by Ray Jason
One of my favorite examples of sea gypsy tribal wisdom is this humorous aphorism: “The most dangerous thing on a boat is a … calendar!” I can personally attest to this, since almost every serious calamity aboard AVENTURA resulted from being in the spider’s grasp of “a deadline.” But there is one segment of the year where I do enjoy marking the passing days; and that is late March. This enthusiasm stems from the imminent arrival of April Fools’ Day.
All Fools’ Day does not appeal to me because I enjoy playing pranks on people. Instead, I savor it because of its links to the tradition of the court jester. In an era when disagreeing with a king could be a beheading experience, the one exception was the resident fool. He could lampoon the foibles and lunacy of royal conduct and usually live to tell.
In some centuries, the entombment of truth was so successful that the court jester seemed to be the only person making any sense - hence the term, “the wisdom of the fool.” So in the spirit of the perceptive buffoon, who makes outlandish claims about the state of the global kingdom, I offer you some insights and opinions. Perhaps they are just April Fools’ jokes … or perhaps not …
DEMOCRACY IS NOW A SHAM The founding principle for this new form of government which emerged in the 18th century, was that the Common Man was the ultimate source of power. Citizen legislators would enact the laws and shape the nation’s destiny. But instead, our republic is now strong-armed by professional politicians. The two dominant concerns of these careerists are to STAY in power and to do the bidding of those who ENABLE them to stay in power. Anyone who doubts this statement might try explaining why campaign finance reform and term limits are perennially “off the table.” Actually, that is an understatement - they aren’t even in the building.
It is bad enough that the President, Congress and the Courts serve the interests of a minority that is so tiny that it is almost microscopic. What is even worse, is WHO that elite constituency is. It is exclusively THE BIGS: Big banks, Big corporations, Big agriculture, Big energy, Big pharmaceuticals, Big health care, Big high tech and the BIGGEST of them all - the military-industrial complex.
The “Vox Populi” – voice of the people is now as quaint and outmoded as telephone booths on street-corners. Even when there is a massive outpouring of disapproval for a policy - such as the enormous public outcry against Iraq Invasion 2 – the will of the people is disregarded. Instead, the “leaders” kiss the sterns of their financial backers. Ten million irate citizens cannot offset a single Halliburton.
But not only has genuine democracy vaporized, its putrid carcass is used against the ordinary person for whom it was initially conceived. Our demagogues give stirring speeches applauding our inalienable rights and the freedoms that our constitution protects. But at the same time, they barely whimper when a whistle blower reveals that the surveillance grid that is monitoring our behavior is beyond the wildest imaginings of Orwell or Huxley. And when the head of the Department of Omnipresent Surveillance admits that he lied to Congress, he is not prosecuted for perjury. Amazingly, he doesn’t even lose his job.
When the President signs the NDAA act which allows for “indefinite detention” of citizens without formal charges or without the right to a lawyer, it should be utterly clear that the boot of Soft-Core Tyranny is now on our neck. And that unchecked and almost un-noticed power continues to grow at an obscene pace. Examples of this are the militarization of small town police departments, the unending malignant growth of the Department of Homeland Security and the cessation of Posse Comitatus which keeps the military from being used as a domestic police force.
But even though our career politicians only represent the rich and the powerful, and even though they abet the steady erosion of our constitutionally ordained rights, it is even worse! That’s because despite making a mockery of democracy at home, they trumpet its virtues abroad. This is shameful Hypocrisy with a capital H.
What they are really trying to spread is not Democracy but Predatory Capitalism. They want to expand the sphere of influence of their financial backers who want greater market share in more and more markets. They do this through subtle intrusion via the IMF and the World Bank. Concurrent with this, they embrace the most corrupt and brutal local politicians they can find. The saying “He may be a genocidal dictator, but he’s OUR genocidal dictator” is not a punch-line in a joke. It is standard operating procedure for U.S. foreign policy. If this kinder, gentler approach fails, then the next steps are assassination or invasion. So the spreading of democracy leaves death, mutilation and destruction in its wake.
In conclusion, it appears to me that America is no longer a world-wide exemplar of how to sculpt a civilized society. Instead, it is far down the road to becoming a full-blown Corporate Police State. It has fallen so tragically, that it is now just a self-deluded bully strutting about the global stage - unaware that the theatre has already emptied.
But what do I know? I’m just an April Fool …