This weekend seemed to be about freedom of speech. As I lay in bed recuperating...oh, the surgery went well, the tumor was much tinier than everyone feared, and now I just look like someone punched me in the eye...I saw no less than five programs that dealt with freedom of speech.
The right to say what's on your mind without fear of retribution. I live in a nation where this one freedom seems to be the last bastion of the individual, especially if (s)he can be funny while demarcating the problems he or she perceives around him/her.
We live in a dying society. We are no longer a people who live under a government beholden and responsible to us, but under a government enslaved by a handful of corporations who themselves are responsible to no one, not even their board of directors.
George Carlin says this far more energetically and far more plainly than I could ever hope to speak. It is not without irony that the man who all but challenged the government to limit his speech is the man who points out that the emperor has no clothes.
Here's the thing: it doesn't matter if you support Obama. It doesn't matter if you're conservative. It doesn't matter if you're a wild-eyed anarchist bomber with a poster of Che Guevara over your bed. It doesn't matter if you find your comfort in the life hereafter.
You. Are. Sheep. So am I.
We live in a nation, a new world order writ small, where we have precious little power. Even a revolutionary movement like the Obama campaign is quickly co-opted by the powers that be. We have the illusion of freedom because that's what our corporate masters have deemed important to maintain.
Think about the few indisuputably good pieces of legislation to pass Congress over the past thirty years. Take the Americans With Disabilities act, as an example. It helped people who have become hampered by physical disabilities to access things you and I take for granted: buildings, public transporation, theaters and ballparks.
This is a good thing, right? I mean, if I lose my legs tomorrow, I can still get to work and to things I enjoy doing.
It means I'm not going to be a long term burden to a Social Security system that my employer pays into on my behalf on top of my mandatory contribution. The same Social Secuirty fund that helps pay the day-to-day operations of the Federal Government. The same fund that helped bail out the banks, the auto industry and AIG, as well as two wars.
It means I can make money for my employer, thus lessening his burden by assisting him in pursuit of profit.
Once you frame this nation in terms of what benefits the corporatocracy, you begin to understand why I say we are no longer free. Substantially all our freedoms now come with a price: enslavement to corporations that are not required to be responsive to the people, in any way shape or form. They can't be held legally responsible for their actions in that they can't be tried, convicted and sent to prison. If the CEO of AIG is convicted, another steps into take his place, raised in the same corporate atmosphere, with the same noxious values as the last guy, but with the added experience of learning from the mistakes of the first.
Worse, he's enlisting the help of our government to offset the people's limited power to hold him accountable. This has been going on for decades and is a slow-motion train wreck that once complete will have no recourse to the way things were. No one gives up power easily, least of all those who can abuse that power at will. It's an illusion to think otherwise.
This is why I say the First Amendment right to speak freely seems to be the last inherent freedom in America to go by the wayside-- and I include gun ownership, since that may still be allowed and is correctly regulated to try to balance of the right to hold v. the right of society to be protected from gun owners, but is still highly reliant on the goodwill of the corporatocracy. Own enough guns and they'll come after you somehow.
My ability to post this rant on my silly little blog on the internet is not regulated too much. Why? Because it's a silly little blog. Maybe a hundred of you read it everyday if my statistics bear out. Of those, many of you come here to download pictures of Ann Coulter's manimal hands.
Who's going to notice? Hell, even the large mammals in Blogtopia (© Skippy, the Bush Kangaroo) who gather a thousand times as many hits each day, that's maybe a million people a year in a nation of 300,000,000. We have so limited impact on such a fundamental construct of America that it's practically laughable.
This is why we're allowed to continue to write what we write and say what we say: who's listening anyway? A hundred years from now, it is my hope that these columns you're reading today will help mitigate history's opinion of our nation and how we let freedom die in front of our eyes. A plea for mercy, that some of us understood, that some of us tried like Cassandra to warn of the impending doom, but were drowned out in the noise of Lindsay Lohan.
My "libertarian" friends accuse me of wanting bigger government.
I want government, the way our Founders wanted government: to be responsive to our voices.
I want a government that fears us, and not the loss of the backing of the corporatocracy.
I want the America I was promised.