Here she comes, Myth America...
Readers of this column know that I’ve got plenty of theories, some of them verging on the crackpottery side of the aisle but not the ones you’re thinking of, Mr. Wade.
I’ve got a theory about why everybody’s getting crazier than ever these days. It has to do with what the smart guys call ‘cognitive dissonance.’ Mainly, as I understand it, it’s how what people are telling you does not correlate to what’s right in front of your eyes.
It’s also where your own sense of things is constantly denied by what other people, voices of ‘authority’, and the mass media tell you.
People are cracking, I think, because they want very much to cling to the nonsense peddled relentlessly by the public society while the evidence is piling up that what is being peddled is unadulterated cow pucky.
As the façade begins to fall, there’s a tacit, desperate agreement between a society’s anointed ‘authorities’ and the general population which wishes its sleep undisturbed. Give us an explanation, the people say, and it doesn’t have to be much good. It can be a total bleeding lie, as far as that goes. Just something we can hang onto.
And so we get official fairy tales.
We weren’t really starting a war with North Viet Nam. They attacked our ships in international waters in the Tonkin Gulf. We’re just defending ourselves.
We weren’t really starting a war with Spain. They attacked the Maine in international waters pretty close to Florida. We’re just defending ourselves.
We weren’t really starting a war with Iraq. They were involved in the attack on the World Trade Center. We’re just defending ourselves.
And so forth. We do not want to ask too many questions about these things because, we’re told, patriots don’t question their government. We need only an argument, any sort of argument, and we can avoid troubling our little minds.
We weren’t really starting a war with Afghanistan. They were harboring Osama bin Laden and wouldn’t turn him over to us, and he planned the attack on the World Trade Center. We’re just defending ourselves.
Remember yellow cake uranium? Lies don’t matter. No one will be held accountable.
In the news yesterday, a witness to the shooting of Senator Robert Kennedy in 1968 has recanted what she now says is a statement attributed to her in FBI files. She was pressured not to insist on what she saw at the time, pressured to change her story to conform to the official tale, and she did so.
She is only the latest, not the only, witness to see a second person draw and fire a gun in that pantry; the second gunman was positioned behind and to Kennedy’s right, exactly where the fatal shots came from according to the coroner’s report which was suppressed at Sirhan’s trial. The wrong man has been in prison for more than forty years. America doesn’t want to know about it. YOU probably don’t, either.
It is one of those little things, like the video now available on YouTube of the presidential motorcade leaving Love Field on November 22, 1963, which shows Secret Service agents positioned where they were supposed to be, on the rear corners of the limousine, standing on special platforms built for the purpose, and they are suddenly waived off by the chief of the Dallas Secret Service, and one of the agents, clearly surprised, raising his arms at his side, palms up, asking what the devil was going on.
It is one of those little things, like the unwelcome memorandum from the director of the CIA, John McCone, to the head of the Secret Service, James Rowley, which specified that Lee Harvey Oswald had been a double agent for the CIA and that J. Edgar Hoover had taken a pile of documents on the assassination into his private possession.
It is one of those little things, like the positive identification, by people who knew them, of three CIA assassins having a friendly chat amidst the celebratory crowd, in photos taken in the Embassy Ballroom at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles in the night of June 4, 1968, shortly before RFK was murdered.
Few want the responsibility which comes with too much information. Yet our national failure to come to terms with what is actually done by people in power leaves us emotionally and psychologically disconnected.
I’ve been in domestic environments in which there were problems with drug addiction, which residents and family members refused to acknowledge. You don’t have to be a specialist to predict that people will go bonkers in that situation. That’s because there’s a vast hole between what one sees and what one is willing to acknowledge.
Much of the anguish experienced today in America’s public life is due to the national agreement to cover-up the worst excesses of the powerful, to deny that the past has any purchase on the present.
As Senator J. William Fulbright once observed, Lyndon Johnson lied about the Tonkin Gulf episode. He and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara lied and knew they were lying, and they did so in order to trick the country into supporting a war which Johnson’s predecessor had tried to stop. Fulbright noted that people lying like that in court would be convicted of perjury, but that Johnson had not been under oath.
When Bush and Cheney were summoned to testify before the committee investigating the attack on the World Trade Center, they declined to be sworn in, and they declined to be interviewed separately. They also lied, but they were not under oath.
The nation’s leaders routinely lie, and these lies sometimes result in unimaginable horror and tragedy. Kissinger lied about Viet Nam and about Chile. Rice lied about Iraq. Powell lied about Iraq. Bush lied about everything. Bill Clinton lied about Somalia. Hillary Clinton lied about Libya, Egypt, and Honduras.
Nobody prosecutes these criminals. Instead, they launch a massive inquiry into whether Bill Clinton lied about oral sex with an intern. The public, meanwhile, was much more curious about presidential semen on a blue dress than about presidential policies in Somalia.
That’s the agreement, the unspoken agreement by which the American people avoid knowing too much and the pimps and enforcers for the corporations burn documents and avoid having to testify.
It results in what we see today.
History is not a random series of accidents –– the wishful thinking of at least one advocate of delusion I know. It is not just bad luck which claims the lives of every major voice for peace or equality. But it’s easier to believe that because it relieves the believer of any sense of guilt or silent complicity, or of any obligation to act as a citizen.
It’s easier to go along. When Martin Luther King, Jr., spoke against the war in 1967, he was criticized by other ‘Negro’ leaders who told him to ‘stick to civil rights.’ He had an eloquent answer to that but it cost him his life.
I was around then. I remember quite clearly the voices of some ‘liberals’ who stuck with Johnson despite the war because he was ‘so good on civil rights’, which I guess meant they saw the disproportionate number of black casualties in Viet Nam as a statistical fluke.
There are always apologists and rationalizers. It’s easier. But in the end, ladies and gentlemen, it will make you insane. And in America today, with ‘liberals’ defending the war crimes of the black Democrat in the White House, all you’ve got to do is look out your window. But too many do not wish to do that.