“In the clearing stands a boxer
And a fighter by his trade
And he carries the reminders
Of every glove that layed him down
Or cut him till he cried out
In his anger and his shame
I am leaving, I am leaving
But the fighter still remains.”
by Paul Simon & Art Garfunkel
As the curtain descends on 2012 and the Mayans wait for their 2013 calendar to arrive in the mail, it is hard to synthesize all of the events that have taken place in the land of GMO milk and honey. If you are a multinational corporation or CEO it’s been a banner year full of tax sheltered profits, bonuses, raises, and increased stock options. If you are a middle class worker, it’s been a year of diminished wages, purchasing power, job security and pensions. If you’re a low wage worker for a private company, well, there is a new slogan in your honor. If your name rhymes with Yo Mama, it’s been an exhilarating year culminated by the American people’s anointing for four more years to be their Captor-in-Chief. If you are Bradley Manning, the years just start to blend together in those prison cells while across the Atlantic Ocean Julian Assange thinks to himself, “These Ecuadorians make a helluva brunch.” If you are the NRA, it’s been an outstanding year for gun sales as more Americans are not just buying guns but finally using them for a change. In Florida, the Stand Your Ground law has been renamed the Cap Yo Ass law and is being considered as an addendum to the hallowed, Second Amendment to the Constitution. Meanwhile, gun control advocates have proposed allowing unlimited, all you can buy gun access but restricting customers to one bullet per purchase, once the bullet has been used you can redeem it for a new one.
While many Americans are spending the holidays with their loved or tolerated ones, the ruling class understands the best time to throw a punch is when your opponents are distracted or have let down their guard. So while we collectively count down to the new year and lift up our eyes to the big ball in the sky, the powers that be wanting more power are raising the theater curtains to unveil America III: The Age of Austerity. For those of you who missed the first two in the trilogy, there was America I: Better Dead Than Red Man where Joseph McCarthy forms a commission to hunt down them pesky Injuns across the plains and America II: Black Man Down where an Army helicopter piloted by Dick Cheney opens fire on the slaves as they work the fields. But the makers of America III promise both audiences and critics alike that The Age of Austerity will surpass its predecessors in sheer human suffering and misery. While the POTUS makes a show of raising taxes on the wealthy, their CPA’s and lawyers have already found new loopholes to replace the old ones. But for the rest of us there will be no escape from the enlarging holes in the social safety nets and “entitlements” such as Medicare and Social Security that will push more and more Americans into manufactured poverty in their “golden” years.
In the world of public education, let me make sure I have this right… we’re telling teachers, both veteran and new, that we’re not sure we have confidence in them, thus the need for incessant testing and punitive evaluation measures, but we are ok with them being armed? Can I get a cognitive dissonance, anyone? In regards to the petition to deport Piers Morgan for anti-gun statements, I would meekly ask…can we amend this petition to include Kim Kardashian, Snooki and Honey Boo Boo? The Middle East continues to make headlines as American high school students scratch their heads and wonder why the hell the Israelis and Palestinians are fighting over New Jersey. The Palestinians, who were finally granted non-member status by the United Nations after a week of air assaults by the Israeli military and American made F-16′s, pray for a nuclear bomb to drop from the skies so they can finally be made real by the international community. Closer to home, Congress gave the NSA a late Christmas gift in the form of five more years of warrantless electronic wiretaps and spying on U.S. citizens, it’s amazing what “both sides of the aisle” and a “hamstrung” POTUS can get done when they put their mind to it.
So let us not forget our old acquaintances who are speaking truth to power and engaging in the real war taking place for the hearts and minds of the people in America. And let us bring to mind those who have taken their blows at the hands of the American empire and its proxies across this round Earth. But, in the end, we each must put on our own gloves and be willing to get in the ring for the things we believe are worth fighting for. Eventually, all spectators become participants as the global War of Terror™ and The Age of Austerity© touches all of our lives in one aspect or another. For myself, I’m not sure if I’ve found my calling or if my calling found me but I do know which side I choose…one that affirms life for everyone under the sun not just the privileged and pampered. I have somehow overcome my own hardships and am learning not just to survive but to live this thing called life. There is one thing I have come to respect and that is in order for me to live fully, others too must be free to live fully…and so I remain.