If you ever needed evidence that the US has become a nation of television-watchers, this past Tuesday morning was a good example. Morning radio shows all talked about the memorial service for Steve Irwin, a television conservationist who died confronting an animal best left alone. Everyone marveled at the speech given by his daughter. Everyone talked about what a hero he was. Except, he wasn't.
A couple times a week, America buries it's true heroes. They don't get tributes from morning radio shows, and dignitaries and celebrities don't turn out to honor them or pay them respects. The cries of their children, their spouses, their parents aren't glamorized by glib personalities. These heroes, too, died confronting something that was best left alone. There is no thank you for giving your life from those who have benefitted the most from their sacrifice. And because these people aren't beamed into our living rooms, spouting catchphrases and mugging for the media as they molest and maul mammals, the television-watchers don't care.
Oh sure, they'll slap a magnetic ribbon on the vehicle and think they've done their part, but the families who have lost a member don't get anything from that. Some cash-craving capitalists pockets the change and gets a tax-cut to boot. Because that's all they want-a tax cut. That and the freedom to exploit the paranoia of the television watcher nation.
This November, the citizens of this country face one of the most important elections since the last one. They have a chance to vote for change that will end the sacrifices made by our heroes for a cause that has turned out to be unjust. They will have the oppurtunity to prevent more heroes needlessly wasted to fill an agenda that serves only those at the top, who have not had to sacrifice a thing.
The tyrants in power know how to manipulate the television-watchers. They know they cannot run on their economic policies, which have created record trade deficits. They have created record budget deficits. They have allowed more and more of our jobs to be siphoned off, so they can enjoy more money, and then refuse to take responsibility for the consequences of these actions. Record foreclosures. Slowing job growths. Slowing construction starts. Lay-offs. Can't take that path.
And they cannot run on their social agenda. Poison the environment. Legalize discrimination and intolerance. Establishing a theocracy to rival those in the Middle East.
So they're back to the one card in the deck they know how to play. National security. The first step, create a problem where no problem existed before. Last time, it was Iraq. Nobody liked Saddam anyway, so no-one would squeak if we took him out. Now our eyes are on another country. Our president tried to convince the world that we needed to stop them. Before they acquired the means to stand up to our agression. Every violation of the constitution is justified for "reasons of national security".
And how are they able to achieve this? The talking heads tell the televison-watchers topics to think about. Glenn Beck says Iran is up to something. Bill O'Reilly says waterboarding is safe and reliable. Free speech is bad, strip searches are good. As long as the television-watchers are terrified, they can do as they please.