Loss of Belief

No, this isn’t about religion or God. I’m losing belief in the most basic stuff: the stuff we hear on the news every day.

I can’t bring myself to believe Ken Lay is really dead. It’s too convenient for himself, his family, and the administration (Lay was in on those early and likely treasonous energy/Iraq/oil-price meetings with Cheney). He strikes me as too rich, powerful, and pathological not to get out of it. Find a body, pay off a coroner, and go to the beach. It’s not a terribly elaborate conspiracy.

That same July 4th, when news of North Korea’s launches was broadcast, I didn’t feel sure we were being told what was happening, either. Not that news agencies can really know, either. Did they launch? Were they thwarted by a US counterstrike, or by their own ineptitude? Do they know? Do we?

I’m not saying one thing or the other happened – just that I stare at the news and don’t believe anything they’re saying. I’ve got no idea.

And I find I can trace this sense of uncertainty to the 2004 election. The 2000 election was crooked, but the fraud was rather out in the open. We watched hired thugs stop the Florida recount by trying to break into the room where the counting was happening – and delay the process long enough for the Supreme Court to choose Bush as the President. But the 2004 voter fraud in Ohio, now fully documented by Robert Kennedy Jr. in Rolling Stone, was an entirely more hidden affair. Diebold voting machines, teams of fraud squads, and election officials too afraid that disclosure of what happened will turn people off voting forever.

It’s sad and confusing not to live in a democracy, anymore, and this is part of what leads me to question coverage of any events that involve our government. And while it’s quite plainly true, it’s a bit too unthinkable for most sane people to accept. It goes in the same mental basket as more outlandish thoughts — such as dynamite on the WTC or no airplane crashing into the Pentagon — even though it’s not conjecture, it’s just plain real.

So what I’m coming to grips with is accepting that I don’t live in a democratic nation, and that the propaganda state attempted in 1930’s Europe did finally reach fruition. Maybe I’m just old, and have a very idealistic view of democracy. When I was a kid, we were all told that this is a government of the people, and that our votes provided a check on the power of our leaders. That’s why we called them “elected.”

But I don’t think I’m that out of the ordinary. And instead of trying to feel better about all this, I’m going to allow myself to feel worse. See where that takes me, and if I find it brings me somewhere more capable of changing the situation, I’ll attempt to instill that feeling in others.

It does go back to belief in religion, on some level, because those replacement fantasy ideals can satisfy a person for a while – prevent final disillusionment. But final disillusionment is probably required to enact the kind of changes required of us if we want to attempt the democratic experiment again.

If not, we can just return to our regularly scheduled programming.