by Bruce Patterson, October 12, 2016
“I recognize the right and duty of this generation to develop and use our natural resources. But I do not recognize the right to waste them, or to rob, by wasteful use, the generations that come after us.”
—Theodore Roosevelt, Republican President
“If all Americans want is security they can go to prison… But if an American wants to preserve his dignity and equality as a human being, he must not bow his head to any dictatorial government.”
—Dwight D. Eisenhower, Republican President
“If Fascism came to America it would be called ‘Americanism’.”
—US Army Orientation Fact Sheet 64. March 24, 1945
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When I was a little boy and we were on the road, I used to love the way small town radio stations faded in and out. Heading east on US Hwy. 66, San Berdo’s radio signals got garbled and faded into static as we drove up to Cajon (“Big Box”) Pass (4,260ft.). When we topped the pass and reached the rim of the Mojave Desert, San Berdo went silent and Victorville and Barstow came in loud and clear.
If we continued east on Hwy. 66 then, once Barstow faded out, we picked up Twentynine Palms. Once that signal fizzled, we’d be nearing the canyon of the Colorado River and picking up Needles (named after the spectacular rock pinnacles located downstream and across the river in Arizona).
“Good afternoon, folks. It’s a wonderful sunny day here in Needles. Not a cloud in the sky, the river’s running high and the wind’s blowing big Zs. Now here’s the latest from Bakersfield’s own Buck Owens and his Buckaroos. . .”
The airwaves were publicly owned and regulated in those days. People bought licenses to operate stations in the public interest and “reputable” advertisers bought airtime. Radio stations were required to regularly identify themselves and they did so with gusto. Winslow, Holbrook, Gallup and Albuquerque: like barking prairie dogs, they loudly announced themselves: “This is KFBW, Santa Rosa, New Mexico, Channel 102.4 on your AM dial.”
Not anymore. The natural world, its nitches, places and human tribes are no longer relevant in this Era of Magical Gadgetry. For example, Trisha and I often listen to Oregon Public Radio and they have 16 radio stations spread out across the state. At least once an hour they run down the whole list and it’s the funniest thing. Funny like our old cartoon hero Screwball Squirrel scribbling calculous on a chalkboard. Now I don’t think one in twenty elderly lifelong Oregonians have ever visited all 16 towns OPB constantly heralds, or know where they’re all located or have any desire to know. But on OPB they name all 16 and follow them not with their locations but with letters: IDUM, UDUM, WDUM, etc.
“Howdy from Amarillo, my motoring little cowpokes and cowgirls. Ya’ll gettin hungry for lunch? I know you’ve been searching your AM dial and now, by golly, you’ve up’n found me so stay right here at ANUT. Oh, ‘fore I forget: when you get to Oklahoma, you’ll find me at FYOU.”
But here’s what’s really perverse: OPB uses lots of volunteers and I’ve never heard even one of them protest having to broadcast such silly shit. I mean, who wants to read the latest stock quotes in Pig Latin? Who wants their paycheck in Yen? What good’s common sense when nobody sticks up for it?
Sure, when you’re wheeling it, you can always search your radio dial (cross-country truckers were the first channel surfers). Turning the dial like you’re doing the combo of a wall safe, you just might even find an OPB station, too. But fact is that nationwide broadcasting conglomerations have systematically erased our sense of place. Excepting, of course, the Virtual Reality cartoon kind of places we get during new car commercials—zoom, zoom. Today’s DJs and journalists have lost their sense of their own personal places, too, especially on this raped and battered planet that, in the media, has disappeared into Solitary and is permanently ill-disposed, if you must know.
Goes to show that once a national population has been properly isolated, indoctrinated, regimented, blinkered and drilled in the arts of self-deception and self-censorship, State censorship becomes just another weapon in the Arsenal of Freedom: the Sword of Law and Order, Domestic Tranquility, National Security, Honorable Enterprise and individually packaged Just Desserts. One learns to obey because all obey or else. Liberty is that white bird perched way up high inside Master Market’s gilded cage.
You turn on the news today and all of the lessons of the 20th Century have been left on the cutting room floor. In Trump Tower’s Penthouse Reality TV World, my generation of GI jungle bunnies has been replaced by ranks of tottering old neck-cinched draft dodgers and former draftee supply clerks whose most traumatic military experience was the time a gust of wind blasted his desk and upset his stacks of paperwork now graciously thanking everybody in the audience for finally appreciating how he’d served as a hero and a role model for generations to come.
Like Agent Orange and napalm, one-way chopper flights and warehouses full of tiger cages, our real world has vanished. National news is either Human Interest or Spectacle, and news from foreign countries is now treated as a waste of commercial time. American cities have been reduced to skylines featuring the skyscraping tax dodges of masked bankers, insurance conglomerates, Health Maintenance Organizations (care for a jiffy lube?), lobbyists, PR firms, law firms and glittering high-rise condos reserved for the sleepwalking Power Elite. In Boise, Biloxi, Houston, Akron—skyscrapers as Golden Calves. The Big Town, the Big Apple, Motor City: unending portraits of pure striving and spectacular material success floating out the windows and down to the people on the sidewalks.
