Thursday, October 17, 2013

On Our Retreat from the Edge of the Cliff

It occurs to me that we are a society that has devolved to the point where average citizens cannot be emotionally moved by anything that is not brutal, bloody, terrifying or abusive, and we flock in great mindless hordes to any activity or spectacle that displays those characteristics in abundance.  We consider it entertaining to watch grown men in a hand-to-hand death struggle over an elliptical scrap of pigskin; we glue ourselves to a voyeuristic portal that allows us to gawk at the deepest, darkest secrets of folks who are purported to be “just like us.”  Bad behavior attracts us like a magnet, and we not only crave to watch it, but we then take it as a template for our own lives, and so, go forth and do likewise.

Entertainment has become the Swiss army knife of the ruling class, a multi-purpose tool designed to get and keep the money rolling in an upward direction.  The entertainment industry commands billions of dollars in and of itself, and it’s also a superb diversion.  Keep the masses “entertained” while you pick their pockets.  Those clueless dolts will jones for the adrenalin rush so hard that you can rob them into poverty while they cheer and boo and wager on the outcomes of meaningless contests.  And it doesn't hurt to liberally lace the "entertainment" with your message and the type of behavior you wish the public to emulate.   

Which is, I imagine, how it came to pass that our lawmakers, our leaders, became the greedy, unmannered, ruthless charlatans they have become, and we have hardly noticed.  In fact, maybe we have sat on the sidelines and cheered.  Maybe we got confused between entertainment and government.  Our national media have been heartily helpful in the blurring of that line.  Certainly we have completely forgotten that “fact” and “fiction” are not synonymous.  As surely as it has slipped our vacant minds that society is made up of ALL people, all colors, all genders, all ethnicities, all religions, all economic levels.  And our government is supposed to be about guaranteeing life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for ALL the people.  Not just the rich.  Not just the fortunate.  Not just the privileged.  Not just the “winners.”         

Have we had our fill yet?  Have we reached the point where the outrageousness of the behavior of our legislators has finally sunk in and stirred the reaction in us that it should have done months ago?  Do we feel disbelief, anger and revulsion?  Do we feel those to the point where we are now, as a nation, ready to DO something about it?

Time will tell.  But I think we do.  I don’t think I could get out of bed in the morning if I didn’t believe that…    

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