Fourthajuly everywhere, fireworks, explosions, talking heads remind us of wars and rumors of wars, freedom thanks to continuous war. Cheap talk about freedom runs year round like American elections, so much flag consciousness, narcissist nationalism, it makes me uncomfortable. The rest of the world leaves us to it the way a group of people allows the most self-centered among them, the one needing to be the center of attention at all times, allows him to rule. His time will pass. He'll self-destruct. Everybody bears with it and says, "Well, that's just how he is." He rules because his ego demands it, he has more money than anyone else. In America, money is the only measure of an individual's power. I have no money; therefore, I have no power. I have white privilege, though it's only good for a better chance than somebody black not to be killed by a cop. And I don't want the power that goes with money. I don't want to be looked up to for money. I want money to have no role in my life but legal tender for exchange, a form of energy---this energy for that energy. Beyond an exchange of energy, money gets weird.
Social status in America has to do with money and money only. I imagine it's the same other places, so it appears in films from around the earth. Success is measured by money. Respect has to do with money, too. Among the mountain people, the working class, everyone rates basic human respect for mere existence. The middle class people moving into the mountains only respect people up the money-status ladder from themselves. This makes them obnoxious to the mountain people for their snooty arrogance toward people down the ladder. Of course, mountain people who climb the ladder never look down the ladder, either. It's the nature of the money-status hierarchy to want more, not less. Corny as the Beverly Hillbillies tv show was, it plays on the comedy of what hillbillies do when they tap into big money. They do, indeed, become comical, like Texans draped in gold, driving a Cadillac pickup. I never enter the lottery from fear of winning. I know a shit-load of money would make a mess of me. I'd have to give it away immediately, get it out of my mind and out of my hands.
The system of money, status and power is American from all the way back to inspiration to cross the ocean. Making money overran a continent, drained it of its resources, squandered its profits and is left like a working-poor man who won the lottery and a year later is that much in debt. Something interesting is in the works. It's not yet on the surface visible. I'm thinking of an example of the process in the art world, like while abstract expressionism was having its moment, taught all over the country in university art departments as pure art, young artists were doing what was to become Pop and some others to become minimalism in the background, unknown, unanticipated. The artworks were being made over a period of years, shown in small galleries nobody outside New York ever heard of. Eventually, a few of the artists are heard of beyond New York, and a very, very few everybody knows, like Andy Warhol. In this time when the rich have taken all to themselves in off-shore, tax-free, numbered accounts, something unknown to outsiders is stirring.
I can't help but think Bernie Sanders is coming from what's next. Greece, Spain and Puerto Rico are putting a strain on the old way. Something new is yet to come forward, though I doubt it is far away. Finally, the Pope, a Christian who appears to speak and make papal (infallible) decisions with attention to the true spirit of the Christ. The people who identify Christian, yet are quietly embarrassed by the Fundamentalist misuse of the identity, they must be feeling good to see the Pope Francis example take Christian back to where it has dimension beyond cartoon. Sanders, a politician talking straight, finds overwhelming support every appearance. Whether an honest man can make it all the way through the corridors of corruption to a win will be seen in its time. He gives me the appearance that he represents a rising wave of a population of people becoming aware they want their democracy and their economy back. I don't mean to pretend to be a prophet. Sanders and the pope seem like two public figures speaking honestly in a time of deception, just when we needed them most. I wonder if they could be a sign more individuals of good faith are finding a forum.
elizabeth murray herself