Elections are times for dialog, not slogans

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I guess it’s that time of the four-year cycle when opinion writers are expected to weigh in on the elections. Try as I might to generate some internal enthusiasm worthy of the Great Occasion, I haven’t been able to shake that worn yet seemingly appropriate old cliché, “lesser of two evils.” At least not yet.

While four more years of an Obama administration would be vastly preferable over the cynical disaster a Romney victory would produce (as well as any victory by his co-conspirators in Congress), I fear every bit as much the inevitable consequences of my fellow citizens continuing to tolerate the narrow political and economic choices the ruling class presents.

We don’t need to hear one more stuffed suit talking about abortion or gay marriage or God or national security or whatever else has been chosen that day to divert our attention from the obvious: the nation is in steep decline, victim of a suicidal economic system built on the need for endless growth. The sun is setting on the American empire.

We don’t need more blather from a bloated, out of touch Democrat Party that used to hold the moral high ground but nowadays, after waving it around briefly at election time, meekly returns to the corporate fold. And we certainly shouldn’t sit still for the lies and thinly coded threats of the “other” party (remember? we only get two) who will at least do exactly what they say they will do if given the chance. If they get that chance we truly will be “all in this together” at last. In the crapper, that is.

The ruling class knows the jig is up. Although few will acknowledge it in public, they know the centuries-old Age of the Next Bonanza is rapidly drawing to a close. Be it gold, slaves, trees, whale oil, factories, petroleum, coal, real estate, technology, water, food crops, mortgage-backed securities, slaves (again) — it’s already been stolen, privatized, commodified, wasted and destroyed. Or, as a result of chronic scandal, discredited.

The inescapable truth is it’s all been ripped from the earth, and (too late!) they realize they’ve killed the golden goose. As powerful as their riches have made them, they can’t replace the earth from where it all came. And they know it. The economic disaster caused directly by their criminality has yet to catch up with them, but it could be only a matter of time before the cascade of True Stories becomes too heavy to conceal any longer. The greatest fear of the ruling class is of being exposed for what they’ve done. And as the unwashed masses learn the truth, they aren’t going to like it — to put it mildly.

The desperation of the 1 percent makes these extremely dangerous times for the rest of us. Increasingly exposed without a sane rationale for trashing the earth and impoverishing millions, logic dictates they must seize absolute control now or stand to lose everything. The project is well underway, seen everywhere from the burgeoning security and surveillance state to the stunningly harsh and regressive political policies advanced by the Republican Party. The 1 percent are at this moment very close to achieving the totalitarian state required for their survival. It cannot last, but that will be small consolation to a world in peril.

It would seem appropriate in this presumed season of national decision that a nation of increasingly impoverished citizens, free-falling toward the next economic shock in a country leading the world toward catastrophic climate change and imperial resource wars, could experience some honest dialog about real-world alternatives to the bankrupt economic model their overlords so ruthlessly insist upon. This is the message stated by Occupy, so clearly and simply that only the plutocratic 1 percent, their handmaidens in government and ignoramuses nationwide could possibly misunderstand.

So the very next time the Ryan-Romney ticket (sorry; Romney-Ryan) starts belching about the deficit or Obama starts wagging his finger unconvincingly at Wall Street, consider this: would we constantly suffer these periodic and cataclysmic economic crises if someone other than anti-social gold-diggers were calling the shots? What if those who actually do the work and produce the wealth had an equal or controlling voice in what gets produced, how it gets produced, and how to distribute the potential profits? Are there other, possibly better, ways to organize an economy? One thing’s for certain: we’ll never know as long as we allow the criminal class to name the tune we dance to.

Dave Wheelock, a member of the Oneida Nation, directs and coaches collegiate sports in Socorro. Contact him at davewheelock@yahoo.com.