Mark Drolette: Hate America? You Bet - This One
Hate America? You Bet -- This One
By Mark Drolette
“I have seen the face of God!”
No, this is not George W. Bush’s daily affirmation upon looking in the mirror each morning after coming to/transmogrifying/getting up (though it could be, I guess), but rather the rapturous exclamation from Howard Beale (Peter Finch) in the chillingly predictive 1976 movie Network (based on the brilliant screenplay by the late, great Paddy Chayefsky).
Beale is a newscaster-turned-primetime-ranting-head (deemed the “Mad Prophet of the Airways”) whose on-air, anti-establishment, truth-laden diatribes have garnered a huge audience. Not just his ratings go sky-high, however: when he successfully urges viewers to help kill an unsavory multi-billion dollar deal (is there any other kind?) involving “Arabs” and his network’s parent company, Communications Corporation of America (C.C. and A.), he also exponentially increases the ire of Arthur Jensen (Ned Beatty), the corporation’s president and board chairman.
Beale’s epiphany comes after Jensen calls him into C.C. and A.’s cathedral-like boardroom and roaringly tells him how the world truly operates:
“You have meddled with the primal forces of nature, Mr. Beale, and I won't have it, is that clear?! You think you have merely stopped a business deal -- that is not the case! The Arabs have taken billions of dollars out of this country, and now they must put it back. It is ebb and flow, tidal gravity, it is ecological balance! You are an old man who thinks in terms of nations and peoples. There are no nations! There are no peoples! There are no Russians. There are no Arabs! There are no third worlds! There is no West! There is only one holistic system of systems, one vast and immane, interwoven, interacting, multi-variate, multi-national dominion of dollars! petro-dollars, electro-dollars, multi-dollars!, Reichmarks, rubles, rin, pounds and shekels! It is the international system of currency that determines the totality of life on this planet! That is the natural order of things today! That is the atomic, subatomic and galactic structure of things today! And you have meddled with the primal forces of nature, and you will atone!
“You get up on your little twenty-one inch screen, and howl about America and democracy. There is no America. There is no democracy. There is only IBM and ITT and A T and T and Dupont, Dow, Union Carbide and Exxon. Those are the nations of the world today. What do you think the Russians talk about in their councils of state -- Karl Marx? They pull out their linear programming charts, statistical decision theories and minimax solutions and compute the price-cost probabilities of their transactions and investments just like we do. We no longer live in a world of nations and ideologies, Mr. Beale. The world is a college of corporations, inexorably determined by the immutable by-laws of business. The world is a business, Mr. Beale!”
Having previously written about this scene, I feel like I’m starting to repeat myself. Having previously written about this scene, I feel like I’m starting to repeat myself. (I've wanted to use that one for a while.)
I can’t help it, though. As I have horrifyingly watched the Bushies grease the skids in every way imaginable for their corporate cronies while simultaneously making it painfully plain that human lives, including Americans’, are worthless in their bottom-line minds, I have mentally replayed this monologue many, many times.
Its message is truer today than when Chayefsky first penned it nearly three decades back: There are no nations. There is no democracy. There is no America.
There is only business.
Which leads me to ask: to what I am really being loyal now if I say I am a “patriotic American”?
A few years ago, I visited the D-Day beaches in Normandy, France. I stood on “Bloody Omaha” and looked back at the hugging bluffs and remnants of the ubiquitous German fortifications overlooking the arena and wondered how anyone ever could have survived the unrelenting, withering fire that poured down from them. I have always marveled at the sacrifice made by those who willingly waded into that maelstrom to, yes, help save the world.
I also spent time at the American cemetery above Omaha with its 9387 graves marked by white marble crosses and Stars of David laid out in row upon silent row, filled with bodies of soldiers, many of whom were only 18, 19, 20 years old, who died fighting in a war that many (including me) considered a “noble cause.”
I think all war is lunacy, but since one never knows when the next apocalyptical madman with a powerful army will show up determined to squelch as many human rights, and lives, as possible, I also believe in “provid[ing] for the common defence” as delineated in the Constitution of the United States.
Ah, yes: the Constitution, the document that, when combined with its spiritual twin, the Declaration of Independence, forms a venerated tandem that embodies the soaringly beautiful ideals comprising the true essence of what our beloved America really is, or at least inspiringly strives to be. Or did, that is, until Dubya came along, twice got hisself appointed president, and like a cackling, drunken adolescent (in other words, a typical Bush), pissed all over the whole deal.
Oh, no: Dubya, our very own very insane very little man whose affinity for dressing up in military garb started taking flight only decades after he’d spent a year avoiding same, the neo-Napoleon who has chest-thumpingly authorized torture and the murder of 100,000 innocents while taking his own delusional stab at global conquest, a soulless nutcase of a silver-spooned twit who simply considers (as he considers everything) the aforementioned two manuscripts nothing more than dated, frayed papers full of so many words. (And we all know how trying he finds those pesky things, what with their being stuffed to the brim with tricky letters and syllables and all.)
Liberties, rights, justice, equality, and most of all, the rule of law: all viewed as merely gnat-like, annoying impediments by the Bushian thugs as they goose-step their way toward their sole goal, an aim that can be summed up in three words (well, four if you count the one in parentheses): (more) power and profits. Or, as the imperialistic imbeciles at the Project for the New American Century crow: “American interests and principles.”
