Notes From The Flip Side: 02.11.2001
It's the middle of February in 2001 and I already know we're fucked for at least four years. So far, Bush has reinstated the family planning gag order and started pushing for federal funding of faith-based (read: religious) social services organizations and his cronies are busy mounting attacks on abortion at all levels. I dread reading the news wire because it always seems to carry an article about another political abomination that Bush is striving to bring to term. I read the Reuters and AP wires anyway - in a way, it's comforting to know that my worst fears are coming to pass and that, once again, corporate interests and the well-being of the extremely wealthy outweigh the public (both national and global) good.
Somehow, we seem to think that might makes right and money makes might; therefore, by proxy, corporations are always right and their interests are yours. As long as you're a shareholder and not an employee. The moment you become an employee, you're little more than a serf. You become a peasant, scrambling for bread crumbs carelessly tossed to the ground by the lord of the land. And really, there are no terms but those that evoke monarchies and totalitarian states to describe corporations in the modern era. We have abolished slavery only to replace it with invisible chains that bind us all.
Lately, I've been trying to figure out when this changed and how. I've been puzzling through American history, trying to pinpoint a single moment when the change happened - when this country spontaneously mutated from a country of genocidal, antisocial individuals to a country run by genocidal, greedy organizations that protect capital. I've been trying to find one moment that marked the transformation from Daniel Boone to machine gunning striking workers, that clearly shows how we devolved to a state where killing women and children in the name of profits became acceptable. The cradle of liberty, my ass. In any country that actually held the beliefs we profess to maintain, people would have rioted in the streets at those events. They would have lynched the people who did it, then lynched those who ordered it, then lynched those who allowed it to happen. And from where I sit, every last one of those hangings would have been just.
But of course that requires a truly free press that reports news events impartially. And of course we've sacrificed our free presses to capitalism, profiteering and politics. Only the largest cities can sustain more than one daily paper, and in San Diego, the daily paper is a union-busting, right-wing propaganda rag for the elected brown shirts who seem hell-bent on moralizing us all into fascism. And it seems they've conveniently forgotten that most of us didn't vote for them in the process.
Years like these make me feel marginalized, disenfranchised and alienated. This government does not represent me, nor does it represent my hopes and dreams for social justice and equality. Instead, it represents the muted bleating of millions of sheep who chose to mouth the party line - "Four legs good, two legs better." And so we all walk on our hands and knees as a result of their cowardice. We listen to windbags of idiocy shift the winds to better fill the sails of their corporate puppeteers and masters. And if the winds threaten to change, we all know what they do - they blow.
I've watched the events of the last three months unfold. I've read dissenting opinions from Supreme Court Justices that point to how divisive the next four years will be in a 5-4 party line split decision. The politicians don't lose. Neither do the corporations. You and I and our friends and family and lovers lose, whether we've realized it yet or not.
As I watch these events transpire, as I watch the keening hordes of rabid madmen kick the last bits of life out of the notion of democracy in the country where it was born, I'm reminded of graffiti from the 1968 student rebellion in Paris - "Humanity will only be happy the day the last bureaucrat is hanged with the guts of the last capitalist."
I added a bunch of archival reviews in the last week. I'm still transcribing interviews, but chats with Blake Schwarzenbach about Jawbreaker, Jay Bentley about Bad Religion, Mick Jones about various and sundry things, Three Mile Pilot and Pegboy's Larry Damore are coming soon.