Image By:Angela Tyler-Rockstroh
It's Always Darkest, Right Before ...
It Goes Completely Black
By Phil Rockstroh
02 November, 2006
If voting could change the system, it would be illegal.
"I can't go on. I'll go on."
One's actions grow out of one's
beliefs. Beliefs grow out of the ecosystem of our collective lives known
as culture. In this way, cultures are organic: they germinate, sprout,
grow, bloom, bear fruit, then fade in accordance with the climes and
terrain of the times.
America now grows: paranoid
delusions and wishful thinking. These are our national plant and staple
A strange genus of the former
has overgrown the land. It began as a small hybrid, a member of the
Bush family, growing mostly in southern and western states. Some theories
hold that its origins were in Connecticut; although, when it was transplanted
to Texas, it spread, unchecked, due to the fact that there are few herbivores
in the region to limit its pernicious growth. There, in the dry Texas
soil, it grew dense and thorny, and thrived when watered with blood
Left unpruned and unregulated,
it grew thicker than an ancient oak, larger than a redwood: It became
a Paranoia Sequoia, growing ever larger in the hot greenhouse gases
of global climate change; its massive branches spread across the world,
casting a shadow of fear and revulsion beneath it.
And it has bore strange and
terrible fruit, indeed ? as well as proliferate assorted nuts.
Unfortunately, its oily wood
limits its use as timber that might be used to built anything constructive:
Its wood is mostly suitable for crucifixes and coffins ... Yet, due
to its aforementioned oily base, it can be used to build a bonfire large
enough to set the world ablaze.
At present, the people of
the United States are lost in a dark woods overgrown by these sun-occluding
trees. Some among us have taken to ingesting hallucinogenic mushrooms
(the aforementioned staple crop) sprouting from the forest floor. Upon
ingestion, they tell of having strange visions involving a covey of
Democratic dwarfs who will fell the dark forest with their K Street
In addition, borne of our
desperation, many of us dream, two years hence, Prince Biden the Bland
or St. Hillary, mounted upon her triangulating donkey of war, will come
to our rescue and lead us from this dark and terrible place.
Such foolishness is understandable
within the context of American culture: Our decaying empire has become
an over-the-counter culture for legally medicated Lotus Eaters. Yet
the effects of the meds are palliative. Prozac poops-out. Rush Limbaugh's
Oxycontin certainties transmogrify into detox deliriums. The Republican
Woodstock of the so-called "Clash of Civilizations" becomes
the Altamont of Guantanamo.
Moreover, the comedown is
going to be a real bitch ... Heads will throb; stomachs will churn,
when the realization arrives: we've become addicted to a corrupt system,
rigged for the benefit of a few, ruthless corporatists -- and maintained
and enabled by both our political parties; accordingly, the lives of
us ordinary Americans (who are dependent on this system because we have
no choice in the matter) are no longer in our control ... Somewhere
along the way, our freedom to chose went missing -- was waylaid -- as
we were pimped into wage slavery for the profits of the corporate class.
I must confess: I wish there
existed drugs that provided an effect powerful enough to allow me to
hallucinate visions of hope.
Instead, I will proffer this
stark fantasy: I believe, at this late hour, the second best thing that
could come to pass in our crumbling republic is for the total destruction
of the Democratic Party -- and then from its ashes to rise a party of
Now, I believe the best thing
that could happen for our country would be for the leaders of The Republican
Party -- out of a deep sense of shame (as if they even possessed the
capacity for such a thing) regarding the manner they have disgrace their
country and themselves -- to commit seppuku (the act of ritual suicide
practiced by disgraced leaders in feudalist Japan) on national television.
Because there's no chance
of that event coming to pass, I believe the dismantling of the Democratic
Party, as we know it, is in order. It is our moribund republic?s last,
best hope -- if any is still possible.
Regarding this, I hope I?m
proven to be dead-ass, Flat Earth Theory, Warren?Commission wrong.
How have I come to this despairing
First a caveat: While I harbor
little affection for nor feel any affinity with the corrupt establishment
of the Democratic Party, I don't believe, as is the case with the present
leadership of the Republican party, they're a klavern of insane, death-smitten
apocalypticists. However, I do believe that a craven desire for power
and privilege has transformed them into morally bankrupt, lickspittle,
For this, I believe, they
have disgraced themselves as well. Does anyone believe that the denizens
of K Street have, as of late, begun enriching the coffers of the Democratic
Party because the lobbyist class now harbors a secret desire to create
a system where a greater diversity of views can be promulgated? Yes,
and Jack the Ripper stalked the streets of East London because he wanted
to draw attention to the wretched plight of underclass women in class-stratified
Ergo, regardless of which
political party controls congress, the empire will continue to unravel.
Corporate "leaders, like feudal lords, will continue to ruthlessly
wield power and have dominion over our lives no matter the outcome of
the midterm elections of 2006.
The mind-shredding propaganda
of the so called "free market" will continue to be our culture's
defining mythos; its corrupt priesthood will continue to fleece their
dazed and hapless flock.?
American roadways and so
called freeways will remain as clogged as the arteries of the junk food
bloated commuters, sitting stalled and stupefied in traffic, within
their grotesque motor vehicles, in the time-grinding limbo created by
the international petroleum state.
