What’s Real?

Is anyone else having difficulty these days sorting reality from fiction??? Life seems more and more like the plot of a dystopian movie that’s set in a world where the public at large exists in a tube-fed state of reality (but not a blissful one), and seems to have no will to challenge the dominant paradigm that’s controlling them. In this drama, the masses seem to exist within the confines of a Reality TV series where they’re controlled by a ‘Big Brother’ entity–a sort of quasi corporate/government hybrid.
Yes, I am referring to the current state of the government of the United States of America and how it relates to both the ‘American’ people and the world at large. I’m also referring to the failure of the USA’s two party political system. In my humble view, both the Republican and Democratic National Committees, which openly operate like major corporations, only exist to polarize the population and therefore divide and conquer, an obviously winning political strategy historically used by successive world governments to gain power and control over the masses. Is what’s profitable for a major corporation also what’s beneficial to its customers—in this case, the ‘American’ public?

As I see it, here’s our current situation. And, yes, we all must ‘own’ this fit for prime-time melodrama!

1) WE HAVE A SELF-PROCLAIMED TITAN OF THE FREE ENTERPRISE SYSTEM AS THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT, WHOSE LAST JOB WAS APPEARING AS A REALITY TV STAR. OUR PROTAGONIST DOES EVERYTHING HUMANLY POSSIBLE TO AGITATE AND ALIENATE BOTH THE PEOPLE AROUND HIM AND THE POPULATION AT LARGE. IN OTHER WORDS, THIS CHARACTER THRIVES ON SETTING UP PREDICTABLE OUTCOMES AND THEN POINTING FINGERS AT OTHERS (INCLUDING HIS OWN STAFF AND FORMER SUPPORTERS) IN AN EFFORT TO HIDE HIS OWN INCOMPETENCE. IF YOU’RE OLD ENOUGH TO REMEMBER JR EWING FROM THE HIT TV SERIES ‘DALLAS’ IN THE 1980s, THEN YOU CAN JUST SUBSTITUTE DONALD TRUMP FOR AN EVEN MORE OUTSPOKEN AND SLIGHTLY LESS INTELLIGENT JR CHARACTER, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF KICKING HIM UP A FEW RUNGS ON THE CAREER LADDER TO PRESIDENT OF THE USA.

2) WHAT’S CURRENTLY UNFOLDING AND BEING INVESTIGATED IN WASHINGTON, D.C., AS WELL AS BEING DEBATED IN THE US AND INTERNATIONAL MEDIA, IS A JAMES BOND WORTHY DRAMA OF INTERNATIONAL INTRIGUE. THIS IS THE SAME USA AGAINST RUSSIA PLOT LINE—ONE GOVERNMENT REPRESENTING GOOD (THE USA) AND THE OTHER EVIL (RUSSIA)–THAT BLACK AND WHITE CONCEPT THAT I’VE NEVER FOUND TO BE VERY RELIABLY REPRESENTATIVE OF THE WAY WE HUMANS TREAT ONE ANOTHER. THERE ARE CERTAINLY SHADES OF GRAY ON BOTH SIDES OF THIS CONFLICT, AND INDEED IN ALL HUMAN NATURE.

DON’T MISUNDERSTAND–I’M NOT EQUATING THE IDEALS ESPOUSED IN THE US CONSTITUTION WITH THOSE OF THE FORMER SOVIET UNION, OR TODAY’S RUSSIA, WHICH STILL FOLLOWS THE SAME REPRESSIVE RULES OF GOVERNMENT CONTROL AND CENSORSHIP OVER THE LIVES AND OPINIONS OF CITIZENS. I‘M MERELY STATING THE ‘FACT’ THAT THIS BATTLE BETWEEN THE USA AND RUSSIA HAS BEEN A CONSTANT (IN BOTH POLITICAL CIRCLES AND THE POPULAR CULTURE) THROUGHOUT MY LIFE, AND I’M 63.

ACCEPTING THAT COUNTRIES ARE MORE INTERCONNECTED THAN THEY WERE IN MY CHILDHOOD, WE CAN PROBABLY EXPECT THE CAST OF CHARACTERS TO BECOME EVEN MORE INTERNATIONAL IN FUTURE EPISODES. I’M BETTING ON A MIDDLE EAST CONNECTION—‘AMERICA’S’ ALLY OR ENEMY, DEPENDING ON THE MOOD IN WASHINGTON—TO AT LEAST PLAY A SUPPORTING ROLE.

3) SPOILER ALERT: IN CASE YOU HAVEN’T KEPT UP WITH THIS WEEK’S EPISODE, A NEW CHARACTER HAS JUST BEEN INTRODUCED TO THE CAST–A YOUNG FEMALE FROM FLORIDA WHO WORKS (OR WORKED) FOR A NATIONAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION (NSA) CONTRACTOR AT A FACILITY IN GEORGIA–PART OF THE ‘GOOD GUYS’ APPARATUS THAT KEEPS FOLKS HONEST AND SAFE IN A DANGEROUS WORLD.

THIS 25-YEAR-OLD WOMAN–WHO SPEAKS FARSI, PASHTO AND DARI–NOT EXACTLY YOUR STEREOTYPICAL YOUNG ‘AMERICAN’—RELEASED FILES TO AN ONLINE NEWS SITE RELATING TO RUSSIA’S ATTEMPTED HACKING OF A CORPORATION THAT MANUFACTURED VOTING MACHINES DURING THE 2016 ELECTION. HER CHARACTER–APTLY NAMED ‘REALITY WINNER’–IS ARRESTED BY THE US JUSTICE DEPARTMENT FOR HER ILLEGAL ACTIONS. WILL REALITY WINNER’S ROLE BE EXPANDED IN FUTURE EPISODES OR IS SHE A MINOR CHARACTER MERELY INTRODUCED BECAUSE THE WRITERS ARE CONFUSED ABOUT THE DIRECTION OF THE SHOW?

Trump Is Only a Symptom of the Problem

Some of you may read this post and think I’m singling out and picking on our current President again, but I’ve had issues with every American administration’s policies since I was old enough to be aware of the importance of good governance. It’s what I learned in high school civics class—to be a questioning and responsible citizen of my community. I had what I believe to be an excellent quality public education that taught me to be aware of my place in the world and think critically, and I’m very grateful for the invaluable gifts of knowledge and understanding I received.

Have we changed our minds about our priorities as a society, abandoning faith, knowledge and critical thinking and instead seeking to worship the gods of consumerism, self-absorption, gluttony and celebrity? I hope not, because in my world those things are shallow in the short-term and unsatisfying in the end.

The current melodrama now playing reminds me of how important it is to have a sense of humor about the absurdities we encounter in life. I mean, this STUFF is too good to be made up!

Sure, we may read a different version of events tomorrow in the press, but for now we have, what’s in my lifetime, the most absurd set of circumstances taking place in Washington since Bill Clinton lied to a federal grand jury about having sex with Monica Lewinski, which eventually led to his impeachment. That was a ridiculous moment in American history, just as the current spectacle is a mockery of the principles on which I believe the USA was founded, especially the guarantee of a free press and the public’s right to criticize government actions.

peace~henry

Photo Credit: graphics courtesy of openclipart.org and salemfilmfest.com

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Author: Henry Lewis

Unconventional artist, writer, videographer and teacher. Personal Quote: It isn't easy being me ;-)

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