re: Brooks, “The Quest for Dignity,” January 31, 2011

In Uncategorized on February 1, 2011 at 5:49 pm

Wow. On this we can agree–your eloquent exaltation of democratic uprisings around the world over the last 50 years erases any petty differences between good “conservative,” versus good “liberal,” values we like to spar about on these pages…

Yet the tide of dignity and responsiveness you speak of is one I have only dimly felt here and there in my life, at a few Pete Seeger “Marches on Washington for Jobs, Peace and Justice…” when I was a teen, in the 1980s–certainly not at the pathetically under-attended protests against Guantanamo or against the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan….

So I look at Tunisia and Egypt with such a wistfulness, and am glad that they are experiencing the “romanticism” of revolution, as noted in other reporting from the NYTimes…

Because here (in the U.S.) we seem doomed in a stranglehold of corporate ownership and a dwarfing of government in the imagination of our people…we can’t discuss politics openly at work, and it is risky to at times trust people you later discover you shouldn’t have…because while we may technically be a “free country,” there is absolutely nothing free about the restrictions of “professional behavior” which keep us in a straight-jacket from our political selves at work, and for which private companies have every right to fire us for not complying with their mandates of corporate culture…

…jobs where we spend ever longer hours for ever lower wages…and though working may consume 70% or more of our waking hours, and provide a bulk of our social contact, while there, small talk is relegated to the 500 other channels of fluff on t.v., not to Al Jazeera English, or latest world events….

China has to censor its internet coverage of Egypt because government actually makes a difference in their lives!

Whereas even a vice-presidential candidate in the U.S. tried to turn the fact that she has not spent a majority of her life pouring over the pages of the New York Times into a badge of honor…we can’t get a critical enough mass of our population to read the newspaper, even were it free…let alone to care…for there has been evidence enough in the NYTimes alone to seed a revolution or two here in the U.S., if only enough people would read and connect the dots…

Because only a critical mass of people believing that a government exists and has real power can lead a massive uprising…if people believe their employers hold the crux of power in society, and that if they were unemployed, there was little to nothing their society or government could do…then you have the massive apathy you see here, and a degeneration of knowledge from hard facts and “real news” into “infotainment,” fluff, and propaganda…

…leading desolate people astray into private hells of financial ruin and suicide, rather than inspiring collective action and unifying revolution…

Sadly, freedom doesn’t seem as exhiliratingly free when you cannot get ANY protection from the government–be it for our bountiful oceans from unsafe drilling, to wipe-out-the-farm home loans, to let’s-cut-social-security-into-a million-pieces-and-see-if-Wall-St.-can-sew-it-back-together-again–protections which can’t be justified because advocating too much for regular people interferes with that marvelous “free market,” whose corporations are every bit as much people as we, didn’t you know?

I hope Egyptians really do achieve democracy “just of people,” –and don’t find their freedom smothered by the tyranny of a global dictatorship of a “free-market” economy.


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