Welcome to the Madhouse

20 01 2017

scream-insanity

Barking, face-eating insanity.

If the United States of America were an organism it would be terminally ill, diseased and demented, biting itself in rabid fury.

How can anyone living in this toxic society maintain their individual sanity? Or maybe they don’t. It would explain the epidemic of violence, anxiety, depression, and suicide.

We are surrounded with visions of dystopia. We are hammered with reasons to be angry and afraid. Urged to fight back against the enemies who want to destroy us and all we hold dear. Every difference of opinion is turned into a desperate battle of ideologies. Instead of rationally discussing our differences and finding ways to peacefully coexist, we go to war for what we each believe in, creating a hostile cacophony.

Our competitive, success and money driven economic system, powered by greed, justified by free-market mythologies, brings excessive affluence to some and leaves the rest struggling. The successful shame and taunt those left behind, calling them losers, lazy, unworthy. When the savage inequities of our economy push people into the street, those with comfortable homes turn up their noses and demand that the homeless be swept out of sight.

Why is there so little compassion towards the poor and so much contempt? Why are appeals to offer aid met with parsimonious outrage? Why are there cries to slash programs designed to ease suffering and assist the vulnerable? Where is the sense in praising tax cuts for those most able to afford them, while the budgets of schools and the salaries of teachers are paid grudgingly, each penny counted and questioned?

Insanity.

It percolates down to the local level. Individuals claim to be posting news and information when all they are spewing is bile and bias, gossip, half-truths, innuendo and opinion. They are as much a “news source” as Fox. Perhaps they look to the national travesty for validation. Their opinion is the truth. Other’s opinions, if different, are lies. Facts are cherry-picked to push their agenda. Contrary data is ignored. If the Town chooses not to go along with their demands, or grant their petitions, they protest that they are being ignored and threaten a lawsuit. If other citizens criticize their actions and say so publicly, they call it slander and libel.

Funding for social programs is being slashed at the state and national level (all in the name of cutting taxes, although such gutting of programs actually reduces the average tax burden very little). More and more we are called upon to do what needs to be done at the local level. Complex regulations confuse the effort and confound the needy, whose numbers continue to grow as the population ages, and as crushing social and economic pressures take their toll. And yet there are people who seem deliberately oblivious of this, refusing to acknowledge the need for a skilled and savvy welfare officer, refusing recognize the increasing burden on schools, ignoring the pleas of both the fire and the police departments. It is as if they, and those like them at the state and national level, are determined to frog-march everyone back to some blissful era reflecting 1950s television, when what they are actually doing is sending us into a Dickensian social nightmare.

Instead of working together, the Boards and Budget Committees have adopted an adversarial stance. Individuals appoint themselves crusaders in a great battle, demanding justification for every dollar in the budget and slashing ruthlessly if they deem the justification insufficient. Lines are cut with no regard for the consequences. They use “socialism” as a pejorative, ignoring the fact that it is nothing more than people pooling their resources (as taxes) to take care of things they cannot do individually, like maintaining roads and schools. Their sociopathic insistence that government has no roll to play in advocating for the least powerful of its citizens denies all the history of horrors that made social programs and labor unions necessary. They dig in their heels and refuse to back down even in the face of new information, as if this makes them heroes.

A bit like Congress. Never compromise. Never allow the other party to have the smallest victory. Stick to the party line with absolute inflexibility, as if this were an admirable virtue and not psychotic self-destruction.

I am a writer. Words well up in my mind: stories, ideas, thoughts, haunting me until I write them down. I have been told I ought not to express myself freely in this blog. Such is the state of fear and antagonism in this small town of mine, reflecting the national pathology. Goodness knows the Town has reason to be nervous; in spite of tirelessly beating the drum of saving the taxpayers money, one litigious individual has cost the Town many thousands of dollars in frivolous lawsuits. (One judge referred to the person as a “vexatious nuisance” in a public ruling). Indeed, the free expression of my opinion in a previous post evoked an almost immediate threat of a libel suit. Nonsense, of course, but this person knows such threats frighten people. It is a way to control them and silence them, a way of getting revenge on those who disagree or refuse to behave as this person thinks they ought.

It brings to mind the psychopathic absurdity of the Red Queen shrieking, “Off with their heads!” every time something displeases her. This nation has become a dark and menacing Wonderland. The last election and the present inauguration set the tone for the rest of the country. Appalling beyond comprehension.

I sincerely regret any collateral problems my writing self may create for others. True, speaking out can complicate things. Many feel it is better to be quiet and not stir up the bees (or the Red Queen). But as our civil rights and liberties slowly erode, I will cling to the one that may save us: our right to free speech. Our freedom to speak allows us to share truths that might otherwise be suppressed. To call out the insanity. But freedom is always a double-edged sword. Free speech has also allowed far too many people to shout “Fire!” in the crowded theater of our national discourse. The ensuing panic has led to the present madness.

Barking, face-eating insanity.

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