Wealth, power, and privilege
will continue to be consolidated by the already wealthy, powerful, and
privileged. Public schools will continue to fail to educate. The over-fished,
pollution-afflicted, global warming-decimated oceans and seas will continue
Official lies will still
proliferate like swarming locust. As a result, the public will grow
outraged and demand more of their own rights and civil liberties be
curtailed. The poor will disproportionately suffer while the rich will
sleep the untroubled sleep of the kleptocratic class.
As, all the while, our fabled
Shining City on the Hill will suffer ongoing brownouts and power outages.
Amid all of this disorder
and dissolution what possible difference could it make to vote for either
a corporatist Republican or a corporatist Democratic candidate -- The
runaway entropic decay of the present system cannot be reversed by political
Ergo, this year, the voting
public is being offered a choice between imbibing the Empire Lite of
the Democratic Party or the Republicans' Empire Mad Dog 20/20. Accordingly,
we've been provided with choice number one: stick with the Republicans
and continue on with our planet-destroying bender (that will end in
either the detox hotel named the Limits of Imperial Power or our being
fitted with a toe tag in the Morgue of History reading, "Deceased.
Cause of death: expired after succumbing to Acute Empire Intoxication
Poisoning"). Or choice number two: the Democrats' covert flask-sipping,
internal organ-rotting, problem drinking of the heady drafts of corporate
corruption. In short, both of the two major political parties have been
privy to the bacchanal of bribery that passes for business as usual
in the present political/economic system.
A vivid illustration of the
hopeless mindset of chronically diffident Democrats is their failure
to demand the use of traceable paper ballots this election cycle. In
this way, they're analogous to a timid, denial-ridden spouse whose mate
returns home, with smeared lipstick and disheveled clothing, sans undergarments,
reeking of Jack Daniels, all the while, defensively asserting her fidelity
-- after an impromptu road trip with an outlaw motorcycle gang -- and
her credulous spouse believing the whole episode has strengthened the
relationship by building trust between them.
Yet dread gnaws beneath the
surface of the collective awareness of liberals and progressives. What
belies Democrats inability to agitate for meaningful change is: At a
deeper level, they, as is the case with most of us Americans, realize
that, in order to live in the manner to which we have become accustomed,
we must continue our complicity in the crimes of empire. Hence, they
realize they would be politically burned at the stake if they ever ventured
to utter such heresy aloud.
For, deep down, we know that
our actions are not only unethical, but unsustainable as well. Our minds
have difficultly grasping this fact; its ramifications are too overwhelming
... The knowledge -- that we maintain "our way of life" on
the bartered blood of the innocent -- is too unnerving. Its implications
are too damning; therefore, we banish such thoughts to the darkest regions
of our unconscious.
It would seem: We can't see
the forest through ourselves.
We whimper into the abyss
The abyss replies: "It's
always darkest, right before ... it goes completely black."
In this manner, we unwittingly
carry the darkness of empire. Perhaps, if we Americans were to unburden
ourselves of the illusion of our exceptionalism, our load would lighten.
It would be easier to support the load, if we relieved ourselves of
the weight of so many lies, self-deceptions and rationalizations, as
well as the other onerous byproducts of our denial.
At this point, given the
abysmal levels of mass ignorance, self-deception and delusion at large,
are we Americans even up to the task? Or has our pervasive disconnect
from civic life deteriorated to such an extent that a majority of us
are even capable of apprehending the dire circumstances confronting
the nation? (It would seem that not only have we chosen to ignore an
elephant standing in the living room of our collective awareness, but
we have chosen to cover him over with nondescript upholstery and now
regard him as part of the furniture.)
My motive for bringing this
up is not to be merely provocative; I'm asking because I'm chilled to
the core of my being afraid. Regarding it all, I'm in the thrall of
a sitting bolt upright in bed, quaking with night sweats terror.
Nor am I coming from a lofty
moral plane on this one: I'm coming from a pounding upon the ground
despair -- a scanning the line of the horizon searching for any signs
of hope desperation -- a shaking my fist at the indifferent sky rage.
As you may have surmised:
I'm outright mortified as to where we as a nation are headed, regardless
of the outcome of Tuesday's midterm elections. Given the bender of destruction
we've been on, our nation needs far more help than a simple changing
of the party affiliation of our corporate enablers -- it needs an intervention.
But that line of thinking
would probably lead to a seizing of power by an Oprah/Doctor Phil junta
-- and the empire would still collapse, beneath the weight of self-help
platitudes and positive affirmations.
a self-described, auto-didactic, gasbag monologist, is a poet, lyricist
and philosopher bard living in New York City. He may be contacted at:
is a Broadcast Designer/Animator who has worked with major Networks
such as Cartoon Network, Disney Channel, HBO Family, PBS, as well as
with Flickerlab on the animation "Bonanza" sequence of Michael
Moore's documentary, "Fahrenheit 9/11. She currently is a wage-slave
for HBO, but in her spare time creates satirical graphics for Phil Rockstroh
and graphics for Moore's forthcoming documentary, "Sicko",
on the subject of the American health care system.
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