Sunday Column: We’re playing a game of national suicide — a game in which everybody is a loser

My favorite Halloween-week movie, promoted at a discount by Redbox, was “Daddy, I’m a Zombie,” described as a coming-of-age film about an early teen named Dixie who turns into one of those living dead creatures that populate, along with vampires, so much of our culture of mass distraction.

I bring this up because in my own earlier years, social critics often referred to America as a nation of sheep intimidated by McCarthyism into silence and held in bondage by strangling rules of conformity.

Today, we have become a nation of zombies staggering through our lives while the rapacious vampires feed their lust for power and blood money.

The only music we can hear is our own song. We aren’t talking to each other. We communicate mostly though social network and text message. There is no public conversation unless it involves Miley Cyrus — an important point since the generation gap has become a chasm that cannot be bridged.

We’ve come a long way to getting past our separations by race, ethnicity, gender and sexuality, but now we segregate ourselves by insisting we’ll only engage those who share our beliefs and values — the like-minded cohort that is so easily manipulated by the cynics and masters of power.

We used to worry about the mind-numbing impact of eight hours a day in front of the boob tube. Now we carry it with us 24/7, infecting our consciousness with digital blips from cyberspace as we live unreal lives in virtual worlds.

We have lost touch with reality and with each other.

It has been building for a long time, from the impeachment of Bill Clinton for sexual misconduct that would get the vast majority of our politicians removed from office if the truth about their indiscretions were known.

We blamed Bush and Cheney for wars that had bipartisan support after 9/11 with hardly a peep from anyone of influence questioning our nation’s lockstep march to eternal wars that now are used to justify spying on everyone in the world’s mail, email, phone calls and Internet browsing.

What a joke! A government that can’t build a website to help us buy healthcare, or figure out that people like Edward Snowden, Bradley Manning or Aaron Alexis are security risks, isn’t a threat to play the role of Big Brother as much as a senile old grandfather.

Yet, several times a day the tea party blasts half-truths to mostly well-meaning, decent people in an effort to squeeze another few dollars out of them, playing on their fears and their anguish over a world that no longer makes any sense to them.

They accuse Obama of “crimes against humanity,” of doing “everything in his power to subvert and ignore the Constitution and the power of Congress,” aiding “terrorists with money and weapons, destroying the economy” and trying to “give amnesty to millions of illegals.”

“His true colors have been exposed: he is a dictator bent on shoving his radical agenda down our throats,” they said, calling for his impeachment while urging supporters to “lock and load” their weapons.

And now they are going from borderline seditious words against the president to cannibalizing their own by trying to oust all moderate Republicans, even the very conservative Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who dared to engage in discussions on how to fix the budget.

It’s their right, to be sure, to say anything they want. It is still, after all, a free country. But surely there are limits — it is well established you can’t scream “fire” in a crowded theater.

This is a very crowded theater, this America, and we are committing national suicide.

Incredibly, liberals delight in it as much as conservatives.

More than anyone, they are the political vampires concealing themselves behind benign smiles and feigned warm hearts while selling out to every conceivable special interest from Los Angeles to Sacramento to Washington, D.C., to keep power.

We are a nation divided against itself and, as we should have learned from the Civil War, in President Abraham Lincoln‘s immortal words, a house divided against itself cannot stand.

We are consuming wealth, not creating it, in a global economy where our richest corporations and individuals do their best to avoid taxation; where the middle class is being squeezed, has been squeezed for decades, and the opportunity to rise to the middle class grows dimmer by the day; where spying on ourselves and our allies seems rational in the name of a war on terrorism that is less a threat than the war on ourselves.

How can anyone in their right mind actually think we are on the right track is beyond me. It’s like a marriage gone bad after so many good years. There has to be a starting point where we can talk to each other again, where we can hear each others’ songs again, where we can find common ground and move forward.

But that would require turning a deaf ear to all those voices out there that flatter our basest feelings and those voices already inside our heads that insist on their righteousness, telling us we do not need to listen to somebody else’s song; that in a narcissistic world, we are all that matters.



11 thoughts on “Sunday Column: We’re playing a game of national suicide — a game in which everybody is a loser”

  1. Well Teddy, should Wayne wish to prove his point about Ron being amongst the old-school productive liberals (before the Free Speech Movement went radical, promulgating a conservative backlash such as what elevated Reagan to Governor and beyond), then he’d find a few supporting arguments here.

    Just the little things…a nuance here and there…no big deal. For example, Clinton was impeached for perjury, not the trysts he has expressed sorrow for having tried too hard to cover up. Mr. Cool was all panicked because the vast right wing conspiracy was catching up to him!

    It’s only for the Glendale paper, so perhaps he’s playing to the readership in castigating the McCarthy era silent sheep…but insisting that the Tea Party is carrying a banner that may not be not worthy of constitutional protection (“Fire” in a theatre is an oft-cited textbook example). You think it was his word count limit that prevented him from finding examples of hate speech from Daily KOS or a myriad of other screeds from the extreme left? If free speach is the shears that clears the sheep of the wool pulled over their eyes, but it seems that what is often woven out of whole cloth is all too easy to be cut on the bias.

    Infinite false memes do a lot of damage to the truth…you can only restate the truth so many times when you’re combatting the sum of all half-truthes.

    But overall, your trust in Ron is still appropriate, as it is still grounded in an altruistic standpoint, focused on overcoming the challenges we face, and particularly those made worse by the bickering that prevents us from coming together.

    We each have many sklls and gifts; ‘talents’ as the Good Book says. (By the way, the “house divided” quote goes back quite a bit before our beloved President Lincoln). Attributes of the body politic where all sides have a proper function…left, right, forward looking, or in retrospective.

