I really am concerned about the whole Iraq War lead up, and how anyone could be okay with this. Its one thing for intelligence to be bad, it’s another to literally torture the intelligence into some chump to make him say it, and then use that as justification for a trillion dollar war and hundreds of thousands of dead people. Bad intelligence is the US getting duped. This is the US being a horrible scourge on history.
Tack it on to our history of slavery, Native American policy, atomic bombs (we were the good guys then!), and the creation-by-policy of the modern jihadi movement. American exceptionalism is a true thing, but I don’t think it works in the way most folks think it does.
Although I am 100% with you, I fear the average American reaction to things that call for rioting in the streets usually falls somewhere in between one of the five:
THIS IS OUTRAGE I WILL NOT STAND FOR oh, wait, this girl I’ve never actually met just said on Twitbook something about that guy I don’t remember his name from the Cosby Show
Serves them sand-nigger Iraqis right for 9/11.
Duuude, you are so serious, smoke a bowl and chillax.
I would love to care but have no energy left after 60 plus hours of near forced labor for subsistence wages.
I’ve been trying to tell you dimwits for years but you just don’t care so fuck it.
It’s a shameful choice we face. Be aware and rightfully disgusted by the exploitation and injustices of our history and culture and discover that most people don’t give a shit, or shrug your shoulders and rationalize so you can be happy and ignorant.
I like Matt Bors’ recent commentary.
I’m afraid I fall pretty solidly into number five. I protested on a daily basis for most of the 8 years Bush was in office, fighting against the war, the environmental damage, the human rights abuses. Writing letters, spreading awareness, even giving money to causes I thought would help. A lot of other people did, too. The result: absolutely nothing was accomplished. And things have just gotten worse.
I now live in a country where police violence, overt racism and sexism, corporate rule, surveillance, torture, corruption, and willful, science-hating, proud ignorance are not only the norm, they are beloved national values that the average citizen will stand up and defend. At this point I do indeed say fuck it, I’m moving to a country where people aren’t completely batshit out-of-their-minds foaming-at-the-mouth-and-stabbing-themselves-in-the-face crazy. If I can ever afford to, anyway- I’m dangerously close to being number four on your list as well.
As has been pointed out elsewhere, the build-up to the war in Iraq was the most protested thing in the history of protesting things. But I think that conventional civil disobedience has become a ritual to be ignored by politicians and the media. It has become an ineffective steam valve whose only purpose is to reassure the protestors that they are not alone in their opinions.
I just wish that the media and the politicians would let the police in on this. Nothing to see here, officer, please move along.
That´s exactly the feeling I´ve had for the last decade or so. I think it has actually been true for far longer, and not only in the U.S. At some point politicians realized that it´s so much easier to just not give a shit and that simply nothing will happen to them if they don´t. Political culture in the U.S. and elswhere is absolutely pathetic at this point, a meaningless contest in lying, deception and sedition and the winners get to fill their and their cronie´s pockets for the next few years.
So called political participation and protest culture has long become just another tool to pacify the masses.
The secret to keep this system going on indefinitely is to keep people just the right amount of dumb, entertained and their basic needs met to a degree just enough so the majority of them manage to tell themselves they´re not getting royally screwed. I think most of the world´s elites have that formula down pretty well by now.
I used to have a bit of fire in me, but these days I most certainly fall into categories 4 and 5
I’d like to take this opportunity to remind everyone that the reason this is so is because we live in an oligarchy. No amount of protest is going to change anything.
Supporting the Iraq war was pretty bad news for Clinton in the 2008 primaries. It cost her the nomination, according to most analysis. So there’s that.
Every nation in all of history has actually been a democracy. Contemporary democracy - the vote once every four years kind - is not a system to empower people, but a system to allow people in power to exit power with their heads attached to their shoulders. If this keeps up, the day is coming when powerful people will be shown their power does not confer immortality. It wouldn’t exactly be the first time.
I don’t think it’s a new idea, but it is deeply disillusioning to find the idealistically formed nation states of the age of revolution to have all been so thoroughly co-opted by this essential flaw in human nature.
Why should anything Cheney does/says be surprising? The torture is the cherry on top of the sundae that is the Iraq War. The Iraq War which cost X lives and $X trillion dollars-- for what? Not for 9/11. Not for “Terrorism”. ISIS is now happening because of the Iraq War, not in spite of it.
