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AFTER THE GOLDEN AGE for 03/24/2003
Volume 2, #71

A Plague of Liars

The day will come when the closing years of the twentieth century and the opening of the twenty-first will be known as The Era of the Liars. We are in the midst of a war that everyone knows was brought about by lies. Everyone knows that the reasons for the war are lies, there has never been a link established between the Iraqis and Al Quaeda. There has never been satisfactory proof that Saddam Hussein actually has significant weapons of mass destruction, an empty phrase conceived by an idiot unaware that everyone everywhere has such weapons and everyone everywhere has been making and selling deadly weapons to anyone with the cash to buy them.

Perhaps, right now, the greatest of the liars are to be found in the democratic party because here we find a peculiar and very dangerous form of lying. I'm referring to the lies that politicians provide to make sure that they don't say something for which they'll be held accountable later. If in Iowa, the rank and file democrats couldn't understand why the democratic presidential candidates almost universally gave Bush carte blanche to declare war, it was because politicians these days do not seek office to serve the people but to get themselves a cushy job. It's as simple as that. And if the job is more important than what you believe, you're not going to vote in any way that might result in your having supported an unpopular cause. Because then, you don't get re-elected, right? 

The representatives of the people represent only themselves and their own interests. Well, why not? Everybody has a PR man who gauges what people are thinking, what they're likely to think if events turn out in a certain way and how they should behave in order to make sure they're comfortably in the middle of any dangerous or wrong position so they can weasel their way out of it. A whole tribe of experts has sprung up whose job it is to advise the leaders of this great democracy how not to lead. So if for mysterious and special reasons of his own, the great unifier had decided to start a war with Iraq long before 9/11, then of course no one in the democratic party is going to raise too many questions because, well, maybe, just maybe, as in the First Gulf War where those who opposed it had to pay a political price, it might happen again. So stand in the middle somewhere. Don't support this war. And don't not support it. Just watch your step.

Now, of course, this isn't just happening in politics. It's happening everywhere, in business, in commerce, in interpersonal life, in any kind of public forum that has enough money so that they can make their voices heard. There are, in fact, plenty of protests going on, but the money isn't there for those voices to be heard. Maybe, in time, as events build up, the streets will overflow with protest as they did during Vietnam.

The blood of this nation is commerce. And in commerce, everything is a matter of appearance, and hordes of people from advertising types to PR types to opinion research types are on hand to make sure that the image of any and every enterprise conforms as precisely as possible to what its market and its public wishes to see. Reality? What's that? Can you define it?

Hey, any schoolchild can tell you about reality. Right? Well, not exactly. You see, the education president has decreed that our children have to be protected against bad schools and bad teachers. His method is to make sure that schools and teachers and kids get tested frequently. So what happens? Instead of learning things of importance, like reality, and the various amendments of the constitution, and their history and the way politics has affected their interpretation, things that might teach kids to learn to think for themselves, the schools are busily teaching kids how to pass tests. We're making ourselves dumber and dumber year by year. Is it any wonder then that we should now all be under the thumb of our first unelected president, and guys like Karl Rove and Dick Cheney who sit in the shadows pulling his strings while they make sure that congress and the people never really find out what they're up to and just whom they've consulted to make the kinds of decisions they do about clean air, and medicare and social security? And by the way, who lobotomized Colin Powell? I've really wondered about that.

Okay, I'm on a rant. Isn't everybody? Aren't millions around the world taking to the streets in protest? Will it do any good? I don't know. We'll see. I hope so. For myself, I've started to read comics again. Comics seem to be pretty straight stuff. What you see is what you get. They're real. They're outspoken. For a time, it deafens you somewhat to the endless lies. And by the way, I'd really like to know. Where's Ralph Nader?

-Alvin

<< 03/17/2003 | 03/24/2003 | 04/07/2003 >>

Discuss this column with me at my Round Table.


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