Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search


A Look Into the Mirror

A Look Into the Mirror

Opinion: Manuel Valenzuela

08/09/05 "ICH" -- -- Through the veneer that is Washington, with its grand monuments to great men, its hallowed halls of history, its monolithic structures of governance, its corridors of power, its seats of wealth and effervescent illumination as the reincarnation of ancient Rome, can we, if we dare look upon the vision emanating from its shallow pools, see the manifestation of what America, and by consequence Americans, has become. To see inside the capital of modern day Democracy, Freedom, Liberty, Manifest Destiny and 21st century Empire is to reflect on dreams shattered and promises broken, on visions abandoned and principles ignored, on utopian possibilities forgotten and human reality expounded.

It is to come face to face with a reality hundreds of millions wish to never confront, preferring instead to seemingly and conveniently whitewash all semblance of the uncomfortable truths that dare not become manifest. For amongst its cherry blossom trees and green lawns, its shallow mirror pools and gentle crisp waterways lies a truth of what the Republic born a mere 230 years ago has mutated into. Washington, like ancient Rome before it, has become, through the course of years breathing the airs of moral degeneration, corruption and greed, the monument for all that is wrong with the nation it represents, a new symbol of debauchery and immorality, a decadent city on a hill whose once noble foundations are now cracking under the weight of unscrupulous entities and malfeasant activities.

Inside its streets and buildings the disease rotting America festers, like a virus attaching itself to the halls of governance and the seats of representation. Whether we like it or not, the nation’s capital is the mirror image of the rest of the country, ever so intently becoming the beacon shining light on what we have become. In its shallow pools can we see reflections of ourselves, for the capital is but a microcosm of a much larger reality spreading its wings from the Redwood forests to the Gulf Stream waters, from Atlantic to Pacific, penetrating deep inside the pores of a nation living a grand delusion basked in ignorance, omnipotence, arrogance bred in overabundance and a delusion of grandeur.

Washington is America just as much as America is Washington, a symptom of a disease birthed from the womb of superfluous wealth and overabundance, the reborn image of hubris only spawned by the overflow of decadence. Living in gluttony, possessed by greed, blinded by fear and ignorance, enraptured by a wanton addiction to materialistic wealth and capitalistic fervor, America today is the result of a nation led astray by the demons of capitalism, a nation cannibalizing the talents and futures of its progeny and of those yet to come, sacrificing the tomorrow for the short term benefits of today. It is our children and grandchildren who will inherit a nation bordering on self-implosion, teetering on the edge of chaos and lunacy, forced to confront harsh destinies inside a nation unrecognizable in both scope and principle to truths once held to be self evident.

Washington, along with legions of vermin occupying its structures, is merely the most visible manifestation of a nation transformed into a society corrupted by the same system it adheres dying loyalty towards, unable to exorcise from its midst that which shackles and blinds to the perils of its own making, thereby robbing an entire planet of a greatness it once promised and a human betterment it once espoused. It is the system conditioned into the minds and lives of millions which is corrupting so much of the human condition, bringing our society perilously close to eventual and inevitable collapse.

It is this system which hundreds of millions of us follow without question, believing in its short term successes, basking in its present indulgences, yet not wanting to acknowledge or comprehend its all too real ramifications in the long run. The system we have been brainwashed since birth is destroying our culture, as well as our humanity, taking America down with it. The collapse might not be imminent, but it is inevitable. The question is not if, but when. It is time, therefore, to look deep into the mirror, carefully observing our respective roles in the degeneration of America, placing blame not on those we elect or those we choose to lead, but rather on the collective agenda of the masses, the great majority entranced by the seductive demons of capitalism.

The Washington Bordello Ariseth

We outside the hallowed halls of power are rightfully quick to place blame for our nation’s ills on those prostitutes, shills, lackeys and traveling salesmen who without fault descend like vultures onto the mechanisms of governance, quickly gorging themselves on the bones and crumbs the Establishment and corporate world throw their way. Having transformed all three branches of government into swinging door bordellos, making mockeries of democracy and noble governance, eroding representation of constituents and forever burying the once eminent principle of a government of the People, by the People and for the People, the parasites holding the nation hostage, in essence betraying what we once held dear, by their actions committing unforgivable acts of treason against the republic, are nonetheless granted this power, this permission to rape and plunder and sabotage our lives, by none other than tens of millions of American citizens.

