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The House of Representatives passed the bailout on Friday, 263-171, garnering fifty eight more votes in the affirmative than were captured in Monday’s stunning defeat. Certainly without delay, the President will commit the act to law. Like the coroner’s hand upon a death certificate, Bush’s signature acknowledges the passing of our democracy. And only a scattered few are showing up for the funeral. The rest seem content to join the raging party across the hall, unaware that they attend their own wake. There was a brief sense of exhilaration among the people as the House struck down the obscene $700 billion bailout bill earlier this week. Years of apparently futile activism were once again inflated with hope—the Congress does listen and they will represent us, we thought. Hundreds of thousands of calls, letters, emails, and faxes inundated Senate and House offices, so much so that they had to shut down the email servers—apparently, their junk mail filter was not efficient enough to sort out our annoying insistence that our opinions matter.
The House of Representatives passed the bailout on Friday, 263-171, garnering fifty eight more votes in the affirmative than were captured in Monday’s stunning defeat. Certainly without delay, the President will commit the act to law. Like the coroner’s hand upon a death certificate, Bush’s signature acknowledges the passing of our democracy. And only a scattered few are showing up for the funeral. The rest seem content to join the raging party across the hall, unaware that they attend their own wake.
There was a brief sense of exhilaration among the people as the House struck down the obscene $700 billion bailout bill earlier this week. Years of apparently futile activism were once again inflated with hope—the Congress does listen and they will represent us, we thought. Hundreds of thousands of calls, letters, emails, and faxes inundated Senate and House offices, so much so that they had to shut down the email servers—apparently, their junk mail filter was not efficient enough to sort out our annoying insistence that our opinions matter.
There was elation because we surprised them and we knew it. It was evident that they were shocked—they expected we the people to roll right over when they first presented this plan, but we did not. In fact, we recoiled and then attacked, as all living things tend to do when they sense an eminent threat. The Internet was alive with deep discussion and every day that slipped away without the bailout coming into fruition allowed more and more of the citizenry to educate their selves and each other as to the realities of our economy. Thousands of notable thinkers, economists, journalists, and business leaders warned us that the bailout was a scam, a clear and present coup, an enormous power grab, and an idea completely without merit as a viable financial plan for our country.
They were caught off guard. Their computer models didn’t predict a popular uprising. Not yet—they know that’s coming, they’ve prepared well for it, but it wasn’t supposed to be last week. It wasn’t supposed to occur until after they had fleeced the American people one more time. It makes them nervous, these would-be lords, when they cannot render us as binary creatures on a graph. For all of their data, we continue to defy them as complex beings, beyond their arrogant and narcissistic appraisal. We have not grown so used to the routine of non-options as they would have hoped.
Today, our optimism is diminished. You see, in truth, there are those who do hate America and what we stand for. They hate our free will, they hate our resistance to arbitrary authority, and they hate our insistence of self-determination. They hate that we have friends without agenda. They hate that we have love without bribery or gain. They hate that we don’t hate each other, even with our many differences, and in spite of their best efforts to divide us. They hate that we won’t be controlled. They hate that we won’t follow their finite, fear-mongering man-made clay-footed gods into the fiery abyss. They hate us for being random, for being creative, for being beautiful, sometimes in spite of ourselves. They hate us for being the breath of Providence, when they are merely the sigh of decay.
These people are not plotting against us in oversees bunkers. They are not hiding in hobbles in the hills. They are not in Iraq, or in Afghanistan, or in Russia. No, they hide in the shadows right here in our own country, those shadows inevitably cast whenever freedom sees the light of day. They hide on Pennsylvania Avenue in buildings we own. They hide in the Treasury behind stacks of counterfeit bills. Apparently, they hide in Congress, behind hubris and hypocrisy. They hide right in front of us. They are the enemies domestic and the warnings of their subterfuge have accompanied their every action throughout the last century.
“Crises there will continue to be,” President Eisenhower stated in his final speech of 1961. “In meeting them, whether foreign or domestic, great or small, there is a recurring temptation to feel that some spectacular and costly action could become the miraculous solution to all current difficulties.”
And today, October 3, 2008, the enemies domestic cemented their coup via their ‘miraculous solution’. In the face of overwhelming and undeniable popular dissent, they concluded that they knew better than us, once again. They have decimated the promise of our nation with one vote and somehow, for them, this is embraced as accomplishment.
