Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Americans Won't Protest

The French, God bless them, are fed up with bail outs and declining employment. So they took to the streets and went on strike. The Icelanders brought down their government after their economy was destroyed by crooked bankers. What do Americans do? They do nothing but complain to each other and that is the best case scenario. Some are committing murder and suicide in their ever increasing despair.

Why won't Americans protest? I don't think the answers are very complicated. Americans are propagandized into stupidity and they are afraid of their government. If you believe your nation is "the greatest country in the world" you have no reason to complain. The greatest country on earth can't be wrong, even if millions are out of work and losing their homes and their health insurance.

Our corporate media lie to us all the time. We live in a state of perfect disinformation* about the most basic issues facing us. We don't know that military spending is killing our economy, or that Iran doesn't threaten us, or that private prison systems insure a steady stream of prisoners, or that we could have national health insurance or that American citizens could be bailed out like financial institutions are. When anyone rises up to tell us these facts, they are marginalized and prevented from playing a part in public discourse.

America has a greater percentage of its population behind bars than any country on earth. That statistic is not lost on anyone. If police can kill Oscar Grant in cold blood, they can certainly lock you up for stepping out of line at a protest. Of course, when Americans last took to the streets in large numbers in 2003 to stop the occupation of Iraq, it made no difference. The media disappeared the marches from their papers and their broadcasts and the Democratic party proudly disassociated themselves from the people who could have put them back into power. So even those predisposed to take action will ask themselves if they should bother.

What would make Americans protest? I can't think of anything. I don't know how bad things will have to be before protest will play a significant role in this country again. Now that Obama is president, the situation is even worse. We don't need to protest because our president is so wonderful and so understanding and so historic and so bipartisan and so post-racial and I could go on but you get the picture.

In any case, he didn't close Guantanamo yet, so if you protest you just might end up there.

*"If it were not for the Internet that provides Americans with access to foreign news sources, Americans would live in a world of perfect disinformation." Paul Craig Roberts