Government Shutdown: Not With A Bang, But With A Whimper
by Simon Bruehl|
File under: Fake Freedom 01 Oct 2013 19:41 EDT
So it finally happened! In case you hadn't heard, this was the scene outside the White House as President Obama went to the Oval Office this morning:
No, it's not a Hollywood movie. The aliens aren't docked in D.C., and giant robots aren't destroying our major cities. Boys and girls, you may want to turn off your iPads about now and listen to what we are saying. This is actually happening! Yes, it's a real life GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN! Isn't that right, Mr. Washington?
Now we could try to explain to you what is happening using sensational graphics, bombastic political rhetoric, and venomous personal attacks, but we at Fakenation prefer a more outdated, literary approach to the great events of the day.
For all our oppositional bluster, it turns out that we share an appreciation of the poet T.S. Eliot with President Obama, who once pontificated on him in an attempt to get laid.
Quite ironically, nothing captures today's non-events so well as a poem authored by Eliot himself, entitled "The Hollow Men", particularly the famous last lines:
Interesting stuff, isn't it? I can't think of a better poetic statement of the fact that the world's superpower woke up today closed for business, and nobody outside punditry seemed to notice or care much. You see, we live so unconsciously of the reality of our situation that we can only be stimulated by the expectation of some cataclysm and not be the gradual winnowing away to nothing that is actually occurring. This is the way the world ends, not with a bang but a whimper.
Paranoids, peppers, and talk radio listeners of all stripes would be wise to heed this reflection. The 'opposition' in this country is frequently nothing more than apocalyptic cult, warning of some day in the future, some 'bang', in the language of Eliot, when SWAT teams start going door to door confiscating guns. These people, for all the insight they may provide into the designs of government, are really part of the problem, because the emphasis on fear in the future disarms us from creating alternatives in the present.
Both the mainstream media and the fear-based 'alternative' media present a vision of the political actors as invincible. In the case of the former, this is to set an absurd precedent on which to base fanciful ideological narratives of blame and responsibility. We've all heard it before:
There may or may not be a kernel in truth in all of these statements, but the sense of agency is inflated beyond recognition. The media wants you to think these men are demigods of unlimited influence, so that any of the weak fundamentals of their regimes seem impossible in light of their awesome power. The average voter takes the bait.
But the alternative media turns these popular demigods into equally implausible devils, obsessed with plotting against the people as an end in itself, and, moreover, able to get away with it thanks to secret agreements made by various scapegoats (the Rothschilds, the Freemasons, etc.) who run the world. Sadly, the effect of these narratives is even worse than that offered by the mainstream media. Instead of having a Hollywood-style superhero in office to solve their problems for them, the people are offered a feared shadowy minority on which to pin their problems without hope of resolution in the face of such a malevolent power. Either way, the citizen is, a priori, an irrelevant, expendable loser with no agency or voice in the world.
What we have experienced in America is a total breakdown in communication, so that events like a government shutdown, which is an obvious outcome based on 3rd grade math, become apocalypses of hype. Yet, when these events actually occur, we find out that they were really just marking points on the decline we have already been personally experiencing for a long time. Another day in the life, so to speak. Just ask the residents of Detroit.
The moral of the story? Those in power are nothing more than people, and cheap con men at that. Every con man has his day, and this is very clear if you study history. Over and over, dating back from the days of Nero, leaders who were unquestioned rulers of the world become names of great shame in short time as their deceits unravel. Contra Hollywood, crime doesn't pay, and doesn't work.
We cannot change the choices our fellow citizens have made. We can only offer a better alternative for the future. That will first require the realization that the Wizard of Oz is nothing more than a pathetic old man that likes to frighten young children with delusions of power and grandeur.
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