In a country raised on blood and reared on myth, the notion that we are victims of a shared illusionary reality seems clear to me. America only likes mirrors when we are forcing other regimes to look into them at gun point. The use of “other regimes” in that sentence was deliberate. This country has been a benevolent dictator, at best, in terms of how the rest of the world views and interacts with us even if the story we tell ourselves is much grander than the truth.
Our illusion also includes political theater at its finest, a point that fails to garner as much attention as it should because most of the players rarely grace our television screens long enough to break through the circus-like cacophony of pimps, prostitutes and pretenders. What little time we have outside of work and sleep is spent in a hypnotic relationship with a tube that reinforces our misconceptions and naiveté with a steady diet of hyperbole and angst.
No matter how profound the offense by The Powers That Be, our sugar- and fat-laden diets ensure the average level of outrage in America is somewhat above a mote of dust and somewhat less than a mushroom with the attention span of a gnat. Whether our subjugation was a deliberate conspiracy or a coincidental one is open for debate, but the negative effect on our society as a whole is as undeniable as it was avoidable.
Our illusion may be sophisticated and subsidized, but it can be defeated with the consistent application of power granted to We The People under the Constitution.
Which leads us to the essential dilemma of all free people who would remain in that exalted and natural state. Representative democracy is a participatory endeavor and left to its own devices will quickly become an intolerable evil. I spoke of Thomas Paine and his thoughts on government and society in my last post, so I won’t repeat those points here beyond the idea that we get the government we permit to exist. I feel like that notion requires a bit more light since it appears central to the dilemma we face as a nation.
Like the movies I linked to before the jump, our particular brand of illusion is well documented and agreed upon and entrenched, yet the very powers that hold us prisoner contain the levers we need to break free. Our cancerous capitalism can be cured by our individual choices as consumers. Our unaccountable political system can be brought to heel by our uncast votes and misplaced demands. We can create an America that delivers the authentically sublime rather than mere sublimation.
We The People can use our illusion to transform America despite the seemingly impossible nature of the task and the forces arrayed against us.