It is us, one and all, who grant this scum of the earth, the greatest miscreants a nation can produce, the ability and permission to betray a nation of 300 million into the malfeasant claws of the Establishment and the corporate world, a small minority whose control of America grows stronger with each passing day. It is us, one and all, who cast ballots and grant the keys to the nation to malignant vermin and unscrupulous leeches who use our unenlightened vote to enrich their bank accounts, enhance their power and further their interests, in the process gifting our nation over to those whose interests lie in controlling America and its citizens.

Without our vote for and support of the worst representation of the human condition Congress would not today be besieged by indiscriminate levels of unabashed corruption nor by the sheer audacity and arrogance of individuals who no longer hide their miscreant-filled activities, without remorse unbuckling their belts, lowering their pants and bending over to the dictates of corporate and Establishment power, thus continuing the oldest profession known to man, selling our interests, those protecting and defending the Constitution and the common good, in exchange for their continued power and enhanced wealth. Prostitutes, Republican and Democrat alike, with very few noble exceptions, today maintain a whorehouse on top of Capitol Hill, representing nothing but their continued prosperous existence riding on the coattails of their corporate and Establishment masters, on their knees ready to fellate the system called debauched democracy and crony capitalism.

Yet we are their enablers, their subservient peons who ignorantly maintain, flowing rich with power, their feeding tubes, helping to keep alive a cesspool of human excrement that does not rightfully belong. It is We the People who continue to vote these betrayers of the republic and treasonous bedfellows of mediocrity back to Washington, assuring ourselves of further depravity where we need it least.

Instead of voting wisely, instead of thinking intelligently, using all faculties of logic and reason ingrained in our mammalian yet human thinking brain, we elect based on lies, popularity, deception, wealth and perception, all of it carefully designed by marketers and public relations specialists whose job it is to psychologically manipulate the right amount of people. We believe negative campaigns, half-truths and no-truths, choosing corruption over decency, knowing full well that professional politicians do nothing but lie to the electorate, for manipulating and deceiving are part of their collective conscious, cemented into them much like a predator’s instinct to hunt prey.

We make ourselves to be easy targets, voting based not on reason but on impulsiveness, selecting fictitious creations over honor and integrity, choosing fantasy-laden popularity over wisdom and self-sacrifice, allowing puppets and prostitutes ascendancy over noble and chivalrous human beings. It is hundreds of millions of Americans who have and continue to maintain the cesspool of corruption that is destroying the foundations of a once great nation. It is us who ignorantly replenish and refill hallowed corridors of power with parasites sucking the nation of its once-rich blood, creating an anemic country losing its once vibrant energy more and more each passing year.

Without caring we hand betrayers to the republic the reigns by which they pillage our rights and freedoms and democracy and wages and laws, granting them the ability to enrich the Establishment and the corporate world at the expense of the working man and woman. We do and say little as our so-called representatives squander resources for the common good, misallocate funds meant to help enrich the nation, pilfer our education, our healthcare and our children’s future. In our acquiescence to our representatives’ decisions we are witness to the continued endangerment of what little laws and protections that still linger around for our benefit.

Instead, and without debate or dissent or protest, we see how these self-serving vultures hand the reigns of power to the corporate world, no longer caring for their constituents or the cherished principles of America. Laws enacted, regulations destroyed, rules broken, environments devastated and power redistributed, all are signs of corruption whose pattern of abuse points directly at the interests of corporate control. The interests of average Americans, people like you and me, have for years been ignored, no longer of significance to miscreants whose only purpose in life is enabling their Establishment masters at the expense of hundreds of millions of Americans. The Washington Bordello ariseth, and we are its all too eager patrons.

System of Social Corruption and Cultural Degeneration

We are but creatures designed to work and consume for the benefit of the corporate world, provided with little beyond bread and circus, the better to distract and manipulate us while those we elect to represent us in the great bastion of democracy continue to dismantle those truths that were once self evident, all the while acting in concert with, and in furtherment of the few elite whose interests are now of paramount importance to the vultures perched atop the once-great dome of democracy.

What we serve to do, as cogs in the system, is guarantee the continued extinction of a government of, by and for the People. We are assisting, through our ignorance, acquiescence and indifference, through our lack of protest, dissent and debate, in the systematic destruction of a nation we all grew up believing in, a country whose dreams could become reality and whose vision we all shared. In no greater part because of our own making, we are helping to seal the fate of a nation whose society is now mirrored, under the ever-watchful eyes of a microscope, by Washington, D.C. The full-fledged symptoms of the disease afflicting America at the dawn of the 21st century can be seen in great detail where vultures roost, leeches suck, political prostitutes congregate and where the worst America can possibly produce dwell.

In our capital’s shallow pools can the reflection of what we have become be seen. American society today is reflected by present day Washington. It is what we as a culture and society have become, a product of a capitalistic society run amok whose once utopian intentions have come face to face with the reality called the human condition.

