I've watched seven decades of the American scene. Some were better than others, but never were they really good in all ways. This, it appears, is human nature. Mark Twain once said, roughly, that "Man is the only creature that blushes... or needs to."
This was never more true than in these strange days that we live in.
I have been asked by the Director of Movement Against Corruption & Complicity (M.A.C.C.) to contribute my thoughts and write this semi-weekly column. As if, at my age, that I am a wise sage of some kind. I find this to be a fine compliment, but am a bit mystified .... In trying to understand our times, I calculate that I would have to be at least 174 years of age (if given the assurance that each passing year added to wisdom), to really know what our problems are and more importantly, know how to solve them.
So.... right away you are impressed and totally reliant upon my wisdom, right? Ri----ght.
Not to say I don't have ideas, comments and tips to pass along to you. I do. You and I have a pretty good head start for discussion: You're obviously here reading this because you are disturbed by the condition our country is in. The USA has degenerated into a nation being eaten alive from the inside out by corruption, corporate power, political intrigue, profiteering, injustice, and the inherent complicity that is required to keep this profitable enterprise going.
I have an even greater head start in the fact that since you are here, and reading this editorial, you are not a dunder-head, a member of the "sheeple". Sheeple is a recently coined description of people who are satisfied with everything. Who say "I didn't know... and I don't want to know."
Maybe you've been one of the sheeple. Maybe you're here on MACC because your conscience was telling you things. Maybe it bothers you. Well, I'm here to bother you some more. I hope to give a whole new meaning to the word bother. You'll be hearing from me (and your conscience) every week, and believe me, there's plenty to talk about.
I won't rely on my own experience entirely. I'm going to give you gripes, news, tips, rumor, truths and facts. You'll find that fact and truth need not be the same: Mark Twain also said; "There are three kinds of lies--- lies, damned lies and statistics." So that's number one in our lesson, kiddies.... Government and the media are giving you all three, with the last, statistics, being manipulated and dealt out to you in various doses to ensure that the "sheeple" shall be informed. Media is the tool of the corporates, parroting that which will best serve them in the name of profit. It spews propaganda that demonizes U.S. prisoners of the drug war, justifying prison construction and the myriad of prison "services" leeching tax dollars. The media's hateful rhetoric has been whipping the populace into a frenzy over the drug war for some thirty years now. It would have us believe the entire inmate population is violent yet in truth a full 85% are in for nonviolent offenses ( I do my homework ). Yet these nonviolent inmates are housed with violent inmates and violent guards ( we'll discuss this in another column ). The media are the propaganda dealers, make no mistake, and they think you are their propaganda customers/addicts.
Speaking of addictions....I`m outraged that the drug addicted are treated worse than the violent felons in our prison system and imprisoned with them instead of being treated as substance abuse victims. I`m disgusted that the profiteering, so rampant in this once great country, is accelerating along with the Drug War that our public servants are waging. A failed drug war.
I'm angry and saddened that our citizens and neighbors are going along with it all, like they can't do anything about it. Yeah sure... heard that one. To one like myself, that has been around the block a few times, and who has watched Americans come together many times in the past to fight injustice, this drug war of ours seems have attained more than enough notoriety to deserve attack by the majority. This is a war that has been purported to be against drug dealers and the importation of illegal drugs. It has escalated into insane persecution and prosecution of ourselves. Are we the enemy now? Good Lord, has it come to that? I'm ashamed and amazed that this could happen in a country that has fought and won so many good fights, like the Civil Rights Movement and the great Peace Movement against the war in Vietnam. I have a dream ... where have all the flowers gone? -- remember?
I can't help being reminded that this Drug War, and the prison industry it supports, is a combination of the evils we battled in the sixties. It is an offense against our civil and human rights, an invasion of our privacy and a violation of our trust in law and order. A war waged by us -- against us!
Imagine this if you can -- It's now the future, perhaps 2050 A.D. -- We are reading our history books -- And we look at one another with eyebrows raised. We exclaim: "I can't believe it... we actually imprisoned our sisters, brothers, children, grand-children and friends back then! How could we do that? What possessed us?"
The expanding prison-industrial complex is a scavenger enterprise feeding on social decay. Social conditions are channeling large numbers into the underground economy of drug commerce and consequently, into prison. But instead of focusing on solutions to this waste of potential, our nation directs resources toward a new growth industry that depends on inmates as raw material. A society that links its economic success to its social failures is engaged in cultural cannibalism and is headed toward a harrowing future.
--Salim Muwakkil, Senior Editor, In These Times
Finally, I have a play on words for you -- the words of President John F. Kennedy -- "Ask not why your country does this to you... Ask who is the country." Think about it.
Well, dear reader and fellow traveler in these strange days, visit me again next time you drop in. I have a lot of contacts, both important high-level people and the "man on the street"-- my personal favorite.... the guy that knows it like it is. Unfortunately, sometimes (much too often) that man (or woman, or child) on the street is no longer free, they're in a "containment facility". I'll be listening to them for sure. They really know how it is.
And speaking of contacts, how about talking back at me... I hate a one-sided conversation... Leave a message to me through MACC's Form Email Page (found at the bottom of our main page menu and at the end of "The Drug War" menu) and preface it with "Hi Bill" You may remain anonymous if you like. I want to hear your gripes and thoughts. If you have information on anything dirty, give it to me. And I promise you, I'll give it to them.
Bye for now.... keep up the good.... and be sure to visit my favorite website for the latest news on the state of the nation.... Click on banner below.
3rd week of July, 2000