I was going to enter this piece into a contest, I couldn’t publish it beforehand, but it doesn’t make sense to not put it out now given the content and theme. I hope people get something out of it, but if they don’t, well, I tried.
There they are. The two anointed “leaders of the free world”. The incumbent with a four-year taste of rule under his belt, the challenger as thirsty for the crown as a desert dog for water. They slug each other with challenge after challenge, rebuttal after rebuttal after re-rebuttal, promise after promise, back and forth with rhetoric so tired that it could cure an insomniac, yet maddening enough that at times you want to kill the television. As I lean back on the couch and watch, I can’t help but pay attention to every little move these two men make. How the president leans on one leg most of the time, the weight which his position holds inflicting a heavy sort of pain, or how he speaks in a staggered, pragmatic way, trying to search for the best… words he can come up with to describe fiscal responsibility. How the governor freezes his face into a semi-constipated squint; knowing that he wants to get the message of “everything is alright if I’m in charge” across, when really his face portrays the message that “I really, really have to shit.” The way both men — because that is all they are at the end of the day, not President or Republican candidate, not Mormon or Christian, not Juris Doctor or CEO, but men – put forth their points of view in a glorified snake-oil salesman type of fashion, makes one wonder if they came from the same school. Oh wait, they did? Sure, a good many people have received degrees from Harvard, it’s just that only two of them are in the race to become king in, ahem, a two-man race. Well, essentially a two-man race. The libertarian candidate from New Mexico is on the ballot – not in the debate, however – but I am afraid it is far too late for enough people to wake up to his ideas. In fact, far too few people have woken up to the fact that there are more than two (what?!) candidates that one can vote for. The fact that the process has always been so dumbed down, yet so simultaneously convoluted, is astonishing. The insult to the American intelligence and systemic status quo which has followed since presidential debates have been televised is nothing if not fascinatingly stupid.
Among all this mental calamity, I see that the two gentleman have traded tie colours from the first debate. A symbolic gesture that always leaves me puzzled. First of all, has any one candidate ever wore a tie not coloured red or blue? It must be a rule that the Committee on Presidential Debates enthusiastically scribbled down in their rulebook. Secondly, if it is a premeditated act, which sure as the sky is (eek!) blue it is, what does this mean for the issues? Does the Democrat act more Republican than normal? The Republican more Democrat? Obviously, they each know where they stand on the issues, but do the people? I fantasize the two men doing a separate coin toss to see which of them will look more buffoonish on this night. Clearly the president picked heads and won. Or maybe they just take the orders from big bank CEO’s, who in many cases play financial backer to both parties, summing up just how bought and sold the whole charade is. Now, I see that I have wasted a large amount of my time on a pageant show; A display of aggressiveness that may very well drive a more sheepish person to the point of cynicism — at least hopefully.
Just before I turn of the madness, I am hit with the ugliest moment of the whole dance: two enormously wealthy Harvard grads, with the emotion and delivery of dueling battle rappers, calling each other out on their respective pension structures. Revolting. Something that could have been reserved for the next alumni social. The governor stiffly moving around the town hall stage struck the first blow; a most certain ‘gotcha’ moment in his inconsiderate, shallow machine of a brain. The president casually scoffing at the subject, maintaining charismatic smiling visage in front of the eyes that have seen things the general public will never be privy to. TV off. Unplugged.
In my absence of nationalism I can recognize and comment on the continual short-changing of the common people under the drape of the stars and stripes. In my absence of humility I feel the license to comment on our neighbors’ social system from a piece of land due north. It is clear we need options. And to fight for those options we need to be active. That is why the empowerment of our digital soapboxes is so important. Through simple use of our pieces of technology — our phones, our computers — we can turn our conversational and intellectual molehills into mountains. The visionaries and prophets of this generation will be harbingers with hash-tags, the Nostradamuses of the network. The voice of the people, which is inherently political, needs to be amplified through a megaphone made of binary code.
Why do I care about this? Well, aside from having family the states, I have increasingly felt, through online interaction with people all over North America, they are all my brothers and sisters. So why wouldn’t I do what I can to help? Especially through something as simple as spreading ideas. Through such ideas, the system is kept in check, and the people can structure and implement a social anti-virus around those thoughts. But it takes people.
