The Year of Living Dangerously

Manuel Valenzuela
Feb. 07, 2008

Can you smell the smoked fumes of a discombobulated economic engine that has ceased to function, its synergy spitting and sputtering, its many parts thrashed by the claws, and vices, of neoliberal capitalism? Can you feel the dismantling of the economic spark plug, the American consumer, as our livelihoods are sacrificed to the greed, and incompetence, of the establishment and as the value of our lives is further enslaved to the Almighty Dollar and its puppet masters?

Can you hear the roar of authoritarian Machiavelli-types, of which many exist, cheering as the Constitution is discarded like yesterday's trash, its principles and foundations burned inside the incinerator of fascism? Can you hear the searing of one of the greatest documents of governance ever created by man as it goes up in flames thanks to the kerosene thrown at it by American corporatists in power, its ashes slowly scattering into the realm of nothingness?

Can you see, if not blinded by tele-trash and infotainment, by the propaganda we call news, by the lies and deceit and censorship of the corporate media, by the comforting glow of television, by the charade that is American democracy and by the myriad distractions of bread and circus, the approaching finality of American liberty and freedom, soon to be replaced by Big Brother, a surveillance society, a police state and full-fledged corporatism?

Can you sense the growing momentum of militarism and imperialism rampaging across the nation, and the globe, leaving nothing but hatred and animosity in its wake? Can you sense that imperialism and empire abroad and freedom and democracy at home are mutually exclusive, that to attain the former the latter must be sacrificed, and that inevitably the people must, for imperialism to function, be immersed in tyranny? Do you realize that we are one major shock, one major event away from catapulting our lives into the headwaters of an altogether different America?

If you are not angered, indeed enraged, by the current state of the United States, then you have not been paying attention, or you just do not care enough about the future your children will inherit, and have to live in. If you are not alarmed at where, at present, this course is invariably taking us, then you have abandoned the responsibilities of an informed citizen, preferring the comfortable warmth of ignorance to the absolute frigidity of a most ominous reality.

Indeed, it has been our passivity and acquiescence, bred of comfort, distraction and the erosion of critical thinking, that has facilitated our decent into authoritarian and corporatist waters. It has been our indifference and our "can't happen here" mentality that is inevitably guaranteeing that it does, in fact, "happen here." It is our inexperience with tyranny at home and our lack of exposure to authoritarian tendencies such as surveillance, secret police, torture, spying and disappearances, prevalent in many American supported states, encouraged by our government, though until recently non-existent here, that subjects us to a methodical assault by Machiavellian ideologies.

What billions of humans have first-hand experience in, oftentimes thanks to our government's sponsorship, funding, training, backing, protection and encouragement, we have not yet fully been subjected to. The dirty little secret that the people outside our borders understand fully, and which has been kept from us, is the principle that if America wishes to maintain its empire, it must then continue acting like an empire. This, of course, means maintaining a firm grip over its vassal states, by proxy through its puppets, using the methods any aspiring empire must use, namely tyranny, oppression, and repression along with the tools at the disposal of any credentialed authoritarian.

As the empire expands and seeks more control over lands, resources and people, its methods become more and more brutal, as native peoples become more resistant, with growing imperialism and addiction to hegemony needing greater amounts of military weaponry, violence and tyranny to squash and threaten resistance movements. In order to maintain its overstretched empire, America must therefore become openly fascist, a reality that cannot be fused with the freedoms, rights, liberties and democracy of its own people. The two principles, empire and liberty, are diametrically opposed, incompatible elements in a struggle to determine the future course of the nation.

Given that historically the nation's elite and its establishment have consistently chosen imperialism, expansion and empire building, there is no reason to believe that this hegemonic drive will decelerate. On the contrary, in a world of finite resources, eager and growing competitors, a globe that only seems to get smaller, with an ever-increasing population and with Washington enraptured in arrogance, self- aggrandizement, self-exceptionalism and greed, it is certain that the elite will invariably chose to sacrifice the Constitution, and the foundations of American society, and hence the freedoms, rights and liberties of the masses, in order to maintain and expand the realm of American hegemony. This paradigm is occurring today, in real time. The transformation is under way, right before our eyes.

For between the coup that was the 2000 general election, allowing entry into the executive branch of corporatists and authoritarians, and the first hours of the American Reichstag, or 9/11, that most catalyzing and transformative of events, the neocon Pearl Harbor, America, already a most vicious and evil empire in the decades before then, seemingly elevated its level of arrogance, unilateralism, defiance, wickedness, inhumanity and violence against the people of the world.

