Friday, December 9, 2016

The Audacity of Doubt

In a world governed by superstition and belief in a "God" that can never be disproven to exist, it is perhaps the most audacious move of all to doubt.

I am not simply pointing out that it is courageous to decide NOT to simply believe what everyone around you is insisting is "true," even when they readily admit that such a belief can never be "proved" to exist (at least in this life) without also destroying the need for "faith." (For the Christian or the Muslim, "faith" is the whole point of life, for having the right one is the only way one can enter heaven.)

I am also pointing out how completely hypocritical it is for anyone to say they "believe" in a particular version of an "infinite" God, while at the same time have the audacity to doubt anything else!

Indeed, if the Christian claims that their logical reasoning for believing in God is simply because their God can never be disproved, then by extension, any and every other idea that "can never be disproved" should be just as equally true, at least to such a Christian or Muslim.

But this is not the case. Instead, such "believers" selectively and subjectively decide which beliefs "that can never be disproved" they chose to believe, and then proceed to condemn anyone who does the same thing, either for a different version of God, or for beliefs in unicorns, the flying spaghetti monster, or anything else one wishes to dream up.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Barrabbas & Trump: Christian Worship of the Golden Calf

There may be no greater hypocrites on the planet than the Christian who voted for Donald Trump.

Like Barabbas who the people chose over Christ because he stood in opposition to the Roman empire (while Christ in contrast told people to "render unto Caesar"), Christians voted for a man supported by the KKK who was accused of raping a 13 year old girl, according to papers filed with the court. But did this bother these Christians? Of course not.

For such Christians, worshiping the golden calf of capitalism was far, far more important than allowing "Obamacare" to "pick their pockets" (as Ebenezer Scrooge put it) just to ensure that 22 million people might have access to healthcare.

My nephew is dying, for example. But "fuck him!" is apparently the message such "Christians" wanted to send loud and clear through their vote for Donald - "Let's Make America Great/I rape children" -Trump.

The messiah of the free market capitalism now all but ensures the destruction on "the body of Christ" which is the human species, and all in exchange for 30 pieces of  silver that such Christians hope to save in their tax returns.

No wonder we all have more "blood on our hands" than Judas.

How Religion Turns Humanity Into A Teenager

The typical teenager often thinks they know everything and the world revolves around them, and as a result of such thinking, that they are both special and invincible. By convincing humanity that it is the ultimate reason for the entire universe, that the Bible, the Quran, or other sacred "texts," convey the divine eternal truths of an omnipotent, omniscient God, and that we all have eternal souls that will live forever (in heaven or hell, depending on how many people you "sell" you religion to in an Amway-style salvation scheme), religions compound this childish thinking into adulthood.

And in the same way the teenager who mistakenly believes they are invincible and know everything engages in self destructive behavior, so the religions that teach humanity to believes their soul is eternal and they know eternal "truth," leads such "believers" to engage in similar such self destructive behaviors.

Religion, therefore, is often a denial of reality out a preference for a fairy tale that  a gov't called "God" and his Church will promise us a utopian salvation in the next life, in exchange for our spiritual and mental enslavement in this one. And it turns adults into children who would murder the whole world if it will win them a ticket to paradise.      

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Requiem for the Human Race

Turning and turning in the widening gyre The falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere The ceremony of innocence is drowned; The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity.
                                                                                  - William Butler Yeats: The Second Coming

I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and filled him with a terrible resolve.

    -  Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, After the attack on Pearl Harbor


We are living in the Age of Narcissus, from our selfies and social media to Jihadi John and Donald Trump. It is an age of Orwellian manipulation and Huxleyan disinformation, where the automated algorithms of marketers on Facebook and Google have segregated the internet into a bifurcated echo chamber in the guise of Nietzsche’s abyss, and the more we look into it, the more it looks into us. 

Christianity has become the epitome of everything Christ was put to death for, and Christians the world over recast the 7 deadly sins as Capitalism's 7 greatest virtues, with "the love of money" being lauded everywhere as "the profit motive." 

