by Solomon Comissiong
“Americans have methodically been taught to believe they reside within the world's most free and open "democratic” society,” with the highest standard of living on the planet. It’s a lie, yet those who point out that the narrative is false are “characterized as ‘radicals’ or even social deviants,” rather than truth-tellers. America desperately needs a new normal.
When Will Radical Become the Norm?
by Solomon Comissiong
“America reigns as one of the most unequal and socially unjust societies on earth.”
Institutional Racism, war, white supremacist values, prison and military industrial complexes, sexism, and police brutality are all routine aspects of American society. These are norms that far too many Americans have come to except as just that – norms. Xenophobia, plutocracy, and a society that places profits well before the interests of human beings are also spot-on descriptors of America. Although some Americans may see these things as bad elements within any society, far too many have accepted them within their own.
American Exceptionalism is a mental illness predicated on the delusional idea that America is the "gold standard" for the rest of the world to follow. The American Exceptionalism myth has well prepared the public to overlook their country's numerous flaws – seeing them, in some warped way, as positive traits. This destructive way of thinking affects Americans from all walks of life and political persuasions. Even the so-called American "progressive," sadly, believes that they represent some kind of socially liberal fresh air needed to improve society. Unfortunately, these neo-progressives' ideas are limited just like the imaginary world they, too, enjoy residing within. The limited "changes" they are willing to address essentially sustain the overall status quo. And those whose ideas are actually seismic, and could improve humanity, if collectively fought for – are labeled as "radical." This labeling of many sensible minded individuals plays a significant role in confusing people who would make excellent social justice fighters, if only they weren't so mentally programmed. They have been trained to associate the word "radical" with something that is automatically negative or impractical, without ever examining the ideas of those labeled "radical." This way of thinking is no accident; it is as planned as America's electoral politics.
“The American Exceptionalism myth has well prepared the public to overlook their country's numerous flaws – seeing them, in some warped way, as positive traits.”
Many American minds have been carefully crafted within laboratories otherwise known as public schools and university classrooms. They have been indoctrinated to buy into ideas that are inhumane in nature and celebrate people who were barbaric. Naturally when presented with ideas, systems and individuals antithetical to "The American Way," they are seen as "bad," "wrong," or, yes, even "radical." Those that speak out against the US's insatiable appetite for war and destruction are conveniently characterized as "radicals" or even social deviants. Those who believe these narratives are unaware that their minds are trapped within an alternate reality where up is down and down is up. They are sadly programmed to eschew things that are rooted in humanity not realizing how they have lost their own sense of morality. If more Americans could escape this alternate, yet nefarious, mental prison, they would start to comprehend how they have been cleverly trained to fight against their own human interests.
Far too many Americans dwell within a constant state of government sponsored consternation. Americans have been duped in to believing that "socialism" is actually something evil that poses a threat to their society. Many foolishly fail to realize that a more socialist society would bring them, and their loved ones, things like a true universal healthcare system, free or extremely low cost tertiary education, and affordable housing for all, to name a few benefits of life within a truly socialist society. Instead of embracing positive aspects of a more socialist society Americans blissfully suffer under a regime predicated on raw rugged exploitation.
Americans embrace capitalism while, at the same time, a great many fail to truly understand this unforgiving economic system. If most fail to understand capitalism, it should be of no surprise that even more lack any understanding of socialism; they have been well trained not to. Americans eat whatever psychological poison is fed to them by the corporate media and government, alike. American citizens have methodically been taught to believe they reside within the world's most free and open "democratic” society. They have heard these lies hundreds, perhaps thousands, of times. Those devoid of critical thinking skills quickly believe false narratives if they are repeated often enough. This strict, yet implicit, propaganda is virtually ubiquitous, which makes it all the more effective. Training the American mind to believe that the US is a "gold standard" for all other societies to mimic also trains the same mind not to ask for things that should be seen as human rights. This is why, despite the fact that over 40,000 Americans die each year simply because they lack health insurance, a socialized healthcare system is seen as an "entitlement" that would break the US federal budget. And those who press for a single-payer socialized healthcare system are deemed "radical." Those advocating for things like socialized healthcare and free tertiary education are "radical," evil socialists who want to eviscerate Americans’ so-called "liberties."
“Americans eat whatever psychological poison is fed to them by the corporate media and government.”
