The frog of American democracy is no longer boiling, it’s dead. How do I know? By observing the public response to the actions undertaken during the last week by San Francisco 49ers quarterback, Colin Kaepernick.
I have always disliked the patriotic symbols: the "stars and stripes grand old flag," the pledge of allegiance that we had to say every morning in grammar school while holding our hand on our heart, the national anthem which we had to stand up during the playing of.
I learned early on that if we didn't respond to these symbolic rituals with worshipful solemnity that it would be taken as dissing the USA and that people reacted as if you had behaved badly during a church service.
I don't hate the USA, far from it, but I never did like these expressions of allegience with their underlying assumption that it was God's special sacred chosen country and that we owed it to its presumed holy status to not only participate in these rituals but that you were not a good properly respectful person if you didn't respond to them with teary eyed true belief.
Just as Goebbels pointed out to Hitler that THE PEOPLE do not want war, but can be made to accept it IF they feel they are under sufficient threat; a society does not organically exalt those in uniform. It takes a LOT of soft and hard propaganda to achieve that ends; and indeed that has been the protocol in order to grant to the MIC all of the undue influence that Eisenhower warned against.
So films glorify the gun-wielding officer of the law whose own actions are just as violent as those of the criminal. I'm referring to the Dirty Harry series and how it began to revere the gun-toting "man of the law."
Virtually a constant are films that represent war.
While films that were very critical of the Vietnam War (The Deer Hunter, Platoon, and others) were produced prior to 911, since that event, films tend to exalt serial killers (American Sniper) and torture (Zero Dark 30).
At football games (which are practically a religion in this nation, particularly to males) there are military fly-overs and the national anthem which itself speaks of "rockets red glare" and "bombs bursting mid-air." Tributes to Mars, god of war, all.
Many high schools allow in military recruiters and then there are those video games that teach young men (mostly) how easy it is to kill. After all the space between the video game and the drone-pilot kills is not wide.
Most of our society has been conditioned to see the military as something normative and increasingly, to view war as a constant.
This has been conditioned.
It's not as if the war critics get any media time.
It's not as if anyone with a conscience could speak out and question the 911 event that became the rationale for a string of wars that were already planned and IN the works (Project for a New American Century stipulated this very thing).
Mr. Harrington gets to the point--that is, Mars Rules conditioning about midway through his essay:
"Mr. Halloran, no doubt emboldened by the concerted post 9-11 proapaganda effort to glorify all thing having to do with the military and the police, has turned this core democratic logic on its head. Like a medieval lord, convinced of his superior status before God, he demands that the non-gun- toting subjects of his realm kneel before him in praise, and should one of these minions ever slip up and voice criticism of the always impollute actions of the lord and his chosen vassals, that this reprobate rapidly demand forgiveness from the masters."
What I've always noted in his writing is his complete silence on the gender matter and how it is that up until the MIC called in females, WAR was a guy thing and guns the preference of males.
By conditioning females to see the rites and rituals of Mars Rules as normal and inviting them into the fold, those who put War First undermine the force (some of it) that is intended to counterbalance the drive to kill (by replacing it with the drive to nurture and protect life).
Thank you Mr. Harrington.
I keep waiting for this story about what Kaepernick did to go away. Some people in my professed liberal family gasped on this one in shock. How could he do that?
The same thing happened when the story came out about the police being threatened. Since there is a policeman in our family everyone was very upset. So much so that when I mentioned that people of color are sick of being shot down in the streets, that side of the family became angry and it caused a stand off that isn't over yet. That of course meant that I was against all police.
The uniform worship in this country divides and hurts people in ways that are unexpected. I hate to say it but it reeks of Germany in the days leading up to the war. You are with us or against us. (Thanks G.Bush)
I'm so sick of facebook friends posting pictures of police or military people with a caption like "How many likes can this hero get" or "like if you believe this person is a hero". They give me a gag reflex. Mind you, my friends and family all see themselves as liberal.
