Monday, February 25, 2008

It's all so surreal . . . . .

The last eight years have yielded some genuinely surreal moments. A number of times I've thought about Surrealism and Dada - the art movements that grew out of the atrocities of WWI and reflected the absurdity of politics of the age. In particular it's made me think of Rene Magritte's "Ceci n'est pas une pipe" - the painting of a pipe with the words "This is not a pipe" written directly beneath.

I know rationality is not the answer to every human predicament, but it seems to have been completely tossed aside since 2001. Words you would never expect to hear uttered by a sane individual have graced the speeches of our elected officials. Phrases like 'axis of evil,' 'evil-doers,' 'smoke them out of their holes,' and 'dead or alive.' It's not just that these phrases become fodder for books on Bush's lexicon and material for the Daily Show. They seep into your unconscious mind and slowly you become more tolerant of all absurdities. People in power tell you things you KNOW to be false - but you don't call them on it.

Like how could the president and Congress pass an economic stimulus package that gives $600 to every taxpayer when we're in the middle of a war costing $30 billion/month, millions of people are losing their homes, even more are without healthcare and we don't think we can afford social securtiy programs? They said themselves that lower and middle income citizens are more likely to spend it - "Do your duty and be a good consumer." That is - if you're poor and ignorant enough to go out and spend your precious dollars on cheap non-durables. If you're wealthy (and don't worry, you get a refund too) you won't spend it, you'll probably put it in your savings. After all, that's what wealthy people do - that's why they're wealthy. Let the rest of the poor urchins stimulate the economy - obviously Bush's supply-side economics haven't done the trick.

How can they talk about a WWIII with Iran when we're at war in Iraq and Afghanistan? How can they say this when the Iranians sent an official document via the Swiss Ambassador to the State Department offering to enter neogitations? And how can Condaleeza Rice say she never saw it? Does anyone really believe that? Doesn't she need to cook up a better story, like it must've been intercepted by some warmongering underling?

How can the US - supposedly the most democratic nation in the world - have a Supreme Court decide one election and Superdelegates decide another? Why have the elections in the first place? Window dressing? The outcome is the same in dictatorships that declare 99% of the votes, only in the US we accept it as legitimate. We rationalize it away with electoral colleges and other archaic institutions that are only an insurance policy for the establishment should the rabid legion of voters decide incorrectly.

They tell you it isn't a pipe, or a failed democracy, or an absurd conflict, or an attempt to keep you in your place. But you know it is - trust yourself, not the administration. You don't have to be a full-time observer of politics to know when you're being lied to.

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