Through the fruits now ripened from seeds long ago planted, American society has shown, and which history books will forever record, the debauched transgression of a culture injected with an economic form of governance best capable of manipulating human nature and all its wicked predispositions. The linear deevolution which can be witnessed places as catalyst capitalism’s insatiable appetite for materialistic wealth and ever-growing power.

What this form of economic governance does is interact with our mammalian passions, emotions and psychology, manipulating our urges, wants and needs, thus making human existence dependent on the modes of production and consumption. Primitive brains, which have not changed in tens of thousands of years, suddenly find themselves immersed in a brutal interaction of economic and social Darwinism blended with modern technologies more advanced than our animal psychology’s ability to handle them.

Capitalism and its many intricacies compel the human condition to release the worst in our behaviors and passions, making society as a whole degenerate with each passing year. For any human can prosper inside the system of capitalism, where selfishness, greed and our most animalistic passions thrive, but only enlightened men and women, able to circumvent our natural behaviors and psychology, can flourish in alternate forms of human development.

Nowhere better can this phenomenon be seen than in America, where capitalism has become a religion, permanently ingrained into society, deeply seared into the pores of a culture running on the fumes of the most materialistic society humanity has ever encountered. It is here where the Petri dish of what unfettered, cutthroat capitalism is runs amok, unleashed onto hundreds of millions of human beings, can best be observed.

America today is the end result of a society that allows our selfish impulses, our psychology controlled by greed, apathy, hunger for power and acceptance, our primitive urges and savage behaviors to fuse with a system that encourages the complete pursuit of material wealth, whether or not that arises through the exploitation and control of others. Indeed, exploitation, subjugation of others, class stratification, social engineering and societal corruption are pillars of capitalism, which gives sunrise to the worst in the human condition as well as to the most easily corruptible aspects of our psyche.

As a result of decades of capitalism left running uninterrupted, free like a runaway freight train to accumulate ever-gathering momentum, free to corrupt and transform society, creating fissures and instability among the winners and losers, spawning enormous gaps between rich and poor, birthing perpetual love of materialistic wealth and love of the Almighty dollar, what we see today in America is an epoch where the sins of capitalism are beginning to catch up with its instruments. Its demons have begun to rise from the successes we thought existed. Its evils are now made manifest throughout the land, and what was once perceived as the solution to human development is slowly being seen as the catalyst to a continuing degeneration of the way our society functions and interacts.

The corruption of society has been so methodical, and the materialistic pursuit of wealth so conditioned into the culture for so many years, that the symptoms of the disease have mutated into a full-fledged epidemic, giving rise to the tangible and corrosive evils of capitalism. It is this reality that is the root cause eating away at the fabric of the nation as a whole and society in particular, and is a reason why America is now its own worst enemy as well as the greatest threat facing the planet.

The triumph of capitalism and its inherent evils have been so spectacular, and their conditioning into and transformation of society so pervasive, that America is a nation awash both in overabundance of material wealth and in sheer greed. The excessiveness of our culture, in truth, has been a vicious circle whereby our pursuit and enjoyment of gluttony only fulfills inside us a desire for more, or even an excess, of the same, and propels us to produce and consume in ever greater quantities, thus resulting in far greater inequalities and exploitation, far greater levels of greed and selfishness, far greater indifference and immorality.

Thus, we are never satisfied with the present level of material wealth and, like a hungry plague of locusts, continue demanding ever-larger patterns of production and consumption. Our thirst is never quenched, our hunger never satisfied, our addiction never halted. As long as we want more, as long as we seek the gluttonous ways of our present, wars will continue, occupations will linger and the virtue of peace will cease to exist.

America, at the dawn of the 21st century, has become a population of greed mongers, addicted to materialism and conditioned to perpetual consumerism, accepting and romanticizing our gluttonous ways, voracious in our quest to consume ever-increasing quantities of material objects, never halting to think about the consequences of our actions nor the blowback those actions spring forth. Conditioned from birth to become the noble producers and consumers that churn the economy, our demand for material wealth grows with each passing year, allowing the corporate world to increase portions, sizes, prices and its bottom line.

In our insatiable addiction for material wealth can be seen the root causes of our lingering problems, both those coming from abroad to those roaming inside, from our dependence on oil, who like a heroin addict cannot push aside the spigot carrying the devil’s excrement into our veins, to the exploitation of natural resources and cheap labor from underdeveloped nations, used by us as convenient serfdoms providing us with our goods and slave labor. The profound inequalities at home can be seen for what they are, nothing more than the purposeful social engineering of classes to better provide poor, working and middle class producers and cannon fodder who labor according to predetermined strata of production to increase the wealth and power of the few elite capitalists and members of the Establishment.