But no ones going to investigate why the Iraq War happened, even as the 23rd investigation into “Benghazi” is initiated. . . Even during Nixon, Republicans eventually did the right thing; now, Republicans no longer have independent critical reasoning skills, since they’re all calved off the collective hive mind.
Yep this is why they’ve had “Protest Zones” at political conventions since when, the 1990s?
You’re free to express your dissenting opinion over there, behind that wall, where we can ignore you…
I'm afraid I fall pretty solidly into number five. I protested on a daily basis for most of the 8 years Bush was in office, fighting against the war, the environmental damage, the human rights abuses. Writing letters, spreading awareness, even giving money to causes I thought would help. A lot of other people did, too. The result: absolutely nothing was accomplished. And things have just gotten worse.
I want you to know that your past actions are truly appreciated here. Seriously… thank you. You should look into the mirror and be very proud of your efforts. You’ve literally helped to save lives by your actions and I think it’s a damn shame that you (and others here within this forum) don’t appear to be very aware of this fact.
The state of world (and our country) would be vastly worse off today if other progressive activists and yourself did little or nothing during that time period. Despite all the setbacks, literally every issue you mentioned and fought for has progressed in various meaningful ways since then. And, as I’ll explain later, this has been no small miracle considering the inherent, mountainous obstacles humanity faces against progressive advancement in general.
For the sake of brevity (or at least some frail attempt at it), I’ll mostly focus on one issue you mentioned even though there’s been large gains on other issues including environmental, human rights, etc. as well:
Fighting against war.
Let’s face it, we’d be in deadly, outright war right now (and/or cleaning up the horrific mess) in Iran if it wasn’t for the efforts of progressive activists past and present. Activists spread anti-war information, anti-corporatist facts and general dissent throughout this nation where the corporate media would not. Whether you realize it or not, that information really did get disseminated, it really did spread throughout the core of this nation and it has very obviously influenced not only the public at large, but the establishment as well.
You, of all people, should remember that there was a time when even simply questioning GW Bush and the Iraq War would very easily and very publicly brand one as treasonous. Remember the Dixie Chicks? Michael Moore at the Oscars? And, remember… there was a time when it was all but preordained that Iran was soon to be next in our military-industrial complex hit list.
Today, most of the public is informed enough to know that the Iraq War (and rushing into wars, in general) was a mistake. This public status keeps us at bay from attacking Iran and other much more zealous campaigns within the Middle East. You really think the corporate news who was literally owned by defense contractors would have widely disseminated any of this counter-war information and influence on their own?
If it wasn’t for progressive activists like you who forced them to cover Iraq war blunders, the corporate media would have glossed it over, buried it and moved on. The public at large today would think the Iraq War was overall justified if it wasn’t for the efforts of progressives who repeatedly spread the truth about that war. Due to the fortitude and perseverance of many progressive activists, even the corporate media couldn’t sweep uncomfortable, anti-establishment facts under the rug and down a public memory-hole.
Very importantly, activists have been able to use that valuable information and public influence to prevent (or at the very least seriously downgrade) new US aggression, and that saves many lives today. We’ve got a long way to go against deadly drone strikes and other aggressive foreign policies that induce defense corporation profits at nearly everyone else’s expense, but it would be very close-minded for us to also ignore all the gains made by progressive activism in the meantime.
In the past, it would’ve been relatively trivial for the US to outright attack the Syrian government and eventually regress towards ten of thousands (or more) of American boots on the ground. Normally, we’d be in an outright war with Syria by now and the death toll (and defense contractor profits) would be massively piling up.
But something very – not normal – happened. Instead, for the first time in American history, activists were able to inform the public (mostly via online vehicles) and foment enough public resistance to pressure our administration to mostly back down despite the vast power of our military-industrial complex. Not after the fact, but before we attacked.
It was so unprecedented… so remarkable… and so amazingly dangerous to the current status quo that there’s been an overall corporate media blackout on that historic event. The last thing the corporate media wants the public to know is that progressive activism is powerful and that it fucking works. I think it’s a shame that you’re letting them convince you otherwise as well.
What you should know is the ability to inform the public and influence our government was paved by the past efforts of activists just like YOU. If it wasn’t for your past efforts of spreading the truth and influence, activists would be in an incredibly regressive position today and would still be trying to pave the simplest of roads within our stubborn, public zeitgeist.