The socially engineered American mind does not see the spending of a trillion dollars a year on the military as something that breaks the budget or robs them of their opportunity to obtain quality healthcare for all. Somehow it is justified to spend over a trillion dollars a year on things like imperialist wars, which murder countless innocent civilians from other countries. This is not considered a radically evil action put in place by radically evil politicians.
The two-headed corporate party dictatorship (Democrats & Republicans) recently held their political conventions in Tampa Bay, Florida and Charlotte, North Carolina, respectively. For those who have somehow found a way to break away from the American system of indoctrination it was a most depressing sight. It was a human sea of sheep-like people who have bought in to the hypnotic political rhetoric fed to them. It mattered not that the political food they were swallowing was filled with empty calories, and much like eating a box of doughnuts, it was superficially "sweet" yet devoid of substance – and ultimately harmful. Most of the convention goers were going there to willingly be led by their political shepherds. These people, like many Democrats and Republicans, have been trained to base political merit on fancy conventions replete with amoral politicians and their well-crafted speeches. It matters little whether the speeches are hollow and ultimately baseless. Much of the American voting populace are attracted to shiny trinkets that distract them from tangible actions necessary toward building a better society. For instance, every four years since 2000, the Democrats roll out their political Godfather, Bill Clinton, to use his forked tongue as a tool to galvanize an already sycophantic base of voters/zombies.
These folks are ready and willing to vote for whomever the Democratic Party places in from of them, just like their Republican counterparts, regardless of what they say. Facts anchored to their destructive policies matter little – they often refuse see their political masters' polices as destructive. They have, in essence, been trained to look no further than the shiny surface. This is why politicians like Bill Clinton and his buddy, Barack Obama, can say whatever they like, to tens of millions of their “supporters.” Watching Democratic convention goers while Clinton and Obama gave their speeches was similar to witnessing members of a cult as they hang on to every word spit forth by their leader. And for this African/black writer, it was especially depressing to see other African/black people buy into the rubbish being fed to them without realizing that as long as they blindly support this political party they will see no tangible or progressive changes in their/our communities' living conditions.
“Much of the American voting populace are attracted to shiny trinkets that distract them from tangible actions necessary toward building a better society.”
Bill Clinton is a man who, while president, endorsed a number of actions that negatively impacted the African/black community. He expanded the building of prisons far beyond that of the radically evil Ronald Reagan. Clinton made sure that black and brown communities were heavily policed and remained within a perpetual police state via his "tough on crime" polices. And Clinton, like his chum Barack Obama, used military force to attack Africa, not only in Somalia but also in Sudan when he bombed a vital pharmaceutical plant. Bill Clinton is only a mythological friend to African/black people where he exists within the minds of those who are hopelessly obsequious to their Democratic Party puppeteers. Bill Clinton is a man filled with a laundry list of evil deeds that he voluntarily committed, such as executing a mentally challenged African/black man while he was governor of Arkansas. When you see scores of African/black people cheering Clinton on, as if they are at a sporting event, you must then realize that you dwell in a society that considers talk of eviscerating white supremacy and institutional racism as somehow "radical." Clinton and Obama have convinced people of color that they give a damn about them, despite the fact that their policies are antithetical to their interests.
America is like a manufactured zoo habitat, created by white supremacist Euro-Americans, capitalist elites, and imperialist warmongers (to name a few of the menagerie of the wretched). The American habitat is replete with distractions methodically positioned to, not only control the natives thinking, but also to maintain a status quo that is deleterious for the entire planet. Among these distractions is the baseless rhetoric spewing from the mouths of white liberals and conservatives, as well as from black operatives like Michael Eric Dyson and Al Sharpton. Dyson and Sharpton work for the interests of the white liberals that write their checks. You can rest assured that if the likes of these two characters were working in the interests of people of color, or real progressive change, they would not be paraded across TV airwaves controlled by corporate media like MSNBC (Comcast/General Electric). Black commentators like them are paid rather well to euphemize, downplay and flat out not mention issues impacting Black/African America. Malcolm X had a term for individuals like these: "House Negros." Their job is not only to keep black/African people from thinking comprehensively about certain issues; it is to help funnel people of color in to the Democratic Party's traps. All these roads (traps) lead to the status quo. Ideas and plans that would lead people of color towards necessary collective organization geared at social justice, equality, and liberation, are deemed "radical" and are, therefore, to be "feared."
