Suppose I told you that terrorists had launched a series of attacks on the U.S. that killed over 400 people, caused billions of dollars in damage, and leveled large sections of several cities? Suppose I told you that these same terrorists had also caused the flooding of hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland and numerous small towns? And suppose i told you that our government seems utterly clueless about the identity of these terrorists and is doing nothing to stop them–that, indeed, a great many legislators, including a majority in one house of Congress, are simultaneously denying that these terrorists exist and passing laws that seem designed to aid and abet them? And suppose I told you that our government is not only ignoring these terrorists, but dashing madly off in the wrong direction, using its resources to combat imaginary enemies, and even prosecuting people who attempt in some way to counter the real threat to our national, not to say individual, security?
It’s happening. The terrorists didn’t use bombs, or airplanes, or anthrax. Tornadoes and torrential rain did the trick. Our country is undergoing a massive, sustained terrorist attack from the natural world.
And suppose I told you there was yet another gang of terrorists who are doing everything they can to destroy this country economically–by defunding and demoralizing our educational system, eliminating every middle-class job they can get their hands on, and throwing people out of their homes, even when they’re not behind on their mortgages? And that this gang of terrorists seems to be proceeding with the overt backing of not only our government, but millions of voters?
I mean, it’s like “mice for fat cats” or “rabbits for hawks.” Instead, we’re calling it “The Tea Party.”Finally, suppose I pointed out to you that the government, instead of going after these terrorists, who are doing such widespread, real damage, is spending our tax dollars prosecuting environmentalists who attempt to bring attention to the real terrorists, whistle blowers like Bradley Manning, who draw attention to what a poor job the government “of the people” is doing “for the people,” and luring Muslim youth into government-fabricated “terrorist plots” so it can prosecute and incarcerate them at our expense, as well as threatening to arrest state employees for helping implement state-run medical marijuana programs, and busting Amish farmers for selling raw milk to willing customers.
Can you say, “straining out gnats and swallowing camels,” boys and girls? Is there a pattern here? Can you connect the dots?
The dots most people aren’t connecting here are the ones that point to how we, including me, my wife, our numerous internal combustion engines and our dependence on grid-generated electric power, are feeding both the power of our planet’s weather systems and the power of our insatiable financial elite.
Both equations are simple. The planet is warming, and we are turning its forests, with their ability to sequester both water and carbon dioxide, into various single-use consumer goods that sequester neither water nor CO2, meanwhile burning all the carbon-based fuels we can, as fast as we can, throwing even more CO2 into the atmosphere, warming the planet. A warmer atmosphere creates more evaporation, putting more water in the atmosphere. More moisture in the atmosphere creates the potential for more and stronger storm systems. And here we are, biting our own ass.
Similarly, it’s almost impossible to function in this country without feeding the corporate demons that seem to be hell-bent on devouring the world. Automobile? Insurance? Property? Internet connection? Tools of any kind? Medical care?
Food and clothing? Maybe you grow most of your own food and buy most of your clothing at yard sales, but unless you’re saving all your own seeds, using only homemade compost, and scratching the ground with a pointed stick, you’re still dependent, and, let’s face it, all that second-hand clothing came from a factory somewhere. Still dependent.
And, if you try to hole up and devote all your time to being self-sufficient, you’re likely to have your local codes people knocking on your door, and, by the way, how are you going to pay your land taxes?
Truly, we are all caught in a web. Some people are resigned to being spider food, but some of us are doing everything we can to free ourselves. The Hopi had a word for our situation–”Koyaanisqatsi,” which means
“crazy life, life in turmoil, life out of balance, life disintegrating, a state of life that calls for another way of living”
So, just how are we going to get back in balance, find that other way of living?
In the Tibetan tradition, when you are afflicted with a demon, sometimes the best thing to do is to create a bigger demon who will smash the one who is attacking you; and that, I think, is what we have done. Financial vampires may seem to have the upper hand right now, but the natural world demons they/we have unleashed will, in the end, prove to be much more powerful than any financial instrument, weapon, or government.
I’ve said it before, stolen it from James Kunstler, actually, but–get yourselves plenty of popcorn and drinking water, and a good umbrella. It’s gonna be a great show from the cheap seats. The expensive seats? You wouldn’t wanna be in those. That’s where things land when they go off the track.