Whereas the 2000 stolen election introduced an era of open hostility, unilateralism and a "we will do what we want" mentality regarding the United States' view toward world relations, including the planning and green lighting of the attacks, invasions and occupations of Afghanistan, Iraq and other Middle East nations, 9/11 was the shock introducing the world to an America intent on global hegemony, now open and transparent, the new normal, the maker of humanity's new reality. The inside job of 9/11, aimed as a psychological attack on the American people, designed so the masses would become subservient and acquiescent to otherwise unpopular methods of empire building, also allowed the Pax Americana to begin its quest for hegemony on a more transparent, and thus easier, basis.

Before 9/11, as has been described above, America's elite were forced to rely on mostly clandestine methods of hegemonic expansion, as well as to at least give the impression of following and adhering to international law, its activities kept secret from its population only to maintain control on the home front, given the unpopularity of tyranny and all its tools. This made it much harder for the empire to achieve its goals. With the end of the Cold War, with its threat of an external bogeyman gone, which was used as an excuse to justify America's imperial aspirations, supposedly to defend freedom and democracy, new excuses had to be concocted, new enemies had to be created that would engender in the population acceptance towards a continuation of Manifest Destiny.

Hence, new methods of manipulation, such as 9/11, were implemented. The opportunity that was 9/11, a catalyzing and transformative event, allowed American fascists to continue their previous drive forward, only this time in a more open, methodical way, with the full engines of American societal and military might fully behind the endeavor to conquer the strategic lands, resources and peoples of the world in favor of American corporations, particularly the military-industrial-energy complex, and its elite. Today, much more than in the past, the criminality and control is done in full and open arrogance, not caring that the world becomes witness to an imperialism that is as systemic as it tyrannical.

9/11, for all its terror and fear inducing stupor, guaranteed compliance, passivity and even ignorant encouragement on the part of the American people. After all, an external, dark-skinned, unknown bogeyman had dared to attack the empire. It was only natural, then, that the empire fight back, even if those lands of the bogeyman were conveniently also those that had been preemptively chosen months and years before for invasion and attack due to the strategic locations and natural resources claimed by the empire itself. Under this rubric, along with the frivolous claim of bringing "freedom and democracy" to the Middle East and Central Asia, the American people were easy patsies to the maniacal ideology of American fascists in power.

What we call American-style imperialism has thus evolved, with 9/11 acting as its birth pangs, in open arrogance and unilateralism, in open state sponsored terrorism and hostility, in open defiance of and in direct confrontation with the peoples of the globe. Where once clandestine mass murder, violence, war, coups, repression, tyranny, executions, assassinations, disappearances, collective punishment, dehumanization and torture dictated the empire's maneuvers to control the people and places of the world, with its assortment of dictators, tyrants, juntas, kings, proconsuls, ministers and elite fraudsters helping maintain and expand the fields of empire, the next stage of the empire's temerity has brought imperialism into plain sight.

Today the world entire can see, with the exception of those living inside the empire itself, -- for most citizens choose a cocktail of delusion, denial, beliefs in exceptionalism and the inherent goodness of America, an absence of reason and self-imposed ignorance in order to secure an "out of sight, out of mind" mentality -- what millions of human beings have experienced for decades. American imperialism and empire building has become an accepted reality, a "new normal," with its attempts at building and securing hegemonic power throughout the world, through threats, violence, war, economic strangulation and market colonialism, as evident as cold in winter and as real as sunrises in the east.


What is new, and what is not fully understood by the vast majority of the 310 million people it affects, however, is that the empire has brought clandestine corporatism and authoritarian rule inside the very shores of America. It has begun importing the very essence of the imperial methods it has and continues to use abroad, most of which have been very successful in controlling its domain, and thus expanding its global hegemony.

This has been achieved by the criminal manipulation of psychology; by the induction of fear into the populace; by the mass propaganda of sacrificing liberty for security -- which achieves neither -- ; by conditioning the masses to think only in foggy black and white, good versus evil reasoning; by gutting of the economy, thus creating hardship, financial insecurity and a need to scapegoat (classic divide and conquer strategy); by destroying jobs and wages, slowly destroying the middle class, in essence making this group slaves to debt and predatory capitalism; by waging perpetual imperial wars designed to control resources and strategic locations and transfer trillions of dollars from average Americans toward the pockets of the establishment; by the exponential rise in militarism, the military-industrial-energy complex and the subsequent allocation of ever-expanding budgets towards the Department of War and away from other government services; by the decline of critical thinking and reasoning skills by the purposeful decimation of education; by the systemic pattern of lies, deceit, propaganda and brainwashing endemic in corporate media; by the wholesale auctioning off of all branches, departments and agencies of government to the corporate world; and by the embedding of corporatists and fascism's enablers into all sectors of the United States government and its propaganda apparatus.

