2020

Distrust in Institutions

Recently, we have been hearing many more voices from Government and Media sources saying how harmful it is for citizens to have Distrust in Institutions. When did that Distrust begin to happen? Is it an old impression, or a new phenomenon? I think realizing it occurs to different people at different times depending on their circumstances and awareness, but it is not new. It just so happens that nowadays more and more people are recognizing it. Those who hate him are pointing the finger at President Trump as the culprit who has caused all this, because sowing chaos seems to be his objective whether it is intended, or haphazard. However, while he is responsible for many things that I find despicable (such as gutting a whole slew of necessary government programs, agreements and regulations etc.), he is not the first, or the last person in power to be responsible for the erosion of public trust. There are numerous examples, the media’s irresponsible role being one of them as this article from The Guardian illustrates very well.

For instance, if you are a black person in the United States, deemed a lesser human from the moment your ancestors were shipped to these shores as slaves; from when you watched your kin being lynched as white people applauded; from when you were being frisked, jailed and shot by cops; when you didn’t have equal justice from the law; when you continue to be, after centuries, marginalized and disparaged, then, how could you, would you, have anything but Distrust in Institutions?

And if you are one of the thousands upon thousands of males (and some females) going back to centuries who was preyed upon and sexually abused by your religious leaders how could you, would you, have anything but Distrust in Institutions?

And if you are a boy scout, or an athlete who has been the victim of a sexual predator from among your leaders and coaches, how could you, would you, have anything but Distrust in Institutions?

And if you are a regular citizen of almost anywhere on this planet who has been witnessing the theft, lies, abuse of power and corruption by your political leaders and commerce bigwigs how could you, would you, have anything but Distrust in Institutions?

The list can go on for pages upon pages, but here’s the answer: only if you are one of the elites, the privileged, the chosen few could you, would you, answer that you Trust your Institutions, and only because those Institutions have been supporting you and facilitating your entire existence. When Equality, Justice and Legality are being doled out unfairly to the few and not the most, then there cannot be anything but Distrust in Institutions.

These Information – and Disinformation – days, with the rampant proliferation of Scammers, Cyber-crimes, Internet Attacks, Credit Card Skimmers, Ransomware, Weaponization of our personal information, with Apps that can install Malware and Spying Tools on our devices, with photo-shopping and spying on people and scandalizing them through social media etc. etc. our Distrust in Institutions has been growing exponentially, causing many to become paranoid, and others to become totally devil-may-care – neither of which is productive. Nevertheless, when these tools are being used malevolently and surreptitiously then our Distrust in Institutions increases. Unfortunately, the furtive and wicked use of modern devices will be with us for a long time to come, and for as long as there are devious and evil people utilizing them.

This brings me to how the Image Makers and Marketers have the ability, and capability, of putting a spin on anything and everything, and enhancing the most vile of unacceptable behavior in order to normalize it. Case in point: President Bolsonaro of Brazil, a right-wing, conservative, climate-crisis denying, indigenous population hating, bigot and racist hires Image Makers that are painting him as a Democratic Sainte Nitouche presiding over a Democratic nation!! Really? Yes. Really! And he is not the only political leader practicing this deception. In fact, it has become almost standard custom in many corners of our world to whitewash the most egregious, to shoot a sexy video, add a sensual voice to supply the script and, Voila! the most unbecoming ogre emerges as a White Knight, whether he/she is a political figure, a greedy opioid-pushing doctor/company, an oil/shale/fossil fuel corporation etc. etc. It is not, however, the reality, and this delusion should not be acceptable. It is not acceptable either for someone like Joe Biden to say that he was arrested in South Africa when he was trying to visit Mandela in prison. That was proven to be a lie, and he later admitted it. Really, Joe? Senior moment, or buffeting up your credentials ala Brian Williams when he was caught in an exaggeration? We cannot normalize lies, or the rewriting of history! We have to use a better script in order for Decency, Morality, Ethics, Principles and Ideals to become sexy again! Wake up, people! Wake up!

