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First of all, I want to wish all of my subscribers and more a belated Happy New Year. I know it's a bit late, but I've been burying myself in work with writing and painting and more. Also - and I deeply regret this - I'm still trying to work past all of the things that caused me to so thoroughly isolate myself to begin with. It's proving to be more difficult than I thought to overcome all of that. My skin has become a lot thinner in recent times.
I've made a couple New Years Resolutions. To be more productive, get more done, and generally try and enjoy my life some more. But...I feel the need to explain something.
I've been doing some thinking. It's a dangerous habit, I know. But nonetheless, I've come to some conclusions.
First of all, I've decided that the United States of America is horribly, systemically corrupt. That big corporations and the wealthy elite have bought it, and that there are a plethora of politicians who live in their pockets. Even worse, the news media as a whole? The people that we count on to keep us informed as to such activities? They've also been bought and paid for.
Why do I say that? Well, think about it. Broadcasting all of those news shows takes money. Money generally comes in the form of advertising, and is also supplied by the company that happens to own the station in question. And just as politicians are bought with campaign donations and more, so news networks are also bought with advertising money and so on.
For the record, this bit about the news being influenced by advertisers? That's not just random supposition on my part. One of my teachers used to work for the news media. And he told me how easy it was for a news channel to kill a story or distract the viewers with hype and so on.
Now I'm not some extremist idiot who's going to go and lecture you about the evils of big government before running off to join some militia. But at the same time, I honestly think that trusting implicitly in government is a catastrophic mistake.
Because at the end of the day, the government is a machine. In fact, it's an even more of a machine than the computer I'm working at right now. And a far less reliable and trustworthy one at that.
Why do I say that? Well, think about it. A computer with its basic operating system will function to the best of its ability. Can it be hacked? Yes. I've had my share of adware and I will never do online banking, simply because I don't want anything evil to happen to my account numbers. And you do need to be careful about viruses than can turn your computer against you. Don't deny that in the least. But even so, my computer can't wake up one day and decide that it will sell me out because some big company will give it gold-plated circuit cards or whatever.
The government is different. Yes, there are politicians who honestly want what's best for the people as a whole. (I'm looking right at you, Bernie Sanders!) But there are just as many who are looking out for their own interests. Who are in league with corporations in exchange for donations and a big, cushy job when their tenure in government is over. Who exploit their position and the power entrusted to them for their own selfish goals. Who one day decide that they care more about themselves than the people they're supposed to represent and will thus disregard them in favor of catering to whomever will give them the most money.
In fact, I think you can very easily say the same thing about every major for-profit organization. Yes, there are plenty of police officers and military people who get into it for the sake of protecting others. But I'd wager that there are least as many who get into such roles just because they need a job, they need a means of making a living. There are those who want to exploit the power entrusted them for whatever reason. And sadly, there are also those who go bad because they aren't making enough money or they're in a bad position and one day, they succumb to the temptation of taking drug money from a bust or something of that nature.
And that's why we need watchdog organizations and independent media. And more importantly, why people need to be ready and willing to fight for their own rights. Because there are far too many people in positions in power who have made it clear that they view people as an inconvenient speed bump on the road to making more money at best, and something to exploited to death at worst.
Don't believe me? Let's take a look at some recent events.
Anybody hear about Standing Rock? About the North Dakota Access Pipeline that was put on hold by President Obama? I wouldn't be surprised if you hadn't. It's not something that made the news very often. So if you hadn't heard about how the Sioux people were fighting to prevent a pipeline being built through a burial site and then underneath their only source of drinking water, I'd understand. But did you know about all of the injustices that the people there have suffered because of Energy Transfer Partners and their cronies? About how the police have been blasting the protesters with water cannons in sub-freezing temperatures, hitting them with tear gas and even how a woman nearly got her arm blown off by a grenade? All while the Sioux were engaging solely in non-violent protest?
Here. Have a look for yourselves.
This is happening here in America. Not a dictatorship. Not in some third-world country. It's happening here. In the richest country on the face of the planet.
And that's not all. Did you ever stop to wonder why America has been at war so much for the past few decades. I mean, I guess us being at war should be of no surprise at this point. In 2015, it was reported that America has been at war for 222 years out of 239. That's...a lot of war. But we have been heavily involved in war in the Middle East for 15 years now. So why. Why are we at war now? Heck, for that matter, what was the real reason for George W. Bush setting off another Iraq War after 9-11?
Offhand, I'd say "money" is the big reason. Check this out.
That's an awful lot of money in the pockets of big military contractors. I guess there's truth in the Ferengi 34th Rule of Acquisition. War has definitely been good for these businesses. And since those businesses are big donors to big politicians, I'd be willing to bet that their voices carry a lot of weight with them. But that war certainly hasn't been good for either the citizens of Iraq or the US. Because that war cost Iraqi lives, and it cost America $1.7 trillion. Not over a billion. Over a trillion. www.reuters.com/article/us-ira…
People have asked me why I write these journals. Why I obsess over politics and the state of this country when I should be concentrating on myself and myself alone. And I can understand that logic. After all, one thing that frustrated me with my mother was that she would always put off doing anything that would help us, but always do something to help others. I sometimes wondered if our little family wasn't as important as people I didn't even know.
But you know something? While I am trying to take care of myself, I do feel that I have to do more. For myself and the people around me. Because we're all facing the same challenges. We're all fighting for our rights to live, to exist. To have lives that are worth living. And because America isn't great. It's very, very fragile. But it's still worth fighting for.
Here, let me read you this:
"He told you that Americans were the greatest people...that America could be refined like silver, could have the impurities hammered out of it, and shine more brightly! He went on about how precious America was - how you needed to make sure that it remained great! And he told you anything was justified to preserve that great treasure, that pearl of great price that was America! Well, I say America is nothing! Without its ideals — its commitment to the freedom of all men, America is a piece of trash!A nation is nothing! A flag is a piece of cloth!I fought Adolf Hitler not because America was great, but because it was fragile! I knew that liberty could be snuffed out here as in Nazi Germany! As a people, we were no different then them! When I returned, I saw that you nearly did turn American into nothing! And the only reason you're not less than nothing — is that it's still possible for you too bring freedom back to America!"
Who said these words?
Yes, the comics may be a work of fiction. But that doesn't mean those words have any less weight to them. Because more and more, America has come to value money over the lives and rights. Corporations and wealth over people. And I think that that's simply intolerable.
Let me end with some other words of wisdom. These from the Founding Fathers of America.
I might not be able to do much, but I will do what I can. I've started composting what organic waste I can instead of just adding more and more to landfills. I'm looking into various forms of green energy and hydroponics and various movements to get money out of politics. Because even if I can't do a lot...I have to do that much.
And I hope everyone else out there will do so as well.