With a more than malleable citizenry conditioned for obedience and passivity, it is easy to see why corporatism rises like a phoenix in the nation of the Founding Fathers. It is inside the belly of the beast itself where the empire has declared open war against the American people, in the span of a few years unleashing a devastating assault on the rights, freedoms and liberties of every American. It has been in the last seven years where the policy of eroding the power, strength and wealth of most working and middle class Americans has had its greatest success, thereby creating an almost impotent subservient class of serfs and slaves. It is inside the bowels of the empire itself where the people are under constant attack, with the livelihood of hundreds of millions of people being gutted and eviscerated on a daily basis.

The objective, of course, is simple. Using fear mongering and scapegoating of an external enemy, a dreaded dark skinned bogeyman of unquestionable "evil", preferably one that is unknown and different, therefore, the very object of fear, one that coincidentally inhabits the lands whose resources and locations you covet, thereby validating war and destruction and conquest and occupation, the populace is bombarded with the recipe of engendered hatred and, of course, perpetual fear. Straight out of the Orwellian playbook, then, the concocted fear of the Arab and Muslim is used both to conquer resources and land needed to expand hegemony, with the acquiescence and passivity of the people, as well as to eviscerate the freedoms of and better control the lives of the population.

A populace in constant fear of "its way of life," of its cherished "freedoms and liberties," which the catapulted propaganda spews mercilessly on a daily basis, making the repeated lie a certifiable truth in the eyes of tens of millions, will inevitably place unbridled faith, even if blind, on the elements of government which, by definition, are entrusted to protect and defend the people. If hundreds of millions have no problem placing blind faith in a god that has never before been seen, heard, smelled or felt, relying on the stories and language of our primitive past, refusing to use reason and critical thinking to combat myth and fables, how can we expect them to not place blind faith in a tangible unitary executive acting as father figure -- or alpha male for that matter -- that offers promises of security and protection in a terribly uncertain and frightening world -- albeit a fictional charade at that -- while preaching from the bully pulpit?

Along with an approaching economic meltdown -- which inevitably causes anger, hatred, scapegoating, false patriotism, xenophobia, racism, crime, hardship, hunger, suffering, poverty, fear, division and insecurity in a large segment of the population, thereby making tens of millions easy targets willing to accept authoritarian and tyrannical rule over their lives -- the use of an external enemy as convenient scapegoat the riled masses can concentrate their wrath on virtually guarantees national compliance and acceptance of the erosion of Constitutional guarantees in favor of a police and surveillance state under corporatist rule. This formula has worked wonders for many of modern history's most ruthless authoritarians.

This combination of economic shock fused with fear of terror and of a very dangerous external enemy that wants to destroy the peoples way of life is a recipe for a successful implementation of corporatist and authoritarian doctrine throughout the nation. The anger, resentment and negative energy of the masses, most afflicted by the hardships of a severe recession or near depression, is easily corralled into an amalgam of anger that can be manipulated and channeled in whatever direction the corporatist elite chose. Under these conditions, and having a scapegoat by which hatred and anger and emotions can be directed at, the corporatist element in leadership can dictate empire's follies and aggressiveness with reckless abandon.

Together with a spineless and colluding legislature, -- nothing but a collection of fraudsters, snake oil salesmen, charlatans, professional liars, opportunists and corrupt politicians, each bending over to the thrusts of the corporatist world, their powers decimated, their significance diminished, having now become but an insignificant opinion-generating entity, firmly under the control and power of the unitary executive, unable to enforce or keep the president-emperor in check -- the government in Washington has become the very entity destroying freedoms, liberties and rights and helping to build and secure the infrastructure needed for a permanent corporatist, surveillance society, a police state, an authoritarian reality.

