Monday, March 03, 2008

Living in the Country with No Name

Nobel-prize laureate economist Joseph E. Stiglitz, and Harvard professor Linda Bilmes have published an authoritative analysis of the cost of the Iraq War, The Three Trillion Dollar War.

What can I say here that hasn't been said more cogently elsewhere, and years ago?

The IRS tax withholding system hides the very real process of money flowing out of your pocket, and mine, directly into concrete weapons of mass destruction---wielded by the U.S. government in the name of the American people. Guns, tanks, bombs, et cetera ad infinitum, are purchased with real money that was taken out of our pockets.

When I consider the three trillion dollars, a considerable portion of which is being spent on money borrowed by the government (and may not be repaid for decades), my thoughts are left with concrete needs here that are not being met. I won't try to calculate the cost per person killed in Iraq, which by most estimates is well over a million people, and counting.

When I travel about, flitting from one home office to another, I catch something few others experience. I discover the quiet ones; some doing good things in small-scale ways that create a better world flowing from the convictions, and efforts of a few. What wonders of love such people do with dimes puts the profligate waste of lives, and dollars, to shame.

I do not live in the United States of America. I have disowned it, or should say it has disowned anyone with any compassion and grasp of simple realities.

I live in the country of good deeds done quietly in tiny home offices and nonprofits, a country that has no name, no leaders (unfortunately) and no time for the sewer of national, and state politics. A country where dimes are turned into bread on a table in the Bay Area for the hungry, and seeds for farmers in Africa. One dime, two dimes, three dimes, four. Take what they can to build what may be, each day, each deed. One person, two. Two people, three...

The country to which I belong knows no artificial boundaries, by either blood or barbed-wire border. The boundaries of the free are fashioned out of principles of concrete action, not imaginary distractions of culture.

There are no patriots in the country with no name. No Patriot Act, no bumper stickers screaming "Love It or Leave It"

Homeland Security in the country with no name is knowing that, as Pogo proposed, "We have met the enemy, and the enemy is us."

Corporations: Good people in bad institutions.
Nationalism is the scourge of the human species.
We are of the Earth. Only fools do not understand that to destroy a forest, or to destroy another people, is to destroy the self.
Democracy at gunpoint.
What is civil about civilization?

Here we are, entering the election year with not a single candidate talking about ending the death and destruction in Iraq. One candidate, McCain, is a war criminal by any reasonable standards, having killed Vietnamese. He is a war criminal. Instead of living in shame, he's a proud candidate for President. Crazy world it is.

The Country with No Name exists because the country on paper has no connection to the real world. It's a fiction crafted by the hegemony of the super-rich who own, and manipulate the frightening monoculture that passes for news.

Beginning with the concept of "separation of church and state," Meet the next, inevitable amendment, "the separation of corporation and state?"

I have devoted most of my adult life to unlearning what I was taught in school.

Learning begins when the TV is turned off, and the heart is turned on.

Any damn fool can start a war. All it takes is the well-educated White House Press Corps.

Where is my country? The Country of No Name? It is hidden in the interstices of red earth furrows where the poor farmer plants a new seed, to be freed in dirty pots and pans at the food kitchen.

Every human act is a moral statement. This defines the human species.

There is no act that escapes. Business is fundamentally an immoral activity that we tolerate, not an paragon of virtue. Attempting to pass as amoral, distanced from the suffering, we must reject this notion. Business, as we know it now, as incorporated in the concept of the corporation, is fundamentally destructive to the concept of the greater good. If there be any reason for a people to associate under a shared identity, what shall be our organizing principle? Should it be the falsehood of the "free market" or should we choose to form a body of one, out of the many, with other purposes?

Why should we have any society, any state, any political entity? What is the purpose of our association as "Americans" in the country named "The United States of America?" These associations are artificial constructs that we may choose to accept, modify, or reject wholly.

Is nationalism a dangerous, dysfunctional anachronism? Is it a passing phase in the dangerous, self-destructive human socio-political adolescence?

How shall we mature beyond the twin tyrannies of the corporation and nationalism?

I reject the standard business model crafted on the premise that business can be conducted within an amoral landscape independent of the social fabric of human society.

Silence is complicity.
It's not only the owner of the bullet factory, but every business-owner with the pretense of isolation has his name written invisibly on the bullets, as well. The great shock to the world brought by the Nazi's of Germany wasn't that some people are capable of immense acts of cruelty, but that so many people stood by, watching, doing nothing to stop it.

You can't be neutral on a moving train. ~Howard Zinn

What hope remains for the survival of the republic resides not in the coming national election, but in the quiet places where one, two, three people feed the hungry. How shall we as a people plow past the corporate death-wish illusions, past the political Punch and Judy show now before us?

Stumbling into paradise, we discover the honorable hidden on our very own street, in a timeless, and timely, place called the Country with No Name.

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?