Published on Dissident Voice, by Doug Page, December 22, 2009.
There is a new documentary movie inspired by Thomas Frank’s book What’s the Matter with Kansas: How Conservatives Won the Heart of America. It is a liberal film maker’s attempt to understand how nice rural people who are being badly hurt by neocon economic policies can nevertheless vote for neocons because of their profound opposition to abortion, gay marriage, and gun control. The tone of the movie, like the title to the book and the movie, suggest a subtheme: “Why can’t they be smart like us?”
But what is so smart and energetic about us? We too are being badly hurt by neocon policies, and yet we can not organize or mobilize ourselves to stop them. We are trapped by our own addiction to material comforts, and by our firm dedication to our liberal principles of supporting women’s choice on abortion, the right of gay’s to a same sex marriage, and of the removal of guns from our midst.
Like the people of Kansas, we have not been willing to forgo or to compromise our cherished principles in order to join with, organize, and mobilize together with the millions of Americans who are also being badly hurt. All of us, Republican and Democrat, left and right, women, men, gays, straight, born-again religious, and agnostic, hunters and pacifists, are being driven into poverty and the dark ages by the 5000 or so extremely wealthy persons with their banks and insurance companies who maintain neocon policies, and control our government and our lives.
The most graphic current example is our own health care: We cannot have the security of decent health care because we will not give up our principled stand on abortion, and neither will the people of Kansas. (Meanwhile, we are manipulated by the media of the rich to prevent us from “following the money” to see who benefits, and from full recognition of the fact that we will be forced to give 27% of our health dollar to CEO salaries and bonuses, and fined by the IRS if we do not).
Health care is but the tip of the ice berg. These ruthless, cruel neocon forces, determined to extract every last penny of profit from us, have the tools to use against us here at home, that they use against people in the Middle East: Torture, Guantanamo type “detention centers,” remote controlled drones, a West Point plan to use the Army for domestic “riot control,” and authoritarian police worse than those of Copenhagen who recently arbitrarily arrested 2000 climate control advocates.
So far, we have allowed these few ruthless cruel neocon persons to use their mainstream media to divert our attention from what they are doing to us, while they provide us only with unimportant news of fires, rapes and murders, and lies about the “terrorists” abroad who “have weapons of mass destruction.”
We, millions and millions of us, have an interest in the common good, in preserving civilized life, a sustainable planet home, self government, a stable monetary system, and a humane economy. We have a common interest in preserving civilization itself, and in our common protection from the cruel arbitrary Law of the Jungle.
With all of this at stake, let’s reconsider our strategy and our own mind-sets …
… We face as much or more oppressive authoritarian power as our Founding Fathers who signed the Declaration of Independence. They then pledged and gave their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor to implement its principles. We can do no less. We must. The Enlightenment itself is at stake. Our material well-being, our security, our freedom, and our self-governing democracy are at stake. (full long text).