I bring this to mind in relation to a concerted effort put forth through the use of humanity’s new friend, social media. This effort, whether conscious or unconscious, is to spread awareness of the corruption and ultimate breakdown of law and social justice emanating from the Western world, as well as eliminate, or at the very least marginalize, this corruption. This is no militant strategy in a physical sense. This is no militia-style coup hell bent on organizing online to overthrow anybody – well, not physically anyway. This is about killing viruses that manifest in our society’s operating system.
I believe that a pertinent phrase here would be: “Kill the body and the head will die.” For if you look at North America on a standard map, through an anatomical filter, well, Canada looks like the head, America is the whole torso, and Mexico is the shaky leg which props up the whole Western being. As hip-hop artist and political activist Immortal Technique put it, “We [Latinos] don’t run America, but we make America run.” Which brings to mind a question: Who does run America? I’m not so sure anymore. In fact, now that I think about it, in my 23, almost 24 years on this planet, I’m not so sure if I’ve ever known. But I do know, based on the evidence put forth, not just on blind prejudice, that America is sick. It has a virus that spreads daily, invades nearly every facet of global life, and rapes a border of the Dominion of Canada for an incredibly wasteful form of oil. While attempting to block the poor, hungry, dirty-clothed men and women of Mexico from entering into the land of the free, the American businessman puts on his best suit, and plays bureaucratic border-jumper to the land north of the 49th. And the worst part is that the decision-makers of Alberta, and Canada as a whole, are not only letting it happen, but being lobbied to encourage it. Could it be that the American virus is too strong? That we attempted to safeguard and barricade our natural resources, but our weak spot had already been tore down in the face of so-called ‘free enterprise’ and the colour of money? Who knows.
All I know is the real freedom lies in the information. An informed public is a dangerous public. Dangerous to all the right, or in this case wrong, kinds of people. The suits who amble around 1600 Pennsylvania avenue all day, and proceed to walk a wicked wobble back to their elaborate shack in Potomac County. Just one manifestation of what happens when this land is given license to consume something rotten. It is clear that The Virus is well established, and while we can’t be sure as to the exact location it was born, we do have evidence that it is holding strong in the District of Columbia area. Developments of a major outgrowth of this sickness have appeared in the quiet tundra of Bluffdale, Utah, where The Virus is building a massive compound aimed at collecting emails, phone messages, video surveillance footage, even computer webcam footage, of its own people. Former NSA executive and mathematician William Binney, who was also regrettably responsible for creating algorithms used in the development of these high surveillance programs, hypothesized that “There is enough space [in this new facility] to store over 100 years worth of personal information.”
This sickening surveillance project is as ominous as it sounds. ‘They’ say that this right-violating program would be used only to collect information, not to view it in real-time, and that doesn’t mean they would use this information to unlawfully punish citizens of their own land. But I’m afraid it is the ‘could’, not the ‘would’, that is important here. This new program, coupled with the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), is like a mob pushing the so-called dissenters to a new edge that is a mile up from the bottom. This chasm, mind you, was created by the ever-charming, self-contradicting democratic president on New Year’s Eve of 2011, while most people in America and all over the world were breaking into their second case of beer; perhaps the most opportune time for the chief to put down his drink and pick up the pen, effectively stripping away the rights of his brothers and sisters. Taking the power away from ‘we’ and giving it to ‘they’. And now ‘they’ could have an American citizen “indefinitely detained” without trial. So long habeas corpus.
Now that these facts have come to light, the aim has to be to slow this freight train of hard-headed nonsense and arrogance. Alas, it seems we do not have a Superman to work his magic. But the rational sect of humanity, the ones not too far gone – or perhaps further gone – is starting to recognize that their freedom is being run down more and more by each tick of the clock. The efforts of the valiant and the conscious can form a social leviathan so large in stature that it rises above the clouds and squashes that steam engine with a single step. This superhero fantasy is not unattainable, but it is taking – and will take still – more steps to counteract the stagnant, devolved democracy being witnessed.
This is why a ground-up movement, started by the socially conscious, can affect change for our body, our continent’s heart, and make it better. For the grass is only as green as the condition of its roots. And the roots are the people, cleaning our social social soil of viruses sprung from this militarized, industrialized, material mindset. Because, like it or not, this virus has one good quality, and that is its ability to see through borders. So we need to use our humanistic traits, rather than divisive methods that alienate a New Yorker from an Ontarian, or an Albertan from a Texan. We are all people. Let our head communicate with our darkened heart so we can run the right way again. You know and I know that it does not have to be this way. Let The Virus know.