Saturday, May 15, 2004

Cold Turkey

At the age of 81, Kurt Vonnegut is still waching humans in their natural habitats, still all-a-wonder at the strangeness of their ways, and still unafraid to point out that something is not right about the way we are doing things when we forget to care for each other.

Many years ago, I was so innocent I still considered it possible that we could become the humane and reasonable America so many members of my generation used to dream of. We dreamed of such an America during the Great Depression, when there were no jobs. And then we fought and often died for that dream during the Second World War, when there was no peace.

But I know now that there is not a chance in hell of America’s becoming humane and reasonable. Because power corrupts us, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Human beings are chimpanzees who get crazy drunk on power. By saying that our leaders are power-drunk chimpanzees, am I in danger of wrecking the morale of our soldiers fighting and dying in the Middle East? Their morale, like so many bodies, is already shot to pieces. They are being treated, as I never was, like toys a rich kid got for Christmas.

The rest of the article goes on to talk about war and politics and the things Vonnegut thinks are contributing to all of the madness in the world today - specifically, the way industrial nations are making obvious attempts to control the world's dwindling oil supply. Since so many of our rich and powerful (think Cheney, Bush, and the rest of their beady-eyed little gang) got that way via fossil fuels, war with Middle Eastern nations was already a foregone conclusion... Bush told his staff to prepare for it long before 9/11 went down, but he's just so fucking happy that it did go down because it made it so much easier to get the sheep to support his warmongering. And now we're in a fuckload of debt and the whole world hates us and we are the best thing that ever happened to terrorism but those fuckers got their pockets lined so they are happy, and besides it's not their kids dying over there.

Vonnegut likens the behavior of our government to that of junkies who are commiting violent crimes to obtain more of whatever they are hooked on in the face of an impending shortage. I'm glad people like Vonnegut can talk about this with some measure of clarity... when I think too much about it, I get a headache and The Fear and start wondering if there are any countries on the planet who will still let Americans emigrate.