Every moment of her life had been marked by her soul, waiting and restless, trying to elevate itself. Yearning. In the end, she had done what she had HAD to do… she recognized herself only from a great distance. Was she Mary Poppins? Pollyanna? A doe-eyed Disney princess? She remembered driving across Western flatlands, as fast as she could, her head out the window, her face into the sere wind.
She, an Air Force pilot’s daughter, felt bad for the poor stewardesses, who knew what was coming in a way mere passengers could not know… stoically dumping everyone’s shoes in the bathroom. Collecting all sharp things, taking people’s eye-glasses away from them. She remembered walking along the edges of the Atlantic, feeling the cool sand under her toes. Mother Universe keeps her eyes on us all.
Someone reached out to grasp her hand, solid & firm. She grasped back. She looked at the sun through the little window, a flashing brilliant light, and lightly closed her eyes. It would be quick, merciful, and good. And right now? Right now she was still alive. She was still a witness. There was no other way to get through life. Mercy was revealed, and blinded her. Everyone was waiting.
The American “Tea Party” is a radical, far-right organization which stands for nothing less than rolling the evolution of contemporary civilization back by one, or two, or even three or four hundred years – back to a time when only rich, white, men governed society, and, preferably, rich, white, men governing that society in as “selective” a group as possible. Monarchy – in extreme cases, even Feudalism — is, to Tea Partiers, the “good old days,” which they would like to see “restored.” A potent ingredient to the Tea Party hallucination is “private enterprise,” a Holy Grail represented by entities like General Electric. The United States of America is home to 13 of the 20 largest “transnational” corporations on the globe. Multinational corporations are far more powerful than any prior tyrannical force in history.
Thus, the Tea Party explains, poor people are poor because they are stupid and/or lazy, and therefore “deserve” to be poor. Rich people are rich because they are smart and/or hardworking, and therefore “deserve” to be rich. The passage of inherited wealth from the elite class to its offspring must be protected because it is “deserved” by the offspring of such smart and/or hardworking people. There is, of course, the mythology that every so often, one of the poor will find their way into the ranks of the rich, and one of the rich will find themselves thrown down into the ranks of the poor.
The history of the present multinational corporation is — much like the history of King George III of Great Britain (as observed by Thomas Jefferson) — “a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having, in direct object, the establishment of an absolute tyranny[.]” This is precisely the moment the United States of America has reached; will we, as a people, do the work of rebuilding our troubled, restless, suffering nation? Will we stop our own decades-long moral, structural, and economic demolition at the hands of a regressive, elitist, antidemocratic, power elite? Will we abdicate our own social responsibility and continue to allow “too big to fail” multinational corporations to do irrevocable harm to us and the rest of the human beings on this planet? Will we become, in reality, merely the Corporate States of Amerka?
Mass cultural hypnosis and mass public disinformation is essential to root out the harmful weeds of “equality,” “democracy,” “fairness,” and “justice.” Dumbing down the population by a few decades of underfunding public schools is a prerequisite to the suitability of hypnosis and disinformation; as is a very carefully planned, gradual, economic destruction of the unpredictable, possibly dangerous, middle classes (who often demand treatment inconvenient to the ruling elite, and unlike the lower “wage slave” classes, actually have some power with which to back up their demands). It is important to deprive the middle classes of adequate education and economic security with such a gradual, gentle, patient hand that the tightening of that “hangman’s noose” goes unnoticed until it is secure and inescapable.
Most important, however, is the control of the one branch of American government which is practically impervious to democratic principles or controls: the federal judiciary. Since federal jurists are appointed for life, popular opinion and social movements have little to no effect on the judicial branch, unlike the executive and legislative branches, where at least the fiction of “responsibility to the electorate” must be maintained in order to perpetuate the critically important elements of mass cultural hypnosis and disinformation.
There are three of the ancient busts on display
in the Louvre. Poor soul: he only controlled
his great empire for six years. I’ve been married
for seven, and though it isn’t like ruling Rome,
it’s hard enough. Thus, I can’t imagine how
he managed, even if he could imprison or execute
at will. Maybe stress did him in at twenty-nine.
True enough, during the heated third century
after Christ, the common man was too often dead
by thirty, teeth rotted away to stumps,
complexion scarred and worn, creased deep
like pegged and scraped hides drying in the sun.
Surely Caracalla’s own hands were soft,
languorous and pudgy, with those meticulous
shiny nails? Perhaps he was afflicted
with diabetes, or simply poisoned by his lovely
but illiterate wife. Will anyone wonder
what carried me off after a thousand years —
or even ten? During three decades on earth,
sculptors recorded all his secrets: first the pretty
baby, innocent and round-cheeked as any three-year-old,
blunt-cut curls springing away from his tender forehead
like the petals of an iris. Around the time
of his ascension, he had become sullen, his eyes
impenetrable, glassy, his torso clumsy, thick-necked,
his full, full lips bowed with palpable cruelty.
I must admit, by the year of his death, he’d grown
into his flesh — he looks wise, even kind,
and his drilled marble eyes are lively, holding
a gleam of curiosity for something outside his own
imperial body. I place my finger against the hard marble
cheek, hearing my own frail life tapping its brisk heels.