Our addiction to updates and information leaves us all hovering around our cell phones, computers, and flat screen televisions, like monkeys mulling around a monolith. Like children addicted to their own euphoria by playing video games, we are collectively hypnotized by the heroin of our own endorphins,  from the shadows of sex and violence cast everywhere on the walls of our cyber cave. And in the process, we are all seduced by the lure of technology born of war.  

As financial globalization wraps itself increasingly around the whole world like a serpent,  our phones become an umbilical cord that connects us to an endless sea of information, and with our Apple iPhones we eat incessantly from a technological "tree of knowledge," which makes us all "like God, knowing right from wrong." 

Political parties perform a pantomime of division for their domesticated constituents at home, while working in unison behind the scenes for the sole purpose of advancing the interests of their financial, defense, and energy overlords abroad. Although both parties pretend to support different agendas for America, they work in unison more than 80% of the time to carry out different parts of the same long term plan; and all in the interest of advancing an economic religion that has turned the free market into our holiest messiah. Why were both Republicans and Democrats so willing to bail out the financial institutions in 2008? Because America is the shining city on a hill, preaching the divine message of a prosperity gospel, for money is the only God in which we really trust. Just ask Joel Osteen.

Through lopsided trade agreements and complicated financial ponzi schemes, kleptocracy and globalization have turned increasing numbers of us into debt slaves. It is no coincidence, after all, that private profits rise in tandem with public debt. And the interest on that debt alone produces pyramids of wealth and power for the financial pharaohs on Wall Street.  And in the process, we sell our Earthly Eden for Armageddon, as the ecocidal suicide of our consumption produces biblical plagues, droughts, famines and mass extinction, and a humanity locked in a death spiral of ever more genocide and war for power and resources, fiddles with its latest cell phone app, while the world burns. 

 Our increasing need to escape this grim reality through our technology only results in enslaving children on the other side of the world who are forced to risk their lives digging up the necessary minerals to feed our addiction to the latest and greatest technology. And the blitzkrieg of propaganda we are subjected to through that technology is designed to distract us all with "bread and circus," as we treat anyone who talks about the ecological destruction with the same disdain and ridicule directed at Noah. No wonder when some people say Donald Trump, others hear Damien Thorn. (And with Steven Bannon saying, “Darkness is good,” that Dick Chaney, Darth Vader, and Satan, all have “power,” and that people are “blind to who we are and what we want,” maybe they have a point.)

Deepak Chopra described it as if America was caught in the subconscious convulsions of violence, prejudice, chaos, and ungovernable irrationality, that Carl Jung described as "the shadow," where "what's wrong is right."    It’s a country where an athlete who protests the brutality of America’s justice system can be intentionally mischaracterized as disrespecting veterans, while a businessman who intentionally disrespects actual veterans is elected president. As one is condemned for being too wealthy to complain about racism, the other is an unscrupulous billionaire who is seen as a savior of the middle class and defender of Christian virtues. In the American temple, the money lenders have become the new Christ.  If this was the 1960s, it would be like watching the same people who condemned Mohammad Ali, turn around and elect Jane Fonda for president.  

Even more ironic is how so many of the same voters who condemned black people for depending on the Democrats, are now doing the same thing by putting all of their hope in Donald Trump and the Republicans. But then again, if Aliens ever landed on this planet, the only word they would ever hear uttered universally by all, and far, far more than any other, is "hypocrites."

That so many felt so desperate that they were willing to ignore such obvious contradictions, and embrace the very thing they condemn so vehemently in others, by voting for a man who was accused of raping a 13 year old girl, who was openly supported and refused to condemn the KKK, and who routinely and openly spouted racism, sexism and violence, has only made the American flag feel more and more like the Iron Curtain in 1984. And  from Snowden to Wikileaks, everyone knows that “thinkpol” is watching.

Basically, the choice between Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump was a choice between George Baily, from Frank Kapr'a film, It's a Wonderful Life, and Mr Potter; between Bob Cratchit and Mr. Scrooge, and between Barrabas and Christ. And we picked Pottersvile, we picked Mr. Scrooge, we picked Barrabas, and sent America to be crucified by the Julius Caesar of Capitalism Donald Trump, and pontius pilate, Mike Pence. 

