Catalyst for my Contemplation
Farcical would be a generous description “Scopes II”. Three moderate school board members and the entire mainstream scientific community boycotted the charade. John Calvert, a conservative Christian who leads the Intelligent Design Network of Kansas, stood in for William Jennings Bryan. Calvert questioned “expert witnesses” in a quest to disprove Evolution. Many of the witnesses, whose purpose was to validate the board's desire to introduce Intelligent Design into the school curriculum, were from the Discovery Institute. Founded and funded by Christian fundamentalists, the Discovery Institute is a think-tank created to advance the concept of Intelligent Design. Intelligent Design essentially says that in merely observing the complexity of the world, one cannot help but conclude that there was an intelligent designer. Evidence, research, and peer review are irrelevant to the purveyors of the ID “theory”, a thinly veiled form of Creationism. (Click here for more on the hypocrisy of Discovery and their ID “theory”)
Irigonegaray, Clarence Darrow's counterpart in “Scopes II”, is a
this summer, the board will vote on potential changes to the science
standards in Kansas Public Schools. Holding the majority, it is a foregone
conclusion that the conservative Christians will decide to accept the
recommendations of John Calvert and his group. Employing their infinite
Biblical wisdom, the board will introduce Intelligent Design into the
classroom, de-emphasize Evolution (which has withstood rigorous scientific
scrutiny since 1859), and introduce its own definition of science. As a
parent with a child in a
Only a Symptom
pondered, it dawned on me that "Scopes II" is merely a symptom of a much
deeper disease gripping our nation. As Thomas Frank concluded in
What's the Matter
with Kansas?, American
voters have been brain-washed into voting against their own economic
interests in an obsessive drive to legislate “Christian values” into our
nation. “Scopes II” validates his point. Contemplating the conclusions of
Mr. Frank, integrating the observations of others, and infusing my own
analysis, I surmised that the root of
Will the real George Bush please stand up?
George Bush? Does the “aw shucks, just listen to how I say the word
nucular,” folksy persona he projects square with the real man? Is our
beloved “W” truly a man of the people, as he would like Americans to
Bush exists to advance the interests of the rich and the elite. Early in his
reign, the events of 9/11 shattered the security of many Americans. Seizing
upon this opportunity, which some say they may have actually masterminded
and perpetrated, Bush and his henchmen employed this powerful tool to
manipulate many Americans. Preying upon
three years have passed since 9/11, yet many Americans still dangle from the
marionette strings of The Ministry of Truth. Rove's propagandists and the
mainstream media have enabled "W" to propel the
Repeat after me: George Bush is a good president and represents my best interest....George Bush is a good president and represents my best interest....George Bush is a good president and represents my best interest....
Is it working? Have you slapped a “W” sticker on the back of your forty-foot SUV yet? You are in BUSH country now, partner. Tell the terrorists to “bring it on”!
Security, the Judicial Branch of the government, and the filibuster in the
Senate are now targets of the Bush machine.
Rich Man, Poor Man
the poor, middle and working class, continue swallowing the fiction of the
“American Dream”, the rich and elite, whom I will call the Oligarchs, own
and manipulate the media machine, which continues to propagate the Horatio
Alger myth. What the Ministry of Truth does not tell us is that for every
Bill Gates “rags to riches” story, there are millions of Americans who put
their hearts and souls into success and stay mired in the quicksand of
perpetual poverty. True social mobility is rare in
They want the whole world in their hands.....
the Oligarchs will not be satisfied with absolute power in
Americans who support Bush have passively handed the keys of the kingdom to a pack of ravenous Oligarchs bent on world domination. Much to the delight of Bush and company, fear and the media/propaganda machine are not the only factors keeping the working classes from breaking free of their economic and psychological shackles. Ongoing "cultural wars" over issues like abortion distract ordinary Americans from important economic and foreign policy decisions, leaving the Oligarchs to their own devices. Convinced that their choices lie within dichotomous, false constructs, many Americans choose one of the false dichotomies and expend their energy fighting one another rather than aspiring to individual freedom, working to develop their potential as human beings, and allowing others to do the same.