Nothing changed from Monday to Friday, except the Senate, Caligula’s’ ever-faithful stable of horses’ asses, threw some bones to the floor so the lesser-capitalists with regional sway would give their Representatives the nudge. Mix that effort in with some thinly veiled threats and the people’s voice was easily dismissed. It’s the same con—a $700 billion dollar sweetheart deal given to privileged agencies and corporations who cannot even give us proper accounting of their own businesses. They will use this money to sweep up the juicy remnants of competitors as they collapse one by one. What possibly would lead the American people to think that the likes of Goldman, Morgan, and Citi were in this to help stabilize their competition? This is the crescendo of the great shift of wealth from many to a few.
We are going to have a Greater Depression. It is simply an unavoidable fact and, instead of gearing up the innovative spirit of the American people by giving them a true assessment of our economic affairs, the oligarchy continues to mislead, redirect, and steal. The ‘trickle-down’ prosperity of the eighties ended up being nothing more than condensation on the sides of the pigs’ troughs and even that is running dry.
We will expand our wars and try to solve this dilemma the same way as always, via the swollen military-industrial complex. Nothing stems unemployment like a big war. As we were distracted and urgently addressing the bailout crisis, the House quietly moved $600 billion towards the Defense war chest. That doesn’t sound like an effort towards ending the conflicts. It certainly doesn’t seem that Congress is anticipating change in the form of a new administration. They will crush descent, our Army assigned to domestic missions, the police tight in the pocket of Homeland Security, and, one by one, everyone who does not agree will be targeted as unpatriotic and subdued. One by one they will be hunted, until they are all consumed by the unquenchable appetite of fascism.
A dark passage is now upon us and little on the horizon would indicate calm skies ahead. Our presidential candidates speak the same lines, frantically digging through thesauruses in the hopes that few will notice that they are saying the same things. Senator Obama promises us change, a tongue-in-cheek metaphor for coins dropped in a urine-stained hat, I have always guessed. McCain promises us change, like the abusive ex who beats you senseless nightly, then brings you a box of chocolates and a teary-eyed pledge towards better days.
Let me point out that we have had plenty of change in the last eight years. Our Constitution has been rendered anecdotal by executive orders, the Patriot Acts, and dozens of subversive policies that have the collective goal of subjecting all of us to the whims of an authoritarian regime. We’ve changed the way we educate our children, by choking off opportunity with deceitfully titled programs like No Child Left Behind, a warped elitist concept akin to weighing babies weekly and only feeding the fat ones. We changed our morals and concept of honor, by shrugging off the use of torture, imprisonment of the innocent, and the vial exploitation of weaker states. We’ve changed the structure of the Government by castrating Congress, empowering the executive beyond our founders’ wildest nightmares, and corrupting the judiciary. We’ve changed a lot already. Maybe we need to un-change a few things first, before our candidates change us anymore.
The pundits keep telling us we need new ideas for this new century; that we do not know what tomorrow will bring. Let me tell you what tomorrow will bring if we continue on this path. Tomorrow will bring yesterday, the echo of a hundred empires that have come and gone before us. You want to see the future? Pick up a history book. The timeless reprise of tyranny, as always, is easy to identify. It is always accompanied by death, suffering, and the dark cloak of angry greed. That’s the fruit that such tyranny bears.
We can resuscitate our nation. We can bring it back from the brink, even now. But this will require us to stand together, suspending mutual prejudice and our own pursuits of the utopist dreams (it’s only utopia to you--that’s the whole problem with trying to force utopia on others). We must stop parroting the scripts they prepare for us and realize that few of these public servants serve us. We have to stop letting them herd our dissent into organizations they control. We have to stop assuming the options they present are the only options, especially when it comes to our elected officials. We must remember why we believe in our nation and why we believe in each other. The mind of our nation is ever-changing and diverse; but the heart of our nation is constant: it beats for true freedom, for true hope, for true equality, and we keep making slow steps forward towards that end.
Until today. Today, we were stopped cold in that pursuit. Today, our lives were indentured under the yoke of massive debt, our liberties were signed away in a frenzy of fear and corruption, and our happiness has been redefined as a credit score.
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John Caelan is a writer and singer/songwriter based in Venice Beach, California. A member of the band 'quebb', John has been involved in activist causes for years, performing primarily protest music from coast to coast during the last few years.
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