Absolutely spot on, Mr. Harrington. A "culture of bullying" is what we have.
Bullying, silencing, punishing dissonance / dissidence. It permeates every major social institution (school, work, both front lots of supposed "anti-bullying" rhetoric but the functional structure of both is built on official bullying). And it permeates most individual consciousnesses.
Here's another reason that frog is dead.
Please don't believe anything in the Money $tream Media.
Very good article, Mr. Harrington. Thank you for writing. I would love to share it but am not on any social media. I would be interested to see if someone like The New York Times would publish it. Maybe send it to some major outlets and see what happens? Let us know....
Donald Trump thinks that we should teach patriotism in our schools.
Fascists have always fought for the right to indoctrinate the young.
But what's disturbing is the fact that our schools seem to be producing people without the capacity to think critically.
How and when did that change take place?
Colin Kaepernick is a star - reminds me of Tommie Smith and John Carlos. However the "boiling frog" image is inaccurate - this is the image that describes Global Warming.
Given the media publicity, you'd think he'd torched a flag waving over the stadium with a flamethrower.
The MSM proves once again what a worthless, pablum-feeding, propaganda-dispensing, waste of air time and printer's ink it really is.
Can anyone imagine the media of any country other than the USA making a federal issue of such an innocuous action as sitting?
I would have to say that the frog's death preceded Kaepernickgate with a few much more important issues; including the hands-off treatment of Wall Street malfeasance and BushCo war crimes, the revolving door of Washington, K Street and Wall Street, election fraud, militarized police, secret drone warfare and too many others to list.
A relief to read in-depth thoughts on our increasingly shallow mass media coverage of courageous acts. Having lived through the McCarthy era, having my movie/music/radio heroes black-listed, I realize this is more than a recurrence. The capitalist game-players have no scruples and are to be pitied (I have to keep reminding myself). When I meet with an Interfaith group we find we agree so much on the necessity of unifying our human race with the tools of communication and cooperation that we are seeking language to spread that ideal - not by social media but in-person to in-person. Not to criticize commentaries like CD, for it is very therapeutic to express our anger and anxiety while processing our own inadequacies as we edit our writings. Bless Common Dreams and its commenters. I would donate if I were not below the poverty income level. The 88 year-old brain has slowed significantly, but I'll continue to wear it out, not rust out.
Well done. I wish we were exposed more to Professor Harrington's insights.
"How and when did that change take place?"
One (of many, I am sure) was reflected in the Texas Republican platform of 2014 which paraphrased stated that they were against 'school teaching critical thinking skills to students as it might cause them to question their government or disrespect their parents'.
The Military is the Problem... It is not the quarterback or his actions that is the problem.
And it is not the Flag that is the problem. It is now what this government and this military have done to this Flag . This Flag no longer represents the Republic of old, to which people are referring. No this Flag now represents the Empire and its military....A Military that is Drone-ing death to civilians, a military that is occupying many bases in the world, a Military that has destroyed much of the Middle East with more to come.... a MIlitary that is Militarizing the civilian police force.....No it is not the quarterback, but the Military that is the problem... If you are in the Military or served there, the Military protects Corporations and Business interest in addition to protecting the Duopoly of a government that we have.....This is no longer the Country that people are wishing for, or the Country to Make Great again per DT.... Wake up to the new world....
What is it about sports events that fosters boosterism for the military, the police, and other "heroes."
Is it the uniforms? Especially the gladiator-like football uniforms?
Aren't all teachers failing in this task across the country?
Contrived and manufactured by whom?
Gladiator & Nazi Uniforms.... very similar to the Uniforms of the State Police (....or "Police State if flipped over)....
You are so right. In fact in this conversation that ended up so badly I mentioned that officers should report the bad apples among them and I was told "to who?", meaning of course that the one's in charge are corrupt as well.
I've had my fill of half assed liberals and that part of my family is no exception.