Sunday, November 30, 2008

The First Step Is To Admit You’ve Got A Problem by Anthony McCarthy

Maybe because of her long service on behalf of us as the first questioner at press conferences, Helen Thomas has take the bold step of using the dreaded “D” word. We are in a depression. The word itself is forbidden, using it is believed will make things worse. Well, when your economic prosperity was largely a matter of sustaining a fantasy life, determinedly ignoring the reality of the destroyed environment and enslavement of unseen people, the temptation is to keep up the pretense. I’ve said here recently that I believe people are always tempted to act as badly as they think they can get away with, children certainly tend to. Well, we can’t get away with it any more. The ruined environment, the inability of overseas wage slaves to subsist on less than the near to nothing they are allowed in today’s ultra-capitalism, and the financial piracy of the Bush years cannot be sustained. The patched up puppet show started falling apart some time ago. Just as in the 1920s, many of us have been living in a depression for some years now.

It’s the time to call this depression what it is. The dramatic impact of it, the possible short term damage is necessary to jolt the public and the aristocracy out of their delusion. Reality is real, you can’t improve things without facing the truth. Taking the pain of stating the truth will make changing the underlying policies possible. Without facing the awful situation the old policies and beliefs produced, we won’t get the change we need.

Just as FDR found it necessary to try things and to quickly change policies to match the gradual revelation of crises of the 1930s, Barack Obama will have policies that evolve and change radically. What policies we get will be very different than those we can guess at by looking at his early appointments. None of us, including them, know more than a part of the problems they have inherited. I’m hoping that Obama’s administration will be able to adapt to reality instead of holding fast to the old free market religion. They might since they will be working for him and not his predecessors. But they won’t have much time. They’re going to have to adapt fast. And they’re going to have no more than eight years to do it. If we are very unfortunate they might only get four years. The push back from the pirates who own the media will be enormous, it is already starting. There are still idiots working on their behalf who are trying to revise history to make the failures of Coolidge and Hoover into the failures of Franklin Roosevelt. As people of Helen Thomas’s generation die and the direct memory of that period fails, their deeper knowledge will pass away. And a large part of the population still want to believe in the fairy tale.

I am hoping that facing the truth, that unbridled materialism is unsustainable, will lead to the acceptance that equality, generosity, self-sacrifice and fairness are, in fact, what produces a better life. That was what saved the United States from the fascism that took hold in Europe and Japan during the Great Depression years. The foundations of fascism were present here, in Jim Crow and other forms of bigotry, they are still here. The fact is that it is was ever only the idealism of an effective majority that kept them from doing worse than they did. It could have been worse, it still could.

Now, at the beginning of his first term in office, Barack Obama has to start telling The People the truth, the whole truth as he learns it. He has to present what we have, what we can produce and to show people that it is being distributed fairly and according to the best of our natures. He has to make dramatic demonstrations that no matter how bad it gets that the pain will be distributed equally, that fairness and honesty win out over the contracted theft of the of liars and cheats.

He will be counseled to keep the bad news confidential, that The People aren’t mature enough to accept it. The would be ruling class believes nothing so fervently as that The People are too immature to face the truth. If Obama begins to tell the truth they will start talking about Jimmy Carter’s entirely true “Malaise” remark. Carter’s message wasn’t the problem, it was true. Things weren’t sufficiently bad and the reality of it could still be denied. Using the truth against Carter, the media sold us Ronald Reagan, George Bush I and after the interregnum of Bill Clinton George Bush’s lack luster son. Now the lie that sustained three of the worst presidents of our history is over, it is time to put them in the same box as the Republican presidents of the 1920s and bury their ideology. Let’s put a stake through its heart this time.

Obama is going to have to go over the heads of the discredited media, he is going to have to do so now and dramatically. The People won’t make the right decisions unless they know the truth, Barack Obama will not be able to convince the congress if The People continue buying the demagoguing lies that put Republicans in office over the past thirty years. I suspect that, in time, he will find that radical reorganization of broadcast and cable media are essential to The People governing themselves and producing a democracy. He doesn’t seem to know that yet, I believe he will.