Seriously? Seriously?

Pistol Packin DCupOur sixteen year old daughter has been using an annoying teen verbal tic around the house lately. To express incredulousness, she’ll say to her target “Seriously? Seriously?” The words are delivered with just the right amount of attitude to convey Are you fucking kidding me? as only a teen can do.

Lately, I’ve heard her say these words to both her siblings who were undoubtedly in the act of doing something totally shortbus.

I’ve come close to delivering the seriously? seriously? line myself the last couple of weeks, but have refrained because I’m a nonconfrontational weener sometimes. Seriously.

My incredulousness is caused by commenters at my blog, friends, other bloggers and the man on the street.  Well, not so much the man on the street because I never leave my house, you know.

You see, everytime someone expresses the belief that Americans will actually get off their asses and not only pay attention to what’s going on around them, but that they’ll also react to events…..well……seriously? seriously?

Because I’m not convinced. I look around at my fellow Americans and wonder just how bad will things have to be before Americans are roused from their pop culture induced lethargy.  What exactly would it take for the Average Uncle Sam or Aunt Betsy Ross to put down their People magazine or switch off their television and step into the street and say “Hey! I don’t like what’s going on here in this, the greatest nation on earth ever, and I’m going to do something about it!!!!!”

Perhaps something catastrophic might do it, but look at New Orleans. An American city was devastated and our federal government bungled the disaster response and still we’re watching What Not to Wear and going to NASCAR races, visiting museums and having evenings out at the movies. We’re not out in the streets protesting that in some mass movement, are we?

A week or so ago, I asked the question, would BushCo. engineer the assassination of the Democratic presidential nominee so that they could postpone elections and hold on to power, much like Pakistan’s Musharraf has allegedly done?  A few commenters mentioned that they believed Americans wouldn’t stand for that.

I beg to differ.Sheeple

I look at my neighbors, the people in the grocery store, myself.

Can I honestly say that I would put myself in physical danger to take action? I don’t even go to protests now where I would be relatively safe because I’m too broke to travel, too booked up, too tired, or too defeated to think it makes a difference.  And I like to consider myself politically aware.

Do you really imagine that people who can’t name one Supreme Court Justice or the Vice President is really going to take the streets and fight for this myth of America? Just how would they know a crisis was in progress if the world didn’t come crashing down around their heads? You don’t really expect the media to cover anything significant, do you?

If you were to run into the street and raise a ruckus about a constitutional crisis, your neighbors wouldn’t join you. They’d call the cops and stand at their windows to watch you get tazed, Sugar.

It’s true that what really stokes us to action is the personal. If Americans found themselves like the Iraqis did in March 2003 with bombs falling around them, water and electricity cut off, hospitals overrun and short on supplies, food scarce and law and order evaporated, then we’d get excited.  Some of us would take to the streets. Rebels against the aggressor would form cells and organize violent protests and deadly displays of pushback, but seriously? seriously?

Bush Diplomacy and WarWhen we view this kind of of reaction by the Iraqis against the American troops, we tut tut and call them the enemy or whisper “Muslim savages” to each other. Of course, our current Administration is quick to point out that the Iraqis who are fighting our troops aren’t really Iraqis at all, they’re Al Qaeda imports from surrounding countries. That still doesn’t account for the sectarian violence we’ve witnessed.

It makes me wonder what sectarian violence would look like in the U.S. Would we section off regionally? By religion? By skin color? Occupation? Sports team affiliation?  Will Ford owners blow up Toyotas? Will Yankee fans hunt down Red Sox fans and drill holes in their heads?  Will Protestants burn down Catholic churches? Will blacks administer some revenge lynchings? Will Wal-Mart shoppers storm Target shoppers’ homes and drag out the women who are clutching their Red Cards to their heaving breasts in fearful anticipation of redneck rape?

But I digress. I really don’t think that Americans have it in them to get out of their comfort zone to do jackshit about what’s happening everyday. If we did (yours truly included), the shit would already be flying along with the bullets and malotov cocktails.  

The Bush Administration has broken law after law and wrecked or tainted all of our federal agencies, they’ve stolen elections, outed CIA agents, usurped Congressional power, packed the Courts and completely emptied the National Treasury leaving a pile of IOUs that stretch from here to China six times over.  And this is just a few of their transgressions against the people and the Constitution. Americans just yawn and scratch their asses.  Seriously.

