Saturday, January 22, 2011

Democracy to Corporatocracy. Truth to Mythology. Let Us Pray.

The American vox populi feeds on myth.  It is intolerant of dissent and of uncomfortable truths.

This is why the democracy of the Founding Fathers has vanished unnoticed and unlamented. Soon, truth of any kind will vanish as well.

Illicit governments historically thrived only for as long as they could prevent truth from reaching the ears and minds of their citizens.  It was not the actor Reagan's playing the role of Joshua in front of the Berlin Wall that brought down the Soviet Union.  It was the emerging communications technology that could leap over the Iron Curtain and beam truth directly to the people of the Soviet enislement.  The most myth-dependent  of Americans cherish the belief that Reagan blew the trumpet that made the walls come tumblin' down.

But the Reagan myth's parallels with the Biblical myth of Jericho are not mere coincidence; many of the most firmly rooted myths in America's political culture spring from the country's religiosity. Others, like the myth of American exceptionalism, are rooted in the tragically flawed narrative of American history that has traditionally been taught in our schools, airbrushing away the human flaws of our white male heroes, whitewashing black slavery, glorifying the brutal suppression of the original Americans and transmogrifying  the bloated American war machine into an instrument of freedom.

Inevitably such childish addiction to myth -- like carrying a belief in Santa Clause, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny into adulthood -- produces an emotionally-crippled populace incapable of accepting and dealing with reality.

And so millions still deny the corporatocracy America has become, even after the Supreme Court Gang of Five, in collusion with the extraction Midases named Koch, gave it official sanction with the Citizens United decision.

And millions look the other way -- indeed, even cheer their own derogation -- as our illicit government slowly strips us of access to truth. It is a government increasingly controlled by those who deny science such as anthropogenic global climate change or human evolution; who are sustained in office by instilling fear in the citizenry; who sell their souls to corporations, especially those corporations that suck obscene profits from our perpetual war machine; and, most of all, who pluck the national harp strings of our desperate belief in myths.

Little by little, truth-tellers are being driven from the temples of big-corporation journalism.  Even NPR bowed to corporate pressure and tried to silence Bill Moyers.  More and more of our mainstream media are controlled by fewer and fewer of the richest of corporate profiteers.  The ink had barely dried on the government's blessing of the obscene Comcast-NBC union when Keith Olberman's head rolled.  He was the first and for years the only broadcast antidote to the lies and propaganda of Fox  and the rest of the Murdoch media empire.

Seekers after truth who had time and patience could always venture into the world wide web, filter the enormous ocean of information, good and bad, out there, and accumulate grains of truth.

Now the FCC,  the illicit government's enfeebled watchdog over the communications industry, has sanctioned the "right" of giants like Murdoch and Comcast-NBC to refuse to open the gates of cyberspace to information they do not like.  With deliberate speed, with relentless determination, enormously rich and powerful corporations are squeezing truth out of the public domain.

Too soon, truth, like democracy, will have vanished from our bleak landscape. Vox populi will be left with only myth to feed upon.

Will they then invoke a prophetic phrase from a great repository of their own mythology?  "Forgive them, Father," it goes, "for they know not what they do."

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