What no terrorist organization could ever accomplish has over the last seven years been done by the same government most Americans believe incapable of wrongdoing, the same government we place blind faith and trust in, the same government we actually believe has an opposition within its ranks. Ironically, what the external bogeyman could never take away is being methodically plundered by our internal "protectors," and with our unbridled, yet ignorant support and enthusiasm. Taking candy from a baby is a much more difficult endeavor. With the state and corporations colluding together, the masses are left to fend for themselves.

In fact, it has been the government, with the help of the corporate media, that has terrorized the citizenry in an open and continuous act of psychological warfare. It has been the government, along with the Ministry of Truth, that has instilled fear and insecurity into the population. It is they who, under any definition of terrorism, have become our terrorists, our real enemy, our internal bogeyman. Fear mongering has never been so easy and, when the collective trauma of 9/11 wears off, all that is needed to reinvigorate the senses of the masses are lies of further attack, more dehumanization of the enemy, propaganda of imminent threat and insecurity and, if all else fails, one more false flag event.


Under constant manipulations, lies and propaganda, a nation of courage has become a nation of cowards. A nation that once questioned its leaders now falls lockstep behind them, blindly following criminality and corruption. A nation that once stood for protests, strikes, marches, sit-ins, challenging the government and seeking accountability now prefers sitting comfortably on couches or chairs, watching the world pass by through television sets or laptops, some becoming arm-chair activists, most simply rotting away their lives, preferring the life of a couch potato, passively ignoring the destruction of rights and freedoms, silently acquiescing to myriad number of crimes against humanity, and obediently shopping, purchasing and consuming according to the dictates of the corporatist world, their new god the Almighty Dollar commanding them to congregate at the Cathedrals of Consumerism, the Malls of Materialism, told to do their job and be good consumers, spending what little they have, even consuming with money that they do not have, and must therefore borrow.

What dreaded dark skinned bogeymen could never achieve Bush, the Congress and the mainstream media have succeeded marvelously at implementing. Under the constant threat of terror, we have failed to see the fusion of government and corporations, now more than ever, as well as the mutation of government into the instrument of profit, revenue and the bottom line. We have failed to see who, in fact, the true terrorist entities are, what the true threat to our way of life, our liberties and our rights is. We have become blinded to the political duopoly, the two-headed hydra, working in synergy and collusion, not in the interests of the people, but for the corporate world.

We fail to see that there is no choice, that elections are predetermined, and oftentimes orchestrated by the Ministry of Truth, that an opposition party is but a facade, that only the Corporatist Party exists, its two hands simply performing a juggling act, each taking its turn running the three ring circus we know as government. In our delusions of grandeur and exceptionalism we have become blinded to the reality that democracy is a sham, that real democracy is a threat to the corporatist element, that America has done more to destroy real democracy around the world than any nation on Earth.

"Democracy," it turns out, is a synonym for American imperialism, a disguise to ram neoliberal devastation down the throats of billions, a method of controlling populations through puppets disguised as leaders. It is only democracy if our corporatist elite approve of its victors, only if they pledge allegiance to the Empire, at the expense of their populations. Hypocritically, the nation that espouses freedoms, rights and democracy tolerates and supports dictatorship and tyranny if it protects our interests, but libels and slanders real democracy if it audaciously protects the interests of the people. Thus, in the halls of smoke and mirrors only illusions do we see. In the desert of delusion only mirages can be reached.

The dark recesses of fear have made us forget that the Constitution is not just a piece of paper, that its principles are the foundation of the nation, that in its words and meanings are the cornerstones of what and who we are as a people, and what we as a species aspire to reach. Its contents are the eternal spring that secures our liberties and rights and freedoms, yet we have forgotten that it exists, and thus, have allowed its meanings and principles to be castrated. Today, the Constitution gathers dust in the annals of history, now a forgotten remnant of humankind's past, becoming a relic reserved for a museum, its words no longer read, or understood, or defended against the agents of tyranny who have always tried to destroy what it stands for. Sadly, the Constitution has been disappeared, both in practice and in the imagination of the very people it was designed to protect and inspire.

Unfortunately, in our euphoria of comfort, mass consumption and materialism, in our concern for security and protection, in our myopia of short term happiness at the expense of long term vitality, in our hatred of those different than ourselves, in our haste to seek revenge and deliver wrath on those scapegoated for our suffering and emotional train wreck, in our complete abdication as informed citizens and knowledgeable human beings, and in our demonstrated cowardice and silent acceptance as American-style wickedness is delivered to millions of innocent human beings, we have forgotten who and what we are as a people.

