Our 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.
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?
When 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 citizen 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.