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While We Still Have Time

In spite of the grimness of the times in which we live, there is still hope. If you feel, like I do, that the usual discourse about matters of critical concern tends to be superficial, misguided, and false, then you might find some solace and inspiration here. I will try to offer insight and a holistic perspective on events and issues, and hopefully serve as a catalyst for raising the level of dialogue on this planet.

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Location: Madison, Wisconsin, United States

I was born in 1945, shortly before atom bombs were dropped on Japan. I served in the U.S. Army from 1968 to 1971. I earned master's degrees in Economics and Educational Psychology, and certificates in Web Page Design and as a Teacher of English as a Second Language. I followed an Indian guru for eight years, which immersed me in meditative practices and an attitude of reaching a higher level of being. A blog post listing the meditative practices I have pursued can be seen here.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

The fascists are coming

The heady thing to do these days is lament that the country is headed towards fascism, or already is there. When it is said, it is without much of a sense of personal context except for victimhood. The Bush regime is a bunch of fascists, and they’re coming to get us. What are we going to do?

I responded to one of these laments yesterday by saying that I don’t look at the Bush administration as fascists, but as criminals. This was met with what I call "the litany." They’re doing this, that, and the other: changing the bankruptcy laws, killing Social Security, fomenting new wars, gutting the environment, cracking down on civil liberties, making the rich richer, the poor poorer, etc., etc., etc.

My response was that yes, all these things are true, but the essential nature of the Bush regime is criminal, and fascism may be the effect, but not the core nature. When you call them fascists, you give them power, and I choose not to give them any power.

This was met with more litany. I responded by singing a bit of the Blood, Sweat and Tears song "Spinning Wheel" (What goes up must come down), and explained further that it doesn’t do any good to think of the Bush crime family as being this great fascist monolith that is bearing down on us all. They are just weak, mortal men, and they are going to fail.

To no avail. The fascists are coming!! The fascists are coming!!

This kind of talk is happening almost everywhere I go, and in the things that I read, emails I receive. Fascism is either coming, or it is here already. End of story. No plan of action, no suggestion for response. They’re coming to get us, and there’s nothing we can do about it.

In psychology this state of being is called learned helplessness. By talking it up for the existence of fascism, the fear mongerers are attempting to reinforce their own powerlessness, victimhood, and hopelessness. By expanding the sphere of impotence, misery gains the company it loves. It also generates the energy that makes the fascism they so much fear come into being and gain power and influence.

I choose not to play this game. As I write this the well-known self help guru Wayne Dyer is talking on the public television station. I’m not a big fan of Wayne Dyer, but he said something very important and apropos to the question at hand. He said "If you change the way you look at things, you change the things themselves."

Decades ago I got into the paranoia about fascism, and it was a near-death experience. Literally. It also did nothing to make things better. I decided to find a better way of being.

One of the things I have learned over the years is that attempting to fit my perceptions into preconceived notions, and especially into official "truths" of some group identity, creates disharmony, and takes away my ability to respond in an appropriate and effective way. It is not a proper way to live, and is an essentially unhappy way to live. I prefer to perceive things intuitively, to connect to my own self, to my own feelings and inner sense. There is a price to pay for perceiving independently, but it is well worth it. People do not like it when you say things that are outside the limits of their group cohesion, and you become "other." I accept this "otherness."

When I see George W. Bush on TV, I don’t see a fascist. I see a psychopathic criminal. A fascist is someone with a belief system, a philosophy, however demented. George W. Bush has not ever exhibited that he has had a thought beyond the crude narcissism that has marked his entire life. Why anoint him with an "ism?" He has said that a dictatorship would be a good idea, as long as he is the dictator. That pretty much sums it up for all authoritarians. They believe in an authoritarian state, as long as they are the authority.

Much lamentation is going on now about the appointment of John Bolton as U.S. ambassador to the U.N. He’s a fascist, he’s a neo-con, no, he’s a nationalist, a jingoist, a unilateralist, no, he’s ultra-conservative, he’s a reactionary, etc. He has said that the U.N. building could lose 10 floors and no one would notice. He believes we should use nuclear weapons to attack preemptively.

My response is that he’s a member of the Bush crime family. Crime organizations eventually fail, and that they fail because the things they do are criminal. John Bolton, by being the U.N. ambassador, actually has to go to the U.N. and pretend to represent the United States of America, though he really will represent the Bush crime family. He has to present the case for a criminal regime that the whole world knows is a criminal regime. To the degree that the ruling regimes of the entire planet are also criminal, and see their success as being connected to the success of the Bush crime family, they will cooperate with the Bush crime family. It matters not what "ism" John Bolton subscribes to or does not subscribe to. His essential function is to represent an organized crime syndicate.

Looking at the situation this way can free us of the paranoia and learned helplessness of ideological victimhood. We can perceive more accurately, act more effectively, and live more peacefully. The bogeyman is not under the bed. If the question is whether mankind is going to sink into the sea of criminality, then maybe people will wake up. The Bush crime family cannot succeed without the support of a critical mass of the American people. The two elections may have been stolen, but that does not mean there is no support for this regime. The Bush gang may be liars and manipulators, and the news media may indeed be fawning yes-men, stenographers for the Bush death machine, but it means nothing if people don’t go along with it.

So the solution is obvious. Take away their support system. Communicate with the people in the supposed "red states." The supposed "red state" phenomenon is about as real as the imaginary spectrum of "left" to "right." If assumed to be real, then it is a given, and is an insurmountable obstacle.

In reality, in actual fact, in the existing real world, there are no "red states." There are people living in places. They breathe, eat, sleep, defecate, urinate, copulate, cough up phlegm, hack, wheeze, sneeze, ache, are born, and die the same as people everywhere else. If you look at them as fundamentalists, fascists, right-wingers, as backward, homophobes, rubes, or whatever inferior status you can conjure up, then they become things, devoid of humanity. And you can’t communicate with them.

If you have a better answer about anything, then it is good enough to explain to anyone. If not, then maybe your answer isn’t so great. If you are going around saying "The fascists are coming, the fascists are coming," then you are talking to yourself and yourselves, an internal feedback loop that goes nowhere but deeper into the hole of paranoia and helplessness. Thanks for nothing. You are guaranteeing that fascism will indeed arrive, and its purveyors will be laughing all the way to the bank.

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