Now… back to Iraq and hoping the public doesn’t “notice things”…
What many people don’t realize is the voices of the activists were actually heard by our government in the ramp-up to the Iraq War. The truth of the matter is the majority of Democrats voted against the Iraq War resolution. If it wasn’t for there being too many Republicans in office, the Iraq War resolution would have been roundly defeated.
Of course, you never really hear about that reality – all you ever hear is that both the Democrats and Republicans voted for the war and… false equivalence, ad nauseum. The truth is much more complex… and that gets to the heart of why it always has been and alway will be an uphill battle for progressive activism and why it will always absolutely require perseverance. The truth doesn’t aways fit into a bumper sticker, but deceitful and over-simplistic talking points (and points of view) almost always certainly do.
That’s just the way it works with progressive causes. We’ll always be at some disadvantage because we’re far less willing to break ethical boundaries than neocons, racists, neo-libertarians, etc. will do to achieve dissemination of information and achieve agendas. And, often the truth is messy and complicated while knee-jerk responses are simple and easy.
Fortunately, though… we try to stick with the truth (to the best of our abilities) and that tends to slowly pervade over the long term despite shorter term setbacks we get from these foes and wayward liberals who soak up too many corporatist television talking points.
Since more progressives stick with the truth and organic, grassroots organizing and spread evidence instead of lies, we have the upper hand in the long term against those that embrace sensationalized hot button content and artificially trumped up numbers via astroturfing half-truths and lies that will later be debunked and used against them.
A great example is climate change. For a while there, the industry-sponsored neo-libertarian “think tanks” very clearly had the upper hand disseminating quick talking points rife with half-truths and trumped up “studies” via astroturfing and bullshit “institutes”, etc.
However, over the long term… the more complicated truth was spread from progressive activists via time-honored grassroots activism. Now, despite all the flash-in-the-pan, trumped up “controversies” and other general bullshit the industry spread via their “think tanks” and indoctrinated idiots, most people have gotten the truth on climate change and are becoming increasingly more apt to want our government to do something about it.
It can be discouraging when there’s setbacks and even the smallest positive changes seems glacial, but that’s how progressive change has always been and will always be. I’m sorry that you’ve somehow come to believe that it would ever be any other way with progressive changes. Destructive agendas are easy, but constructive, progressive change is hard work and requires long term, “big picture” strategies that will see many setbacks over time.
By the very nature of the situation, there’s never going to be a lot of money in fighting against the power of money. Fighting against the most massive military-industrial complex ever seen by humanity is never going to be a walk in the park. Fighting against the most powerful public relations corporate mindfucks the world has ever seen isn’t going to be quick and easy. It’s all going to take decades of grinding, persistent work. That’s reality, but fortunately there’s plenty of progressive activists that have been up to it and still are today.
In the shorter term… the lies, half-truths and sensationalized content and corporatist agendas will pervade. However, the sober truth will continue to slowly spread and overtake the corporatists and wayward people that’ve been indoctrinated. In the long term, the truth (or a least some of it) will prevail because progressive activists have vastly more heart, fortitude and persistence than these motherfuckers can even fathom.
I’m not here to dismiss you for wanting to give up at this point, and I thank you for all you’ve already done. Everyone has their breaking point and it looks like you may have found yours (for now, at least). It also sounds like you may need to get your own personal, financial stability together and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with progressive activists doing that.
What I hope you’ll take to heart is that there are people out here that appreciate what you did and far more good was done than you (unfortunately) can ever imagine. And, those same people aren’t giving up and will take it from here with more fire in our hearts than ever. You did help this world and don’t let anyone or any entity try to take that away from you.
I now live in a country where police violence, overt racism and sexism, corporate rule, surveillance, torture, corruption, and willful, science-hating, proud ignorance are not only the norm, they are beloved national values that the average citizen will stand up and defend.
Most Americans are against police brutality and there’s a growing resistance against it that’s reflected even within some of our corporate media. We’ve got a long way to go, but it wasn’t even much of a discussion in the past few decades until now. Rodney King was a cultural anomaly because it was caught on video at a time when it was a relatively nascent technology in the publics’ hands. However, the corporate media mostly ignored the issue beforehand and even afterwards.
It hasn’t gotten worse, it’s just being reported on at this point and drawing vital attention to the problem. Cops didn’t start killing minorities in greater numbers in 2014…. it’s just that in 2014, we’re finally willing to talk about it in a meaningful way in the mainstream media. Please don’t mistake this belated, newfound attention for most of American society going backwards.
