Chris Hedges, whose work as a reporter and thinker I have long admired, has issued a call to anger to Americans outside the madness of the far right. Although our deluded national passion for war is an important target of his essay, citizen passivity that enables war and other government failures is what he's really railing against.
This is his concluding paragraph:
It is we who are guilty, guilty for sending (our) young men and women to wars that did not have to be fought. It is we who are guilty for turning away from the truth of war to wallow in a self-aggrandizing myth, guilty because we create and decorate killers and when they come home maimed and broken we discard them. It is we who are guilty for failing to defy a Democratic Party that since 1994 has betrayed the working class by destroying our manufacturing base, slashing funds to assist the poor and cravenly doing the bidding of corporations. It is we who are guilty for refusing to mass on Washington and demand single-payer, not-for-profit health care for all Americans. It is we who are guilty for supporting Democrats while they funnel billions in taxpayer dollars to sustain speculative Wall Street interests. The rage of the confused and angry right-wing marchers, the ones fired up by trash-talking talk show hosts, the ones liberals belittle and maybe even laugh at, should be our rage. And if it is not our rage soon, if we continue to humiliate and debase ourselves by begging Obama to be Obama, we will see our open society dismantled not because of the shrewdness of the far right, but because of our moral cowardice.
Why are we such moral cowards? Why do we permit parrots of the trash-talkers to perpetuate hateful myths and utter falsehoods in our local media? Why do we allow the far right to rewrite the political vocabulary, so that "liberal" becomes a term of derision, "pro life" becomes the euphemism for those who believe in killing abortion providers, and the moral imperative of government-guaranteed health care for every citizen becomes "socialism?" Why do we demean the handful of courageous members of Congress who saw through the emotionalism and deliberate falsehoods and dared to vote against the so-called Patriot Act, against the invasion of Iraq and against the Military Commissions Act that makes a mockery of our Constitution? Why were we not present in greater numbers than the confused and angry right-wing marchers, outshouting them and demanding that the failed policies of the preceding eight years be overturned, reversed, repealed, undone and that true reform begin to take place . . . .NOW!
Why not a better country? Why not NOW?