Commentary: Public like a frog: Where all are guilty, no one is

Published on Online Journal (FIRST ON HIS WEBSITE), by Phil Rockstroh, Nov. 12, 2010.

Once again, partisan Democrats are reeling in shock and humiliation, boggled by a familiar scenario – the sheer velocity of their reversal of fortune and the Republican right’s perennial ascendency. Democrats implore, why is it voters occupying less than privileged positions in the economic order evince such ardor embracing the principles of a political creed dedicated to their exploitation for the benefit of a ruthless few?

There is truth in the one-liner that Democrats bandy: Anyone from the working or middle class who votes Republican is suffering from Battered Wife Syndrome. Although one is tempted to retort, anyone who votes for either one of the corporate/National Security State parties is closer to a half-senile spinster who still believes her prince will come.

“The truth is that the State is a conspiracy designed not only to exploit, but above all to corrupt its citizens.” – Leo Tolstoy … //

… Accordingly, right-wing hatred is a many-headed hydra that feeds on fear and desperation. It cannot be fought by attacking its spindling heads, each of its hissing mouths dripping black poison. Instead, one must thrust at the noxious heart of the raging beast. But one cannot know where the heart of an external monster beats without gazing upon one’s own ugliness. One’s ugliness, with apologies to Emily Dickinson, must be public like a frog.

Apropos: How can it be, on a level of collective awareness, the populace of the US can persist in avoiding blundering in to this steaming pile of the obvious: How can we have a modicum of empathy for the people of Iraq when we refuse to even glimpse our own degraded condition and our complicity therein? What does it speak of a people who can be indifferent, inured, or ignorant regarding the following?

?”The Battalion commander walked into the weight room where 3rd platoon was at, yelled out ‘Listen up, new battalion SOP (standard operating procedure) from now on: Anytime your convoy gets hit by an IED, I want 360 degree rotational fire. You kill every motherfucker in the street’“ — former US soldier, who served in Iraq, Ethan McCord.

The Military Industrial Complex/National Security State serves no one but the God of Death, munitions manufacturers and those politicians they bribe. War is a money train for the rich and connected and a death wagon for everyone else.

Regardless, the people of the United States owe the Iraqi people an amends. If we demure, we will remain caged by our ignorance. That will be our punishment: our fates, analogous to a mistreated dog that licks the hand of his cruel master and exists, restless and vicious, behind a fence, snarling at the passing world.

There are many worlds, many heavens and many hells — and they are all in this one. Without a public accounting of, as well as, restitution made for our crimes, we, in the US, will remain in our own tiny, fenced-in hell, straining against the tether of our tiny view of the world . . . barking and snapping at empty air in futile rage.

Because our sense of entitlement here in the US engenders so much death and suffering overseas, at times, I feel like shouting in frustration: “I don’t give the hind quarters of a small rodent about the beliefs, feelings, consumer preferences nor fates of the somnambulant herds of big box store waddling, overgrown adult infants of this empire of the arrogant and the empty. Millions have been murdered worldwide so that these entitlement-maddened monsters can keep their SUVs topped-off with gas, and their fat brats’ greedy gobs stuffed with Hot Pockets and Juicy Juice.”

Yet as Hannah Arendt observed: “Where all are guilty, no one is; confessions of collective guilt are the best possible safeguard against the discovery of culprits, and the very magnitude of the crime the best excuse for doing nothing.”

Years ago, I had a friend, a struggling artist, who purchased an old, dilapidated, Victorian era house. Upon moving in, he discovered the place was infested with cockroaches. Worse, the house sat close to railroad tracks and when trains trundled by, shaking the structure, its floors, walls, and ceilings would seethe with agitated cockroaches.

Since no amount of bug spray could lessen the infestation, he began zapping individual insects with glow-in-the-dark spray paint. After many months of this endeavor, when friends dropped by after dark, and, subsequently, a train rumbled down the tracks adjacent to the house, he would switch off the lights and all present were dazzled by his creation – a moving, organic mobile of scuttling, multi-colored, living art.

At present, this is where we find ourselves as a people: powerless before the ugliness of the age. Therefore, we have little choice other than to light up the ugliness and turn the objects of our revulsion (personal and collective) into something resembling the truth of art.

Darkness must and will descend upon us. The absence of light must grow so unbearable that we’re willing to ask how is it we arrived in this place and begin to illuminate the darkness by revealing the scuttling, creepy crawlers of empire. (full long text).

(Phil Rockstroh is a poet, lyricist and philosopher bard living in New York City. He may be contacted by e-mail. Visit Phil’s website, EBULLIENT SKEPTICISM. And see his page on FaceBook).

Comments are closed.