CC Issue 33 / News / Politics / Reflections

Ramblings on Democracy

There is no terrible way to win. There is only winning.”

  • Grand Prix, 1966
  1. The crowd surges forward against the police barricade protecting a Bank of America. Press photographers jostle among the angry, contorted faces – many covered by bandanas – to protect anonymity and against the inevitable tear gas. In the midst of the throng a hand protrudes, clutching an iPhone, and snaps a picture. The revolution will be instagramed.
  2. The past few years have seen all sorts of political activism. The “liberal” Occupy movement and the “right wing” Tea Party protests. Both champion the common man, both are angry at the shackles they feel the financial and political powers have placed on them. Which brings up a good question – who is this oppressed everyman? The Tea Party like to recycle the Founding Fathers’ phrases about liberty and justice and all men being created equal, and of course we’re all very familiar with Occupy’s 99% slogan (which means incredibly that my Audi R8-owning employer and I have been lumped into the same economic category).
  3. In 1492 not all men were created equal. Some had steel and guns and horses and raped a continent. In 1776 not all men were created equal. Some were slaves shipped over from Africa. Some were indentured servants. Some were women. What would make us believe that in 2012 all men would be created equal? Is it a surprise that homosexuals can’t marry or that bank CEOs get their bonuses despite flushing a nation’s retirement funds down the toilet?
  4. Fat Mike, frontman of the punk band NOFX, wraps up an impromptu performance at Occupy LA. He and Eric Melvin have just played “Perfect Government”, railing How did the cat get so fat? and less cliché How did the family die? Do you care why? The crowd claps as Fat Mike turns and takes a sip from a take-away cup with a massive Coca-Cola logo on the side.
  5. What makes the majority correct? Well, it certainly does distribute blame so that those in power can slip under the radar when shit hits the fan. Keep everyone paranoid – why doesn’t your legislation pass? Why those pesky commie Democrats! Or those hawkish, greedy Republicans! The American Political Circus is a false dichotomy which allows the controlling forces, those with the Uncle Scrooge-like bank vaults, to act freely.
  6. Thomas Jefferson famously said a nation needed a rebellion every twenty years to remain truly liberated. Well, according to the Tea Party’s idol we are only 216 years too late. But how much do we really want democracy? Freedom? How much do we The People want to rule? Enough to prance around DC in tri-cornered hats and enough to smash some windows downtown after dark? But no one wants to get the old guillotine out, nobody wants all that bloodshed, nobody wants to expend all the energy necessary to wrestle control from the “fat cats” and “socialist commies”. No, we want our iPhones, we want our Coca-Cola and Cheetos and American Idol and Us Weekly and Call of Duty. We want our 40 hour work weeks, clean tap water, high speed internet. The Majority has spoken. It’s too much bother to fertilize the “tree of liberty…with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”
  7. “…at times I wondered if I had not come a long way only to find that what I really sought was something I left behind.” Thomas Hornbein, Everest: The West Ridge.
  8. Yes, wake up, America is not the world democracy police. We serve mammon, like the British Crown we overthrew, like the Romans that came before them, like all Empires. We buy cheap goods made in China because we don’t want to pay for goods made by an American. What good is your Prius if your kitchen is full of cheap goods made by polluting factories overseas?
  9. Apparently we spent $2 billion USD on the recent presidential campaigns. You tell me who decides what happens in this country? Facts? Truth? These do not have a price. Branding, branding will cost you. HOPE will cost you. $2 billion dollars.
  10. Surprise – GMO corn, bottled water, industrial low-fat foods and prescription drugs will all leave you with some serious health conditions. But your doctor won’t tell you any of this because your doctor paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to attend a school which in turns accepts millions of dollars from pharmaceutical and food companies. Surprise.
  11. We want nothing more than what you already have: a comforting set of exculpatory “facts” like, say, the myth of an empty land and a conquest so complete we can pull these tanks from our streets and hand the loose ends over to bureaucrats and become just like you—lounging carefree in your cafes, absolved from sin and human grenades. Entre nous, how did your desert bloom? Propagandhi “Fixed Frequencies”
  12. There are persons who govern our world that refuse to believe that industrialization and a growing global population might have an effect on the sustainability of our planet. No problem. In a hundred years we’ll all wear space suits, pumping out manufactured oxygen as we take a stroll through a hologram forest. Thanks science.
  13. So here we sit, like frogs treading in a pot of lukewarm water, oblivious to the rising heat, too comfortable to anticipate the oncoming threat of boiling temperatures. No, like the frog, we are too stupid to jump out of the pot.
  14. With so many sheep in wolves’ clothing and so many wolves in sheep’s clothing, it’s a wonder there are any humans about at all…
  15. Just prior to his crucifixion, amidst the plotting and betrayal, Jesus lectured to his disciples that, “the poor you will always have with you.” He failed to mention the inverse, that we will always have the rich, the powerful, the uninhibited, and those who are more equal than others…

One thought on “Ramblings on Democracy

  1. This is my favorite of all your posts. In my top three all-time Checkerboard Collective posts. Really struck a chord with me. That is all. Merry Christmas.

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