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Thursday, February 4, 2010


friends for life

Today in the doctor's waiting room I was reading an op-ed in the Winston-Salem Journal by David Brooks of NYTimes. He was writing about mental disabilities that come up consistently at certain ages. He was insightful and I was enjoying what he had to say. About half way into it I had to put it down. Later at home, I googled David Brooks columnist and found his webpage. There it was. I read it again enjoying it, thinking this guy is not only a good writer, he has a good handle on this subject. I was looking to where he was going with it about the time it was getting most interesting. Then he turned it into an appeal to old people to revolt, like what we need now is old people using internet to gather power and get er done. I clicked on the x in the upper right corner.

For one thing, it's not going to happen any time so0n. Earlier, he was saying that at about age 50 one begins to withdraw from the world gradually. I take it from that and noting my own progress in that direction, by the time one is 70, there's not any thought of organizing for this or that futility to make it better for the future. By the time people are that old, they don't care any more. Some do, surely. I don't. At this time in my life, 67, I don't see hope for much. The direction the government has been going over the last 30 years of the Reagan Revolution that became the Gingrich Revolution is downhill on greased skis. I don't see any force that can change it. If anything is going to save us from ourselves, it's going to have to arrive from out of the blue like a meteor. It can't come from within. The wheel of fortune continues to turn. From the top there is only one direction, and we're well advanced in it, like the first downhill run on a roller coaster that sets all the rest of the ride in motion.

No grass roots organization of concerned citizens is going to make a difference as far as I can see. Then they do, over and over, some do make a difference. The ones for the better are balanced by the ones for the worse. I can't help but see Obama like the man riding the Hbomb to the ground in Dr Strangelove previews. By taking the job President, he strapped himself to the bomb. A liberal thinking senator in his first tour isn't very far separate from that anyway. But when he becomes President, he is no longer himself. Doesn't matter if he has liberal ideas about one thing and another, wants to help black people. When he's President, he represents the USA of the lowest down CIA and FBI tactics, the corporate Ugly American, which by now is the Leprous American. Ugly American was in the 50s. We've got a lot worse in the eyes of the rest of the world since then.

I can't see any direction for where USA is headed but downhill. At my age, I wouldn't think of protesting anything like it would make a difference. I've got my place on Waterfall Road in the Blue Ridge, far from commerce, far from corporate and government machinations. The closest that gets is the radio news, and it's so foreign conceptually I don't get most of it. A drone 2 miles up in Afghanistan that guides a missile to a direct hit. The Israeli game of assassinating important people.

The best I can make out is we have war after war that is never declared a war, all of them to advance the wealth of the rich. The rich pay no taxes. It's the working people who pay taxes that the rich use 2/3 of for military budget to protect and advance their interest. We who work pay the force that makes them richer and a lot of us get killed in the action. It's like the Teapot Museum in Sparta. A man of Roaring Gap Club, a promoter of the arts, had a great idea for Sparta when he met Kamm of the teapot collection. Put the museum in Sparta. Increase tourism. Revenues. Sparta boom town. Fabulous idea. Only the people of the county, who never wanted it and were never considered, were expected to come up with the $14 million to fund the idea of a couple of rich men over drinks in first class, for Sparta's own good. Meaning their own good.

A couple of upper out of sight men look to benefit from the museum, but the people of the county, the taxpayers, don't want it. Too bad, they're going to push it through anyway. Except the people didn't come through. The people never wanted it. Now they're taking it away and we get the blame because we didn't come up with the money. Makes me wonder if we'd have wars for Halliburton and Exxon if the taxpayers couldn't fund them. Like the Carl Sandburg quote, Suppose they had a war and nobody came. Either one of these two men with the Teapot museum could put up the $14 million as a tax writeoff. They don't want it that much. The corporations benefiting from the war wouldn't be doing it if they couldn't fool the working people into supporting it.

But because I think I see what's going on, doesn't mean anything. Propaganda works. Those in power always use it, it always works, it always furthers their interest at our expense. I've seen nothing but this all the way along in my adult life of paying a little bit of attention. I don't see that it's going to change. Propaganda works. Period. It will go on working. Though I don't like what I see, it's the same as hitting a pillow with a tennis racket to react. I remind myself daily it's the way of the world, don't worry about it. I have to live in it, but I don't have to take it seriously. I don't have to believe it.

And I hate to see a dark cabal take my country by judicial fiat and know it's never going back. What can I do? Bang my forehead on the wall? No. I prefer to focus on what's real, the people I know, the people I live among. That's what's real. Not great ideas. Not world domination. Not superiority. It's everyone I see in the course of a day, including the four-leggeds and the winged. It's the trees that live their whole lives in one place with the same neighbors. It's getting along with the people around me. It's peace on the outside, peace on the inside. When I focus my outer mind on the threat to Democracy in America, I feel agitated inside. When I think about the people I know and how happy I am to know them, I feel peace. The choice is mine, agitation or calm. Which do I want? It's my decision. I'd rather watch a film by Wong Kar-Wai than listen to the news any day.

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