Trap of the false dichotomy
numerous states having passed constitutional amendments banning gay
marriage, and Bush pushing for an amendment to the US Constitution, gay
For a serious laugh, consider the notion that Americans have a real choice when they go to the polls to elect a president. Dominated by two monolithic parties, both of which are beholden to corporations and wealthy campaign contributors, the political arena allows scant room for meaningful participation by the poor or working class. Despite the superficial differences between the Republican and Democratic parties on some issues, the two parties share the common goal of perpetuating the Oligarchy. While the poor and working class have historically fared better under Democratic rule, there is little evidence that there is an appreciable difference between the two parties. In the end, the Oligarchy still rules, whether they don the guise of an elephant or of a jackass.
Are you a liberal or a conservative? Political pundits, pollsters, and the Oligarchs thrive on people defining themselves as one or the other. Their objective is to pigeonhole people into narrowly defined groups. Having accomplished this, their powerful media machine sows seeds of discord that draw that people into a perpetual ideological battle between fictitious groups. The reality is that no human being fits neatly into either category. People fall on a spectrum somewhere between liberal and conservative. Their views on some issues may tend toward liberal, and move towards conservative on others. Yet the Oligarchs successfully manipulate many Americans to a choose side, and battle it out with the other side, regardless of what their individual views might be if they stepped out of their liberal or conservative “box”. Perpetual bickering amongst the working class gives the Oligarch plenty of cover for their malfeasance.
Secularism versus the Religious Right is King George's favorite aspect of the cultural war. Representing “W” as an Evangelical Christian, the Oligarchs mobilized a coalition of conservative Christians known as the Religious Right, whose leaders are as power hungry as the Oligarchs, and whose followers, fueled by feelings of victimization for their beliefs, vindictively pursue their agenda. Riding the Right to re-election, in spite of the obvious incompetence and criminal nature of his first term, Bush was rewarded with another four years to commit crimes against humanity, and to boost the fortunes of the Oligarchs still further. Employing a classic “divide and conquer” strategy, the Oligarchs promote ideological clashes like “Scopes II”. While their subjects squabble over the validity of Evolution and argue about the phrase “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance, the Oligarchy counts the stacks of cash in its counting room.
Freedom and a modicum of justice are within our grasp
I am not despairing. In fact, I am very hopeful for the future. History reveals that the working class is not helpless before the might of the elite. We are not destined to victimization at the hands of the Oligarchy. Mother Jones, Eugene Debs, Martin Luther King, Jr., and the millions who rallied behind them forced the Oligarchy of their time to give the people a degree of human rights, freedoms, and economic justice. Awareness is the first step in the journey toward reform. The human spirit is not easily crushed or caged for prolonged periods, and we have the means at our disposal to challenge those in power.
To begin this renaissance of humanity and reverse the ugly dehumanization of the ruling elite, more Americans need to abandon the Oligarchy-controlled mainstream media and fortify their minds with information from Internet sources, many of which remain uncorrupted by the money of the elite. Activist writing, letters to the editor, and correspondence to elected officials are powerful means to inform and persuade others, and to hold public officials accountable.
counter their “divide and conquer” strategy, we need to join groups and
organizations like the ACLU, the People for the
Protests, boycotts, marches, and civil disobedience have been effective means of diminishing the power of the Oligarchy in the past, and can be again. Corruption, greed, and malfeasance are rampant in the American government, and we need to use virtually all peaceable means at our disposal to curtail the power of the Oligarchy.
Nixon, one of the most corrupt Oligarchs in the history of the
Just for the record
According to Finley Peter Dunne, the purpose of journalism is “to comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable.” As usual, I hope this piece leaves the afflicted comforted and the comfortable afflicted.
Jason Miller, a 38-year-old father of three boys, works as an account representative for a finance company, and has a degree in liberal arts. He's active in the ACLU as a member and volunteer. Visit his blog, Thomas Paine's Corner, at http://civillibertarian.blogspot.com/. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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