“Many Americans have bought into the idea that there are "humanitarian wars" that "their" government engages in.”
Socially radical ideas and actions are needed to rearrange this society in to one that facilitates justice, equality, and peace. America reigns as one of the most unequal and socially unjust societies on earth. America does not only commit injustices within its own stolen and manufactured borders, the US exports terror, injustice, and plunder. These words are only deemed "radical" or "a shock" to those who have, unfortunately, spent their entire lives within the illusionary house built for them by the state. This is the only housing the US government is willing to socialize. A government that voluntarily places itself within a constant state of war should be been deemed radically nefarious.
Sane and humane societies reject war and global plunder. Most Americans seem to embrace, or at the very least, accept it. They reside in the smallest of "worlds." Americans have allowed themselves to accept whatever poisonous narrative is mentally fed to them by their butcher-like government. Many Americans have bought into the idea that there are "humanitarian wars" that "their" government engages in. And those are the wars the easily fooled support. Facts and innocent lives from other countries matter little. The name of the game in American society is superficiality, which is why the political candidates that spend the most money usually win the elections. Americans are generally not interested in studying the fine print that comes on the labeling of their favorite candidates. Like toddlers, many American voters are attracted to whatever "shiny" trinkets are presented to them each election cycle.
Barack Obama was one of those new "shiny trinkets" that masses of Americans gobbled up without any regard to what they were politically devouring. Within their politically manufactured world, they were doing something of social significance – they were "change agents," just like the man they hoped to elect in 2008, Barack Obama. It really didn't matter what he said or how he voted while in senate. His support of things like the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), and expanding America's imperialist war in Afghanistan was not even an afterthought. They conveniently forgot the fact that they opposed those types of draconian and anti-democratic policies during the criminal Bush/Cheney reign of terror. And now that Barack Obama is president, a war-mongering president, these faithful Democratic Party cheerleaders have decided to make excuses for their president's reprehensible policies and actions. Obama starts a war with a North African nation (Libya) under false pretenses, and they say, "he had to do it." He orchestrates more drone attacks than George Bush could have ever wished for and Obama's supporters defend his monstrous actions without pause. Obama supporters have even found ways to create excuses for his deceptive signing of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), something that makes the Patriot Act pale in comparison. Obama signs anti-worker Free Trade Agreements and deports more than one million people – once again – "he had to do it!"
“The name of the game in American society is superficiality.”
In a virtual world created by white liberals and conservatives, alike, "leaders" like Barack Obama are seen as "progressive." Their actions, no matter how despicable and destructive, are not only tolerated, they are embraced. And within this same world black political snake-oil salesmen/women like Michael Eric Dyson, Melissa Harris-Perry and Al Sharpton are anointed "black leaders" and "progressives." However, those who reject the status quo are labeled as "radical" or "anti-American." If opposing imperialist wars, white supremacy, capitalism, institutional racism, and all forms of injustice, make one "anti-American", you may include this author within that rubric. If America were a more humane society, truly centered on equality, justice, and peace, these actions would never be seen as "radical" – they would be the norm. Those who truly want to make this world a better place have their work cut out for them. Nevertheless, the work must be done – humanity depends on it.
America may be a country with an abundance of social potential; however, it continues to fail miserably at achieving that potential, if it is even trying at all. Many Americans, due to government-sponsored social engineering, only see the world they are allowed to see. They don't see the brilliant lessons to be learned outside of America's manufactured borders and they certainly don't see the beautiful society (and world) they, and future generations, could dwell in. It is imperative that those of us who see these things continue to speak out as loudly as we possibly can. We need to continue to organize as hard and diligently as we can. We must never accept injustice in any form, no matter what the person looks like that is delivering it. Reject the "boxes" the corporate political parties try to place us within. Create open spaces free of walls and inhumane restrictions. We need to reorganize and create a new and more just society – one where the term "radical" is applied to those who support wars, imperialism, institutional racism, sexism, white supremacy, plunder and injustice (in general). Those are the social regressive radicals. We all need to do work that is meaningful and conducive to being labeled (not by ourselves but by others) as socially progressive "radicals." Hopefully, one day actions deemed "socially progressive" and "radical" will be considered the norm.
Solomon Comissiong is an educator, community activist, author, and the host of the Your World News media collective (www.yourworldnews.org). Solomon is the author of A Hip Hop Activist Speaks Out on Social Issues. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org