The Evolution Has Begun!

By Steve Bhaerman

Create an upwising: America's unarmed forces claim first victory.
November 7, 2006 is a day that will live in … famy. That was the day a critical mass of Americans awoke to face the critical mess, gave a vote of no confidence to the current regime, and shifted the balance ever-so-slightly away from Big Brother and towards bigger brotherhood.

The evolution has begun.

How do we know? Well, the day after the election, the first big shot was fired. Not that replacing Donald Rumsfeld with a shady character out of the Iran-Contra affair suggests a sea change in our foreign policy. But it does indicate an aftershock from the people’s up-wising.

And, as the Swami was quick to point out, the “farce” was with us as well. Did you notice that the last two Republican Senators to concede defeat were “Burns and Allen?” Could it be a sign that we’ll soon be asking the current Administration to “say goodnight, disgracie?”

A little more seriously, there is indeed cause for celebration this Thanksgiving. In the face of massive impropaganda and a mass media dedicated to mass stupidization, a Democratic Party “leadership” running on the platform “we’re not as bad as the Republicans,” voter intimidation, disenfranchisement and numerous cases of voting fraud, the American body politic threw its weight leeward, indicating a strong desire for a change of direction. In fact, as Rob Kall points out in a recent article, the repudiation of the neocon con may have been even more massive than the election results show.

If we reflect on where we were less than two years ago, where just a handful of African-American members of Congress and one lone Senator even dared to mention fraudulent voting, we can see how far the up-wising has taken us. Despite being inundated with convenient lies, more Americans are now willing to confront the inconvenient truths. This is good, because now the real work begins.

In interpreting the election results, the mainstream media has done what it does best — conveniently miss the point. “The people voted for bipartisanship,” they proclaim. Certainly, there was a reaction against negativity and divisiveness. But really, the people voted against their own disenfranchisement. As Thom Hartmann suggests in his latest book, Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the American Middle Class, the Banana Republicans and their enablers on the other side of the aisle have been turning our country into a banana republic. There is now a greater understanding than ever before that government of, by and for the people has become government of, by and for the corporations. Indeed, most of those who celebrated victory on election day almost immediately had to focus on their highest priority agenda item: raising enough money to run the next time around.

The Democratic Party “leaders” who imagine they had something to do with their party’s “victory” at the polls remind me of what Molly Ivins once said about George Bush: “He was born on third base and thinks he hit a triple.” Because once again, the overwhelming victor at the polls was “none of the above.” In other words, the majority of Americans realize that neither political party can be entrusted with our commonwealth.

For we the people, this small yet significant victory on election day earned us the right to play the game at the next level. By voting ourselves into a new configuration and taking a step away from fascism, the body politic expressed a willingness to change course, and move instead toward autonomy, freedom and functionality. This change of direction will require a level of spiritual maturity and political wisdom that is indeed “evolutionary.”

Citizens of America Awise!
You Have Nothing to Lose But Your Cheneys

As the powers that be in power — and their media lackeys — seek to shift the balance back to where it was before the people spoke, we have been presented with another false dichotomy. Should the Democrats pursue a proactive platform, or should they seek to investigate the misdoings of the past six years and possibly impeach Bush and Cheney? The answer is yes and yes, and here’s why. The “field” will no longer tolerate anything new that is built on falsehood.

If “bipartisanship” means “forgiving and forgetting” the war crime of preemptively invading a sovereign nation resulting in 3,000 dead American soldiers and hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqi civilians, if it means giving a kinder and gentler face to American imperialism, if it means glossing over lies, torture and the overrule of law, then it will fail just as surely as the use of force has failed in Iraq. I can almost guarantee that the Democratic Party leadership — with the possible exception of Howard Dean — doesn’t understand this.

In fact, we can count on the Democrats to avoid the impeachment issue, and maybe this is a good thing. The crimes of the Bush-Cheney administration have been so outside the lines of “politics as usual” that these must be exposed and faced in a way that is above partisanship. This means that the next level of political activity on the part of we the people is to pursue simultaneously a “front and center” program where we confront the “awful truth” of what has been perpetrated in our name, and the “awesome opportunity” to choose something different.

For example, it’s a “no brainer” to shift energy policy toward supporting renewables and reducing greenhouse gases. In spite of the “noise” being made by global warming deniers, a recent report by leading climate scientists gives us just ten years to reverse what may already be irreversible. Anything less than an immediate shift in policy and priorities would indicate that we humans are — as they used to say about sheep in Texas — “too stupid to live.”

And what if the alarmists are “wrong” about global warming? Well, then we’ve just shifted to a cleaner, more efficient, renewable energy system — and created an entire sustainable economy — for “no good reason.” Duh.

