Shining Light into the Abyss
By Charles Sullivan
If one is to understand the apparently incongruent actions of the
U.S. government it is imperative to view events in the proper
context. Too many of us are muddled in trying to explain U.S. policy
from the perspective that we are a democratic republic undivided by
socioeconomic class. This is not surprising. After all, this is what
we were taught from earliest childhood; and the belief has been
reinforced all the way to the grave. However, the absurdity of this
assertion should be obvious to any student of history. The hypocrisy
of rhetoric versus the reality created by policy is simply too great
to ignore, and it is growing worse every year.
To understand American policy in historical context we must divorce
ourselves from the old paradigm that has been ingrained in
us—America as a classless democratic republic. This is simply a
popular myth used by the ruling class to deceive and subvert the
working class into servitude. U.S. policy makes sense only when we
examine its formulation as stemming from plutocratic interests,
rather than democratic principles
America as we know it was founded upon the eradication of its
indigenous people—the American Indians. When the declaration of
independence was written, slavery was the institution that drove the
economic engines of the country. The merchant class emerged as the
ruling class—the farmers and the artisans fell into the working
class. From its very inception, America was never a true democracy
because it did not allow the citizenship a great proportion of the
population—including non-white males, women and slaves. The founding
fathers never intended to create a true democratic republic. This
was the basis for what was to become a nation divided by class and
Ironically, there was a viable democracy in operation during this
period of colonial history—the Iroquois nation. Thomas Jefferson
recognized this fact and sought to base the Constitution in part on
these behaviors. But like all democracies encountered by plutocracy,
the Iroquois nation was brutally eradicated. Democracy and
plutocracy cannot peacefully coexist. Plutocracy is a doctrine of
conquest and subjugation that cannot be reconciled with democracy.
It was the elitism fostered by plutocracy that morphed into the
doctrine of Manifest Destiny that drives U.S. policy to this day.
We are witnessing the continued attempted overthrow of democratic
governments throughout the world by the U.S. led plutocrats—most
notably in Latin America. But even as the pentagon sends our troops
to conquer and subdue the people of Iraq (a feat it will never
accomplish), Democratic Socialism is taking root in several South
American Countries, including Venezuela, Bolivia, and Chile—and it
The U.S. has a long history of covert actions against democratic
republics. For example, a few years ago covert C.I.A. operatives
succeeded in ousting Venezuelan President, Hugo Chavez from office;
but only for two days. The immense popularity enjoyed by Chavez is
something that a puppet like George Bush and his minions can only
envy. That kind of respect cannot be given—it is earned through
service to the people.
Indeed, Hugo Chavez and other Lain American leaders pose a viable
threat to the United States, but not for the reasons we are told.
The threat is not against the people of the U.S.; it is against
plutocratic rule. Removing control from a privileged few and placing
power in the hands of the people, would eliminate the class
divisions that have always characterized America. Colossal wealth
would no longer be concentrated among the top one or two percent of
society—it would be equitably distributed among the people for the
good of the Commonwealth.
America’s ruling elite cannot abide even the least vestige of a true
democratic republic. They rail against democracy wherever they find
it, as evidenced by countless U.S. sponsored acts of terror around
the world. These often covert actions virtually always occur against
left leaning governments that are not amendable to exploitation of
their natural resources and human labor by U.S. business interests.
This is what is meant when the president and cabal speak of
‘protecting American interests.’ They are referring to their own
hold on power and wealth, not the welfare of the republic, as is so
The U.S. plutocracy has a long and bloody history of fomenting
upheaval and violence against Democratic Socialism. For example, on
September 11, 1973 a U.S. backed coup d’ etat was carried out
against Chilean president Salvador Allende, in which the Popular
Unity (socialist) government was overthrown, and Allende was
assassinated. President Allende was replaced by Augusto Pinochet, a
brutal dictator who with C.I.A. backing tortured and murdered
thousands of people. Pinochet is the kind of man the U.S. always
backs. His kind makes the host country safe for plunder by U.S.
corporations. Look at the litany of brutal dictators the U.S. has
supported all over the world. The list reads like a who’s who of
world class terrorists. How can this be reconciled with democracy?
The assassination of Allende is part of a familiar pattern of
intervention that can only be described as terrorism. The C.I.A. is
involved in creating instability and insurrections in democratic
governments all over the world—your tax dollars at work.
It is the plutocrats who foment political instability in democratic
societies, and conduct campaigns of terror in order to exploit and
to conquer. Their purpose is to extend hegemony for the creation of
private wealth. Let us call it what it is—empire building. This is
Manifest Destiny in action—a supremacist ideology that provides the
moral underpinning for conquest and exploitation. As we have already
seen, it was this doctrine that resulted in the extirpation of the
American Indians and sanctioned the institution of chattel slavery.
The same misguided ideology is driving U.S. Middle Eastern policy.
As critical thinkers, we must ask ourselves whom these policies
benefit and whom they harm. Is the conquest of Iraq beneficial to
the average American? Is it beneficial to those who live in the
Middle East; or does it profit corporations such as Halliburton and
individuals like Dick Cheney? When the evidence is presented in this
way the truth becomes obvious.
The ideological divide between plutocracy and democracy are
philosophically and ethically irreconcilable. Plutocratic government
serves those possessed of wealth and power by exploiting the middle
class and the under class. Democratic government places the welfare
of the people above profiteering. Seen in these terms, which kind of
government do we have? Once again, the truth is made clear.
The divergence comes into clear focus when we contrast George Bush
with Venezuelan President, Hugo Chavez. During the height of
Hurricane Katrina last year, George Bush went on vacation. Dick
Cheney was fly fishing in Arizona. Condi Rice was buying thousand
dollar shoes in New York. The clear lack of concern for the welfare
of the Gulf Region’s poor speaks volumes about the Bush cabal’s
priorities. Hugo Chavez offered aide to the people of the Gulf Coast
Region that our own government blithely abandoned. Bush flatly
refused Chavez’s generous offer. What does this say about who George
This question can be answered by investigating another Bush policy.
Last year Exxon-Mobil enjoyed a $36 billion profit, primarily
through the outright theft of Iraqi oil, as the result of the U.S.
invasion and occupation of Iraq. This is the largest single year
corporate profit in history. Exxon-Mobil paid its CEOs handsomely,
and its shareholders. But it did share the wealth. Bush responded by
giving U.S. oil companies an additional $7 billion of corporate
welfare by giving away oil from our public lands. Can there be any
doubt about whom Bush serves?
Conversely, Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez is providing Citgo oil
to America’s poor at deep discounts ranging from forty to fifty
percent. By now it should be clear that the president of Venezuela
is doing more for our nation’s poor than our own government. The
corporate media has responded to Hugo Chavez’s humanitarian aide
with predictable cynicism. It is often reported that Chavez is only
seeking to embarrass the president. However, this assertion does not
square with the facts in the case. Chavez has a history of service
to the people that Bush does not. Bush caters to the elite, his self
proclaimed political base. Chavez is a servant of the people,
especially the poor.
Nothing more clearly delineates the contrast between Bush and Chavez
than their divergent social policies. Bush consistently chooses
profits over people; Chavez places people above profits. Thus, in my
view, George Bush is not worthy to carry Hugo Chavez’s shoes.
Socialist Venezuela does not ransack its treasury or human capital
on invading and occupying foreign nations in the service of empire.
Conversely, plutocratic America sends its youth to serve as canon
fodder for empire. Venezuela is not involved in the invasion of
sovereign nations in order to pilfer their resources. As a result of
a more humane social policy, Venezuela has the financial resources
to provide health care to every citizen, and higher education to all
who seek it. What does this say about our own national priorities?
Whose interest do they serve?
Even the most florid language cannot conceal the obvious contempt
the Bush cabal has for the poor, or the world’s working class
people. All rhetoric aside, their actions, as well as their
inactions, speak loud and clear about whose interest they are
America has a lot to answer for. Despite the willful perversion of
language used to conceal unpopular truth, the soul of a nation is
revealed not by what it says, but by what it does. We are not the
people we purport to be. Our actions, our policies, do not portray a
democratic republic concerned with human welfare, the common good.
They depict the will of self-interested plutocrats who will
gleefully kill every one of us in order to expand their power and
increase their personal wealth. They do not care about us. To them,
we are expendable servants who exist to do their evil bidding.
Occasionally events occur that reveal transitory glimpses of painful
truths that are ordinarily kept hidden from public view, as when
lightning strikes in darkness and reveals the contours of a
landscape. Hurricane Katrina was such an event. As that powerful
storm wrecked havoc upon the Gulf Coast, the world saw with absolute
clarity who this government serves. Unvarnished truth of this kind
is rarely a pretty sight. Yet we must see it and recognize it for
all that it is.
Because we have eyes does not guarantee that we can see the truth
that lies before us. Vision requires substantially more than eyes—it
requires heart and soul and conscience. Our eyes may be open, yet we
do not see or comprehend the travesty that unfolds before us, the
hoax that is being perpetrated against us by those in power. Let us
open our hearts and our minds and admit the light of truth that much
of the world already knows. Let us see, for the first time, perhaps,
who we really are. We must then reconcile that vision with our own
Charles Sullivan is a photographer and free-lance writer living in
the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia. He welcomes your comments at
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