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A Long Day’s Journey Into Night

David Mitchell . . .

Power is crack cocaine for the ego, and battery acid for the soul.

If anyone’s wondering why the political system has gone to hell, why Wall Street is a crime syndicate, why the legal system is a travesty and media is a pig circus, now you know.

It’s been A Long Day’s Journey Into Night.

This isn’t America any more, everything America used to be is gone. We crossed the Blood Meridian long ago, we’re in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, we’re in The Penal Colony of Kafka, we’re at the gates of Neverwhere and they’re opening wide. Endless war is upon us, peace is a fading memory, the blood-dimmed tide has been loosed, the ceremonies of innocence have been drowned, and what rough beast, its hour come round at last, is slouching toward America’s corrupted capital to be born?

Leaving behind a trail of blood. Every step of the way.

In the name of “national security”, in the name of “law enforcement”, while the death toll climbs and the victims are demonized as “thugs” or “criminals” or “terrorists”.

If you aren’t ready for what’s coming next, you’d better get ready.

Henry A. Giroux . . .

Orwell, Arendt and Kafka have taught us that when power is decoupled from accountability and responsibility, thoughtlessness prevails, repression increases and fear becomes the organizing principle of totalitarian societies, whatever form they may take. The legacy of fear and the lawlessness it inspires runs deep in the United States and its destructive effects are spreading into every public sphere capable of offering critical reflection on the nature of power in a society.

Torturing human beings is barbaric, killing unarmed citizens is barbaric, dehumanizing the poor is barbaric, the ruthless accumulation of obscene wealth is barbaric. These truths are self-evident, but this is not America any more, the truth is not welcome here, it is a stranger in a strange land.

Brutality and repression are as old as the State, they are the weapons of power, they are always unleashed because power always corrupts.

Giroux . . .

Once 2015 begins both the US Senate and House of Representatives will be controlled by the Republican Party, one of the most extremist political parties in US history. These are dangerous times. Compromise and compassion are now viewed as a pathology, a blight on the very meaning of politics. Moreover, in a society controlled by financial monsters, the political order is no longer sustained by a faith in reason, critical thought and care for the other.

And as conditions worsen, as extremists gain even more power at the local, state, and federal levels, as the rule of law degenerates into persecuting the poor and people of color, the most powerful and militarized sectors of the state are demanding total submission.

Corey Robin . . .

Listening to these cries from the cops–of blood on people’s hands, of getting on a war footing–it’s hard not to think that a Dolchstosslegende isn’t being born. Throw in the witches brew of race and state violence that kicked it off, the nearly universal obeisance to the feelings and sensitivities of the most powerful and militarized sectors of the state, and the helplessness and haplessness of the city’s liberal voices, and you begin to get a sense of the Weimar-y vibe out there.

As Digby observes . . .

They believe they should be above the law because their job is important. In that regard they are a lot like Wall Street traders and bankers who also think they are too important to be held to the prosaic restrictions that are applied to the average people. This comes from a social system that exalts certain symbols— uniforms and money. They feel as if they are better than the rest of the citizenry because we treat them as if they are. Maybe we should stop doing that.

Maybe we should stop doing that right now.

Before that blood-dimmed tide drowns us all.

Giroux . . .

The shadow of Orwell now haunts public education and democracy itself as the political defenders of torture and state surveillance take control of Congress. As lawlessness and moral depravity infect all modes of governance, the push toward treating public schools, especially in low-income neighborhoods, as prisons, and students as objects of surveillance and control has become more widespread. The presence of police, guards, cameras, and a host of surveillance and security apparatuses has turned schools into incubators for creating students willing to surrender their freedoms to the national security state.

The acolytes of national security.

Is there no lie they will not tell?

Is there no law they will not violate?

Is there no line of decency they will not cross?

No Civilization Would Tolerate What America Has Done . . .

Mass shootings, rates of violent crime higher than the rest of the developed world and outrages like Garner’s and Brown’s deaths demonstrate that the inability to peacefully coexist in America goes beyond race. It is a bone-deep dysfunction with social costs, political implications and spiritual disasters. Inequality will continue to grow and injustice will continue to worsen until America is made to actually deal with its levels of selfish indifference to suffering, from ordinary people on grand juries to those who occupy the highest thrones of power.

Countless words have been written about all of this, countless words have been said, but it only takes 15 words to say it all, and those words should be said by everyone everywhere, to everyone they meet, in all of the languages of the world.

Why in the world are we here?
Surely not to live in pain and fear
. . .

(Photo by Jonathan Kos-Read, Flickr Creative Commons)

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