A friend suggested that the answer to my concerns regarding the direction this nation was taking was to send money to the Democratic National Committee. I will not do such a thing and I am no longer a member of that party. I have stated on many occasions and in many ways why it is that the party to which I belonged since I was 21 and able to participate in elections has something more to offer than the other political parties that exist in the United States, but no enough to garner my support. Republicans and Democrats have been running the country for the entirety of my lifetime and to be 68 years old and having lived that many years under the control of representatives from those parties, I face today an untenable reality, a reality that is making it most difficult to cope. Over the years, many a good thing has been accomplished, often because of what Democratic representatives have done to make good things happen and, up until now, they have been good enough to keep me a member of the Democratic party. But, probably with the coming of the “centrist” administration of Bill Clinton, my affiliation with the Democrats has become ever difficult to continue, this because that “centrism” was and continues to be sold as “sensible” and everything to the left of this center, that leans on many issues to the right of what I have known to be liberal positions, has been labelled as impractical. Those who are Democrats want to ignore a host of problematic positions taken by the more practical Democratic party that have given license to the right to push the country ever further in their preferred direction and, because the Democrats are hardly a party of the left, the country has, in its politics, gone right and this is, if one is a humanist, if one cannot compromise over basic human rights and basic obligations of a nation to provide real opportunities that allow all to succeed, lead decent lives, not acceptable, not acceptable at all.
Over the course of this lifetime I have watched closely and with horror (really!) at the corporatization of this society, democracy forgotten so that capitalism could become the dominant force guiding the actions of government and country. Yes, I have a real problem with the capitalist system we have, that so many once liberals have come to believe is the only system around with real viability. They believe that we have come to a point of no turning around and have convinced themselves and try to convince me that we should get used to living with what we have and of which we cannot rid ourselves. They have found ways to be comfortable even when they know that good numbers of people around the world suffer so that we can preserve a status quo that humane people should find to be repulsive. I get it. Living in a state of being repulsed by the state of the reality in which one lives is not a very pleasant place to be. So, to live and feel good about life, a good many simply take advantage of what the corporatists offer them, entertainments that work to take minds off what is so obnoxious in the world of the real.
The friend mentioned above told me that he knows that there is no way that the culture that is so much now about entertainment is going to dissolve and I think he has a point, a very ugly point that is about admitting to losing things of incredible value and taking in their place something that is satisfies on the cheap; instead of meaningful life goals, those that are reflected in the Constitution’s writer’s call for a “more perfect union,” goals having to do with getting what entertains are now taught as the legitimate goals of the citizen, the only realistic and meaningful goals.
Tonight, the awards show will reward again those who unjustly receive far too many rewards for the work they do. Yes, there will be some very talented people walking down a red carpet as though they are royalty. Adoring fans will fight just to get a glance of them and the media will make sure to let us know the cost of the clothing adorning the women (the male artists will all be wearing suits that reflect conformity and not artistry at all). And these beneficiaries of a ridiculous and (should be) repugnant economic system that has skewed values so that what is valued is something less than what is really important, they will deliver political wisdom and they will be cheered and more by those who are their very good friends in the democratic party. Few in the party, few who support the party will be troubled by the fact that fame attained by learning and repeating lines uttered/written by others qualifies this effete group of stars to speak to and for the critically important issues that face us in the real world. This is bullshit of the most profoundly fowl kind and it will not at all be recognized as such. The show will be a terribly expensive tribute to what is wrong in our world—halves having way too much and a good many others having not nearly enough (consider what the cost of one of those gowns could buy for a school teacher or for someone needing clothing to keep warm during the winter).
Millions will be watching. Stars will sparkle and get even more of the attention than they already do which, of course, for any sensible person is already too much. I applaud any kind of good performance, any kind of work that shows creativity and persistence and I think that such work deserves proper recognition and support. But the system that makes events like the Academy Awards show possible, that system that puts piles of money on already over filled tables and disguises the real problems and the real good by showing off the glamor and importance of an industry dedicated mostly to make believe is not about the public good or the more perfect union or the betterment of the lot of the people how live on this earth. Those on the stage will try to make it sound as if the system is a good one, those who are a part of it, not just good people but amongst the best because they give the most and hardly anyone will take the time to consider that what they really give of their lives to give is less than nothing.
Democrats! Bring on your stars and make stars of your politicians. Make it ever more difficult for people to understand not only what is real but, more importantly, what is possible beyond what actually is, here and now, so that the status quo that serves you and your real constituents can continue to convince the people that what is good for you is good for them. I will join and donate to that party that has as its goal the building of a democracy in which the people know how to use their power to participate in the decision making process to make decisions that are really decisions for the people. In the meantime, my “liberal” friends, make sure to find a way to love the show even if one of its main sponsors is Walmart Corporation.