We have allowed ourselves to fall hypnotized for the myth of egoist-induced exceptionalism, basking in our perceived greatness, claiming ourselves the greatest country on the planet, as if it is true just because heavenly deities make it so, even with our complete ignorance of the world outside our borders. We have used our unchallenged, unrivaled power, which we have simply chosen to abuse and mismanage, to arrogantly destroy our standing in the world, in the process eroding international relations, international law as well as the sisterhood of nations.

Our unquenchable hunger for imperialist expansion, which the masses nonchalantly approve of through our indifference, is conveniently excused by our historical call from the heavens above to a manifest destiny seemingly promised us by humankind's gods. If we ever looked deep into the mirror, we would see that America suffers from narcissistic personality disorder, bordering on megalomania, becoming an insecure, paranoid, schizophrenic nation that must resort to allocating military budgets that annually exceed all those of the entire world combined. In our reality, might makes right, peace is secured through perpetual war, we are made safer by creating enemies, not alleviating their grievances, and talking to your enemies is seen as cowardice. In no other country on the planet are the teachings of Jesus Christ so hypocritically preached, but never practiced.

In our view, happiness is secured, not through living life, but by consuming and producing in ever-increasing and unsustainable levels. In our reality, slavery equals freedom and work will make you free. We are so happy, in fact, that we consume the most psychotropic pharmaceutical drugs in the world. Depression, stress and feeling unfulfilled, it seems, are keys to nirvana and heavenly bliss.

We continuously fall for the lies and the propaganda, the manipulations and deceit, believing ourselves blessed by unseen deities, living in a city atop a hill, showing ourselves off as a beacon of light upon the world to behold, and aspire to become. We have been blinded by a false patriotism that condemns those questioning the state while celebrating those sheepishly following its every command. We have been entrapped by jingoism and xenophobia laced in blatant bigotry and racism, thinking ourselves superior to all other people on Earth, even when we are comprised of representatives from all peoples of Earth. We are sheep, lemmings and followers, always mesmerized by talking heads, pundits and the so-called "experts", never thinking on our own, always doing what media propagandists spit out.

We have done nothing to stop aggressive wars, the ultimate crime against humanity, resulting in the death of well over one million innocent souls, all of which we could care nothing for. Only American dead, of course, need to be mourned, counted and considered human. Only we are worthy of life, and death, and recognition. The suffering we have allowed our government to inflict is not of our concern. We have shamed ourselves in our passive acquiescence to torture, executions, gulags, extraordinary rendition, untold levels of suffering and the disappearance of thousands. We bask in indifference at the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, Bagram and at countless other secret prisons worldwide.

We did nothing in the abandoning and discarding of the Geneva Convention, the Constitution, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, international law and in the trampling of the Bill of Rights. Yet the very nature of what we have chosen to ignore, to erase from our beautiful minds, is rapidly coming to our own land. We ignore what our nation has done to the majority of the world at our own peril. For the tyranny so pronounced, today and in recorded history, where America has vital interests to protect will soon reach us. We have taken the bait, almost continuously swallowing the hook cast by the corporatist world of profit and state, falling for each dirty trick reeled our way, assiduously falling for the propaganda of the corporatist media. We have allowed corporatism to run rampant, allowed ignorance to prevail and America to be altered, forever. Perhaps, then, we deserve what we get.

The New Normal

As we followed the tunes of the Pied Piper straight into the river of megalomania, as we slept through violence and destruction, as we sleepwalked the Constitution to the incinerator, as we dreamed the impossible dream, as we basked in the vices of greed and the Almighty Dollar, as we dined on denial and delusion and deception, our nation has been stolen from under our feet, transformed into a nation that has clandestinely spawned a growing police state, with a burgeoning surveillance society, becoming an authoritarian enclave, reared by indifference, nurtured by ignorance, protected by jingoism and xenophobia.

America is slowly, yet inevitably, becoming a country of repression, suppression, oppression and persecution; of perpetual fear and perpetual war; of growing militarism and fascism, of the entangled fusion of state and profit; of an absence of rights, freedoms and liberties; of so-called democracy that is today but a sham, a concoction of snake oil and farce where choice is but a fleeting illusion, where candidates are selected through the manipulations and illusions presented by the Ministry of Truth, where elections are but a mechanism of control, and of deception, where decisions are made not by those who cast the votes, but by those who count them; and so-called representation of the people a mirage to hide the selling of government to the highest bidder by a two-headed hydra whose dual purposes of expanding power to corporations and unleashing further imperialism for the empire, both at the expense of the people, have furthered the steady decline of the nation into the grips of corporatism.

