We live now in a period where we are just as likely to run into someone saying that World War III is upon us as someone saying we are witness to worldwide change that will shift us into a global renaissance.
After two in-depth programs on Israel and the issues surrounding occupation and apartheid there, it is difficult to see any light down the many tunnels of conflict worldwide. From Palestine, Israel and Gaza, to Afghanistan and Pakistan, to Iraq, Syria, Ukraine and many other lands, we are witness to a massive upheaval.
Today sociologist Michael Schwartz and I discussed Iraq. More a failure than Viet Nam perhaps. Exxon and Mobil win; everyone else loses, especially the USA taxpayers. Our nation's treasure squandered for what? So the Church Of The Invisible Hand can preach the gospel of free market success? Hardly. If it takes $500 billion in subsidies for Big Oil and trillions for wars, then that is not laissez faire capitalism, that is immoral, illegal empire building so that a few tax-dodging multinational corporations can reap huge rewards. Blood on our hands from thousands of our military and over a million Iraqi people alone.
At our own doorstep we have thousands of unaccompanied children forced north by ... USA meddling in the June 29, 2009 coup d'etat in Honduras. We helped overthrown a democratically elected present (Zaraya) when he was helping poor farmers, established a minimum wage and established a free healthcare system. The USA stood internationally alone in support of the coup and alone in not condemning it. Turns out we trained the coup leaders at the School of the Americas, Ft. Benning, GA.
The most positive note to end this screed is that more and more we are hearing for a movement against the concept of empire here. This had better gain momentum soon and impact hard. Such a massive democratic uprising is far beyond the goals of Occupy and even the peace movement.
So what will it be ... a renaissance, or WW3?
Had a good show today, despite the grim topic of kids losing their lives to substance abuse. Had a regional expert, Jeff Reynolds, speak to the big picture. Also had a mom, and activist, Claudia Friszell - Claudia experienced the ultimate horror of losing a wonderful son at way too early an age. Tough stuff.
In fact, the "toughness" is what strikes me the most when talking with families that have lost a precious member. We all know that when faced with the worst, we learn the most and grow accordingly. Families of victims are a tough bunch - not only do they deserve to be listened to, but we can benefit so much if we take the time to hear their message. They have much to share with all of us. It is far more than just "their story."
I also rambled a bit today on the horrific costs of our wars. While this is fanciful and idealistic, I think we need to think more like this. We have played the empire card long enough and it is crippling our culture. In case you missed it, here it is:
National Treasure … IMAGINE
Imagine for a moment that we took a different fork in the road. Imagine a war with a price tag that is totally made up – totally fictitious – imagine we just now decided that we were going to war for 10 years and that the cost would be some 4-5 trillion bucks – just to pick a number in the ballpark of our “adventures” in Af/Pak and Iraq. Imagine.
So now imagine this money spent NOT on war, but right here at home.
Infrastructure? Check. Education? Check. Serious investment in alternative energy? Check. And so on.
Just imagine what our surroundings might look like in 10 years.
Is this a "have your cake and eat it too" scenario – yes! Same way the hawks got their wars, on the credit card! This is simply pilling up yet more national debt ... BUT with a difference ... instead of growing a terrorist network worldwide that hates us and is planning blowback from our wars, we instead have grown communities, we have added value to each and every citizen, not knocked down doors, but painted them! Not created enemies, but friends, all right here in front of us. Except for propaganda footage like the "Shock and Awe" invasion and destruction of Baghdad, we have not actually seen much of how our national treasure has been squandered in the Middle East. With my little scenario we would see it right before our eyes, every day.
I think this is what was once called a “peace dividend” – well, we never saw that did we? We were hell bent on creating more wars, more empire.
Imagine a different story; imagine peace as a strategic, DOMESTIC initiative; planned and executed with the same precision we crow about when sending missiles from our drones with deadly force.
So today on “Everything is Broken” I tried to keep from being shrill. I chose silly old auto related music, eschewed a strong political theme, and chose an ostensibly more balanced and mentally healthy guest, one J. David Gray. Ok, health is relative.
David and I discussed Sonoma, California. We tried to go beyond the “wine country” label and focus on the history and uniqueness, the beautiful surroundings and the culture. While I was hoping for some war stories about his mid 70’s debauch entry into such a place, David did not disappoint in that he provided the listeners with a picture of Sonoma with breadth and depth. A very lovely little town in a very scenic valley in a very cool place that hasn’t changed so much that it is now a caricature of itself. Sonoma is real; so are the tourists. But enough about the tourists.
I was left wondering if perhaps it is time to move the show beyond the whining and the outrage. Is it time to hit the reset on the radio gig? It’s like what I say to my now very dear friends of the North Country Peace Group: “how are we doing!? We started off protesting a war (invasion of Afghanistan) and to date (13 years later) only more wars and more apathy and more counter demonstrators. Why are we still standing here?” So is the radio program getting anywhere? Are we really an outlet for alternative media? Are we presenting issues that the mainstream media deliberately ignores?
People that don’t wallow in the pathos of politics are truly turned off by passionate ideology; hell, so am I. But what about PASSION itself? hm? I’m passionate about a select few family members, photography, cars, cats, geography, travel and getting the hell out of the boring burbs. So crucify me! But enough about me.
So perhaps it all boils down to a matter of style. The USA culture is big on that I am told. Ok, the USA culture is big on style, appearance, fluff and not rocking boats – got it. We are a bit of an empty suit culture to begin with, eh? So should I be Mister Smooth; Mister Calm and Melllloooo? Time will tell. It was actually great having a leftover cold; there seemed to be a radio voice there – wow! Disease is good!
Ok, that’s it for my day in the office. Now back to mucking about and wondering why my office desk looks the very same as the one I left behind when I retired! Oy.
Oh, and I even figured out a way to work in the theme from Mister Ed. Take that!
Jim Lynch's Blog: