October 31, 2007

Wake Up: The Only Issue that Matters

I will have much more on the Andrew Meyer incident soon. One of my major concerns is the extent to which most people have internalized the principle of obedience: obedience to authority in all its manifestations (including its most notable embodiments, the state and its various agents, such as the campus police in this instance), and an enthusiastic willingness to "follow the rules." It is vitally important to understand some of the roots of this psychology; upcoming essays will focus on this question in detail.

I continue to get emails telling me that I am "missing the point" about the Meyer story, that he was, in fact, a "brat" who acted up and acted out and, because he would not do as he was told, he "deserved what he got." And many people continually refer to Meyer as a "kid," a troublesome and bratty kid who needed to be disciplined. Such terminology is unintentionally revealing. Whatever one's view of Meyer and his actions, he is not a "kid." He is 21 years old. He is young, but he is a young man. In effect, my critics (and the many people of similar mind whom they represent) seek to discipline Meyer as they would discipline a badly behaved child. They will resist the truth, but it remains the truth: they thus reenact their own childhoods, and how they were brought up. Now they seek to impose similar disciplinary methods on anyone who "breaks the rules," even when that person is an adult and even when breaking the rules is the only way the person can make himself heard. All of this should become clearer in the articles I have planned. (If you want a preview of the issues involved, please consult my numerous Alice Miller essays -- perhaps especially the last parts of my series "On Torture," here and here, and "When the Demons Come." I will be providing a great deal of additional material on this very complicated subject in the new pieces.)

Let me briefly clarify a related issue. It is absolutely immaterial to me what Meyer's motives were. In view of the questions Meyer asked, and his second question especially (concerning an attack on Iran), it should be immaterial to you as well. I don't care if he was only looking for a brief moment of fame. I don't give a damn if he was a "prankster" seeking to create some kind of outrageous incident. I care only that he asked the most crucial question of this time -- and that he asked it of someone who could actually do something about it, if he wanted to. But John Kerry and almost every other Democrat in Congress will never do a damned thing. In fact, the Democrats only act to make an attack on Iran more likely, and that is because they and the Republicans share the same fundamental perspective and pursue the same ultimate goals: a foreign policy of world hegemony, and a corporatist-authoritarian state at home.

I don't care if Meyer was rude or abrasive, or even if his motives were awful. He asked the crucial question. For God's sake, writers and bloggers who say they themselves think an attack on Iran would represent a horrific criminal act, and may additionally lead to the final imposition of a dictatorship in the United States, can barely bring themselves to ask the question in articles or on their blogs. And they do nothing to pressure the Democrats in Congress to act to prevent an attack -- and the Democrats are supposedly their representatives from their party, and purportedly concerned with their views. But for the most part, these writers and bloggers do absolutely nothing. At least they do nothing politely. They follow the rules. They are marvelously well-behaved. By such means, they also render themselves utterly useless and irrelevant -- and accomplices before the fact to a monstrous crime.

All I care about is the fact that Meyer asked the question that should be everyone's highest concern right now. Meyer tried to stop traffic and, for a very brief, fragile moment, he did. He tried to wake people up. Most of you are still in a self-induced coma. So much for Meyer's attempt.

And, as this exchange with NBC's Today show indicates, Meyer has a very good understanding of what is at stake here. Consider what he says about his first two questions:
TODAYshow.com: Your arrest has sparked a lot of questions about free speech and police brutality, but one of the biggest questions remains your motive for attending the John Kerry event. What was the point you were trying to make?

Meyer: The first question I asked the Senator was about his concession of the 2004 election. Greg Palast, author of "Armed Madhouse," the book I was holding up at the forum, proved that John Kerry won the 2004 election. The ultimate point I was trying to make was to bring up was the heinous way millions of American votes were chucked in the garbage on Election Day. Not only is this a total assault on democracy, but the same tactics used to throw away votes in 2004 will be used again in 2008. Read about the Help America Vote Act and see for yourself. HAVA helps America vote in about the same way the PATRIOT Act patriotically dismantles the Bill of Rights. In other words, it’s completely Un-American.

The second question I asked was why haven’t Kerry and the Democratic Congress made any moves to impeach Bush, considering he has led us into two wars of aggression in Iraq and Afghanistan, and wasn’t even legitimately elected (as Kerry knows since, as he told me, he has read "Armed Madhouse.") If Kerry is so concerned about the aggressive posturing the administration is taking towards Iran, why don’t he and the Democrats running Congress do something about it? They have the impeachment power. Millions of Americans believe they should use it.
As stated above and as I have explained in numerous essays -- see "The Worsening Nightmare," "Morality, Humanity and Civilization: 'Nothing remains...but memories,'" and "Building an Effective Resistance," in particular -- because of the panoply of horrors that will result from an attack on Iran, this is the only issue that matters right now.

Andrew Meyer understands this, and he did something about it. Why -- why, in God's name -- won't more of you do something about it? Why the hell won't you wake up?