Many who voted for Trump, however, voted over abortion and nothing else. They voted out of a blind faith in the belief that "pro-life" laws and polices always reduce abortions, even though statistics and studies both show that abortion rates remain largely the same or even increase in countries where abortion is criminalized, which was true even in America prior to Roe v Wade in 1973.  But many were told by their pastors and priests that they had no choice but to vote for Trump, even though they didn't want to, for this reason alone.
And now, many of Trump's most ardent supporters act surprised that the very anger they claim prompted so many of them to vote for Trump, due to their own outpouring of tears, rage, and hyperbolic slanders about Obama being a  Fascist dictator and Muslim terrorist, is predictably producing the very same effects today in those who have at least as much justification for accusing Trump of being "a fascist responsible for dividing the country along racial line," and Vladimir Putin's own personal hand puppet.

 Pundit provocateurs feed the fires of angers on all sides of the political spectrum - for politics today has clearly devolved into nothing more than a religion of pandering purely to emotive extremes -  using our collective outrage to saw the body politic completely in half, like the tortured prisoner in The Pit and the Pendulum, by Edgar Allen Poe. From the Bundy Ranch in Oregon to inner city Baltimore, we are engaged in a war of all against all, as Thomas Hobbes put it, in this little Animal Farm we call America.

"From the eternal sea he rises," goes that ominous poem from The Omen, which refers to the eternal sea of politics, "pitting tribes on either shore, turning man agaisnt his brother, until man exists no more." And to protect us from all those we fear, both foreign and domestic, our political Sanhedrin compels us to embrace the military industrial complex as our only hope and savior. And under a cloud of terrorism and ever threatening war, as Eisenhower warned in his farewell address, we hang our humanity from a cross of iron.

The Conservatives blame the Liberals of being asleep about Hilary Clinton, even though the majority of her supporters only voted for her because she seemed like the lesser of two evils; as if a crooked businessman should be trusted more than a crooked politician.  While Conservatives wanted to try “something new,” ironically enough, Liberals thought it much wiser to stick with the devil they knew. But if you’re stuck in a nose dive on Flight 93, after all, you’d be better off putting Jeffery Dahmer in the pilot seat, as long as he had some experience flying a plane, rather than Paris Hilton, whose only knowledge of planes is that she might happen to own one.  

Liberals on the other hand, refused to accept that Obama was not the saint their Democratic party portrayed him to be, and that electing Hilary was like voting casting a "not guilty verdict for the officers who savagely beat Rodney King. 

But if you realy want to understand what happened on 11/9, think about it this way: Donald Trump is like the O.J. Simpson trial of American politics, and many of Trump’s supporters see themselves as the new “Native” Americans, out to defend their country, their beliefs, and their way of life. But America is not their country, it is our country. There is no them, because it belongs equally to all of us – hence, the name: U.S

 Much like the Arab Spring and Brexit, however, Trump’s victory is part of a broader conflict that has been rippling around the globe, between two warring paradigms: one old and one new. Old systems of beliefs - from political to economic to religious – are competing to survive in a technological world that is fighting to be born. Put simply, it is a contest of ideas, between power and control on the one hand, and freedom and autonomy on the other; and about how we structure societies, and how we define freedom and even reality itself.

All of the problems in the world, said ecologist Gregory Batson, come down to the difference between the way people think and the way the world really works. Like the Pharaohs and the Israelites, that contest is playing out in front of our eyes, between the pharaohs of finance and those forced into indentured servitude to survive. And since Americans have collectively parked themselves in front of the mobile television sets they carry around in their pockets, each of us now has a front row seat.

In the same way technological developments birthed forth the Age of Enlightenment which set off revolutions in America, France, and around the world, so the Information Age is shedding the skin of its industrial past.  It’s a contest between Herbert Spencer’s social Darwinism based on “survival of the fittest,” which our current industrial capitalist religion is based on, and Peter Kropotkin’s recognition a century ago of the importance of mutual aid, which is how every species in the world works together to survive.

