On Gloom, Hypocrisy and Despair on a Beautiful day in December, 2018, A Christmas Carol of Sorts

Guillermo Calvo Mahé and Diana Marcela Cardenas Garcia, December 13, 2018

Rich men and beggers, circa 4 bc
“Rants for today, interesting … in a putrid sort of way”. 


I believe in freedom to migrate, everywhere, as a basic human right.  The corollary of course is that the current sacrosanct state system is anathema.  Of course, that world, John Lennon’s dream in his beautiful anthem “Imagine” is not the one in which we live (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_FobtxWH_c, in case you want to listen to it and reflect).

Hmmm, “Imagine there’s no countries, it isn’t hard to do, nothing to kill or die for, and no religion, too.  Imagine all the people living life in peace?  You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.  I hope some-day you’ll join us and the world will be as one.

Did you know his middle name was Winston?  Anyway, as to rants, they purport to relieve stress so they’re not always fruitless.

While I am an open immigration advocate, not only for the benefit of the “huddled masses” involved but for all the positive things they traditionally bring to their adopted countries, I also believe in the rule of law and find legislators who pervert the concept for fun and profit (and mainly perpetuation of power) to be “outlaws” in the real sense of that word, makes sense doesn’t it.  I also find politicians and purported journalists who manipulate issues pertaining to the most vulnerable among us for partisan political purposes to be evil, evil in a tangible sense, so evil that their continued existence is a serious threat to human survival.  People can be wrong, that is not the same thing, people can be inept and stupid, but that is not the same.  Evil is something else, much more terrible although, all too frequently, the results are the same.

The so called Western World, primarily the United States and non-Russian Europe, find themselves in a very serious and precarious position of their own making, well, at least one made by their evil and inept political leaders, those whose lives and “honor” are pledged to the neoliberal economic ideal (“more for me and the hell with anyone else”), an ideal usually attained through neoconservative intervention; leaders like the Republican Bush presidents and their coterie but even more so by Clinton – Obama Democrats[1], the team that gave us the Honduran coup and subsequent sociopolitical disaster and then the destruction of Libya and attempted destruction of Syria, the Ukrainian coup and follow-up disasters, the group who now, with the assistance of their duplicitous media allies, point fingers at everyone but themselves articulately lamenting in structured photo ops purported child abuse, which they themselves pioneered and continue to champion in the aptly named United States criminal justice system, a social phenomenon of long standing where millions of children are separated from their parents every day.  Hypocrisy as an art form, not a new genre to be sure, but surely now perfected.

On December 13, 2018 (today as this is written) an interesting article written by Reuters’ Mohammed Salem appeared in an ironically interesting news source, one of the few that sometimes reports accurately on United States issues albeit from a curious Russian perspective, RT (formerly Russia Today).  It was entitled “‘US stole from Honduras more’: Migrants at US border demand $50k ‘reparations’ & faster processing”.  There are legitimate refugees, victims of policies implemented by the governments of the countries they are now perhaps justifiably “invading” en masse, seeking succor and opportunity.  But then there are the staged political opportunists who, with children, frequently not their own as human shields, seek quick bucks; the hustlers and opportunists who prey on real victims and anyone else within reach, the spiritual cousins to the horrible political classes and fiction writers disguised as mainstream journalists who are responsible for our current misery and for bringing us to the brink of civil war and, if that is not enough, to the nadir of  nuclear annihilation, all, apparently, in order to satisfy the mad craving for power and fame of  a particularly unattractive (in every sense) cackling dowager, and of course, of her cronies, hangers on and poor misguided groupies.

Of course the refugee/migration problem is far from the only one, nor is it even the most pressing (pardon the pun, assuming you got it).  There are many, most prominently the economic incoherence that afflicts the entire world and the blowback from Israeli quests for “lebensraum”.  They seem tenacious but ought not to be.  The most frustrating aspect of the myriad of problems that befuddle us is that all have multiple possible solutions, solutions we could implement today, all they require is a bit more equity in the distribution of wealth and opportunity, a bit more tolerance for diversity (which, ironically ought to include those with social perspectives of which the more enlightened among us fail to approve), the use of comedy, not to calumny and hurt but to generate happiness.  No one on this planet need ever be hungry or without clothing or shelter, or without medical care or without as sophisticated an education as they want, and that’s true even if they don’t feel the urge to work.  That is not a Utopian dream but the reality modern technology affords us, … and the threat.  There is not enough work for those seeking it as machines can do it faster and more inexpensively, that science fiction scenario has become a reality but the Calvinist work ethic inhibits obvious solutions, solutions like a universal guaranteed wage, reduced workweeks and increased leisure.  All the goods and services required to attain universal equity are already available but the related resources have been appropriated by the filthy rich, by people like the loathsome pariah Jeff Bezos, owner of the Washington Post and Amazon, or Carlos Slim, owner of the New York Times and many other enterprises, or Mark Zuckerberg, the controlling stockholder of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc., or Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the controlling stockholders of Google, or the thousands of athletes and Hollywood entertainers hypocritically immersed in politics, or Nancy Pelosi, the near billionaire (apparently) incoming Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, or the Clintons or the Obamas – who have become obscenely wealthy as they collect their due from their erstwhile Wall Street and Madison Avenue patrons.  But every night innocents die of hunger, or exposure, or bombs dropped by drones in the night.

It’s the Christmas Season, perhaps an appropriately fake holiday stolen from others (e.g., Mithras, the crucified son of a virgin and purportedly born on December 25), one that is used more and more efficiently to separate us not only from our money (in quest of consumerist delights) but from the values and moral compasses once espoused in the name of an itinerant Palestinian carpenter of Hebrew descent (most of today’s Palestinians, as opposed to most European Jews, fit that profile): those of mercy and love and dedication to helping the most vulnerable among us.  But we make up for that by joining our fellow sheep and lemmings in pageants in temples and churches and mosques, pageants led by affluent representatives of long dead martyrs who would vomit themselves to death if they saw what is daily done in their names, even if they were only men rather than the deities or prophets proclaimed while on earth.

Hmmm, again, thinking of Lennon: “Imagine there’s no heaven, it’s easy if you try, no hell below us, above us, only skies.  Imagine all the people living for today.  You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.  I hope some-day you’ll join us and the world will be as one.”

Saul of Tarsus, the Jewish-Roman religious entrepreneur, as much a huckster as anyone today and as much of a hypocrite, foresaw what we’d become: an exaggerated reflection of what many were then.  He cleverly deflected the humane teachings of his purported master, using them to defend bigotry and misogyny instead.  Our political and media “leaders” have outdone him.  As Luis XV is reputed to have said, “après moi le déluge” (or was that Madame de Pompadour).  The deluge is now here and appears to be torrential, kind of puts me in mind of day ten of the purported Great Flood of Biblical fame, but without the arc.

Recently an old ditty has been playing over and over in my mind:  ….  “Gloom, despair and agony on me, deep dark depression, excessive misery, if it weren’t for bad luck I’d have no luck at all, gloom despair and agony on me”. (Roy Clark and Buck Owens, Hee Haw, circa some when in the 1970’s, a less depressing time).

Perhaps an anthem for our times.  One a bit more accurate than John Lennon’s “Imagine”.

John Lennon, gone too soon.  But, …

Imagine if you can”.

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2018; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia although he has primarily lived in the United States of America (of which he is a citizen).  Until recently he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at http://www.guillermocalvo.com.

[1] See, e.g., Paul Street’s article “Can a New Political Party Save America from Itself?” published in Truthdig on December 11, 2018, a great exposition on point.

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