What capitalism in America has done has been to increase the levels of greed among the elite, as well as within the middle and upper classes. The exploitation of working and middle class producers and consumers is the result of the former, while the demand for overabundance is the result of the latter. Greed, more than anything else, is the human behavior that mutates into a malignant tumor when combined with capitalism and its many inherent evils, transforming human beings into creatures not recognized. The almighty dollar and his sister greed are the root of all human wickedness, and its dangers permeate in every family and in most every interaction where money becomes an issue.

It’s the Greed, Stupid!

It is greed, both for materialistic wealth and consumerist euphoria that has transformed American society into one demanding ever-greater patterns of production and consumption, making us addicts to goods and services, making us dependent on foreign sources of resources and labor. It is greed that has been responsible for the astronomical increase in property prices nationwide, creating a housing bubble that in short time will explode. It is greed that has resulted in the perpetually expanding size of cookie-cutter homes, made from the wood of underdeveloped forests and jungles, creating entire suburbs erupting with McMansions, devoid of personality and individuality, giving the appearance of wealth while living as if sequestered in a colony of ants or inside a bee hive.

It is the demand exerted by the American people that has led to the horizontal expansion of non-dense suburban dwelling, saturated with block after block of mini-mall infrastructure and blacktop parking lots, resulting in mega-cities, ever-increasing air pollution, clogged-artery congestion and commutes, increased levels of inefficiency, misallocation of resources and a greater waste of non-renewable resources.

Our demand for excessiveness and wealth can be seen in our overabundance of gas guzzling SUV’s and large trucks, with such names, meant to convey power and large size, as the Expedition, Navigator, Armada, Titan and, of course, the Hummer, which, at ten miles per gallon, can be written off one’s taxes as a business expense, nicely subsidized by Bush and his military-energy-industrial complex. It is greed, encouraged by capitalism, that has led to the enormous demand by the American people of internal combustion engines and their respective mammoth vehicles. It is greed that has blinded the drivers of these behemoths to the reality that without enormous demand for oil, America would not find itself bleeding to death in the quagmire called Iraq.

Were these drivers remotely aware of what their purchases accomplished they would not attach “Support Our Troops” magnets to the same vehicles responsible for nearly 2,000 dead American troops. By maintaining their spending patterns, by consuming vast amounts of gasoline, these drivers have condemned our troops, not supported them, in essence becoming the subsidizers to soldiers’ deaths, maiming and their psychological hell.

Make no mistake about it, it is American society, addicted to black gold, that is in desperate need of rehabilitation, both of body and mind. It is our culture that demanded, by its bottomless need for oil, the invasion of Iraq and its subsequent occupation by American forces. Every time we drive our vehicle, every time we purchase a petroleum based product, we are singing, along with millions more in orchestrated choir, the symphony that the Establishment longs to hear. With every gallon used we give validation to our presence in the Middle East, and to every invasion of sovereign land thereafter. Our thirst for the devil’s excrement is the reason for the coming resource wars against Russia and China, putting humanity ever closer to self-annihilation.

We consume twenty-five percent of the world’s supply of oil, yet we are only five percent of its population. If we wish to know why the American military will never leave Iraq, why it is positioning itself throughout central Asia, Africa and parts of Latin America, we only need to look inside our two or three car garage to find the answer to our problems. When driving to work, look to your right and your left, in front and behind. Then, look into the mirror. We are war’s enablers; we are its architects and its pistons, the demand as well as the consumer. Our thirst for finite resources only continues to expand, not decrease. America’s global hegemony, its pursuit of empire, is directly related to securing those lands and resources most in demand by us, consumers and producers all, citizens of the great land of America. To not acknowledge this truth, and the role it plays in our corporatist government’s little wars and even greater fiascos, is to live in fantasyland, drinking gallons of kool-aid to stay afloat the bubble of denial, devoid of conceptualizing that without demand in enormous quantities there is no need, in an era of dwindling resources, to invade, insure and provide to its citizens the resources they have become addicted to.

America is a nation drowning in overabundance and excessiveness, as exemplified by the perpetually increasing food portions served at restaurants and sold at grocery stores. The greed of society can be seen in the ever-expanding waist lines and the grotesque mutations of human beings into conduits of grease and fat, making the human body a construction of abnormality not seen since the genesis of humankind, an anathema not ever witnessed by man’s eyes. This mutation, or disease, simply called obesity, cannot help but be labeled a symptom of the gluttony afflicting America and which represents the sheer prosperity and superfluity that only renders us more dependent on ever-increasing levels of resources, goods and services. Along these lines of America’s new reality arises the understanding that more and more, the underdeveloped world has become the land cheaply supplying, laboring and feeding the addiction to food now seen in a nation saturated with overindulgence.