The industrial age, with its ethos of acquisition through violence and domination and its reliance on divide and conquer, is predictably refusing to “go gentle into that good night.” And as a result, it is now raging, “raging against the dying of the light.” This tug-of-war has always existed between the past and the future, between tradition and tomorrow. And like the Gutenberg printing press, the decentralizing effects of technology and the depletion of resources are destabilizing old paradigms out of an ever growing urgency to adopt something new.  

Some describe the entire human race as being like a seamless garment, or what Christianity refers to as “the body of Christ,” that has been torn asunder by our love of beliefs in everything from racism and religion to politics and economics. We have all become quite insane by falling in love with the divine image of our own ideals, all of which promise to save us even as they only divide us in every way we can imagine to fear each other. As a result, "Christians" across the country chose to protect their own "wealth" by voting for a man who promised to cancel "Obamacare" - and thereby deny healthcare to as many as 22 million people. And in doing so, like Judas, they sold "the body of Christ" for 30 pieces of silver in cheaper healthcare costs (even though the real reason for the rising cost of healthcare is the record profits reported by healthcare insurance companies).

 Prophesies across the Americas, however, and all ancient traditions have long talked about a reunion of the entire human race. And while such prophesies may have been little more than simply wishful thinking in the past, necessity is making them more and more of a reality today.  

The O.J. Simpson Case and the election of Donald Trump, in this respect, are two microcosmic reflections of this conflict, and also of each other. While both were a rejection of “the system,” one was a local attempt to change that system into something new, while the other is a national attempt to hold on to something old. Or to use an apt historical analogy, one is like John Brown starting a revolt to free the slaves, and the other is Abraham Lincoln starting a Civil War to preserve the Union. And as railroad tycoon Jay Gould said a century ago – when he boasted “I could hire half of the working class to kill the other” – that may be exactly what they have in mind.

If you watched the "30 for 30" documentary series, O.J.: Made in America, you know that there were two very different things on trial in the O.J. Simpson case. One was O.J. Simpson, for the murder of Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman, but the other was the justice system itself, for its countless abuses of an entire race of people. Like an inkblot from a Rorschach test, white America saw the former, while black America saw the latter. And in the 2016 presidential election, we saw a similar divergence of perspectives.

What many Conservatives failed to realize in 1995, was that those who decided O.J. Simpson was “not guilty,” were angry, just like they are today, and for largely the same reasons. As one used the democracy of the jury box to reject a corrupt justice system in Los Angles, the other used the democracy of the ballot box to reject a corrupt political system in America. Both votes were cast by people who were angry. 

In a sense, both stories have a Biblical parallel.  No matter what crimes they may have committed, and no matter how "deplorable" either one may have seemed to some people, neither O.J. Simpson nor Donald Trump could ever be guiltier than the systems they were hurled at, like David casting a stone at Goliath. One of those systems was legal and the other was political.  And there's plenty of reason to be angry at both. Not the least among them is support for terrorism, murder, and massive propaganda designed to brainwash an entire country of people.

In addition to the efforts of the Creel Comission, and reliance on the techniques of Gustav La Bon's The Crowd, Walter Lippman's Public Opinion, and and Edward Bernay's Propaganda, in 1949, the united states employed

Twenty years later, Liberals and Democrats woke up on November 9th seized by the fear that “winter is coming,” with some comparing it to 9/11 or December 7, 1941.  It felt like the nation had just elected Nero - that ignoble emperor who "fiddled while Rome burned" - to helm the Titanic, under a slogan of “full steam ahead!” And no one could understand why half of the passengers were cheering about this! It's as if everyone in America were reading Dante's Divine Comedy, only half the population saw Trump's victory as an invitation to Paradiso while the other saw it as the gateway to Inferno.

Even more confusing was how so many "Christians" in America today had been saying they believed “the end of the world” foretold of in their Bible was coming, at the same time they voted for a man who only promised to make such a story our reality by denying the realities of a world falling to pieces around us. And all out of a blind pursuit for “the profit motive,” which is simply the way economists make “the love of money” sound like a virtue, even though the Bible refers to it as “the root of all evil.”And while "prosperity gospel" preachers equate it with the cross, others see it as the golden calf of Goldman Sachs.

Thanks largely to the war on drugs however, six million disenfranchised U.S. citizens have no access to such a lever.