We’re witnessing a slow slide toward neo-fascism. It’s a  quiet, stealthy, slippery, corporate sponsored power movement that’s aim is to divide us.  The real sectarian divide is between those who value freedom and those who value security. The paradigm has been flipped on its head. 

The fabled Daddy Party of Republicans has ceded its isolationist, libertarian roots for the warm embrace of electronic Green Phone Vintage Rotary Dialcitizen monitoring and narrowed civil liberties. Like the new mommy on the playground, the Republicans want to limit every possible scenario where Americans could be harmed and so we stand idly by as they whittle away at our civil liberties in the name of security.

Revolution won’t happen in the current climate because we’re all fucking afraid. Afraid we’ll lose our jobs. Afraid we’ll embarrass ourselves. Afraid we’ll put ourselves or our loved ones in danger. Afraid we’ll be labeled a kook. Afraid we’ll be put on the “No-Fly” list. Afraid we’ be tazed. Afraid we’ll be called conspiracy theorists.

Fear is the most valuable tool in the BushCo tool box. We’ve seen it time and time again. They want to keep us afraid. They don’t care if we fear them, too. In fact, that is to their advantage. They want to keep us divided. They want us afraid, but  just materially comfortable enough so that we’ll sit back and say “Yeah, well, I know they probably shouldn’t have done that but….”

No one’s looking to have their lives disrupted, are they?

Takin’ it to the street in revolution or even protest? I don’t see it.  Seriously.


~ by dcup on January 5, 2008.

22 Responses to “Seriously? Seriously?”

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  2. Having lost 2 jobs in less than 4 months once, I don’t fear losing my job if it happens. But you’re right I certainly avoid doing things that may cause me to be noticed in a negative way. Don’t want to cause a job loss on purpose.

    I think they already have us by the short ones for that very reason. When you see regular people become the example for what not to do, then it is less likely that you’ll do what the other guy did.

    What we really need is a good mob. You know get that mob mentality in motion.

  3. Damn, DCup. Right on. I’m often called a cynical misanthrope when I express my complete lack of confidence in humanity’s ability to do jackshit except fuck everything up and maybe once in a while throw a good party. Neither one are going to help us much. Because of my line of work, I regularly see individuals do extraordinarily kind and compassionate things. But all the horror, the stupidity, the apathy, the selfishness, the depravity, the hate, the laziness, and the self-righteousness of this world so far overpower all of the good, the compassion, the intelligence, the thoughtfulness, the positive. I’ve posted about this a lot on my own blog, so you know that I strongly believe that humanity chooses its own destruction. People won’t even do what’s best for themselves, so why would anybody think that they’d be motivated to do what’s best for others? Nazi Germany is proof of that. Few people want to be the one that stands up and says, “NO MORE!” Nobody likes a trouble maker. And to a certain extent, I can understand that. You have kids. What would happen to them if you and Mathman went to a protest and got arrested. Or if you stood up against a fascist military government and were “desaparecido”? Sometimes the practical concerns and the everyday fears outweigh the desire for revolution. Then again, sometimes they become the impetus for revolution. My point is, fuck it. I’m feeling just as defeated as you are.

  4. Seriously? Seriously. Deep sigh.

    What Suzi Riot said.

    Honestly- fear is at the root. Add to that however comfort, routine and self-centeredness are all part of the mix.

    I have been thinking of starting a regular post on things like this called BWFU. Basically we are fucked unless…

    Honestly – you may laugh here. Or not. I was at Mass today and my mind wandered and I had this kind of random thought that a complete and total revolution is required.

    Not a pretty thought.

  5. I fear that you are right. But, maybe I’m wrong, but I think there would be a protest or two here in NYC and most folks would feel comfortable joining. Of course, it’s hard to single someone out when they are in a throng of 1,000,000. Ok, at least I hope.

  6. Thanks, gang. I hate to sound so pessimistic about our current collective situation, but damn. What I see isn’t offering my much encouragement.

  7. “It makes me wonder what sectarian violence would look like in the U.S.”