The greed of American culture can further be seen every day by observing America’s new favorite national pastime, shopping at the local mall, itself a cornucopia of merchants offering the latest products bred in slave labor and cheap yet exploitable resources, mostly coming from poor, southern lands. In order to conform to the corporate world’s image of what the average American’s life should be, full of perfection and beauty, fiction-fantasy and consumerist idealism, we gravitate to the cathedral’s of the 21st century, those massive gathering places of materialistic fervor. Parking lots saturated with cars, stores vomiting with sales and customers, purchased goods regurgitated into open air and uncertain destinies, air conditioned pleasure trove atriums, this is the devotion Americans have for a national pastime that is as American as apple pie.

In America, the level of satisfaction is never met; the urge to possess ever more material goods never ceases. This is the greed that runs the economy, the grease that lubricates the engine of consumption, the behavior capitalism thrives off of. Even when an entire world struggles to feed billions of hungry mouths and medicate hundreds of millions of unhealthy bodies, even when billions struggle to live day to day, there we are, exploiting the world around us, making serfs of billions, declaring wars and occupying lands to feed our unquenchable addictions, showing not an ounce of empathy for those our needs and wants help condemn to the bowels of Hades.

Looking Into the Mirror

America is a land of hypocritical exceptionalism and immoral ignorance, thinking ourselves endowed with an unalienable right to pilfer from all other lands and peoples, expecting roses and candy from those we exploit because, in the entire logic of all things universal, we are the superior nation on Earth, for over a century conquering and massacring native cultures for our own expansion and prosperity. Yet it is our hunger for all things material, derived from the natural resources of the planet and the blood, sweat and tears of peoples subjugated to our form of market colonialism that makes enemies and engenders hatred, resulting in the universal principle of karma and the all too real theory that for every action there is an equal and positive reaction.

Such is the nature of the beast; such is the rise of resistance movements and of terror, the weapon of choice for those not wealthy enough to terrorize and exterminate with missiles, warplanes, artillery, tanks and entire armies of poor and unfortunate youngsters turned cannon fodder whose conscription by caste draft renders them unable to escape the destiny social engineering, and the Establishment that controls it, has in store for them.

In the grand scheme of the great chess match between nations, the American people are not blameless in the terror done in their name and the mass murder committed under their acquiescence. While the corporate media whitewashes and even tries to conceal that an actual illegal occupation, with its corresponding mass murder and severe dehumanization of Iraqis, is presently taking place, the vast majority of citizens in this country continue living and acting as if there is no such thing as 2,000 dead American soldiers or 100,000 dead innocent Iraqis or over 15,000 maimed and injured, in both body and mind, American troops.

Almost as if validating the corporate media’s silence and complicity to illegality and continued destruction of ancient culture, land and man, the vast percentage of America’s citizens have allowed willful ignorance and complicit passivity to engender the gagging of reality, preferring instead to dwell in the sensationalist bull manure designed exclusively to dumb down and distract, offered by those complicit loudspeakers masquerading as news media as well as those lackeys portending to pass as journalists.

Choosing to ignore a war of choice and not of necessity that has forever damaged the national security of the nation, preferring instead to absorb the ignorance-inducing stupor televised entertainment offers, large segments of America’s citizens willingly choose to ignore the carnage inflicted upon and by their fellow neighbors sent to far off lands. It is as if many of us wish not to be bothered by what America is doing in the Middle East, in a blatant attempt to escape culpability for actions immoral at best and criminal at worst. Our busy and comfortable lives cannot be made inconvenienced by a quagmire our standard of living demands that we proceed with.

It is as if by ignoring reality, by choosing to not know about the war crimes and the razing of cities and the rapes of women and the sodomy upon boys and the dropping of bombs and the utter hell our occupation has engendered we can pretend to believe that what has been done in our name does not exist, that all the hidden news and the maimed bodies and the returning caskets are but another Hollywood blockbuster, although this time without the prerequisite happy ending where the ‘good’ guys are once again victorious.

We choose to ignore Bush’s war because deep down inside, where empathy and wisdom still have remnants of existence in the American psyche, we realize that our government has shamed us all, that it has illegally invaded and occupied a sovereign land of insignificant threat to the United States. We realize, that if we pay attention to the boys returning home in body bags under cover of night and the amputated troops hidden in hospitals and the psychologically decimated citizens now walking aimlessly on our streets that this war will become all too real, and to a citizenry conditioned in the fictional fantasy of perfection and happy endings, this is not acceptable.