We Are Stronger Than We May Think

If you add the 62 million people who voted for Hilary Clinton (three million more than Trump), the 5 million people who voted for Gary Johnson and Jill Stein, and the over 80 million people who cast a protest vote by choosing not to vote at all, it turns out that over 75% of eligible voters did not vote for Donald Trump. Add to this the fact that 90% of voters between the age of 18 and 25 voted for Hilary Clinton, and we see that those who wish to hold onto the old paradigms are truly a dying breed, and the number of people who are waking up to the ecocidal threat such antiquated paradigms pose to humanity is only growing. 

This is also true of the 6 million people who have been disenfranchised by the war on drugs, and the four million more U.S. citizens who also forced to suffer from taxation without representation, whose only crime is living in Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

But perhaps most importantly of all, the overwhelming majority of those who did vote for Donald Trump also did not vote for hate, fear, or divisiveness. And we all need to remember that. Along with the overwhelming number of Americans who did not vote for Trump, those that did simply voted for change. They voted for accountability. And they voted to reject a political system that has disappointed all of them, just as often as it has taken advantage of all of us. They wanted to change a government that works to make the rich even richer or caters to vast corporate armies of lobbyists who use it, as Adam Smith put it, to make policy that ensures their own interest are "most peculiarly attended to," no matter how "grievous the effect on others."

Trump took the anger that such “grievous effects” have made so popular among Americans of every political persuasion today, and he cultivated it to his benefit. He did not need everyone to like him; he just needed enough to hate the system more than they hated him. And the more he frightened some, the more he convinced others. This enabled him to speak “with a certainty with which no conscious gift could endow him,” as Otto Strasser once wrote, and “to act as a loudspeaker proclaiming the most secret desires, the least permissible instincts, the sufferings and personal revolts” of a whole class of people. Only Strasser was not describing the oratory powers of Trump, but of Adolf Hitler.

Like Trump, most people in 1930s Germany found it hard to take Hitler seriously. But the ravages of World War One and the brutal peace imposed by the Treaty of Versailles that followed, resulted in hyperinflation that left the country starving and afraid. And in their beleaguered state, they turned a blind eye to Hitler’s racist comments, and hoped he would “deliver them from evil.” But he didn’t.

Like Hitler, Trump cultivated the disillusionment of Conservatives to his political advantage, and then betrayed them by installing the very corporate crony's he condemned. Their justifiable anger became a hungry ear for his demagoguery, and his victory is the clearest and loudest wake-up call the world has ever heard. And in the same way Germans were willing to ignore Hitler’s racist comments out of a dire hope for a better life, so millions of Americans willingly cast their votes for a candidate endorsed by the KKK in the hopes that a billionaire would suddenly devote himself to creating a free market utopia on earth. And although the Bible says  that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God, in so doing,  they exchanged their moral compass and concern for others, for the hope of better paying jobs - from a man who not only admits he relies on the power of hyperbole to sell everything (as he describes in his book, Art of the Deal), but doesn't even pay his own contractors!

In the same way Trump supporters protested the system by voting for him, throngs of people now march in protest, less about losing the election than about the very real threat his polices may pose to America's economy, to the division he has only contributed to by capitalizing on, and the many dangers he poses to all human life on the planet, through his blind denial of reality, and the effects of climate damage.  In fact, the only solution he has offered the country is to “accelerate our race to disaster”[i] by removing from our sinking ship what few regulatory life boats we have left.  Had Hilary won, on the other hand, we would simply be rubber stamping a political party that sabotaged the best chance the human species may have had for survival; and in so doing, potentially ensure that we all go down with the ship.

And that's why, if Trump's candidacy was a wake up call, his presidency is now a blast from Gabriel’s ‘Trumpet.’ And as horrifying as it may be for us to admit, it may also be the best thing to come out of this election.

