Mubarak Exits, the People Rejoice

Conservatives and Evil

Whenever tragedy strikes anywhere in the country, or acts of violence are committed in its cities or neighborhoods, it has been the self-appointed duty of most conservatives— those fearless, die-hard, unabashed card-carrying members of either dominant political party— to be as forthright, candid and explicit as only they can possibly be under the circumstances, to unequivocally cast their peculiarly ideological fire and brimstone message on the rest of the population. It is not enough that other pundits have already taken it upon themselves to up the ante for the sake of better ratings and popularity, but we are also subject to constant fear mongering emanating from the brilliant psyche of the so called moral (or religious) majority who seek ostensibly to stand on a self-righteous higher ground spewing out vigorously their nonsensical rhetoric.

Of late, one of the many faithful disciples of the lunatic fringe is Ted Nugent, the rock musician famous for his ear splitting guitar riffs (he suffers from hearing loss, as a consequence no doubt), with record album sales and numerous concert appearances, seems to have developed over the years into a true believer, an advocate and spokesperson of the conservative cause. In a recent Washington Times article penned by him entitled, Be Prepared for evil, the wild-dogs-on-a-leash gun advocate admonishes prophetically that, “There is evil among us. Always has been, always will be;” soldiers on to cite the Tucson, Arizona killings and others where “…victims didn’t make the national news, but they are victims nonetheless;” and proceeds with simplistic but adamant zeal to call attention to the “depth of evil that resides in the soulless monsters who commit these senseless, violent and deadly crimes,” for which reason we owe it to ourselves to “be prepared and ready to respond to evil at a moment’s notice.” Never mind a criminal investigation, psychological tests or judicial and legal due process, the operative word here is vigilantism (a genuine ideology of those who hold such misanthropic views), thus we, as “caring people of good will” should take it upon ourselves to be judges and executioners and “be ready to conquer evil if our society and culture are to progress…” if only because of our “…need for a higher level of awareness and a warrior mindset…” [My emphasis]

Such mindless political vitriol and preoccupation for a citizen’s patrol is cause for worry and concern and no sane argument could redeem such a self-defeating idea. Nugent’s pseudo populistic approach becomes nothing more than a call to arms from a right wing fundamentalist with a reactionary and self-serving conceit in mind. One would have every reason to wonder what the murder rate would be if everyone makes the case for such militaristic tactics in a country ruled by an elite hell bent on oppressing and keeping the citizenry in check on behalf of the rule of law and obediently assisted by a complacent news media forever stoking the flames of fear and crime in the streets, rapists on the lose and other social malaise supposedly ruining the country. Granted, murder is committed for different reasons, albeit with the same catastrophic and tragic results, but should so much misguided efforts be channeled into attributing an evil wicked, sinful, diabolical aberration to humans instead of sifting through for the real social and psychological causes?

The truth is that most of us will never know with certainty what goes through some people’s mind at times, what truly motivates them, preoccupies them, much less predict what could drive them to commit horrible deeds against their fellow human beings. Unfortunately, not enough attention, care and resources are being allocated to better diagnose and treat people suffering from mental illness. What does appear to follow a certain sensible, sober and humanistic logic is the premise that empirical science and criminology should be practiced for the benefit and social well being of society in general by professionals and not by quacks and demagogues who are hardly able to come to terms with their own selfish existence let alone the “evil” plaguing their own little world.

Post-Elections Syndrome

There’s the all too long-held view embraced by the electorate in general that casting one’s vote will really and truly count for something. To be fair, most people are indeed sincere when taking time off from work or other responsibilities to venture into the political arena every so often to cast their hopes, dreams and aspirations into the ballot box. Voters feel they are exercising their civic and patriotic duty by this act and hope to see positive results for this endeavor some time in future (for obvious reasons, no doubt), believing whole-heartedly in the promises made to them by their soon to be elected officials, who have invested many days and long hours in their eagerness to convince their constituency that what they have in store for the country is the real thing, or at least better than that offered by the other party or candidate…

The hopes and expectations among the public will always run high, but we can afford to be a bit skeptical, and even be forgiven for daring to question the current electoral process— and rightly so, especially if we’re old enough to have experienced this “privilege” all too often— and can hardly be blamed for wondering out loud if we have in fact contributed to a truly democratic process by exercising our rights as citizen in vouching for the best candidate in either party, or if all we’ve done in reality is to have wasted our precious time by depositing our trust in an individual whose chief civic concern is to get elected in order to further his or her political career at our expense. Moreover, narrowing our options by being offered the only two choices available, Democratic and Republican, becomes a travesty of sorts, an incongruity, a sheer farce judging by the outcome of most elections. We’ve reached a stage where regardless of which party is at the helm, we can rest assure that the results will always be the same and the purported differences between the two will be minimum, to say the least.