Here, in these United States, we have a Presidential Election coming up into which absolutely nauseating amounts of money and airtime are being poured. Truly sickening! This does not spell Democratic Process for me. It is, in fact, quite the opposite of that. And, just as occurred in the elections of 2016, the cries of Russia/Putin meddling in our elections have been rising. How can Anyone who is Objectively listening to all this vapid beating of the drums really believe that this is Fact during these days when even a small-fry computer user can hack into any system? So can North Korea, China, Israel, Iran et al. I am not defending Putin, or saying that he would not meddle anywhere that is to his advantage. Of course he has done so, and will continue to do so. But, so has the US. In fact, we have been meddling in Russia, in China, in North Korea, in Iran, all over Africa, in the entire Middle East, and All Across the Planet! We cannot point the finger at Putin and Russia while absolving ourselves of any transgressions. Why? Who are we that we must be justified for all our interferences and meddling in other countries while casting aspersions on others? Are we Sainte Nitouche, perchance? And what is this deception and charade really all about? Our Arrogance and Smugness in our sense of Righteousness is truly hilarious, and very ridiculous. Equality, Justice and Legality have to be applied on us, on Putin, and on every country, every leader, every person. We simply cannot demand that Putin adhere to laying off us, while we are not laying off him! He knows that. Trump knows that. The FBI knows that. The CIA knows that.

Pushing and promulgating nonsense has become the purview of our MSM mainly! They have no shame, professionalism, or ethics. Their job has become idiotic Gotcha Moments, scandal, propaganda, gossip and superficiality delivered with smugness and attitudes that are truly offensive. Even during the Coronavirus Pandemic breathing down our necks and threatening the nation and the world, they could not address the issue without partisanship, bias and their arrogant demeanors! Pathetic!

Cleaning out the endemic corruption that has become shameless and obnoxious, as well as demanding transparency from every person who is in a position of power is essential if we are ever to have Trust in our Institutions. This applies to religious leaders living the lavish life of the rich and famous on our Tithing money. It applies to every political leader who is living in luxury while skimping on one extra cent for the people who elected him/her. It also applies on every CEO of every corporation raking in the dollars from our purchasing power and being misers on spending their money on the climate crisis (except for Bezos, Zuckerberg, Steyer, Bloomberg and a few others who are pitching in), or on providing adequate salaries and healthcare for their employees etc. Otherwise, we are simply encouraging corruption, inequality, injustice, illegality and continuing Distrust in Institutions.

And, now, with a Pandemic threatening the globe, all we can do is rely on those in power to do the right thing, to make the correct decisions and to mitigate this serious threat as best as they can. It is not an easy undertaking, especially when our Distrust in Institutions is at such a low threshold. Real Scary!

2020

Banality

In his book, The Greatest Generation, Tom Brokaw quotes a county executive who says: “Our system of local government has barely evolved over the past one hundred years and we are still governed by these same archaic institutions formed before the invention of the light bulb, telephone, automobile and computer.” And, I say, that this does not simply apply to local government, but to the Federal Government and to a whole lot of other ways in which we human beings do things. Banality!

It hit me when during the Trump Impeachment proceedings the Sergeant at Arms opens the court session by saying: Hear ye! Hear ye! This is an expression that was originally: Oyez! Oyez! It is from the era of Medieval England and France and was used by the Town Criers as a call for silence and attention in the markets and plazas when some proclamation from the rulers was issued. Why, oh why, in this modern age do we still need to use this banal expression? And the answer is that despite existing in this Information Age, we are still on so many, many levels doing, saying, thinking, applying traditions and rules, laws and regulations that are way past their time, and, actually, sound truly ridiculous these days!

It also hit me when Adam Schiff was orating during those same proceedings and was saying with passion and intensity: “America believes in Truth. She believes in Right and Wrong.” Oy vey! I nearly had a stroke when I heard him say those words: Truth. Right and Wrong. How many of those politicians, including him, are sitting in our Congress and applying those words while overseeing the nation’s business? How, when corporate lobbyists fill their coffers and dictate our laws, can they be adhering to these words? How, when looking after their own prosperity before anything else could these words ring true? How, in such a cutthroat and partisan atmosphere could words like Truth, Right and Wrong resonate? It is ridiculously banal and hypocritical! The epitome of corruption! Do, please, read the article I highlighted below to see exactly how corrupt our system is, and how corrupt our politicians are, and how while spewing lofty words they manage to screw us so well! Disgusting!

https://theintercept.com/2020/02/06/congress-exxon-mobil-eastmed-pipeline-cyprus/

Recently, the Doomsday Clock has been adjusted to 100 seconds before midnight, the closest we have ever been to catastrophe. And, yet, efforts of politicians across our Planet are miserably failing to address our worldwide problems thus causing populations to convulse and to react in adverse ways making our situation even more dangerous and threatening. We have all abandoned our Responsibilities, Communality and Common Sense. We have been ceding them to those in power who, and especially during recent decades, have become even more corrupt than they have ever been! This is across the world! And it is simply because we have put Money Before and Above Anything Else! In that process we have trashed the Planet and are not stopping; we have abrogated every equitable and social contract that governments are elected to do in order to look after the people’s welfare; we have, and continue to, trample on every human value and any sense of justice that exists; we have enlisted culture – especially our shameful media – to corrupt, trivialize, commercialize and demean rather than elevate humanity. Yes, it is a very dismal picture out there for all those who elect to see beyond their own selfish cocoon while ignoring society as a whole.

