We’re all treading water, just hanging out on the surface, dealing with the shallows, ignorant of the powerful currents roiling beneath our kicking feet. John McCain is a distraction. He’s not even a real candidate. He’s Uncle Fester with a comb-over. As we swim in this ocean of verbal contortion, misapprehension, lies, silly laughs, and “investigations”, there are monsters lurking below. Shock Doctrine, Chicago Boys, Reaganites, Milton Friedman disciples, American torturers, people who think that the market is the nirvana, and government is (never thought I’d say this) to quote the other distraction, “the problem.”
My mother-in-law is from Chile. She came to this country because her husband was tortured and exiled, bringing with her her two children and a socialist ideology that from time to time I argue with to gain more information from someone who actually lived it. It never dawned on me, though, the connection between her arrival and the shock and awe campaign espoused by John McCain and inflicted on the citizens of Iraq. Even her posts in response to some blog pieces didn’t enlighten me. But listening to Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine, it becomes clearer and clearer why people are screaming about Barack Obama at John McCain rallies – it’s the theatre of the absurd writ large. It’s Caesar’s “bread and a circus” to keep the rabble distracted while the wolves raid the chicken coop.
Meanwhile, the same people who engineered the overthrow of the government in Chile; who chopped up the public school system in New Orleans after the US government’s failure to act in the wake of Hurricane Katrina; who used the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 to wage an invasion in Iraq and are now lining up Iran in their crosshairs; these same people are waving McCain Palin in our collective face (and if you don’t understand that she is a distraction, stop reading now) in order to keep us from asking what the other hand is doing.
How else to explain the Republican candidates’ continued lies running unchecked? How else to explain “the Maverick” being the presidential nominee for the Gallant Old Party and hiring the people who ran him out of the primaries eight years ago? How else to explain a hugely under-qualified sparkly vice-presidential nominee? How else to explain the privatization of war (Blackwater), education (New Orleans), social security (oops! That one didn’t go through), healthcare (Senator McCain?)?
This transfer of public money into private hands ($840 billion last week, neh!?) is not accidental. The same rush to judgment that led to the invasion of a country who had not attacked the United States and to “the rescue plan” is driving McCain supporters to cry in terror over an Obama presidency, and Obama supporters to shiver at the thought of more Abu Ghraibs and Guantanamos and Taxis to the Darkside. Why is there an army division being deployed inside the United States?
This distraction called John Sydney McCain III is serving a purpose once again – but he’s not serving his country. Blinded by his own ambition, he’s the clown, the jester, lurching from rally to rally, unsure of what to say or how to say it. And we are all continuing to tread water, watching his antics, worrying about feloniously ridiculous “character attacks”, battling the flies while the vultures are eating the carcass. And the powers that be are already setting up the next Allende, with building blocks like the fake ACORN-voter fraud accusations, setting up a question of legitimacy before Senator Obama gets elected.
We need to dive below the surface, realize that supporting hope and change means reading between the attack lines, looking for the undercurrents (like Representative John Lewis) below the rhetoric. Otherwise, just as we believe we’ve made it to shore, we’ll hear that famous music, and feel the flash of teeth devouring our lower extremities, as we get bitten in the butt. Just like the invasion of Iraq and Blackwater and Haliburton and Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib and post-Katrina and (McCain wants to battle Russia?) and the sub-prime mortgage crisis credit crunch $700 billion plus earmarks bailout. And those same nefarious power brokers will be setting up an Obama presidency to take the fall, or to just fall.
The sharks are swimming below all of us . . .
Cross-posted at Will Rhodes Portmanteau on October 14, 2008