If the reality of a world-wide pandemic, staggering unemployment, systemic racism and the current unrest, protests and violence sparked by another police murder of a black man haven’t made you realize we need to change, nothing will. Not all black people are criminals. Not all white people are racist. Not all cops are bad. Ignorance comes in all colors, shapes and sizes. Unfortunately, it is still ignorance. How did we get here? Where the few living with obscene wealth control our world to the point there actions or inactions make life for the rest of us little other than stress and strain, interrupted a day or two a week to take care of life and cut loose if we’re lucky. Someone’s decision to go to war, costs the lives of thousands and the destruction of homes, cultures, histories and lives. The inaction of our current leaders, in dealing with our pandemic, has made the loss of life, jobs, income and possibility so great that it feeds the unrest here and abroad.
The whole system is geared to hammer home are place in the world order, when we are children, so that the wheels we run inside look normal. We live in a world driven by money. What’s wrong with that? So what if we sell harmful products like cigarettes, vape, alcohol, guns, whatever. I think everyone has the right to pick their own poison, to kill themselves in whatever manner they choose. Except, when they aim those choices at children, create products that appeal to people too young to make that choice fully aware of the consequences. Many with so little opportunity that joining the military and fighting in our endless war, looks like a chance to break free. Growing up, children lives are stressed by the world greed has created for them.
In Working Class Hero, John Lennon sang, “…Keep you doped with religion, and sex, and T.V. And you think you’re so clever and classless and free….” Yet, we are not classless, and we never have been, despite our vaunted ideals. For example, ways class is controlled can be seen in our so-called war on drugs and the privatizing of our prisons. As civil rights struggles reached their height and attitudes were changing, drugs became a focus of law-enforcement and arrests of young, African-American males escalated at an alarming rate. This systemic racism created a new class of slave in the form of those incarcerated. Do you see the what happened here? When prisons are run as profit centers, and the labor force is controlled and virtually free, where is the impetus to change the system?
Those on top also keep us focused away from the hard truth with actual drugs, legal or otherwise. They control our perceptions of who we are, who we should be, who we should want to be through advertising. From the time we are children, they urge us to want the best, brightest, fastest, sexiest, latest toy, even if that is a car we cannot afford, a phone which costs a thousand dollars or more, a video game that inures us to violence, a flavored alcoholic drink, cigarette, or vape. Hell, a chemically harmful air freshener or anything else significant or mundane that will suck us in and hopefully addict us. They foster the herd mentality, while telling us we, too, can join the elite if we scheme rather than dream, In effect, we become not only shoppers, buyers, consumers, but also contestants in our vast, world-wide reality show.
Since we are in this show, Some believe it acceptable to lie, cheat, steal, profess false loyalty and gain advantage with no thought for other contestants. These others, challengers, are killers, willing to do whatever it takes to win, we are told. There are teams, which were created long before you or I were born. To name but a few, there are military organizations, religions, businesses, villages, towns, cities, sexual preference, race, political affiliations, nations and whatever else comes to mind. Some of these groups, tribes, can be joined by almost anyone. Some, you can only be born into, or converted to become other than you have been. Some, such as the military, may force you to change who you are at your core, either enhancing aggression which is already there or crushing your compassion and empathy.
The well-off have gamed the system by creating the rules of our realty show. They have employed others in the game from faraway lands to do work that was previously ours, thus undermining our confidence and ability to earn a livable wage or change our status. However, they still encourage us to believe changing our status is possible. They distract us with politainment, sports, television, films and music which are fraught with advertising that implies the few who achieve this level were like us, in order to create the illusion that we are like them, if only we believe. We are encouraged to live through these personalities and to acquire what advertising tells us will make us all just like these average people who have succeeded and are living the dream. Or, worse, convince us to go deep in debt to appear we are living the dream, all while being a paycheck away from catastrophe.
Many of our video games and soon VR, what we watch is filled with violence, war and rumors of war, where we kill with impunity and always win. This further numbs us to the thrill, leading us to need greater murder and mayhem to get off. If you don’t think this prepares us for a world of violence, brutality and deprivation, you haven’t been paying attention. Do you wonder why armed militias believe they have the right to threaten the rest of us and the peace we created. Do you wonder why those who fear the people tasked to serve and protect them are more likely to profile, harass and arrest without cause have become fed up.
And it seems (seemed) to be what we want. We bought into this sham, this scam, though things are coming apart. Since the contestants far outnumber the producers and crew, to stretch this analogy to the limit, it’s time to sit down and refuse to play until everyone agrees to change the rules. I’m, of course, talking about us, people and the planet we live upon. It’s not only about people, but also every living being on the planet and the Earth itself. Yet politicians are payed and bribed to convince us to blame others for our problems. While they hold office without actually doing much to help anyone but themselves. Why would they? Money and power provide them with the sense that they are part of the elite. While they live better than most, most are simply pawns, cogs in the machine.
So, for all we allow the few to do to the many, it might as well be a game. It’s a reality show where most are on the losing end, but this does not have to be the case. Lennon’s Working-Class Hero concludes with: “There’s room at the top they are telling you still. But first you must learn how to smile as you kill. If you want to be like the folks on the hill.” I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to learn to smile as I kill. I don’t want to learn how to kill or be like the folks on the hill. I no longer want to play this game the way it is currently structured. I no longer want to play this game, full stop. I honestly believe we can change the rules, but only if enough like-minded people agree to start the change. The world is in such chaos now, I think this would be a good time stop and start over. How about you?