My friends, this is a long piece and represents my beliefs, not necessarily yours. I make no apologies for that. However, please think about what I say and why I say it and, at the very least, accept that my intentions are good:
I’m working on a song that begins with the words:
‘We’ve got a desperate situation, something bad is going on…’
Most would agree this is true. By any measure the world appears to be in a state of madness at present. And, it appears to me, the worse it gets, the worse we get.
We divide and refuse to concur.
My play on words is deliberate, a distortion of the Roman strategy of ‘Divide and Conquer.’ The Romans knew that to divide opinion was the best way to overcome opposition. Encouraging rivalries and discord between people disempowers them, emasculates alternative points of view, and allows rulers to rule unopposed and even to lead us astray as is happening now.
We are being divided and conquered by mindless rhetoric and too many of us follow like lemmings.
We are given things to hate and fear: Islam, Immigrants, Russia, China, Socialists, welfare recipients, Mexican rapists, Greenies — then divided and manipulated accordingly. The media has a huge role to play in this.
Consequently, we gather around our ‘isms’ forming camps according to our politics or religion. Certainly, we defend our positions with religious fervour and shallow generalisations of those we’re at odds with.
Shallowest of these is the time-honoured inanity of dividing opinion into left wing or right wing, socialism or capitalism or any other convenient ‘one-size-fits-all’ categorisation of philosophical opposites.
We take opposing positions on every important thing, which results in bloody-minded intransigence: I’m right so you must be wrong.
The epitome of this has to be America at present. Superficially, in the USA it appears that there is no longer any ‘We’, there is only ‘Us’ and ‘Them’. The dividing point being Trump and all that he represents.
If it weren’t for that fact that US politics affects us all I wouldn’t care. But I do. America maddens and saddens me.
From what I’ve read I consider the American Constitution to be a blueprint for a fair and healthy society, but I find myself wondering if anyone in America has read or understood what their forefathers had in mind, or even cares. Certainly there is little evidence of it today.
US democracy has been pretty much a plutocracy for decades now. And on the rare occasion that an elected President isn’t a billionaire, those who stand to gain the most if they’re elected invariably fund them. And later on it shows:
I loved Obama, I really did. He was the most compelling speaker of modern times. He was a man whose intentions were good. Fair minded and erudite. Credible. He seemed like the right man at the right time.
But did any Wall Street criminals go to jail after his election? Nope, not one — if you exclude Bernie Madoff who made the mistake of robbing from the rich. The harsh reality is that Wall Street pretty much funded Obama in much the same way the Oil, Arms and other industries with overt (or covert) agendas have funded Presidential campaigns in the past.
(Until recently it was not necessary to reveal who funded political campaigns in the USA. Seems incredible, but it’s true. I believe that has now changed but don’t hold me to that).
More to the point, as the eight years deadlock in Washington during Obama’s presidency clearly showed, divisive politics rule. We had had two presidential terms of bloody-minded intransigence fuelled by shortsighted, self-serving people who had the hide to call themselves representatives of the people.
Even the most politically naïve can see that those elected are often more concerned with toeing the party line than running the country for the benefit of all.
Unsurprisingly, people became disenchanted with the farce called Congress. Washington lost all credibility. And I’d argue Trump was elected mainly because he wasn’t one of them. He promised something different and, let’s face it, he delivered— the fact that he appears to do so without dignity or any regard for the truth or consequence, notwithstanding.
I’m bound to ask where is common sense in all of this? Where is humanity and compassion? What do we really want for our selves and each other? What kind of world do we want to live in?
Will we ever agree on any of this? Or will we continue to butt heads over our isms and refuse to accept that we are all in this together and only together can we put an end to the madness.
We need to ask ourselves a few basic questions and answer them truthfully. Not from the jaundiced perspective of our prejudices but from a humane perspective for the good of all.
Let me give you a few things to ponder.
According to Wikipedia the current global military expenditure is around USD1750 billion dollars per annum. Let’s assume that’s around USD8000 billion dollars in the last five years. Can you imagine what this money would do if it were spent on actual problems rather than perceived ones parlayed by spooks and politicians?
By the way, even a cursory investigation of the covert organisations of the world proves their deceit crosses all moral and ethical bounds. While the deceit may be connected to government directives or other manipulative concerns, it does not in any way reflect the will of most people. Most ‘Official Secrets Acts’ are not so much to protect the security of a nation, as they are to hide the heinous, illegal, inhuman, dishonest actions of people claiming to work in our best interests.
Without getting into what constitutes treason, I’d say the outcry over Wikileaks and the like, is not because what was leaked was untrue, but that it was treason to let citizens know what our leaders (and military forces) don’t want us to know. Not for our good, but theirs. The outtake being that they believe we don’t know what’s right for us and they do.
(Yes, I know that, given some of the words I’ve used in this little rant, there is a chance some online Big Brother division will be alerted. But I don’t care. Anyone can see I’m no threat to national security. Besides I’ve never kowtowed to anyone and am not about to start now).
Why do we spend so much on war — while calling it defence — when what the world really needs is peace? (Or do you really believe peace can only be maintained by the threat of war?)
Are political isms and religions worth going to war over: Capitalism versus Communism, Islam versus Christianity and so on — or is that simply insanity with about the same level of justification soccer hooligans might use to attack each other?
I know wars are far more complicated than that, but those who have hidden agendas (oil for instance) often massage prejudices to serve their purposes. At the root of war and tyranny there are often long-held prejudices. The Middle East and most of Africa are testament to this.
Can you imagine what would happen if the major powers in the world took 20% of their defence budgets and spent it doing good work in the very nations that are the breeding grounds for terrorists? Yes, I know this is not a new thought, but even as you read this some of you will be thinking it is a naïve idea — a ditzy ideal.
Is a healthy arms industry so vital for the economy or good for mankind? A lot of problems could be solved for the price of just one missile. Yet, sadly, there are those who believe the problems would best be solved by firing the missile. And so long as we remain divided about such things we are pretty much doomed.
Getting back to the hackneyed categories of left wing and right wing the reality is that if either wing is in the ascendancy we just fly around in ever decreasing circles going nowhere. And that’s what’s happening now.
Trump is not the cause he’s the symptom. The illness is among us. If we remain divided over every bloody thing on the basis of myopic isms, and continue to react like puppets to the rhetoric of those who cultivate fear and loathing to their own ends, the insanity will continue forever.
We are all in this together folks. The sooner we accept and embrace this reality the better it will be for all of us.
Let me leave you with a song that I wrote (but never released) after 9/11 but before the invasion of Iraq. It seems just as relevant today.