Business “principles.” (An oxymoron if there ever was one.)
Bush. (A moron if there ever was one. Cheap, I know, but too tempting.)
I’m going to swear fealty to that?
You remember how, when we were taught about 1930s Germany and Hitler’s ascension, we’d all think, “Wow, why didn’t the German people rise up? How could they let that happen in their country?”
Just take a look at America under Bush, whose documented death, destruction and decimation of democracy in just a few short years is truly breathtaking. Yet, STILL he is supported by tens of millions of addle-brained, adamantine “Americans.”
Hitler couldn’t have gotten as far as he did without his good Germans, either.
For those who gasp and say, “Why…why…you’re comparing Bush to Hitler!” let me just stop you right there, figuratively look you straight in your literally beady little eye, and assure you: You’re damn straight I am. Lassen Sie uns einen Blick nehmen, sollen wir? (“Let us take a look, shall we?”):
Hitler had no respect for human life. Bush has no respect for human life.
Hitler spoke in a foreign tongue. Bush speaks in a foreign tongue.
Hitler was insane. Bush is insane.
Hitler headed a fascist regime. Bush heads a fascist regime.
Hitler had a funny little mustache. If Bush grew one, he would have one, too.
Hitler tried to take over the world. Bush is trying to take over the world.
Hitler, though completely shot through with evil, was a mesmerizing orator. Bush, though completely shot through with evil, is…
Well, OK, so the comparison isn’t perfect but it’s close and, just as in horseshoes, hand grenades and ongoing planetary annihilation, close is close enough.
So Bush hasn’t sent six million undesirables off to gas chambers. Yet. Remember, though, it took even Hitler a while to get those babies up and running. In the meantime, Bush can just let America’s “useless eaters” drown in their own homes. (If only those folks in New Orleans had been better Americans by being less poor, consuming more and possessing lighter pigmentation, well, then, maybe help woulda arrived a little quicker.)
The world is a business, Mr. Beale. (Not to mention a touch racist.)
Whether the nature of the questionable industry in question is pharmaceuticals, financial, oil/energy, agriculture, telecommunications, (re)construction, chemical, insurance, “security,” food processing, mining, or, increasingly, water, the dark record is clear: the people who operate such enterprises prosper big-time while everyone else suffers -- immensely. It’s not that business is inherently bad; that would be like saying alcohol, an inert substance, is bad. But booze used badly is incredibly destructive, and so it is with business, only on a tremendously grander scale.
Of course, the MOAB (Mother of All Businesses) is the military-industrial complex, the one President Dwight D. Eisenhower, a man who knew a thing or two about war, presciently warned us about over forty years ago.
We, along with all the other poor bastards on its to-do-in list, are now firmly in its death grip.
The Bushies’ business uber alles mentality and pathological depravity are hardly news to me. But ever since the completely avoidable deaths of hundreds, if not thousands, of Americans directly attributable to Bush and his fellow fascists’ Katrina-related criminal indifference/incompetence/conspiracy (take your pick; you’re allowed a maximum of three), I have noticed within me a new feeling, a new thought process, a not-so-subtle and very real shift.
I no longer feel any allegiance to America -- not this one. The America I grew up in, was in love with, felt a part of, was proud to be from, got all misty-eyed for, felt a bone-deep obligation to, is dead, dead, dead, and, because the ruling cannibals voraciously consuming her corpse will never relinquish power (barring an exceedingly unlikely armed revolt), has forever left the now-foundationless building.
This America? I would no more lift a finger trying to defend the rotten “government” that controls this benighted place than I would lend a helping hand to someone who disembowels babies or burns animals alive. Because if I did the former, I’d also be doing the latter. (That’s not to say I wouldn’t pick up a gun if we were actually invaded by another characteristically warmongering nation, like, say, Canada, but it’d be hella tough deciding who to first put in the crosshairs.)
No doubt I’ll hear the refrain: “If you hate it so much here, then why don’t you just leave?”
Way ahead of ya there, amigo. I make plans as I write to move to a particular unnamed Central American country (well, it actually does have a name but I’m not really sure how particular it is; some countries are more picky than others, you know). It lies between Nicaragua and Panama and its Spanish name means “rich coast,” but I don’t want to divulge too much lest I give it away. In about a year, I hope to be living in Costa Rica where…damn! I hate it when I do that.
Is this throwing in the towel? Uh…yeah. I still find myself out there on the street corner with my anti-Bush sign during our regular Saturday night demo here in Sacramento and I keep writing away and doing other activist duties as assigned, but at the same time, I wonder how much good any of it does. My guess: not much, if any.
No doubt I’ll hear this refrain, too: “If you just pick up your sign and go (to your new) home, what good does that do?” This is a legitimate question, and one I’m sure every person who contemplates fleeing his or her native land for political reasons repeatedly ponders. I think it comes down to: We all gotta do what we all gotta do.
I don’t mean that to be flippant. Deciding to permanently leave the United States is not the easiest decision to make (though I fully appreciate being fortunate enough to so choose), for I have always naturally, deeply loved what America has stood for and meant.
But I can no longer stand what it has become.
Copyright © 2005 Mark Drolette. All rights reserved.
Bio: Mark Drolette is a political satirist/commentator who lives in Sacramento, California. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and his website address is http://www.markdrolette.com/.