We wish not to participate, or to protest or dissent because this venture into debacle reeks of a much feared nightmare, a past that haunts us still and that we promised would never be repeated. Yet here we stand, confronting the demons of another Vietnam, fighting a war based on lies, doing battle with an enemy that while lacking in the enormous resources we possess, nonetheless is outwitting and outsmarting us, defeating us slowly but surely, winning this most realistic game of ‘Survivor’. And so we choose to remain silent and unobserving, sitting in our couches, with the blank stares that come with watching dumbed down television contemplating the next white woman to go missing or the next runaway bride or the next white male to go bonkers and kill his wife.

Surrounded by a war based on lies and deceptions, both criminal in nature and illegal in international law, now proven beyond a shadow of a doubt to have been concocted out of fiction by the famous neoconartists in power and the Bush cabal of warmongers, most Americans would rather live in the bubble of denial than confront the sad reality that in order to maintain our comfortable lives, a standard of living afforded no other nation, our government, already bursting at the seams with corruption and unscrupulous greed mongers, arrogant beyond belief, possessing a hubris of devastating ignorance, unleashed the fires of hell upon an innocent nation, killing 100,000 of its citizens, injuring countless more, devastating cities and the collective future of 25 million human beings.

This, we realize, is our shame, our doing, and the reason why today in America the Bush war upon Iraq does not exist in the collective mind of hundreds of millions. It is the reason the corporate media has made a quagmire vanish into thin air, disappearing from the airwaves and thus, from our minds. What the corporate brain does not wish to dwell upon cannot be contemplated by the memory or reason of those dependent on their monitors as to how to think and act. In triumph all celebrate but in defeat silence is the only witness.

Proud to be an American?

The problems confronting America today are those of our own making; a vast assortment of tribulations created through our sheer deterioration as a nation and through a gluttonous standard of living that must be maintained and even made better. We are a voracious plague of locusts consuming all in our path, needing the fruits and labor of other lands to satisfy our addiction to all things material. In the greed accumulated over years of capitalistic conditioning, where production and mass consumption are the only elements that matter, America has become a nation possessed by the pursuit of materialistic wealth, the almighty dollar having become our new god, the television monitor now our conduit to the gods of capitalism who command us how to think, what to think, how to live and what to purchase. We congregate in the massive cathedrals of consumption, aimlessly walking about as if hypnotized by religious zeal, unable to stop ourselves from purchasing goods and services we do not need.

The sad reality is that American society has become addicted to wealth and the accumulation of money. By natural consequence, greed has seeped into every pore of our culture, visibly seen in corporate America and in the halls of governance. Our so-called leaders are symptoms of what we as a people have become, from the White House, presently inhabited by a person lacking self-awareness, intelligence, wisdom, curiosity, empathy and knowledge of the world to the greed mongers obeying the dictates of corporate lobbyists, passing bills, regulations, rules, laws and appropriations benefiting only those with the deepest pockets, having become prostitutes to the highest bidder, regardless of nation or interest.

To look inside the White House is to look at the mirror image of what America has become, transformed through years of dumbed down education, an arrogance bred in exceptionalism, unenlightenment birthed through corruption of society and through a war, gun happy culture conditioned to always have an enemy. In George Bush – which historians will remember as the worst president to ever occupy the White House – can we see the America of today, indifferent, infected with greed, lacking an ounce of empathy, callous, ignorant, spoiled to the core, bully to the world, selfishly debased, incompetent and willing to do anything to remain perched at the seat of power.

The White House, as well as its present inhabitant, is said to usually be the emblem of America, a representation of what our society has and is becoming. In George Bush we see how low we have fallen, how debased our culture has become, how corrupted our principles now stand, and how far we need to climb in order to reach what was once dreamed of.

The beacon of democracy supports dictators, sponsors coups, rigs third-world elections, creates and exploits xenophobia against immigrants whose color is different and has had the last two presidential elections stolen. The proud sponsor of human rights has turned into a torturer of prisoners, most of them innocent, building gulags in remote corners of the world, sodomizing young boys, raping women, dehumanizing Muslims, conducting kangaroo courts, executing prisoners, eroding freedoms and liberties at home, and imprisoning human beings without due process.

