Monday, January 21, 2008

Looking Back

With the peace movement of the sixties it seemed to some impressionable young minds that perhaps the U.S. or at least parts of the U.S. was evolving toward a better way of life, that of peace rather than wars of choice. There seemed to be a growth of awareness for the well being of the environment, for rising above racial hatred and for ending an unjust war in Vietnam though as it turns out none of these things were lasting. Vietnam was one unjust war among many to follow and had been preceded by a long history of war before it. The feeling that we were moving towards a better world was also dependent on where you lived in the U.S. and unless you traveled to conservative strongholds as in most of the nation you might well have believed that humans were progressing socially.

Looking back it is easy to see that it was naïve to believe that a culture based on military worship and war, indeed a culture that had been conceived in the embrace of imperialism and racist views could be changed without a sustained effort. Arrayed against this new awareness of what the world could be like was the establishment sustained by capitalism, rampant ignorance and racial hates that had been forged long before this nation was even formed and passed on from parent to child as is the case of cultural chains, and the rise of the military-industrial complex.

Today the peace movement barely exists, as for the environment even though we give lip service to it many people now drive gas guzzling trucks and SUVs which pollute the air. Long gone is the idea of conservation of resources and small cars with small engines rather it has become bigger is better. Sadly much of this desire to own such behemoth vehicles is driven by status rather than any practical need for such things. Racial inequality is still alive and well as was brought home in the Katrina disaster.

We give lip service to peace, racial equality, and ecology yet that is all most of it is …lip service. Today we, or some of us, honor the memory of Martin Luther King yet many hold up a Martin Luther King wannabe Barack Obama who though speaks with great eloquence is no Martin Luther King, not by a long shot. Where I live people talk of loving nature yet almost every vehicle on the road is a polluting truck or SUV. Talking with the locals one hears of hatred for Mexicans, people of the Arab world, African Americans, you name the race and they hate them. Rural America is an ugly place filled with ugly people who live in a world of hypocrisy and delusion which they like to refer to as common sense. Of course that is a generalization as naturally there are exceptions to this yet by and large that is the way it is.

The U.S. prides itself on its scientific and technological contributions to the world yet a majority of U.S. citizens are steeped in superstitious sanctimonious religious dogma and refuse to believe in evolution, a branch of science that has been proven beyond doubt with a plethora of evidence that few other sciences enjoy. We have become a nation of dualities where reality and fable intertwine which creates a web of self deceit preventing us moving forward. The Iraq War continues unabated and though many now oppose it that is only because it is a failure not because it is wrong. This is a very sad state of affairs and adds a touch of surrealism to a day when we recall a man of peace Martin Luther King.