As for the other pet Democratic project, universal health care, I would add a letter to that and offer “universal healthy care” instead. As I suggested earlier, in these evolutionary times, trying to fix an unworkable system is in itself unworkable. While it is shocking and tragic that the wealthiest nation in the world takes such poor care of its people, throwing more money at a drug-addicted system will only enrich the wrong people at everyone’s expense. A universal “healthy” care system will necessarily honor complementary medicine, supporting lower-cost, lower-risk holistic medicine as a “first resort” measure to handle 80% to 90% of our health care issues.

With what is now the most costly health care system in the world, the United States ranks 27th in the quality of citizens’ health, and 25th in life expectancy and infant mortality. Unless we face these inconvenient truths, health care “reform” will be — to mix two already over-abused metaphors — like putting band-aids on the Titanic. Don’t expect the Democrats to face this music either. If we want to create a truly healthy care system, it will be up to the will of the people.

Speaking of band-aids on the Titanic, everyone seems to be dancing around the bitterest truth of all — we made an unholy mess in Mesopotamia, and someone is going to have to clean it up. Once again, the biggest elephant in the living room (a situation kept in place by plenty of donkeys as well) is the sad truth that the U.S. is not in Iraq to keep the peace, we are there to keep the pieces. While we have come to think of the primary issues in the Middle East as tribalism vs. modernism, unless we see the toxic role of American empire we can have no positive impact in ending the tragically oxymoronic holy war in the Holy Land.

Which brings us — roundabout — to the issues of war crimes and impeachment. I just finished reading a provocative book, The Madness of George Bush: A Reflection of Our Collective Psychosis by Paul Levy. Taking a Jungian approach to the madness we’ve witnessed over the past half dozen years, Levy suggests that George W. Bush is the outpicturing of our unacknowledged shadow, the nightmarish evil twin of the American Dream. Without getting into Levy’s very interesting ideas about persistent “thought forms” in our collective unconscious, his main point is this: America is finally ready to see her own shadow. If these other issues such as global warming, environmental restoration, and finding non-lethal ways of resolving conflict are to be addressed — and if the United States is to play any kind of role in this global “up-wising” — the gateway to breakthrough involves we the people of America facing our complicity in America’s imperialist past and path.

The purpose of seeing how we’ve benefited from empire, and the value of facing the human cost of our consuming 25% of the world’s resources is not for some self-indulgent orgy of shame, blame, guilt or breast-beating. It’s quite simply so we take responsibility for ourselves and what our government has done in our name, and then take responsibility for doing something else instead. During the eight-year run of the Clinton Administration we could comfortably imagine “globalization” as some benign force extending the benefits of unfettered consumption and resource-extraction to the vast masses of unenlightened. In actuality, it has helped turn the third world into the turd world. Thanks to George Bush we can now see the face of empire “without makeup.”

Not that acknowledging our participation and benefit should let Bush and Cheney off the hook. Quite the opposite. Just as any program for personal transformation must necessarily begin with telling the truth and facing the consequences, so America’s “recovery” (in this case, recovering our core spiritual and political values) must begin by dismantling the toxic force we have allowed to install itself to “protect” us. As we approach the 43rd anniversary of the JFK assassination — and as a shocking BBC documentary suggests CIA participation in Bobby Kennedy’s murder — we would do well to face full on the tremendous opportunity George Bush has offered us. Only exposure will help the body politic metabolize the huge toxins we’ve been forced to swallow over the past half-century.

We cannot wait for the Democrats to bring charges or even investigate the illegal, immoral and unconstitutional activities of the Bush-Cheney regime. Any such hearing for truth and justice must arise from a growing awareness that employing our evildoers to fight their evildoers is a never-ending trap that our own “field” of human intelligence seems no longer willing to tolerate. If the recent election brought slim majorities for the Democrats in both houses, it also brought something far, far more important: Those who oppose the war in Iraq and the lies and manipulations that brought it about are in the overwhelming majority. It can no longer be deemed “unpatriotic” to speak up and speak out. So speak up and speak out we must.

Beneath the perpetrations of this administration and our misadventure in Iraq are long-unquestioned assumptions about the nature of human nature and the nature of the world. These beliefs — like original sin, social Darwinism, the inevitability of war and poverty, the belief in a growth-at-any-expense economy — are kept in place by our tacit agreement. They are like well-worn grooves, made more solid by the weight of inertia.

As we freely speak an alternative truth, and as we bring injustice to justice through organizations like the Citizens Impeachment Commission (of which I am proud to be a member), we stand as an example to the world of what spiritual and political maturity looks, feels and sounds like. The “irony curtain” has been parted, finally. It is now up to we the people to enlarge the opening, and help the rest of America — and ultimately the world — break through to a happier, healthier and wholier world. u

Steve Bhaerman is a regular contributor to CATALYST.

This article was originally published on November 30, 2006.