Friday, April 07, 2017

Master of Puppets



(Part III of III)

“Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.” – Voltaire

Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.” – George Orwell


We begin Part III with the end of Part II... 

One thing is becoming clearer and clearer, it does not matter if you were on the left or leaning to the right – this past election we all lost.  In the first part of this series we admitted that we have a problem and we discussed the concept that freedom of speech must apply to everyone.  In Part II, we discussed how we arrived here, at this moment, in history and where we are at present.  Now that we have come to Part III, we are going to look at who holds the power in the White House and what the future may hold.

With all due respect, there is something not entirely right with our President.  You may be a fan but hear me out on this.  His actions appear to be unhinged.  He has consistently shown that he is more concerned with crowd size at inaugurations and Arnold Schwarzenegger than he is with the daily running of the United States of America.  The appointments that he has made to his cabinet and who have, thus far, been greenlit by the GOP in Congress, are counter-intuitive to the jobs that they should be doing.  This is a consistency and not the exception.  It is as if he is actively trying to implode each section of these branches of government.  The EPA, education, department of urban development, the cuts to PBS & the National Endowment for the Arts, the new head of the FCC, and, to reiterate, all of the appointments Trump has made to his cabinet where he has intentionally chosen people who have no business being where they are.  People who will, if left to their own devices, destroy all the toys in the toy box that they have been given.  The thing is, this was not a mistake.  This was done on purpose and it will continue to be that way.

“Why?”

Because of Steve Bannon.  Steve Bannon wants to deconstruct our government and he wants to do so to usher in a new era of peace and prosperity.  No, really.  In the Washington Post article, “Where Did Steve Bannon get his World View? From my Book” (https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/books/where-did-steve-bannon-get-his-worldview-from-my-book/2017/02/24/16937f38-f84a-11e6-9845-576c69081518_story.html?utm_term=.1378093c3da2), by Neil Howe, Howe explains the influence the book that he co-wrote with William Strauss, “The Fourth Turning” has had on figures from the left and the right and, primarily in this article, Steve Bannon.  The article is a very interesting read.  In “The Fourth Turning”, Howe & Strauss argue that history repeats itself, that deconstruction must happen for new construction to begin, and that this process occurs to usher in the new and to dismantle the old.  Howe states, “We live in an increasingly volatile and primal era, in which history is speeding up and liberal democracy is weakening. As Vladimir Lenin wrote, “In some decades, nothing happens; in some weeks, decades happen.” Get ready for the creative destruction of public institutions, something every society periodically requires to clear out what is obsolete, ossified and dysfunctional — and to tilt the playing field of wealth and power away from the old and back to the young. Forests need periodic fires; rivers need periodic floods. Societies, too. That’s the price we must pay for a new golden age.”

“The Great Manipulator” – TIME Magazine, February 2, 2017

To Bannon, Trump is a catalyst to usher in the next golden age.  He can use Trump to usher in whatever happens next, social collapse or World War III – either way, the Fourth Turning comes.  What we have or have had here in the United States is subject to deconstruction – all to make things better by first making them much, much worse.  This is scary for a variety of reasons.  Trump’s campaign slogan was, “Make America Great Again”.  I have always been of the school of thought that America is great but what can we do to make it better.  The powers that be are in the process of intentionally failing us ...to make us better.  I’ll be the first to say that we have problems but I will also say that we can, as a people, make a difference.  The great problem that I see is that we may be too late.  We are proudly marching backwards at an alarming rate.  The damage may already have been done. 

“You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.” – Bob Dylan

There has been some saber rattling concerning Bannon’s position within Whitehouse as Trump’s closest advisor.  The Wall Street Journal in an article titled, “Donald Trump Considers Major Shake-up of Senior White House Team” by Carol E. Lee, Peter Nicholas, and Michael C. Bender (https://www.wsj.com/articles/donald-trump-considering-major-shakeup-of-senior-white-house-team-1491588185?tesla=y&mod=e2tw), discusses some of the rumors concerning how Trump is disappointed with how the healthcare vote went and how Steve isn’t playing well with his son-in-law.  This alleged infighting is, as one ‘official’ puts it, “The crisis this week in Syria has sharpened Mr. Trump’s desire to cut some of the drama out of his West Wing, and he is expected to make decisions soon. The continued infighting has “a very short life cycle...”  Again, this is rumor but if any of this proves true, expect Steve Bannon to remain not too far from the President’s ear.

“The crisis this week in Syria?”

In the last three days Trump did a sudden and complete 180 concerning President Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian civil war after chemical weapons were used on civilians and 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles were launched at the Shayrat Airfield, the airfield from whence the chemical weapons were launched.  Good, bad, or other, this is that first direct action from the United States during the Syrian civil war.

Are we closer to that Fourth Turning yet?  

Now, here is the part that truly frightens me.  What if Bannon is right?  We, as a species, do not learn.  We repeat the same mistakes over and over again.  Are we doomed to repeat the mistakes of our past by having history endlessly repeat itself?  I don’t know.  I do, however, know that history repeats itself all the time.  We are heard animals.  We do what we are told and we do so HAPPILY.  We hear, “Oh, look what the liberal media is telling you now!”  We drink the Kool-Aid, we don’t think, and we miss the fact that we have just been USED by the same people in power that fed us the line.  If you haven’t already please find a copy of Orwell’s, “1984”.  Some of the parallels are chilling. 

“What can we do?”

Our best.  That’s all any of us can do in good times or bad.  Our best means that we have to participate, we have to think, and, dare I say, base our actions on rational decisions.  We must seek wisdom and we must discern rhetoric from the truth.  To avoid manipulation, we must examine everything.  Question.  Despite what we have been told – the truth should still mean something.  This is a fact and facts should mean something too.  We need to be good to each other because things are going to get worse.  We need to be thankful for what we have because the line between ‘have’ and ‘had’ is a very thin.  We need to support each other – build each other up because, even now, we are still a beacon of hope to the world and we need each other now more than ever.  Gandhi said, "Be the change that you want to see in the world," well, here's our chance.  Be the light.  Here’s to better times.

Better times, indeed.