    I could give you a clue, DCup. It would look like the religious right extremists who shoot and kill doctors that perform abortions. It would look like the fundies who burned down someone’s home, or shoot out all their windows, because they dared to demand that our First Amendment right to separation of church and state be upheld. And it would look like the wacky Phelps family, who picket the funerals of people who die from complications associated with HIV/AIDS, or soldiers killed in Iraq. And it would look like the white supremacists who still hang a noose in front of a Black fraternity, or who drag a Black man to his death because he happened to be walking home one night and was easy prey.

    The Bush administration has given these folks a sense of entitlement they haven’t felt for a long time — if ever. That is why the intake of legal cases at Americans United jumped over the past seven years from 100 a year to 100 a month.


  8. dcup

    that was an amazing post — you really call out on a lot of things — the most dangerous being apathy — i see smart people every day who say “i dont want to talk about politics or the govt — it doesnt have anything to do with me.”

    there is not a snowball’s chance in hell right now that people will get out of their coma and do something — even if bombs dropped around them, we are so paralyzed and fearful as a nation — we would run to the WH (like the citizens of Oz when they see the witch flying overhead) and as the WIzard (bush) what to do…..

    we are that pathetic of a country — even worse — it is gonna take something really big to make us realize that we cannot let other fight for us or that fear is really that cloud over our souls.

    my fear (or maybe good) is that we are heading there right now — with the possibility of a complete economic collapse in this country. the duct tape is coming unglued.

    as always DC great great writing – i am very very impressed

  9. dcup, I hate the fact that you’re right. The only time I saw palpable rage – and I’m really pushing the idea of rage here – was when gas passed four bucks a year or so ago. That’s it. And this is after a shitload of soldiers from one suburb about five minutes from me were killed in a very short time frame that was essentially THE local news story for about two straight weeks.

    The election will be postponed and nothing will be done. Because these people learned from the mistakes of past totalitarians: don’t be conspicuous. Death by a thousand cuts. There aren’t going to be jackbooted SS fuckers breaking down your door. There’s no need because not enough people care enough to fight back.

    And when you talk to people who are just as educated as you, yet STILL think everything is going good and all the bad is the fault of the Clintons – and there are still a sizable amount of THOSE types, my family accounts for a nice percentage – then one realizes that only an obscenely monumental catastrophe can wake this nation up from its self-induced stupor.

    And they’ll make sure there will never been anything that obvious.

  10. I grew up in the wild west (berkeley Ca). There was always a healthy disrespect for governement . A totl lack of trust in authority. A rabid adherence to our rights to protest.

    What happened?

    Drugs, Remote Control and MTV diluted the counter cultural sentiment that was so healthy in the eighties. It was America’s last stand. The last place in the nation where Apartheid was openly protested.

    Now , today it the state of the public smoking ban and the governator but you can still buy pot at the store.

    If MTV loses it’s signal there will be protest…seriously.

  11. What is going to awaken folks from their slumber?

    When they are personally affected from all sides by the bs perpetrated upon us by those in power. But it will be too late by then..all the wheels will be in motion and our rights guaranteed by the bill of rights will have been taken away long before then.

    There is a huge difference between patriotism and nationalism. BushCo pushes nationalism but sells it as patriotism. That alone should set off everyone’s bullshit meter.

  12. What a depressing bunch of comments. The sad reality is that each of your are correct. It’s dire, folks. Those of you who said it here know it’s true. By the time the devastating thing that will bring us out of the torpor happens, it’s likely going to be too late.

    Check, please!

  13. D you never cease to amaze me. You are an incredible writer, and I’m glad to have you.

    Sorry I can’t get you linked up with C & L, but that’s the price you pay when you associate with people like me.

  14. Fairlane: I’m glad to get to write here. Thanks for giving my another forum to do my thing.

    Happy to associate with the likes of you, Boss.


