By Vi Ransel
A frog and a scorpion met on a stream bank. The scorpion asked the frog to carry him across on its back. The frog asked, “How do I know you won’t sting me?” “Because if I do, I’ll drown, too” answered the scorpion. So they set out across the stream. Halfway across, the scorpion stung the frog. As the frog started to sink, he knew they’d both die. With his last breath, he gasped to the scorpion, “Why?!” “It is my nature. And you knew I was a scorpion.”
Americans do not want the facts.
They do not want to hear how many countries
we’ve invaded for power and money
nor the number of proxy wars
financed in our name for the same.
Americans do not want to talk
about slavery, the Native Americans
or our rape of “Third World” nations
for necessities like bananas or coltan for cell phones
via the IMF, the World Bank and “free” trade.
Americans do not want to see
that compliant puppet governments
and dictators are America’s best friend,
that anywhere real democracy rears its unwelcome head
it’s put down by demonizing it and its leaders and/or killing them.
(See Mossadegh, Hamas, Allende and Hugo Chavez .)
Americans do not want to admit
that terrorism is not caused by hatred
or envy of our “freedoms”, but by our invasions,
torture, exploitation and slaughter,
or that the US sends three billion taxpayer dollars
to Israel yearly to test white phosphorus,
J-DAMS, DIMES and GBU-39s
on the captive population of Gaza.
Americans will not even try
to understand that depressions and recessions,
repetitive bubbles and Wall Street’s speculative gambling
are planned in advance by the shameless fat cats
of the plutocracy and the “Federal” banksters.
Americans will not entertain the idea
that American business uses human shields it calls “illegals”
to stave of the threat of paying a living wage
and if they ask for one the boss just calls la migra.
Americans do not want to know
that Main Street was murdered by Wal-Mart and Wall Street,
or that prisons are plantations where the process of manufacturing
is just business carried on by other means.
Americans do not want to hear
that health insurance is a middle man
designed to bleed them into medical bankruptcy,
or that credit is just debt with a fancy name
created to rob them of their homes and their property.
Americans do not want to believe
that plastic is strangling the ocean,
that petro-agriculture is poisoning their food,
that the rain forest’s been razed for cheeseburgers,
and that climate change, misnamed “global warming”,
warms the “heart” of Big Energy’s shareholders.
Americans do not want to be reminded
of the animal holocaust in “farms” that are factories,
which in addition to terror and agony
causes stroke, heart disease and obesity,
or that the runoff makes drinking water a toxic cocktail
of hormones, antibiotics and feces,
that most of the ocean’s big fish have been fished
and commercial trawlers scrape the ocean bottom lifeless,
that continual solitary driving of their personal vehicles
helps strand polar bears on the remnants of ice flows.
Americans don’t want to look at the fact
that sex, fear and envy persuade them
to buy products that kill them for profit -
alcohol, tobacco, meat and dairy, food additives,
prescription drugs, corn syrup and plastics.
Americans do not want to admit
that love, family, friendship and sexuality
are now no more than profitable commodities,
that wars, sports, TV, shopping and celebrities
are designed to keep their minds off the rape of democracy.
Americans cannot be bothered to discover the political priorities
of people they vote for in the electoral extravaganza,
to look for alternative info though newspapers, TV “news” and talk radio
are talking points and sheer propaganda,
or to acknowledge that the people who “represent” them
have not the people’s, but their own, interest in mind,
due to campaign funding’s lucrative bonanza.
Americans refuse to see
that schools don’t educate for a reason.
An educated public is 300 million dangerous threats
and schools are used to defuse these
by a pre-emptive indoctrination of children
with the wisdom of dog-eat-dog competition
which creates the divide-and-conquer infrastructure
that allows oppressors to blame their own victims.
And since kids might stumble into cooperation and empathy,
those in social programs are deemed weak and pathetic
in an effort to get the victims to agree and accept
that they’re the primary cause of the system’s effect.
The plutocracy exercises increasing dominion
via consolidation of capital at the people’s expense
concentrates it periodically, ratcheting up its intensity,
during engineered crises like wars and depressions.
The United States is no longer the home of the free and the brave
where life, liberty and happiness are pursued,
but of people living in fear of financial and physical terrorism
and co-opted by the carnival of consumerism.
It’s a cauldron of inequality, poverty and misery
where lives are lived in quiet desperation,
in free(dom of) speech zones and the pursuit of stuff
in a marked down and militarized nation.
Americans refuse to believe that they’ve accepted to live
under a system that subjugates, denigrates and infantilizes them,
and that the many creating the wealth at the bottom
are engineered as ignorant, obedient and defensive.
And as the money is funneled up to the few
the many are bought off with shiny oil-based objects -
I-pods, X boxes, PCs, plasma TVs, SUVs,
McMansions, Mickey D’s, boob jobs and botox -
strung on a charm bracelet/slave chain
of the non-negotiable American lifestyle
constructed on the ashes our foreign trade policies
have made of other people’s rights and their lives.
Americans seem not to notice
that nature has been reduced from The Source
to a package of exploitable resources,
and that citizens are relegated to being consumers
who, in turn, are eaten up by their choices
or that a not-so-invisible hand signs the legislation
that makes foreign and domestic American policy
and turns what started as participatory democracy
into a Donner Party version of economics.
Americans don’t want
to hear, to see, to speak, or to feel
about what’s actually happening to them
or being done in their name,
but most of all they don’t want to
because thinking leads to
cognitive dissonance and confronting the pain
of knowing how the American lifestyle
is, and has been, maintained.
But the aversion therapy administered in schools
and cultural reinforcement thereafter
keeps them safely away from
imprisoned like dogs
with electronic shock collars.
And besides, they’re so busy with their shopping,
which is Americans’ ultimate function,
that they don’t have the time to tune into
what that “little voice” has been trying to tell them
that this system relentlessly perpetuates itself
by means of infinite, unlimited growth,
which it carries on by any means necessary
like a parasite that strangles its host.
It has to kill the goose (that’s us)
who lays the Gross Domestic Product Golden Egg
because it’s a no-holds-barred, winner-take-all,
every man on his own for himself free-for-all
until there are no eggs left to take.
It’s not ’til they’re drowning in hubris and debt
and the system turns around and stings them
that Americans are willing to hear what they already knew -
the scorpion is corporate capitalism.
Vi Ransel is an anti-capitalist poet of exceptional caliber.