09 May WHY I GADFLY — Science Edition
I ASK YOU: Don’t you think I’d rather spend all of my days painting (for more than a few hours/day, a few days/week), and reading LITERATURE every day (instead of news, history, and political theory, 90% of the time), and writing fantasy yarns and humorous anecdotes (rather than heart-on-sleeve, indignation-fueled polemics)?
Don’t you imagine I’d rather be reading Shakespeare and Dostoevsky, and bowling and body-surfing, and pestering all the people I love with trivial nonsense — any number of pursuits, glorious and mundane — instead of devoting the bulk of my adult life to obsessively informing myself and subsequently hyperventilating to the World Wide Void (and occasionally, to my friends and loved ones) about the dangers of unquestioning partisanship and placing one’s trust in the corporate media?
(That would be the same corporate MSM that’s been keeping us divided and conquered while the oceans turn to acid.)
Conceding that I can be overly strident, at times, the above-linked Salon.com article offers a glimpse into that which has motivated my activism for many years: the scientifically valid proposition that humanity could be facing an imminent cataclysm, including, potentially, the end of our civilization (if not in our own lifetimes, then in our children’s or grandchildren’s — who knows precisely when?).
But after 20 years of voracious news consumption, the concept that has become inescapable to me is that of the TIPPING POINT. On many fronts, from matters of democracy and the rule of law to the future habitability of the planet, the ever-ignored experts — including our most noted scholars, scientists, and academics (virtually disappeared from the corporate media) — have been describing system after system at risk of collapse… or in the process of collapsing. Some quite precipitously, fast outstripping what were previously considered “worst-case” scenarios.
The tipping points are all around us.
At the very least, it is certain that our country’s prospects are swirling down the drain, faster with each passing president since Nixon, ironically. Whatever happens with the climate, our nation’s crack-up, including the collapse of most sectors of our economy, can’t be far off. A matter of years, rather than decades.
Although it shouldn’t need saying, making observations about the rotted foundations of our hollowed-out economy is not akin to succumbing to the manufactured hysteria about our national debt. The public sphere — from schools and libraries to voting systems to the U.S. Postal Service — is withering after a bipartisan assault of several decades. Our infrastructure is decrepit and largely failing. Now that the middle class has been decimated, the majority of Americans are just one medical emergency away from bankruptcy, with less than $500 in savings. Much of our farmland and soil have been devastated, as have small farms, thanks to monopolistic and ecologically reckless corporate agribusinesses. They’re wiping out our pollinators (bees and butterflies) — as other corporate profiteers empty our groundwater… while whole communities drink carcinogenic and lead-tainted water, thanks to the utter corruption of our government.
Our last two presidents, Bush and Obama, effectively repealed habeas corpus and “legalized” assassination, indefinite detention, torture, and the hunting of whistleblowers and journalists like enemies of the state. Today, Donald Trump promises to further expand this terrifying trend.
But if we can restore to the U.S.A. some semblance of a law-respecting, reasonably democratic republic, we might still have a chance to mitigate some potentially horrific futures. We might even avert the worst potential outcomes and save billions of lives… if only by averting World War III.
If it weren’t for the scope of the peril we’re all in, I’M SURE I WOULD STOP PLAYING THE GADFLY WITH “POLITICS” SO RELENTLESSLY (and would call my friends on the phone, more often, frequently suggesting get-togethers over: libations, victuals, entertainment, hikes, kite-flying, dog-walking, bowling, Dostoevsky…).
But we all do what we must. I just hope someone’s listening, out there. Because this is one “Cassandra” who’s getting sick and tired of making the right calls, years in advance, while my people get herded like doomed lemmings, divided and conquered by politicians and media hacks with the ethics and morals of Nazis.
Yes, THE END IS NIGH! But maybe it doesn’t have to be… which is why I continue to bother with this kind of writing. Perhaps all we have to do is stop listening to the hucksters who brought us here. That would at least represent a step in the right direction.