A House Divided Cannot Stand

The residue of Trump’s sulfuric rhetoric now seeps through the country’s cyber subconscious, like lava looking to escape through the crust of civil society. It’s fueled by social media, which is itself an echo chamber, as brimming with emotions and pride as it is filled with distortions and lies; and where everyone is convinced they know “the truth.” It’s where everyone is as smart as Google, insults and ego trump intelligence and information, and where bullying becomes as American as baseball and apple pie. How ironic it is, then, that we denounce in our class rooms what we practice and ignore in our country as a whole, from sea to shining sea.  If America is truly a “shinning city on a hill,” as everyone from John Winthrop to Ronald Reagan claims, why does it so often look like Golgotha?

When TV host Glenn Beck shocked many of his fans by writing an op-ed for The New York Times, where he expressed his deep empathy for the Black Lives Matter movement, he was heavily criticized for his comments, as he expected he would be. I have never been a supporter of Glenn Beck's firebrand politics, but I respected his attempt to bridge what he no doubt saw as a growing divide among Americans. As he said of BLM, 

These individuals are decent, hardworking, patriotic Americans. We don’t agree on everything, certainly not on politics; but are we not more than politics? I refuse to define each of them based on the worst among them. No movement is monolithic. The individuals I met that day are not “Black Lives Matter”; they are ... Americans who feel disenfranchised and aggrieved; they are believers; they are my neighbors and my fellow citizens.

Substitute the phrase "Black Lives Matter" for the phrase "Most Trump Supporters," and Glenn Beck's statement is equally as true. And in the same way that calling those who protest those injustices “terrorists” - even though the DOJ has confirmed and the UN has condemned those injustices as some of the worst human rights violations in the world - so labeling those who voted for Trump as ignorant, racist, and homophobes, only delegitimizes them as people, and likewise dismisses their concerns as ignorant and irrelevant.

As Charles Eisenstein from wrote so succinctly, “the blame-the-racists (the fools, the yokels…) narrative generates a clear demarcation between good (us) and evil (them), but it does violence to the truth.”[ii] And not only that, it also adds fuel to the fire that drives us all further apart, until it threatens to swallow us all.

If we resort to such name calling, how then can we protest those who call BLM “nothing but a bunch of terrorists?” Indeed, to devolve like children into such name calling - in the same way the Nazi’s dehumanized Jews by calling them “rats” and the Hutu’s called the Tutsi’s “cockroaches” – only helps to ensure that violence is inevitable, as Kennedy said, by making peaceful deliberations impossible. And as every American knows from 9/11, the more we allow ourselves to be manipulated to anger by the carefully crafted images that the media casts on the wall of the digital cave we have been born into, the more we surrender our freedoms to those who cast the images. Like enemies tied together in a pit of quicksand, the more we fight each other, the more we willingly sink into someone else’s hands.  

It is not our differences that divide us, however, but our willingness to allow others to use those differences to divide us for their own gain. For that is exactly how America ended up with Donald Trump.   

It's true that America may not be as great as it used to be, as Trump suggests, but neither is it as bad as its worst critics sometimes claim. And those who romanticize about the bygone days of America’s “golden age” by calling it “great” are only worshiping the false idol of American exceptionalism like a golden calf. From old King George to Donald Trump, the only thing that has ever made this country “great” was never it's politicians, but its people, and our willingness to work together to overcome our differences, solve the ills that plague our society (that politicians necessarily prey upon to acquire and maintain their privileged positions), and build a better tomorrow - while the possibility of a better tomorrow still exists.

And Everywhere the Ceremony of Innocence is Drowned
On the morning after, Facebook was awash in triumph and tears. Like physics, the anger had not disappeared, it had simply shifted to one side of the public psyche, as half of the country had transferred their share of the national angst to all those they blamed. The election was over, but the barbs continued, and have only intensified. As the days wore on, it became clear that the fear and pain of the vanquished was a source of increasing confidence and pleasure for the victors. Rather than being appeased, however, they saw their victory as a confirmation that they were right to be angry in the first place; and like oxygen to a fire, their anger has only grown. They forgot the lessons they had learned just four years earlier, that the only thing that confirms our convictions more than victory is defeat. 