The bastion of freedom has become an offensive warmonger, occupying nations and peoples, unleashing hell where normalcy once reigned, radiating an entire nation through depleted uranium, thereby condemning millions to premature death and disease, mass killing over 100,000 innocent civilians and stealing another nation’s oil resources. The torch of hope, that light attracting millions from far and wide is now scorned, seen with fear and hate, the subject of ridicule and contempt, now viewed through the prism of a rogue nation.

The world sees the charade of bringing ‘freedom and democracy’ to Iraq for what it is, namely the military protection and pillage of massive amounts of untapped oil reserves to be exploited in order for the American behemoth to quell its monolithic addiction to the devil’s excrement. It sees American hypocrisy in our foreign policy, where imperial hubris and the arrogance that comes with excessive prosperity fuse to demand from the world allegiance to our capitalistic and corporate dominion.

The world sees our greed, our selfishness, our incompetent pursuit of empire and our dependence on primitive sources of energy and sees how far we have yet to go. In fact, we are a spoiled brat, born with a silver spoon in our mouths, a mere baby in the 10,000 years of human civilization, a child never reared or disciplined either by parents and growing pains it never had. We lack the experience of other powers, the wisdom that comes with living and studying history and the empathy that comes from pain and suffering. We lack the enlightenment that is born through well rounded educations and experiences, preferring the dumbed down fiction of television than the power of knowledge that comes from exploration. We are the mirror image of George W. Bush, a nation finding solace only in the comfort of ignorance, finding solutions to the problems created by the daily stresses of capitalism through pill popping euphoria and escapism.

The peoples of the world see the degenerate morals that result in actions such as Abu Ghraib, the lack of discipline in parenting that is creating entire generations of citizens lacking the precepts of human interaction, the war culture that salivates at the sound of bombs or the sight of blood. It sees George Bush demanding that the legitimate Iraq resistance ‘bring it on’, thereby condemning his own troops and encouraging the hell Iraq has become. It sees the complete ignorance of culture, of history, of human civilization and regional psychology, our inability to understand other nations and their peoples. We are seen as unenlightened beings, selfishly concerned only with ourselves, thinking the world entire must conform to our way of life.

The world laughs at the idea that oppressed, dehumanized, aggrieved and exploited groups hate us for our way of life and our freedoms, but not because of the actions of our government or the policy of our society against oppressed peoples. The world cannot comprehend how a nation can allow its warmongering leaders to bamboozle them into a war based on lies and illegality, and how we acquiesce, even when the lies are exposed and the deceit uncovered, to the commands of criminals and murderers, making us obedient sheeple which by our silence participate in the complicity of a war immoral, unjust and against all precepts of human civilization.

As Americans we have seen better days. Long gone are the days of the antiwar movement, today but a mere inconvenient pest to government. Long gone are the days of mass mobilization, where college campuses roared with debate, marches, dissent and protest. Long gone are the days when we questioned and demanded answers from our elected representatives, days when the government still answered to the people, not the corporate world.

Today’s antiwar movement has been a devastating disappointment, a defeat for a people now conditioned to the good life and a luxurious, by world measures, standard of living. The few who have tried are too minute in number to make a difference. The rest of us have stood by and done nothing, letting Bush’s war become a debacle whose ramifications have contributed to world insecurity and a future saturated with blowback and action/reaction warfare. We have allowed, through our passivity, the death of countless thousands, both American and Iraqis, as well as the pillage of over $300,000,000,000.00 of our treasure, wasted and pilfered for a pack of lies. We have done little to prevent a war now being marketed and planned against Iran, even as the drums of war and the trumpets of warmongers sound loudly.

Entire groups of Americans have and continue to stand down, not up, remaining silent, not becoming boisterous, acquiescing, not dissenting, and living lives passive and excessive, not active and relentless. From those remnants of the hippie generation who have sold out to the system, now standing proud having become cogs in the system they once fought against, to the many spoiled and ignorant college students with no sense of purpose, thinking themselves entitled to the same gluttony endowed their fathers, to those progressives cheerleading the few brave protesters from the couch, standing idle as their nation degenerates more and more, to those chickenhawk armchair warriors spewing bravery out one orifice and yellow fear out another, hiding behind money while they cheerlead the poor into battle, to those millions now awake, no longer hypnotized from the clouds of 9/11 who see senseless death for no valid reason and do absolutely nothing, thinking themselves to high and mighty to give a damn, to busy watching reality television.

Whether we like it or not, into the mirror must we look, for in that image we see reflected back at us can complicity in the American madness of today be seen. We are right to blame the corrupt and immoral leaders in government and business, yet if we do that, we must also place blame onto ourselves, for all that we have failed to do, for all that we contribute towards, for all the damage our collective existence, and our capitalist hungry actions, birth. The truth is never easy to swallow, yet absorbed into the system for us to ponder it must do.

