I confess: I’m just as liable to distractions as the next guy, especially during the presidential season, when contests and winners and losers fly thick and fast. And of course, I’m all for Bernie. But of course, no matter who ultimately “wins,” he or she is but a puppet whose strings are pulled by the military-industrial-agricultural-medical-academic-pharmaceutical complex. Nothing will change until we the people insist on it. We’ve got to get mad enough. We’ve got to be like the folks in the movie Network, and yell, with about-to-be-fired TV anchor Howard Beale, “We’re mad as hell and we won’t take it anymore!”
And you know, that’s just about happening now, for both left and right, both Republicans and Democrats. One might say that it is the same populist spirit that is firing both the Republican band of fools and the Bernie phenomenon: a truly visceral fury. No more business as usual.
And even then, what will it take? Let’s look at three of of the juggernauts, militarism, big ag, and industrial medicine, all of which have been captured and perverted into institutional extrusions of a long-term corporate focus on profits before people. Of the three, two of them — militarism and big ag— are not even up for discussion by any presidential candidate!
And it’s true, militarism seems so enormous, its momentum so overwhelming. its “jobs program” tentacles firing so many aspects of contemporary life, that “there’s nothing we can do about it.” Oh?
Peace activist Medea Benjamin begs to differ:
The second and third concerns, food and health, sit in an entirely different category. Plus, they are related and interactive. Each of us, by our food choices, and our attitudes towards our own health, determines both our own personal future, and by implication, the future of this deeply troubled land and its people.
To those who whine that they just don’t have enough self-discipline to regulate their eating and other daily habits, and/or that are too lazy or fearful to be responsible for their own health, I quote the Dalai Lama himself, his profound response to one young man here in Bloomington about ten years ago at the Tibetan Cultural Center:
“SELF-DISCIPLINE IS LOOKING AFTER YOUR OWN LONG-TERM INTEREST.”
So, while we sit on the edge of our seats as the latest presidential poll numbers flash onto our screens, what are we eating? Drinking? Did we exercise today? Did we work in our gardens? And of course, how many pills are we scarfing down, and what kinds — And WHY.
“Oh, but I can’t get off my anti-depressants, I’d be too depressed! Plus, I can’t afford to quit my corporate job, I’d lose my health insurance and would have to pay for my medications!”
On and on: the toxic cultural soup mixes it all together. But: we have to start somewhere. Let’s not wait to see who “becomes president” and then whine about the results of the election, or what happens afterwards, or both. The time for revolution is NOW, and Bernie is right, it’s not about him, its about us.