As intoxicated with amnesia of the past as they were euphoric in their denial of the future, millions mobilized around the globe a century ago, to bathe the world in blood. Like them, we exalt in our beliefs by starting with the default assumption that there is nothing that we don’t know that could ever affect our opinion or love of country; and if for no other reason, because we have been lead to those opinions by God, who knows everything there is to know.  And if there was any reason to think differently, or any evidence in the universe to the contrary, He would surely have texted it to us by now.  

Now we are suffering collectively from the worst political hangover this country may have ever known, and the PTSD is setting in. As it does, dueling tirades fire back and forth across the synapses of social media. While half the country gloats over the victory of their savior, the other half grieves about how their denial may have sealed our doom. As each tries to prove who is truly more “deplorable,” both sides hurl videos of violence and protest into the fray, like the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s. But neither one has any idea of the monster we welcome with our anger, and beseech with our blame, that lurks in us all, from Rwanda to Srebrenica.

We see it's cruel visage in that timely poem by William Butler Yeats, called The Second Coming.

Turning and turning in the widening gyre The falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere The ceremony of innocence is drowned; The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.

“The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity,” I wondered as I watched, “and everywhere the ceremony of innocence is drowned.” With every new video posted to Facebook, those two lines whispered in my ear, like thunder.

That “passionate intensity” is bubbling up everywhere in America today, from the Bundy’s in Oregon to those in Ferguson and Baltimore. Everyone in this country is equally angry, about everything. Trump’s supporters have no special claim to feeling like they’re losing their country. Indeed, they may only be the last ones to discover it.   

Remaking the Movie – Shedding the Matrix
If you want to know how the star of bad reality television became our president, go back to Ronald Reagan. Once it became obvious that the best PR rep corporate money could buy was an out of work actor who could take direction and read his lines well, the accelerated decline of entertainment that gave us Jackass: The Movie, gave us, well, Jackass: The President. We are living in that movie. And although Trump started off looking like Bozo the Clown to most of us, his threats to “drain the swamp” have him looking more and more like The Creature from the Black Lagoon.

Much like Trump will undoubtedly be, our movies have always been the opposite from our reality.  In movies, the heroes are the Na’vi who defend their land against the evil money grubbing corporation; children from the poor burrows who rise up against an opulent capital who controls them through the entertainment of artificial war; and that warrior poet William Wallace against the tyranny of Edward Longshanks. In the real world, however, these people are defined as “terrorists” by all those in the audience who prefer their comfort zone to the uncertainty of change. It’s often the same people who pay to see gruesome acts of torture and murder in their movies, thanks to the power of F/X and CGI, but think only a lunatic would enjoy seeing such honesty in the nightly news. For “those people,” there’s the internet.  

But today, the paradigm shift that is happening around the world can be seen even in our movies.

A century ago, the movie that swept across America was called The Birth of a Nation, a black and white propaganda film from 1915. Billed as “The Supreme Picture of All Time!” it depicted the KKK as saving America from being overrun by “the Mongol race.” In 2016, another movie was released with the same name, only this time it was in color. Birth of a Nation (2016) was about Nat Turner, an enslaved man who led a rebellion in Southampton County, Virginia, in 1831.

The contrast between these two opposing stories of the same name is a perfect illustration of the greater conflict of beliefs now slugging it out around the world, between the children of the Civil War and those of the war for Civil Rights, between the “night riders” who hid their faces and committed murder, and the freedom riders who died revealing the truth.      

That one film was “black and white” and the other was “color” is reflected not only of America’s changing social fabric from division to inclusion, but of a growing ability to see the fear that comes from holding frightfully to the past, and from thinking in binary absolutes in an increasingly complex world. As Alvin Toffler pointed out, "the illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn." Or to put it in the language of computers, in a world of increasingly rapid change, the illiterate person is anyone who's mind is not rewritable, and therefore cannot adapt to those changes. This difference is also part of the tug of war we are witnessing between the future and the past – and we are the rope.

Like today, the scramble for resources produced the convulsion of World War I in 1914, where the most powerful countries in the world fought to secure and expand their power, only to see their empires implode. In 2016, the greatest corporate and financial companies in the world are fighting to do the same thing, using a military paid for by public taxes to fight wars sold to for consumption through public relations. And if they win, then the world as we know it will implode.