The corporatist war against the American people thus continues unabated, its slow, yet assured, manifestations and reverberations crisscrossing the country like an invisible tsunami. With giant clandestine waves crashing ashore, the tsunami of the last seven years has eroded, with reckless abandon, the foundations of the Constitution and of the nation itself. All that is needed for authoritarians and corporatists to complete their project, all that is needed for America to descend fully into the depths of Big Brother and complete surveillance and a thriving police state and martial law and tyranny and a final shredding of the Constitution, and thus our freedoms, rights and liberties, is another shock to our senses, whether it be economic or societal collapse, whether a depression or through another false flag operation or yet one more preemptive war in the Middle East. All that is needed for this evil to triumph is for good men and women to do nothing, just as has been done for the past seven years, just as has been done for the last several decades.

For without so much as a protest or a whimper, the blood of liberty and freedom is hemorrhaging from the soul of every American. Paralyzed by corporatist-induced fear and ignorance, catatonic to the clear signals of an approaching cyclone of American style-fascism, hypnotized by the warmth and comfort that consumerism and materialism provide, the American people have become blind to the war being waged against our interests, and our lives. Yes, the crusade by corporatists, neocons, neoliberals and natural born authoritarians against the citizens of the nation has gone largely unnoticed, albeit with a few clusters of informed patriots desperately trying to sound the alarm of the coming storm.

The infrastructure of tyranny has meticulously been built, deeply embedded within the system itself, under the radar from the majority of the people, in complete collusion by the political duopoly and all three branches, its foundations created by the decimation of the Bill of Rights, the destruction of civil liberties, the construction of draconian laws and regulations -- sometimes birthed in secret or in full openness -- ,the insertion of precedence or opinions validating criminality and tyranny, and by the conditioning of the populace, in order to insert the "new normal" into the consciousness, of propaganda meant to indoctrinate us into accepting all levels of wrongdoing and criminality both by the state and the corporate world acting in unison, from torture to executions to mass murder to the need for constant surveillance of our streets, of our communications and our daily lives, and to the refusal to prosecute mercenaries guilty of crimes against humanity.

The new normal has penetrated our nation, and our psyches, since that dreadful day in September 2001, making sure that the political pendulum shifted further to the right, further to the tendencies of authoritarianism, making the Democratic Party a reincarnation of yesterday's Republicans and mutating the Republican Party towards a full embrace of the tendencies of fascism and authoritarianism. Gone, perhaps forever, is a valid progressive ideal in politics, a left of center belief that was once evolving and leaning towards the social democracies of Europe, with an emphasis on doing what was best for the whole, not just the individual.

Shifted, too, are the political leanings of tens of millions of Americans, away from the values of progressiveness, and hence those of Jesus Christ, Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr., turning instead towards the comforts of security and protection, albeit false comforts, finding solace in extremist and predatory theology, in the scapegoating of the different and the unknown, in the groupthink emotions of nationalism and tribalism, in the ignition of flames inherent in jingoism and xenophobia, in voluntarily placing blind, loyal faith in media and the state, in embracing Big Brother security, in welcoming authoritarian false promises, and in freely, and gladly, giving up freedoms and rights in exchange for protection by the state.

Indeed, sacrificing an entire nation's freedoms and rights, both in the present and future, in exchange for a false sense of security -- born and bred by corporate and state propaganda, of an enemy concocted and over-exaggerated -- and purposefully looking the other way as the country becomes more and more corporatist, in essence abandoning our citizen role in preserving to our progeny what we inherited, will forever denigrate our generation's legacy. In history's future volumes, today's American generation will be forever recorded as having fulfilled a complete and utter collapse in the face of cowardice, ignorance, indifference, fear and materialistic comfort, becoming incapable of preserving and fighting for the foundation of the nation, namely, the principles embodied in the Constitution.

For the generation that so easily gave away the rights, liberties and freedoms that had been preserved for centuries, fought in blood, sweat and tears, in bravery and courage, in wars and battles, and instead allowed itself the pleasure of getting raped by American corporatism, only negative connotations will be recorded. America, sadly, has devolved from the Greatest Generation to the Coward Generation, -- or the Failure Generation -- in only a few short decades, in only a few mutations of the gene pool, in the span of nothingness in the realm of history's vast plethora of sad stories.

