How Everything I Was Taught Was Wrong

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This perspective is referenced to the column “Swept away by a lobbyist’s wave of influence” by Carl Hiaasen for the Miami Herald.

When I was growing up, and I’m sure for most of you it was the same way, we were taught in some fashion about how the world worked. Or, at least, how it was supposed to work. For many people, mainly those who Media Whores Online refer to as “Moron-Americans,” the world still works that way. Captains of industry, politicians of a particular party, the TV news, all of them are assumed to be people of integrity and naturally they wouldn’t lie to us, at least not when it came to the really important things, like for example national security. In a perfect world, this would be a laudable attitude.

But for many others, sooner or later they discover the harsh truth: that the things they were taught by their parents and their teachers was nothing more than a lie. Not that they were deliberately intending to misinform you, but because they, being the trusting souls they were, believed it also. But there comes a time when you realize that the systems of government and industry, the world in which we live, is just a fancy icing on a filth-ridden cake.

My first such epiphany, and if one is attentive, one goes through many such realizations, came back in Junior High School, in science class. The teacher, Mr. Rubalski, had asked what I assumed to be a simple question: “Why is Man on top of the evolutionary chart?” Me being one of the brighter science students (science was a particular favorite of mine), I rattled off the usual arguments about the complexity of organ structure and cranial ability, yadda yadda yadda, and other students equally as bright chimed in as well. But Mr. Rubalski smiled, shook his head slightly, and said straight out “Because Man made the chart.” Now I’m not going to tell you that this was a life-changing event, but it opened my eyes to the idea of perspective in the philosophical sense. Of course Man was at the top of the chart! We wouldn’t put ants above us, or whales or dolphins! If they were the dominant species they’d have their own charts with themselves on top, and not us! That thinking began t! o permeate my studies, to dig for more than just the rote knowledge, to understand what was going on above and beyond what I was being taught, especially in other subjects such as history, which is probably the most, er, subjective of subjects.

My second epiphany came about during the 1992 election, the first time I was more or less aware of what had been going on in the world. I voted for Clinton, of course, because over the last four years I had grown to hate George Bush and his policies. I was more or less neutral on the first Gulf War, working as I did at the time for the military as a civilian, and only marginally paying attention to what was going on. But Bush’s idiotic policies and his obvious (to me, anyway) lack of concern for anyone but his rich friends, pissed me off royally, and I was looking forward to getting his ass out of office. On the night of the election, I was working at my job in a convenience store. In the divider on the road outside the store there stood a Clinton campaign sign. A car came along covered with Bush bumper stickers and signs, obviously a campaign car, and stopped in front of the sign. The driver got out, puffed on a cigarette, looked around a bit, kicked down the Clinton sign, ! and drove away. It was then that I realized, in my own naive way, the kind of people we were dealing with. I didn’t really understand all the issues yet, I wouldn’t be able to define what a liberal was or even what a conservative was, but at that point, I realized that whatever their stated ideology, the Republican Party was the enemy.

My most recent epiphany hasn’t been so quick to develop, but it’s the most staggering one of all. It began not long after I began watching the press go after Bill Clinton, and has grown steadily until it reached a crescendo in the last few years, and broke when we attacked Iraq. It was the sudden realization that the safe, secure world that I grew up in had ceased to exist, that there was only one law, and that is the law of the jungle. It’s a world where the only thing that matters is money and power, and the only real rule is don’t get caught and don’t get taken out by someone stronger than you. And if you’re the strongest, anything you do is justified, for no other reason than you’re strong enough to make it happen. This is the world of gw bush and his closest advisors. This is the world we now live in.

The story above is a small, but important example of that. I’ve known for a while that money speaks louder than words when it comes to American politics, but to have the filth-ridden cake forced down our throats like that, it just goes to show how low we have sunk in this country. I remember Michael Moore’s excellent TV series “TV Nation” had a segment where they showed how the system worked: they paid a lobbyist, I think it was $5,000, to get Congress to approve tax breaks for Moore and his crew. The lobbyist explained that doing so meant a re-writing of the tax code, and would require, at the least, a lot more money. He recommended something more reasonable, like having Congress declare a certain day to be “TV Nation Day,” and Moore agreed to that. Sure enough, there was footage showing different Congressmen giving speeches on behalf of TV Nation, and the measure would have had a good chance of passing if it weren’t for the fact that the fight for the budget was taking up ! so much time. But that episode made it clear how our government really works, as does this news story, and it’s something that ought to frighten anyone who believes in the idea of self-rule.

For most people, people like for example, most of my relatives, the world works just fine. They work hard and live their lives and raise their families, and that’s a great and good thing. They won’t feel any of the real effects of this war, just like most Germans never felt the effects of their own Nazi government, that is, until Germany was defeated by the Allies. Others, like my pal B-Chan and his retard friends, have had their own epiphanies, and look on this war as a form of entertainment and self-assurance. They’re not plagued with doubts, and simple minds like that never will be. They enjoy the military power they have (especially when most of them have never served and will never serve in the military), and they’re on top of the world right now. And of course, G. W. bush, having had whatever epiphany a man who has been handed everything he’s ever had can possibly have, is reveling in the power he has.

But for me, and I suspect for many of you as well, the world I know has been wrecked beyond compare, and I don’t know if or when that world will be restored again. I just know that whatever else it may be, it’s a more dangerous place, and that scares me.

Joseph Vecchio, a veteran of both the US military and of the internet, is a freelance writer. His daily blog, “Pax Liberalis,” can be seen at http://joevecchio.blogspot.com. He contributed above perspective to Media Monitors Network (MMN) from Georgia, USA.

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