisco

— August 1, 2010

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