With the arrival of the next shock to the system, the next catalyzing and transformative event, the next preemptive act of aggression, the next Gulf of Tonkin-like staged event, the next false flag act of terror to scar our psyches, or the next economic strangulation designed to pillage ever more wealth from the working and middle classes, the elaborate and carefully implanted infrastructure of authoritarian rule will be allowed to awaken.

All the laws that have been put in place validating martial law and a surveillance society and Big Brother and warrantless wiretapping and intrusive invasions of privacy and domestic spying and dissident arrests and torture and a police state, as well as those laws that have destroyed habeas corpus and due process and the Bill of Rights and the Constitution and all freedoms, rights and liberties we used to hold dear will emerge like a malignant virus that has laid dormant inside a body for years, cautiously hiding and buying its time until that day when chaos reigns supreme, when fear induces stress, suddenly springing to life with the onset of a weak immune system, launching an onslaught against antibodies made impotent to fight off its orchestrated and calibrated assault by years of conditioning, brainwashing, gluttony and fear.

All that separates America from Amerika is one shock, one event, one opportunity for those whose enemies are freedom and democracy to orchestrate the Amerika of their sinister dreams. Most do not know the seriousness of the threat, nor the perilous danger roaming among us, nor the sinister ideology of our so-called leaders, nor how imminently close we are to a vastly different America. For this cabal, this domestic enemy, the people are the obstacle, the real, and true, enemy. It is this group that is our greatest threat, our real enemy.

Until we realize that we have been led to believe for the last seven years is but a charade, that the "war on terror" is but yet one more method of control, that our pursuit of terror has led us in the wrong direction, that the real terrorist entity is domestic, not foreign, that we have been unleashing hell on Earth on the wrong, and innocent, people, and that it is this internal threat that hates us for our way of life, we will never stop the hemorrhaging of our freedoms, rights and liberties.

One day we will awaken to a nation we will not recognize, a nightmare on a hill, a beacon of tyranny, a land of the meek, a home of the slave. Every day that passes is a day corporatism advances, and we retreat, a day it grows in power, and we lose strength. Every day that is allowed to transpire in favor of the corporatist element is a day the People's chains of bondage grow stronger. Every day we let pass is a day we slide further down the corporatist black hole, allowing our minds to become more ignorant, our reality to be created by the Ministry of Truth, our lives to be further shackled to the invisible dungeon of Amerika's tomorrow.

One day, in the not too distant future, we will awaken and open our eyes only to see that what we once took for granted no longer exists, what we assumed would always exist has been made extinct, what we forgot even existed has been washed away, what we failed to study and understand has been revised, and what we failed to cherish and defend has been destroyed, forever.

We will finally realize what our fathers and mothers and grandparents and great-grandparents found out only through the spilling of blood, sweat and tears, experienced through many years of activism, bravery and the uncompromising power of the people united. We will realize, after it is all too late, that those in power give nothing and, if given the chance, take away everything; that everything the people at present have, that every freedom, right and liberty embedded in the foundations of America have been sought, demanded, struggled, fought for, defended and protected.

It is only because of generations of Americans past that we enjoy our privileges, with each successive generation safeguarding what was once gained, and fighting for what needed to be attained. This trans-generational wall of solidarity built the accumulated freedoms and rights we had at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Sadly, if we fail to act, if we fail to wake to the sounds of alarm, the wall will come undone, eroded by what we have become as a people, the unbreakable brick and mortar, constructed over 200 years of struggle, crumbling and succumbing to the powerful tsunami of corporatism and authoritarianism fast approaching our shores.

The Year of Living Dangerously is upon us. The sorrows of empire have arrived. In this struggle, America entire is Ground Zero. The clock is ticking, the time is wasting. Would we rather live in tyranny, or fight for freedom? Live in our America, or the corporatist Amerika? In this fight for our way of life, which citizenry will show up: yesterday's version of the People, or today's? The choice, as always, is ours.

Manuel Valenzuela is a social critic, commentator, Internet essayist and author of Echoes in the Wind, a novel now published by His essays appear regularly at various alternative news websites from around the globe. Mr. Valenzuela welcomes comments and can be reached at [email protected]. He encourages readers to surf the collection of over 100 essays he has written which can be found visiting his archives and by searching the Internet. His next book, Beyond the Smoking Mirror: Reflections on America and Humanity, a collection of his essays, will be published in early 2007.

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