    And so wherever we can find common ground, we shouldn’t be afraid of working with the other side.

    That seems to be the goal Ron would like to share with all of us!

    1. Wayne buddy, no Ron is not getting it. Not yet. After all it’s hard, after investing all his hopes into this hope and change fantasy. Now the reality has settled in. And it’s not warm and fuzzy.
      Here is a great read from August !!!
      Check out all these quotes at the bottom. Hmmm any of these qualify as lies ?
      And don’t forget to check pelosi’s website. See if she updated it. I guess it all depends on your definition of “keep”. Or maybe on “your”. Or maybe “insurance” or “doctor”. How about that, Ron ?
      At least McCarthy was right about communists. Alger hiss was a soviet agent after all.

      1. Hey how about a guess if this statement is going to turn out true. Any predictions?

        “President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden meet with business leaders to discuss immigration reform to bolster U.S. economic growth, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Nov. 5, 2013.

        Today, I joined the President, Vice President and senior Administration officials for a meeting at the White House with a group of top U.S. business leaders to discuss the importance of commonsense immigration reform to bolster U.S. economic growth, and improve the climate for business, and job creation. These leaders shared with the President their desire to see our broken immigration system fixed, both because it is the right thing to do, and because it will be good for the U.S. economy.

        In addition to the 7.5 million jobs we have created in the U.S. over the past three and a half years, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), over the next two decades, the bipartisan bill that has already passed the Senate would grow our economy by an additional $1.4 trillion, and shrink our deficits by nearly $1 trillion. The Senate bill would modernize our legal immigration system. “

  2. Ron,
    Agreed 100%….

    You need to start writing those columns you talked about writing on the good stuff happening here. You’ll feel better if you do.

  3. When economic times are bad, irrationality and xenophobia rise. In the 1930’s, the country was on the verge of revolution and the complaints of the communists, who actually existed back then, and the nazi supporters, who were throughout the nation as an acceptable position, fell into disfavor by two events beyond their control. One event was great — Keynesian economics which showed how we could have sustained productive growth, and WWII which required us to literally fight for our lives.

    For current men of ill will, who wish to implement Lord Acton’s (1887) observation, “power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely,” the abandonment of Keynesian economics is essential. Ron would not be writing in his pessimistic manner, had Obama followed Keynes. With Keynesian measures, the economic recession would have ended by the summer of 2009; the tea baggers would not have gained a single seat in the Nov 2010 elections, and we would have been dealing with an entirely different reality — prosperity.

    Obama, however, made little Timmy Geithner Secretary of the Treasury and pursued a reactionary economic policy last seen sometime prior to the Panic of 1907. The tea baggers, being a bastion of ignorance about everything, failed to recognize that Obama was following all their economic lunatic theories. He elevated the Deficit as the #1 economic problem, far ahead of ending the recession and bringing back prosperity. He set us on the path to Sequestration and currently we are headed for Sequestration II on December 13, 2013. He has thrown social security and medicare under the bus and the only question is how much poorer the nation will make the elderly.

    Obama’s ACA is a pale imitation of what should have been universal health care, and even this watered down version of health care is too great for the Thumpers who follow a Jezuz who apparently said, “Let the sick heal themselves.”

    Nothing good comes from poverty — scarcity leads to in-fighting and soon people are fighting over diminishing resources. That is our current state of affairs. Due to the refusal to implement any rules to protect the free enterprise system, the top 1% take 95% of all productivity gains since the 1% crashed the economy in 2008. (Remember, power corrupts means the powerful get to steal what you produce.)

    Since for tea baggers all regulations are bad regulations and a small government which is too small to protect the individual from corporate power is their most important goal , there will be no return to Free Enterprise. Capitalism is not some GOD sanctioned mechanism which was set in motion and functions without man’s control — like the solar system. Free enterprise is an artificial system invented by men and which requires rules in order to survive. If you are a KnowNothing, you foolishly think that the rules which safeguard Free enterprise should all be abolished. As a result, we are stuck with Corruptionism from Washington to Los Angeles City Council, where Garcetti plans to take billions of dollars from the General Fund in order to restore the developer slush fund to the CRA levels (council file # 13-1389).

    The 1% and the tea baggers are in an unholy alliance to make certain corruption is not outlawed. Hence, there is no new Glass-Steagall and no prosecution of Wall Street or LA City Hall crooks. The 1% will continue to siphon away all the wealth, while making certain that tax dollars continue to go directly to corrupt developers even when they are knowingly building towers over earthquake faults. The fact that The Millennium was building on the Hollywood Fault was published in 2012 in CityWatchLA, but no one cared. Since 2000, LA City Hall has filled with rackets to fleece the tax payers, and Angelenos elected the Fleecer-in-Chief to be mayor.

    Hard economic times rot the brain, and we end up with Congressional tea baggers attacking our economic system with their constant support of Corruptionism which leads to government shutdowns and the desire for the government to default on its debts, while Angelenos still ignore the fact that City Hall is a center of Crimogenics.

    There is good cause of Ron’s depression. After all his years of hard work, Angelenos are wedded to egregious ignorance and hyper-emotional xenophobia.

    1. Since there are no tea baggers in CA and especially LA and the 1% is mostly progressive Hollywood and Silicon Valley millioners, both the city and state are A-ok.

  4. I agree, we have lost it – as an older person I can remember a loving, caring society that tried to repair rather than destroy our America. Not too long ago, either.

  5. Zine showed up on 9pm on kabc tilden and won’t leave! What a useless foo l! Should call security and clear the fool from the party.

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