Now on the eve of another Presidential Election, switch your TV between FOX, CNN and MSMBC and you’ll get three spins on the same un-stories and the same nameless chattering boxed media personalities squeezed in between the same never-ending commercial barrages shelling us with the “life choices” of an empty, joyless and futureless Way of Death:
“A car should only be measured by one thing,” intones the Voice of God. “How it makes you feel.”
Today new pickup trucks are outselling new automobiles. Obviously owning a Luxury Tactical Vehicle (LTV) has made it onto my rickety generation’s “bucket list.” I don’t believe many young folks can afford, or want, such wasteful extravagance, much less are able to “secure the credit” (except from a Loan Shark seeing how Usury is now legal). Then not many young folks even want such a thing seeing how the great bulk of them have spent their whole lives listening to them, breathing their exhaust, taking buses and servicing their credit cards. So I see today’s Gas Hogs for Jesus movement as just another peek into the cosmic tragedy of Fossil Fuel Man’s mass-produced mass gullibility.
“Remember all you sitting at home: Doctors prefer Lucky Strike cigarettes.”
Truth has disappeared from advertising and datelines from newspapers. Captions are gone from photographs, locations from floods and firestorms, points off maps and hurricanes get silently submerged into radio silence. Price tags have disappeared from merchandise and invoices from mail orders. We get a pair of two trillion dollar wars with no accountings, progress reports, exit strategies or body counts. Sitting on our couches, we get our heads stuffed with Orwellian commercials pitching brand-new ammo dumps getting stuffed with weaponry without anybody asking our opinion of their enterprise or offering to show us the price tags. . . . Sometimes I think America’s future could very well be that bloody heap of road-kill over there but we’re just too scared to look.
The 100th Anniversary of the National Park Service comes and goes unnoticed. Internal combustion engines star on the National Geographic Channel. Animal Channel is a 24/7 psychedelic pet store being run by Pee-Wee Herman. Discovery has disappeared from DSC. Ongoing environmental catastrophes go unreported. Epidemics go unreported and Organized Crime is disappeared from everywhere but designated ghettos and barrios (“barrio” translates into “neighborhood,” not “ghetto,” whose original meaning was the impoverished “Jewish Quarters” of European cities).
All this and less while for months on end Mussolini’s Mini-Me in a Park Avenue tent suit is getting endless “objective” free publicity plus expert strategic and tactical advice from legions of “flattering Friars.” This even though Mini Me is a textbook sociopath, a proven pathological liar, a disgraceful racist and sexist, a tax cheat and treasonous demagogue. (Lots of people are saying Mini Me is actually Tsar Putin’s Rasputin. You know,
without the physical attractiveness and the self-control.)
Here we have the Shopping Channel’s symbol of Patriotic Americanism that’s a degenerate bunco artist/casino greeter/B-actor from Fantasy Island reruns telling us that “global warming” is a Chinese Communist plot being facilitated by the America-hating Leftists and Socialists camouflaged like spying fleas inside the “Democrat Party.” And Mini Me is not just getting away with such counter-factual venom, emotional senility and dribbling lunacy, he’s feeding it like red meat to ravenous crowds of table-pounding Know-Nothings shaking their losing lottery tickets in the air like bloody shirts.
In a very nutty shell: here’s a creature whose closest associates solemnly swear you absolutely cannot trust on a golf course (the Red Queen for Emperor, anyone?) and you’re ready to trust him with your kids? You’re willing to trust him with anybody’s kids?
Since Mini Me is our Moses promising to save us Real Americans from the Mexicans and their Fellow Travelers, Radical Muslims, Muslim war refugees, Big Spenders (Huh?), weaklings, incompetents, lightweights, losers, fat bitches, ugly people, reverse racists, educated morons, soulless abortionists (having an abortion makes a woman an abortionist) welfare cheats and today’s goldbricking American Combat Infantrymen has simultaneously found time to excel as a serial swindler, habitual litigant, a labor racketeer and a notoriously pathological tightwad, I’ll concede the old bullfrog is indeed a hard worker. Assuming that looking in the mirror and seeing The Greatest Show on Earth counts as work.
Here’s something else I never thought I’d live long enough to see: the rank and file of the rump “Republic Party” now metastasized into the White Man’s Party of Southern Redemption lined up like ducklings behind a yellow-bellied NYC Yankee atheistic serial adulterer currently married to a UFO trophy foreigner as if he’s General Robert E. Lee with Betsie Ross hooked on his elbow. Good Lord Almighty, good thing their mommas and daddies taint alive to see them now.
During most of my lifetime the “Republic Party” has held the loyalty of the majority of America’s college educated white men and their wives. So long as from cradle-to-grave we’re taught that accumulating the things money can buy is the American Dream and the Christian Way of Life, the swing vote will always be those who’ve convinced themselves they’ve spotted the best bargain for themselves.
You make sure nobody ever gets a truth and people won’t miss it. Make sure nobody gets the chance to breathe free and nobody misses Lady Liberty. You divorce a child from Mother Nature and she or he won’t miss the Giver of all Things, neither. But now we’re talking the unthinkable: “Utopia” as literally no livable place at all. Hopefully our society has so quickly devolved from an Orwellian Dystopia into an empty Anti-Topia because, having ascended too quickly into vainglory, we got lightheaded, lost our balance and fainted. Hopefully we’ll come around soon. The kids are relying on us.