Essay

One Fell Swoop; JFK’s New Left Legacy [Flash Fiction]

So you imagine that JFK was a great champion of freedom. You believe that he had a moral center, that he was not both a security risk to the US and a travesty as a leader of a free people, a man ruled by his appetites, a man whose moral compass was demagnetized. You must also think that his most famous quote about not asking your country to do for you, what it can do for you –because it can’t and won’t and has insisted we believe it shouldn’t do anything for us–was not the prophecy of a future America where government control through media manipulation has sold us down river at the behest of Wall Street. You must then imagine that greed and corruption are not greater today than they were at his time, that the rule of law has not become an inside joke on Capitol Hill–or in the Oval Office itself, and especially at the NSA. You then must also believe that Obama is not a puppet of Goldman Sachs? That he is not the b!$&* of Blankfein. You believe that none of these things are true? I know. You imagine that we have not gone too far past the point of no return for democratic politics truly being at the behest of the people and not a manipulated masquerade of democratic politics choreographed by an oligarchy of power and monied elites. I too would like to believe this. We do continue to wonder what has happened to democracy all the while continuing to support policies of under-education and economic strategies that continue to feed the tape worm driven financial gluttony of the elite, supported by the power structure in Washington, the imaging of which is managed by a media allied with power and money, sometimes itself being the power or the money or both . . . Allons enfants de la patrie . . . ask not what your country can do for you–and it can do things for you, it just doesn’t want to–yes, ask not what it can do for you because it figured out how to get you to do more and more, all the while it manages messages through the media that allow you to imagine you are free. With semi-literacy masquerading as literate enough to manage the affairs of democracy for the people and not just for the elite has persisted long enough for most of us not to have a clue that we are genuinely less free than we were. Politics has become so horribly corrupted by Power and Money that I fear the only response we will conclude is appropriate at some future date is a horribly violent one, in line with the responses of Les Jacobins a little over two centuries ago in France. Don’t waste your time trying to imagine that that cannot happen here. We do need to wake up . . . sleepwalking around at best, others of us just walk back into our caves, in love with shadows in opposition to our contempt for Truth in the light of day. The number of men with rifles who are fucked by power and money, raped and told its love, and laughed at in board rooms and closed door conferences by the impossibly rich is scary to consider. When the soldiers not far from most of these citizens with rifles get the idea that they are fighting wars for oil or so real estate moguls can get rich on sky scrapers falling, or so the power elite in Washington can make sure their sons never serve in Iraq . . . of course, I do understand that wars today are going to be fought over resources like oil, especially the way we live. Was the war in Iraq about oil–of course it was. But why that securing of oil for our future has not filtered back into the economy is a question soldiers should ask when they can’t pay their mortgages. The Allegory of the Cave was once universally understood by those who had received a university education, and not because white men said it should be known but because it revealed something inherent in our nature–and yes, there is a human nature, even if I also believe that that nature cannot be generalized in the ways it has been, grossly and even grotesquely–but more specifically inherent in our social nature, if you will. There is a nature for society–not the nature that stands in contrast in some arguments for civilization, but in as much as societies form similarly, we can note how they do and in what ways they do. There are appropriate analyses to be made. Our society is on a precipice and Democracy hangs there barely. We can irrevocably change the course of Democracy, destroying it through ignorance, narrowness and a horribly degraded sense of being literate enough when in fact most of us, even those of us managing, are no better than Alphabetic, having achieved not advanced literacy in our universities, but a more complicated alphabetisme, great negotiators of the alphabet so we can at least spell the received ideas we live by. And when these semi-literate manage the affairs of literacy, I laugh in horror. I wondering how long before we bring the guillotine back.

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