How do they do that? How have they succeeded in this wicked endeavor for so long? Let us go back quickly to history – a history that our children and grandchildren are totally ignorant about due to the pathetic education that they are receiving – and let us take a look into one small area of our Planet centuries ago. (And, please, do not shrug your shoulders and say that you don’t need a history lesson from this old woman. We all do, because without historical perspective we are simply repeating the same damn mistakes all over again!) People existed in small enclaves where, generally, the “elders” were consulted and selected to resolve disputes and to see to it that there is harmony within their tribe. Pretty soon, a Strongman emerges from that small area and decides that he is the Ruler, King, Prince, Emperor, Ameer, or whatever title he chooses for himself. He enlists an army of followers, levies taxes, builds a bigger impressive abode and starts invading, killing and occupying the domains of other tribes thus enlarging his territory and accumulating more resources and wealth. That’s how Rulers came to be, and Not because God anointed them! Now, in order to continue being the Ruler he must have a fearsome army. As an example, the Romans dressed their army in shiny bronze helmets that had big red plumes attached to them in order to make them seem taller, more threatening and intimidating as they marched into battle with those headdresses reflecting the sun and endowing them with godlike splendor. They were also fed better than the citizens, paid well, allowed to loot all that they could from those they had chosen to vanquish, and licensed to rape and to acquire slaves. And, when they returned from the battlefields, the Ruler created ceremonies, parades and marches to hail and exult them and himself. Should any of the Ruler’s own Family, a General, or any Opponent decide to oust him, he was simply slain or, if that challenger was stronger then, he was the one eliminated. That was the process through which for thousands of years humanity has been ruled. This has not changed much these days, even though we speak of lofty ideals such as Democracy, Equality and Justice. These have always been the purview of the Rulers, Elites and Supporters, with a little bit trickling down to the citizens in order to give them the illusion of fairness. It has Never been fair. It has Always been unequal!

Once Kingdoms and Empires cemented their rule over their domains, they then expanded to conquer even wider, further-away territory. That was the dawn of the Conquistadors, Colonists and Settlers, which, primarily, expanded the wealth of the White European Nations, and witnessed the founding of White America. Two World Wars paved the idea on which the arrogant Europeans, and the new Americans, decided to continue with their colonist expansionism. Under the guise – utterly so! – of bringing Civilization to what they deemed to be an Ignorant, Backward World they have been ravaging the Planet. And, as should be obvious to anyone with enough sense, their ultimate Power Play is to Control the World’s Wealth and Resources through Military Power, Intimidation and by Creating New Enemies to satisfy the money-making Capitalist war-machine, because warring with someone else’s sacrificed children has always been easy for the Privileged. In other words, Bullying humanity into Submission, whether today it is Venezuela, Iran, Palestine, or any other through the ages. Forget Negotiations and Coexistence!

Therefore, Donald Trump is not any aberration to this doctrine. In fact, he personifies it, probably more overtly and brashly than any other White Western leader, but the doctrine has not wavered since Colonialism. If you need any proof, witness the near-silence over the Muslim Rohingya, the Chinese Uyghurs, the Muslim population of India (all due to Western Islamophobia), amongst other discriminatory practices such as homophobia, as well as the total disregard, disrespect, humiliation and abasement of indigenous populations (xenophobia) who are being decimated, and minorities all over the world whether they are black, brown, or purple, and whether they are Palestinians, or Arabs, Africans, Asians, or any other ethnicity that is non-White and, therefore, not allowed to be part of the Modern (or, Neo) Colonist Enterprise, but will remain the Vassals in the service of that Enterprise.

So, When do we Evolve and change this Unfair Formula? I do not have the answer, but, certainly, it seems that it will remain so for quite a long time to come – although there are definitely glimmers of hope here and there – unless, in the meantime, the climate crisis envelops us in its floods and fires, or, some ego-maniacal bully presses the red nuclear button after which it will be to all a goodnight! Scary enough? It really should be!