 One controls the world though colonies, the other controls the world’s commodities.  And as everything from food, medicine, water, energy and even air is being increasingly privatized in the hands of the few, in a world running low on everything, the many are increasingly being forced to beg for their sustenance like Oliver Twist and his bowl of gruel. 

And in the great election of 2016, Christians struck a Faustian bargain with a businessman, and chose to put their faith in a golden calf they call “capitalism,” as preachers in mega-million dollar churches proclaim the Prosperity Gospel of a penniless Christ, while flying around the world in their private planes. The money lenders are worshiped in the temples for their virtues and everywhere the poor are condemned for their vice; and as Americans elected Barabbas as their free market messiah, they denounced anyone who dared to condemn the money lenders with shouts of “Crucify him!”

From pedophile priests to the panama papers, a rabidly distrustful population is willing to believe anyone who knows how to convince them of “the noble lie.” But perhaps the greatest irony of all to come out of this election is how a sense of patriotic ultra-nationalism led half of Americans to hand their entire country over to the Russians, by electing for their president a man who may not even know how to read.[iii] And if that idea of isn't scary enough, just consider the fact that we are choosing to hand the entire U.S. economy back the witch doctors on Wall Street. You know, the guys who eviscerated the global economy in 2008? Yeah, them.   That's like handing Anne Frank over to Josef Mengele and Jack the Ripper and saying, "Have fun boys!" 

And the more they line their own pockets by liquidating the economy (it is no mere coincidence that private profits are soaring in tandem with public debts, for example), the more people will blame each other; or the immigrants; or the homosexuals; or the minorities.  This is how it always happens. Anton Chekov described it happening the same way in his own day like this:

Little by little a messy kettle of fish began stewing, fueled by anti-Semitism, a fuel that reeks of the slaughterhouse. When something is wrong within us we seek the cause from without, and before long we find it: it was the French who messed things up, it was the Yids, it was Wilhelm … Capitalism, the Masons, the syndicate, the Jesuits – all phantoms, but how they ease our anxieties!

 No wonder Steven Bannon sounds so much like Freddy Kruger saying “Now I’m playing with power!”

The only good news in all of this is that more and more people are waking up to see just how often the power of our “beliefs” is equal to the power of our denial, which is how so many people who claim to believe in the inerrancy of their Bible can so equally deny that we are now living in the days of Noah. And while many deny that our latest presidential election has left American with its own little “Nightmare on Pennsylvania Ave,” there is another movie that that is perhaps more prescient to waking us up today. It was called Nuremberg.

That’s the kind of “ungovernable irrationality” that illustrates just how much America is suffering from a national case of Stockholm syndrome. No wonder so many people see Trump as a Russian scud missile fired at our democracy by aiming through the cross-hairs of our blind sense of patriotism and greed.

Not only that, but it must be deliciously ironic for Putin to have carried out a coup d’├ętat of America under the slogan “build a wall,” when America claimed to have “won” the cold war with the iconic phrase, “tear down this wall.” He did this on the very same day as the wall fell, mind you, and using the very same political party. And in doing so, Putin had done to his country’s greatest foe what that foe had done to his own country three decades earlier; and in the process, set off a November revolution with Republicans a century after the October Revolution had toppled the monarchy of the Romanov’s. Indeed, even Shakespeare could not have written a better ending for a country than this!

But for those who are busy getting angrier about their win, they should remember the age old lesson that may be truer today than it ever has been: be careful what you wish for – for you may just get it. And in getting it, rue the day of victory in those immortal words of Isoroku Yamamoto, the admiral who led the forces of Imperial Japan to attack Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941:

I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and filled him with a terrible resolve.

With the election of Donald Trump and the rise of such “ungovernable irrationality” that is now sweeping through this country like a scythe, humanity is now facing the prospect of achieving everything it has ever hoped for by being forced to confront everything it has ever feared. And if this is not enough to wake us all to action, then we are not just gleefully eating apples in our little earthly garden of Eden, we are consuming ourselves into an early grave.



[i] Noam Chomsky
[iii] As Samantha Bee humorously yet astutely pointed out.

Religion is a disease masquerading as it’s own cure.