All Rights Reserved © 2006 Thomas W. Day
Joe Klein is a funny guy. I'm never sure if he's trying to be funny, but he usually is (even if it's in spite of himself). He's doing a hard set, too. Time Magazine is filled with funny guys and girls. This uber-conservative-trying-to-appear-fair-and-balanced rag is so full of contradictions and irrational statements that it has the feel of a wordy Mag Magazine suffering from absentee editors. I can never guess what kind of wackiness Time will deliver, but I can always count on it being biased and marginally researched. Consistency is the spice of conservatism. Klein, still, puts on a consistently funny set.
I bumped into Joe Klein, the Time Magazine commentator, accidentally. Pretty much the same way I discovered jazz through a childish subscription to the Columbia Record Club in 1957. After a few years of being nagged by Northwest Airlines to do something with my Frequent Flyer Miles, I randomly checked off a pile of boxes on their magazine subscription option and returned to my life. Most of the rags I picked have been disappointing, which is why I don't spend real money on them. A couple bankrupted and disappeared before they delivered their first issue. Time has been an education.
This month, Klein began his column (titled "The Iran Factor") with this little dialog, "When I visited Iran a few years ago, my favorite question was, 'Who runs this country?' The response often was nervous laughter, followed by a raised eyebrow, a shrug and a stage whisper: 'The dark forces.'"
Klein went on to describe this mysterious country with it's levels and shades of "governmental and religious and bazaari" conspirators and a hilarious quote from a "senior U.S. diplomat," "We really don't have any real idea about what goes on inside that government."
I'm blowing breakfast cereal milk from my nose and I'm not even half-way through the article. I'm having recent-news-flashbacks, suffering survivor-syndrome, and post-traumatic-stress episodes. What country is Klein talking about? Iran? Amerika? Them? Us? Both them and us? Damn this is funny stuff!
Ok, ok, I'm better now. I put away the cereal bowl. I'm not sipping coffee. I'm just going to try to write this rant without letting any complications confuse the issue.
So, who the hell is Klein talking about? If it weren't for the article's title and an occasional reference to some Islamic nutjob with a name that appears to be a random list of consonants, I'd have thought he was talking about us. The USofA. The country now known as Amerika the Red.
If there is any country in the world that is being run by mysterious "Dark Forces," it's us. The neocons think the country is controlled by Satanists, Hollywood, and the totally invisible, amazingly silent liberal MSM. Liberals think the country has gone to hell and is being disassembled for fuel by shark-mind international corporations, greedy bankers and investment hucksters, neo-Nazi Christian fundamentalists, crooked electronic election machine manufacturers, and disgruntled Cold War military-industrial leftovers. The Silent Majority, recently more accurately renamed "the TFM vote" (see "Bush Losing Core Supporters"), blames witches, liberals, and Mexicans for the nation's problems.
The only thing we all agree on is that this is no longer a representative democracy and that the "we the people" opening declaration of the Constitution of the United States is no longer applicable. While "government of the people, by the people, for the people" may be an obsolete concept, replacing "people" with "corporation" might get closer to the truth. However, corporations are not the living entities that our flawed judicial system imagines. Corporations are simply shields and tax haves for our elite ruling class. This group is as theocratic, shadowy, and self-interested as anything the craziest folks in Iran could dream up.
The incredible effort Republicans and the media have put behind redefining the Estate Tax as the ominous "Death Tax" is a wonderful example of how powerful and insidious our richest few can be. The fact that the media hasn't laughed this campaign into late night talk show comedy routines tells us all we need to know about the power of our "Dark Forces." These folks control the country so completely that we've lost our sense of humor regarding their motivations and manipulations. Damn, that's good propaganda!
Back in Kansas, earlier this summer, I listened to my one of my family's crazies rant about "activist judges" describing the unknown Dark Forces that loosed the terror of lawlessness on the country. Casually, I asked for an example of judges making law, knowing full well the answer would be "Roe vs. Wade." I wasn't disappointed, but the explanation was so filled with right wing MSM misrepresentations that I was amazed that even my foolish Kansas relatives could be so easily duped. In some states, apparently, for practical purposes you can "fool all of the people all of the time."
The Iranian Dark Forces are not particularly clever and either are ours. The fatal flaw in democratic government is that an open government has few defenses against an uneducated and ignorant public. The easiest way to overthrow a democracy is to, first, damage public education. Follow that by turning over the nation's information systems to corrupt interests and you have a simple blueprint for transferring power from the citizens to the Dark Forces.
The fact that a popular magazine like Time can publish an article like Klein's "The Iran Factor" without a hint of irony, expecting no blow-back and no outrage, is a sign of the times. Simply by wiping out the free press, eliminating quality public education, and handing over the reins of power to corporate interests, we've given up any hope of democratic reforms. Apparently, we're content to worry about other nations' paranoid hysteria while tolerating our own.