Shame on me.
Indeed, shame on me.
Yet never, ever, cast shame, indeed, not even the light of day, upon the powers that lead the young men and women of our country to their death in a futile effort to quench the craven thirst of our hegemonic government. Never truly adjust the moral compass of the country or move into the direct line of fire of the corporations that deliver politicians who lie, who prey upon our desire for ‘change’ and ‘hope’ and then shove us to the side as too ignorant to participate in our own domestic, let alone foreign, policy. Indeed, they may be right to claim our ignorance; we are kept so easily divided, turning on one another so quickly.
In this discourse I have been insulted, called names, called stupid, associated with ‘Teabaggers’, and have now had shame cast down on me from above. Perhaps the coffin can be nailed shut with nails that carry ‘liberal’ labels or I can be served up for a Thursday breakfast and/or liberal lunch. We are indeed a shameful lot, engaging in debate over who is better than whom – who is right and wrong – which murdering president is better than the other. And so I willingly concede to your claim that I am stupid, that I am shameful, that I have nothing to offer other than the flip side of whichever coin you wish to toss.
Call this emoting or ranting or reflexive – call it what you will to dismiss the conviction that might call us to demand true change – but I will not dismiss myself and will, therefore, join you in casting ‘shame on me’. I am ill with the arrogance and ambivalence and apathy and complacency of our society, as we pretend to know so much while actually knowing so little, as we follow our ‘leaders’ and judge others before judging ourselves, as we literally and microcosmically exercise our ‘compassion’ by handing a drunk a dollar for ‘food’, as we bow to a government that sees us as ignorant, as we turn away from even a bare reflection of a distant thought – one that has never been brought to action – that our ‘public servants’ are called to serve; they are not to be idolized. Indeed, they are to be held to a higher standard and should never be allowed to live ‘above’ us. But most importantly, I feel for a nation that so long ago lost its moral compass and which is now complicit in crimes against humanity throughout the world; a society that has achieved such a disposition of arrogant consumerism that they cast shame on one another while turning blind eyes to the shame that must be cast upon generations of government that have led generations of this same society to a trough of consumerism that causes us to so easily dismiss the cries of a dying child.
I tell you that until there is not a bomb launched for any reason other than absolute self defense, until we hold our government to account for nothing less than transparency and honesty, we are complicit in our government’s murderous actions and we are all wrong. Until we have a government that is stripped of the corruption of corporate influence and cured of the decay and deterioration of morality as a result of that influence, we do not have a democracy.
Until we recognize ourselves in the reflection we see in the eyes of a mother whose child is dying, we will not understand the begging, pleading, cries of humanity that call us to bring our government to account. Whether that mother is watching her child die in Gaza or Sudan or Darfur or Afghanistan or Pakistan or Yemen or Bahrain or Nicaragua or Panama or Serbia or Grenada – whether that child’s death is the result of a bomb or a bullet directly delivered by us or purchased from us or given as a gift by us; whether that child is dying of starvation as a result of economic sanctions that we have imposed; whether that child is dying due to the lack of medical care that is a result of either our bombs or our sanctions; whether that child is dying of disease that has been delivered through the chemical weapons that we claim not to use, by this president or the one last week – whether that child is dying of institutional racism that operates through economic oppression – that child is still dying and the mother sees the hand at the other end of the literal or metaphorical or proverbial gun as ours and she is right.
On a momentary basis, throughout the world, we deliver our ambivalent arrogance to the mothers and fathers of the civilians killed on our behalf in overt and covert US military operations across the globe. Yes, even Libya, a ‘conflict’ in which we were not even going to be directly engaged (we were ‘committed to diplomatic support’, in the words of Obama). Ask the mothers and fathers of the hundreds of thousands of dead children in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Palestine how well our ambivalence plays out as they bury their (our) dead.
We demand nothing of our government, certainly not what was promised us by Obama – honesty, transparency, accountability. Again, it is not only the military ‘conflicts’ or actual ‘wars’, but the economic oppression delivered through bi-lateral or international sanctions that we impress upon the civilian population of other countries, saying that it is to inflict ‘pain’ so that they will disempower their own government; meanwhile the dictators that manage the mass murder in those countries (on our behalf) live in opulence. Economic sanctions deteriorate the social infrastructure that serves the people that we claim to have a desire to save; those to whom we claim to want to give ‘democracy’, those to whom we wish to serve with our ‘humanitarianism’. Often we arm both (or all) sides of a conflict, apply economic sanctions to various portions of one, the other, or all, and then capitalize on the destabilized environment we’ve created. Consider the people of Gaza or any of the Palestinians who were victimized this morning or yesterday evening or last week by the swift wave of Obama’s hand when he vetoed the UN resolution to discontinue Israeli settlements in the West Bank with one hand, while with the other he handed Israel one of the largest payloads of military support in history.
Actually listen to the voices coming from the Arab League as they recognize the horrific error they made by signing on to the US dictated resolution that caused us to begin the murder of civilians in Libya; they clearly state that they ‘made a grave error’, that they did not realize that they were ‘condoning the multilateral murder of civilians by foreign forces’.
Read Obama’s Cairo speech as he pandered to Muslims throughout the world. The contrast between commitments made in that speech and his actions against Muslims domestically and internationally speaks well to the fact that he either sold out to the influence of corporate neoconservatives or that he was directed by them all along and has been the puppet for what could marginalize and disenfranchise one of the widest segments of the voting population in history.
Obama’s inaction is only overshadowed by his action; and it is a tightrope to determine which will have the most long-term damage. Examples worth consideration: abandonment of unions, which portrays an open hand to the corporate wealth that drives that cause, or overt commitment to the military industrial complex; perhaps the broad scope of his abandonment of children; domestically, by not saying so much as a word as public education is stripped bare across the country due to the 'economic crisis' that has left trillions of dollars in the hands of the wealthy elite; globally, by allowing the continued murder of Palestinians, Afghans, and Pakistanis.
It is our ambivalence that creates the segue through which our consent is managed; as we vacillate from the couch, our government (yes, even Obama, the greatest liar in many years, [at least since Clinton]), with the flick of a pen, signs away the life of our young men and women and willingly sends them to murder innocent men, women, and children across the globe. When they return, perhaps they return also to their social conscience, and we have now the highest suicide rate and mental illness amongst returning veterans in history.
We are at times willing to call our government to account from a historical perspective, when the past becomes distant enough to remove our personal accountability, our complicity. But today, we are not even willing to call it for what it is. On a day-to-day basis – however – in the present , we are only willing to say ‘at least we’re not as bad as such-and-such-a-country’, or at least ‘Obama isn’t as bad as so-and-so’. I will retract all statements about Bush or any other president who is no longer in office; they all have blood on their hands and their hands are ours. What we allow to divide us empowers our government to act in our name to commit generational genocide.
Indeed, shame on me.