Taos Citizens and Consumers Cope with (Economic) Assault
Apparently, the U.S. military and its CIA consort are losing the battle for the hearts and minds of the Afghanis. Burning the Koran and slaughtering innocents, whether with rifle fire or drone-induced collateral damage, seem like poor policy. Students of history remember that invaders from Alexander the Great to the British Empire to the Soviet Union have come a cropper in the Himalayan highlands of Central Asia. Now, if the headlines are to be believed, the Americans are imploding in this mountainous trap. The reaction to Osama Bin Laden’s assault on the twin trade towers in Iraq, Afghanistan, and across the Arab world has created increasingly unsafe levels of tension for Americans worldwide.
Even as the Arab world roils, irresponsible candidates for the American presidency focus their vitriol on Iran—as if starting a new war will do what? We citizens can only wonder at the ad hoc government leadership in Washington D.C. Whose in charge?
One is reminded of the exchange between Captain Willard (Martin Sheen) and Kurtz (Marlon Brando) in the final scenes of Francis Ford Coppola’s “Apocalypse Now.
“Are my methods unsound?” Kurtz asks.
Willard responds, “I don’t see any method at all, sir.” What exactly are we doing in Afghanistan?
We have discovered the real enemy and he is us. The fear mongers use “national security” as excuse. Elected representatives and the supporters of police state in America have passed numerous acts curtailing civil liberties and formed intelligence committees composed of federal, state, and local agencies that delimit limits on domestic spying. Goodbye posse comitatus. As we have learned from the hackers, Anonymous and WikiLeaks, the governments of the world, like the U.S., see their citizens as threat to the status quo.
The U.S. State Department cries out against Syria’s slaughter of its own citizens or the deplorable conditions of North Koreans even as American soldiers and CIA operatives target foreign and U.S. citizens, killing real and imagined enemies in a helter-skelter fashion sans due process. Extremes tell the story: America’s client state, Israel, has created WWII style ghettos for Palestinians in Gaza and on the West Bank; The New York City P.D. hired an ex-CIA operations director to organize a surveillance unit—keep an eye on American citizens, their relatives in Manhattan and New Jersey—and in the outer boroughs of the world.
I wouldn’t say it if I hadn’t read it in The Times.
But in a capitalist country, economic determinism drives policy and elections. Making war is an excuse to let out private contracts for corporate America paid for by taxpayers. Whether he’s a graduate of Bain Capital, an alleged social conservative, or even a radical radio host and his Republican acolytes, who make war on women and people of color, you can see how the radical corporatists and the 1% are carving up the Republic and turning inequality into a fixed market, celebrating the virtues of wealth, replacing the stone faces of presidents on Mount Rushmore with the mysterious physiognomies of the Billionaire CEOs.
During the last three decades, corporate propaganda has persuaded citizens to trade in their traditional civic virtues for the appetites of the consumer: Shop, eat, drink, and dance until you drop. Now that money, manpower, and manufacturing have been shipped overseas, we are left with popular spectacles to distract our attention—divide and conquer the hoi polloi with prejudice and deceitful advertising—sell them a beer and a ball game, a pop song and a new iPod for their trouble—or a Broadband connect.
Sadly, here in Taos, the program to undermine the citizenry continues askance. Elected local government at the Town, County, Coop, and the Public Schools has grown out of all proportion to the private sector. The politicians focus on power at the expense of the public good. The superstructure of the community is top-heavy in terms of facilities and employment—anticipating growth well into…the 22nd or 23rd Century. Even as an historic and frugal society has turned into a 21st Century spendthrift, the tax, energy, and technology bills are coming due.
In Taos we are all minorities.You can’t blame women who don’t have the power or the activists who post warning signs about the dust devils. The good old boys, especially at the Town, Coop, and locally-owned bank are squeezing tax and rate payers even as they rob from their own Peter to pay their own Paul at the proposed Command Center. It has become our Tower of Babel.
To put it quite simply, across the nation and at town hall, the Fox is in the Henhouse. Why do we shoot ourselves in the foot instead of gathering up the eggs? Mr. Fox and Mr. Rabbit, get thee behind us!
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