  15. DCup, Boy, do you know people (at least us lazy, American sorts.) Maybe people will take to the blogosphere in outrage! Oh. Seriously (familiar,) there have been protests of hundreds of thousands of people. So. The only protests I’ve heard of being effective were the LA riots when people did what I’ve heard BAC say so often, affected the pocket books or maybe massive work strikes (the corporations do need their laborers- why do you think they’re really shifting overseas?) We have power, as consumers (there is our sad source of power in the day to day) the ability to shut Wal-Mart DOWN, if no one shopped there ever. (Do that at least please, everyone reading) and then, and Mc Donald’s (we have a joke in my house because my only censorship effort has been to tell my son he’s not allowed to sing, “I’m Lovin’ It.” Of course- he does it right at me to mock me.) But seriously, it’s pocket books and I agree with Randal, gas would hit us where it hurts, but this brings up my only optimistic thought at all around this (seriously,) maybe we can transition into something more sustainable gradually. I know. I know. My final answer prediction will be that environmental crises are the only thing we will respond to eventually and we’re such dumbasses, it’s already too late.

  16. I’d love to say that I’m that storybook hero that will stand with my country until the end… but I’m not. My boyfriend and I have saved up some money and have purchased one-way tickets to Europe. We leave in April and the time between now and then will be spent selling all my hand-me-down furniture for any extra cash we can get.

    Then we’re getting the hell out of here, to watch what unfolds from outside the danger zone.

    I’m 25 and have always said that I want to start having children around the age of 30. I’m not sure anymore if I can justify having children since I don’t know how well I can provide for them without having to really struggle for the rest of my life, but I know one thing: I absolutely, positively cannot have a child in a country that will let you die if you go to the hospital and don’t have expensive insurance. It’s just wrong. A right to life, but only for the rich. Well, fuck that. I’m out.

    At least until February 2009. If this country surprises me, wakes up, and derails this runaway train… I’ll be back here with my friends in a heartbeat.

    But I need to take care of myself and my little family of two first.

    I asked my boyfriend last night if we are selfish bastards for running out of the country, knowing what’s coming, and not demanding our families and friends do the same.

    His answer: Do you really think that any of them would listen and act?

    No. No, I don’t.

  17. Good post, D. You did scare me with the redneck rape thing, though. And the idea of Wal-mart peops attacking. I’ve seen them fight over a parking spot. Not pretty.

    Seriously (as in joking aside), it’s a crap shoot. Americans have surprised me before, and God knows, we’re well-armed. My cynical way of thinking leads me to believe that people will let their health benefits slip away, their retirement benefits, etc., but when you come for their DVD players and their iPods, that will be a different story. Won’t it be ironic if, one day, it’s American materialism that saves our sad Republic?

  18. DCup, this is a powerful post and I can virtually second every comment made here on this board. The apathy is astounding and simply because we are comfortable. I would add narcissism to that list of reasons, too. “If it doesn’t affect me personally,” the refrain goes “why should I care?”

    What’s being lost here is how we’re like frogs being put to death in a vat of boiling water. Throw those same frogs into the water after it’s boiling and they’ll try and jump out, but throw ’em in before the water is boiling and they will sit there until……

    Again, this a powerful and brilliant essay. Now, where did I leave the remote?

  19. Where there is life there is hope for change. You are speaking out and there are ripples flowing outward in ever widening spirals. While I cannot disagree with your main point-I see signs that average Joes and Joans are beginning to wake up.

    There is a deep pain in this nation. There is fear. These are times of great danger and greater challenge. And yet (I know bad way to begin the sentence), the rejection of Guiliani (and from my POV Clinton) signals that a version of populism may be tapping into that may unleash the pent up energy and anger that flows beneath the surface.

    I sure hope so any way.

  20. I will do the fighting, you all find me a good boss.

  21. Great post, dcup–wish I had seen it sooner! I think some Americans are coming around and speaking out and getting involved, but it’s ashame that it’s happening so slowly.

    When you think of it, though, look what happened in Germany. How many Germans sat by as the Jews were being rounded up and shipped out and said nothing for fear it would get them in trouble? Intimidation works, and that’s what the government does to us. It worked then and it’s working now.

  22. DCup, so true. I was at a doctor’s office today and the only magazines there were those celebrity ones – don’t even remember their names – that have nothing in them except gossip about celebrities. As if any of it matters. This is the garbage people pay attention to, instead of the things that matter. I am always amazed if I’m talking to someone at work and they don’t know who they’re going to vote for or they say they don’t bother to vote or know about anyting that’s going on. It is so scary that this country is so apathetic. Well said.

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