Our society demands excessiveness, cheap products and labor, massive amounts of oil, luxury, materialistic wealth, a prosperous standard of living and so business and government comply with our wishes. Different interests assure themselves of our allegiance and their ever-growing wealth and power by our plague-like voraciousness and untreatable addiction. Our veins run black with oil, and so America must declare wars, secure geopolitical locations, protect finite resources, exploit the lands and peoples of underdeveloped nations and devastate the world entire through policy, economics, military and the gluttonous consumption of its citizens.

It is time to look deep into the mirror, into the shallow pools of Washington and into our very existence. In Washington we see what America has become; in ourselves we see what this nation once was, and what it is capable of becoming. From coast to coast a deep introspection of our culture needs to take place, a new enlightenment must arise as to how to evolve forward, not regress backward. Before we shift blame to those who most deserve it we must look into the mirror and search deep inside ourselves, looking at our surroundings, our jobs and our homes, our possessions and our loved ones, asking ourselves not if we are also to blame, but how can we fix a runaway train whose momentum only grows each day we remain the passive sheeple for too long now grazing in the fields of criminals, murderers, corrupt capitalists and malfeasant political prostitutes.

The answer to that question depends on what kind of people we think we are, and what kind of society we have become. Before solutions can be found into the mirror must we look, for guilty we stand, one and all, in our own ways, contributing to this American behemoth now tearing the world to shreds. We are one enormous engine whose collective action runs the machines of the system; only by collective synergy can we become the stalwart yet defective component in the engine that damages and impairs the machine whose plow continues wreaking havoc upon the lands and peoples of Earth. Only then can we declare to be proud to be American.


Manuel Valenzuela is social critic and commentator, international affairs analyst, Internet columnist and author of Echoes in the Wind, a novel now on sale by A collection of essays, Beyond the Smoking Mirror: Reflections on America and Humanity, will be published in early 2005.

His articles appear in alternative news websites and you can find him regularly on His unique style and powerful writing is read internationally and seeks to expose truths and realities confronting humanity today.

Mr. Valenzuela welcomes comments and can be reached at A diverse collection of many of his essays and articles can be found below:

Articles by Manuel Valenzuela, 2004 and at at my archives

Echoes in the Wind Sales Page

Mr. Valenzuela´s new novel is now on sale.

Almost 600 pages in trade paperback form on sale internationally through secure web page transaction. In one month this title will be available on and Also, if preferred, the novel can now be ordered at any local bookstore worldwide through its ISBN number (found on the sales webpage).


© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Julian Assange: A Thousand Days In Belmarsh
Julian Assange has now been in the maximum-security facilities of Belmarsh prison for over 1,000 days. On the occasion of his 1,000th day of imprisonment, campaigners, supporters and kindred spirits gathered to show their support, indignation and solidarity at this political detention most foul... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: The Mauling Of Novak Djokovic
Rarely can the treatment of a grand sporting figure by officialdom have caused such consternation. Novak Djokovic, the tennis World Number One, has always had a tendency to get under skin and constitution, creating a large following of admirers and detractors. But his current treatment by Australian authorities, and his subsequent detention as an unlawful arrival despite being granted a visa to participate in the Australian Open, had the hallmarks of oppression and incompetent vulgarity... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Voices Of Concern: Aussies For Assange’s Return

With Julian Assange now fighting the next stage of efforts to extradite him to the United States to face 18 charges, 17 of which are based on the brutal, archaic Espionage Act, some Australian politicians have found their voice. It might be said that a few have even found their conscience... More>>

Forbidden Parties: Boris Johnson’s Law On Illegal Covid Gatherings

It was meant to be time to reflect. The eager arms of a new pandemic were enfolding a society with asphyxiating, lethal effect. Public health authorities advocated various measures: social distancing, limited contact between family and friends, limited mobility. No grand booze-ups. No large parties. No bonking, except within dispensations of intimacy and various “bubble” arrangements. Certainly, no orgies... More>>

Dunne Speaks: Question Time Is Anything But
The focus placed on the first couple of Question Time exchanges between the new leader of the National Party and the Prime Minister will have seemed excessive to many but the most seasoned Parliamentary observers. Most people, especially those outside the Wellington beltway, imagine Question Time is exactly what it sounds... More>>

Gasbagging In Glasgow: COP26 And Phasing Down Coal

Words can provide sharp traps, fettering language and caging definitions. They can also speak to freedom of action and permissiveness. At COP26, that permissiveness was all the more present in the haggling ahead of what would become the Glasgow Climate Pact... More>>