While racism is still a huge problem, it’s on the decline for most Americans and it continues its decline as the old ways die off and the young replace those stale beliefs. The battle against racism will unfortunately always be with us and needs to be fought against, but please don’t convince yourself the racists are in the majority or “the norm”. They are not.
Corporate rule? Yep, but corporatist influence is on the decline and there’s many factors that show there’s a growing resistance to an aristocracy and aristocratic “ideals”. Just one example… As recently as the early 2000’s, it would have been relatively trivial for corporate entities (via corporate media, etc.) to convince Americans that complicated things like network neutrality didn’t matter and keep everyone quiet about it.
On the other hand, in 2014, a record amount of public comment was sent to the FCC in support of net neutrality. This shows that Americans are increasingly bypassing corporate indoctrination and getting and sharing information with each other directly online. No doubt there is still vast influence and manufactured consent via corporate media, but that’s a situation on the decline, not on the rise.
Surveillance? Thanks to patriotic whistleblowers like Edward Snowden, we’re at least openly talking about it and if you throughly research the issue you’ll find that many Americans are now taking steps against it personally and otherwise. Many more Americans than we’ve ever seen, actually.
Also, unlike past history, we’re beginning to see much more widespread dissent from major corporations against surveillance and innovative developers working to decentralize and secure the net in more meaningful ways, etc.
I do think mass surveillance will get more widespread before it gets better, but in the meantime the public at large is hardly just sitting on their hands and ignoring it like they used to do. Polls show that the public is increasingly wary of the NSA. Beforehand, in relatively recent history, they would be marginalized and subjected to tinfoil hat insults. Now, there’s developers and businesses dedicating themselves to appealing to them. Now privacy-conscious Americans are becoming an important demographic… and, I see that as progress.
Torture? Again, I think you’re mistaking the coverage of an issue for an issue getting worse. Please keep in mind, torture is now finally being addressed in a mostly negative light. In the past, it either wasn’t addressed at all or was even actively promoted by
Dr. Evil …er, no… the Cheney administration the Bush administration. Far too many Americans still believe that torture is needed, but a growing percentage are learning that it’s ineffective, immoral and dangerous for everyone involved. That, again, is progress – not regression.
As far as the rest of your grievances go that anti-science, ignorance, etc. is “the norm”, I ask that you look at what happened in recent history in the United States.
After Obama said he supported a single payer system for health care (not Obamacare) along with an anti-war agenda, a lot of progressive activists got behind him. The same kind of activists that organized door-to-door grassroots “get out the vote” campaigns, etc. that drastically shaped the political landscape before election day. You may note that Obama didn’t follow through and had massive Wall Street funding for his campaign, but that’s not the point.
The point is that Obama, the 2008 candidate, ran on a platform that included focusing on alternative energy adoption, a true single payer system for health care and an anti-war, anti-bankster, pro-labor agenda overall.
Obama ran on that truly progressive platform and he won in an absolute landslide. This landslide victory clearly shows there’s a progressive majority of voters in the United States who will come out and vote for a progressive agenda.
The corporate media simply repeats the talking point that the majority of the public is right wing until it starts to sound true, but their charade has been exposed since that 2008 election for anyone who is willing to look. And, that talking point is clearly a lie.
If the majority of the American public was right wing, there’d be no way in hell Obama would have had the largest turnout of voters in 40 years.
Studies have shown that most Americans want things like a true single payer system for health care once it’s properly explained to them and Obama’s landslide win confirms it.
A “right wing” American public didn’t vote for Obama on a progressive platform in a landslide. Please really think about these facts:
• After Obama announced his initial progressive agenda that included things like support for single payer, he had the highest voter turnout in 40 years.
• After Obama and other Democrats failed to properly follow through on most of his progressive promises, voter turnout for the midterms was the lowest in 72 years. The midterms are historically low, but that was ridiculous.
This clearly shows that the majority of the American voters really do want a progressive agenda initiated and they are incredibly displeased when it’s not followed through by enough real action.
That’s the true “norm” in America that most of the corporate media would like us all to ignore.
Look, the progressive battle is still ongoing (it’s not lost!) and one thing that will help is to stop spreading apathy by propagating the untruth that the right wing is the majority or “the norm” in this country and there’s nothing we can do about it.
Again, I thank you for your service to this country with your former activism and I hope you’ll reconsider the untruth that it was all for nothing – because it was far from it and we’re a far better people today because of progressive activism.
Welcome back! nice to see ya make up for your absence in one post.
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