In the not too distant past, in 2006 to be precise, voters went to the polls to express unequivocally their desire to have theirs sons and daughters returned home from the battlefields of an unjust and catastrophic invasion of a nation and its people. What ensued as a result after the elections was business as usual as the Democrats, after being voted in by the American people as the new majority in Congress, reneged on their promise and soon after capitulated to the bidding of then President Bush’s request for more funding to escalate the war against the Iraqi people and continue the carnage undeterred, with the assistance and full support of the now elected Democratic Congress majority, who are wont to brag about being on the side of the American people, but whose record belies their true political intentions. More recently, this redundancy continues uninterrupted in the Obama administration. The current President, soon after winning the 2008 Presidential elections, allied himself with the hardliners of the Clinton administration through the appointment of the such economic luminaries as, Robert Rubin, Lawrence Summers and Timothy Geithner, all three responsible for the corruption and economic malaise plaguing the country ever since; and, for good measure, the appointment of none other than Bush administration’s Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, so as to pursue by any and all means necessary the war of aggression against Iraq and Afghanistan.

In the end, it becomes all too revealing how all the policies and actions of the Democrats point towards the sole conceit of sustaining the Washington status quo by rubber stamping such fiscally irresponsible and damaging economic initiatives as the all too known “too big to fail” Bail Out of Wall Street and the financial sector, leaving the American taxpayer to foot the bill; passing a health care reform bill with scant improvement over the previous one, except now better suited to fill the coffers of the insurance and health care industries; a disturbing lack of due process against a giant oil conglomerate whose blatant disregard for the well-being of nature and the environment caused it to unleash untold damage in the Gulf region in the most massive oil spill in history, but only after being aided and abetted by the very institution in government responsible for its monitoring and supervision, whose leaders were also benefiting financially by being paid handsomely for turning a blind eye to all violations of rules and regulations; little, if any, redress for the rampant social injustice perpetrated against members of the minority: African-Americans, the muslin community (in fact, always seeking to prosecute and criminalize this group at the first opportunity), the immigrant community (dragging its feet in any meaningful or significant legislation of true reform for the sake of those seeking immigrant asylum and a favorable legal status), paying only lip service to ending the draconian “don’t ask don’t tell” law (despite the fact that most surveys indicate the majority of the American people favor its repeal); keeping virtually intact the Guantanamo prison system in flagrant violation of the Geneva Convention and against national and international public opinion; and its latest efforts to renew and extend the Bush tax cut system favoring the rich and the highest income earners in the country…

The catalog of outright capitalist, market-ridden initiatives undertaken of late by the Obama administration are simply too numerous to list and beyond the purview of this space, and in truth worthy of book-length consideration for more detailed accountability. Be that as it may, this essay in no way represents, by implication, tacit approval or endorsement of the alternate party of “choice.” It just so happens that the Republicans had their turn to run the sociopolitical infrastructure of the country to the ground and did so, paving the way for the new majority occupants at the White House and in Congress, whose turn it is at the moment. The fact remains that is plain to see how the gigantic machinery in Washington has always been better suited to look after their own: the powerful corporations, the financial and insurance interests and capitalist investors, all too eager to take advantage of the system they’ve helped prop up— and that will eventually deliver the goods unconditionally— after propelling to office their candidate(s) of choice. If the pundits in the media and the demagogues in Washington could only foster the illusion that there exist stark differences between the two political parties in their approach to ruling the country, then there is every reason to believe that an unsuspecting voter would always be at hand and ready to believe this logic and acquiesce in kind with little if any protest. Nonetheless, it will indeed be up to the citizenry to become better informed in regard to the policies that affect them, see the outright lie and manipulation of the “two-choice” gospel for what it truly is, and demand alternatives to the monopolistic duopoly eating at the fabric of the political process in the country.

Francisco

— November 27, 2010