It's Always Darkest, Right Before ... It Goes
Midterm Elections 2006:
By Phil Rockstroh
|"If voting could change the system, it would
be illegal." -- Theodore Adorno
"I can't go on. I'll go on." -- Samuel
One's actions grow out of one's beliefs. Beliefs grow out of the
ecosystem of our collective lives known as culture. In this way,
cultures are organic: they germinate, sprout, grow, bloom, bear
fruit, then fade in accordance with the climes and terrain of
America now grows: paranoid delusions and wishful thinking.
These are our national plant and staple crop, respectively.
strange genus of the former has overgrown the land. It began as
a small hybrid, a member of the Bush family, growing mostly in
southern and western states. Some theories hold that its origins
were in Connecticut; although, when it was transplanted to
Texas, it spread, unchecked, due to the fact that there are few
herbivores in the region to limit its pernicious growth. There,
in the dry Texas soil, it grew dense and thorny, and thrived
when watered with blood and oil.
Left unpruned and unregulated, it grew thicker than an ancient
oak, larger than a redwood: It became a Paranoia Sequoia,
growing ever larger in the hot greenhouse gases of global
climate change; its massive branches spread across the world,
casting a shadow of fear and revulsion beneath it.
And it has bore strange and terrible fruit, indeed - as well as
proliferate assorted nuts.
Unfortunately, its oily wood limits its use as timber that might
be used to built anything constructive: Its wood is mostly
suitable for crucifixes and coffins ... Yet, due to its
aforementioned oily base, it can be used to build a bonfire
large enough to set the world ablaze.
At present, the people of the United States are lost in a dark
woods overgrown by these sun-occluding trees. Some among us have
taken to ingesting hallucinogenic mushrooms (the aforementioned
staple crop) sprouting from the forest floor. Upon ingestion,
they tell of having strange visions involving a covey of
Democratic dwarfs who will fell the dark forest with their K
Street provided axes.
In addition, borne of our desperation, many of us dream, two
years hence, Prince Biden the Bland or St. Hillary, mounted upon
her triangulating donkey of war, will come to our rescue and
lead us from this dark and terrible place.
Such foolishness is understandable within the context of
American culture: Our decaying empire has become an
over-the-counter culture for legally medicated Lotus Eaters. Yet
the effects of the meds are palliative. Prozac poops-out. Rush
Limbaugh's Oxycontin certainties transmogrify into detox
deliriums. The Republican Woodstock of the so-called "Clash of
Civilizations" becomes the Altamont of Guantanamo.
Moreover, the comedown is going to be a real bitch ... Heads
will throb; stomachs will churn, when the realization arrives:
we've become addicted to a corrupt system, rigged for the
benefit of a few, ruthless corporatists -- and maintained and
enabled by both our political parties; accordingly, the lives of
us ordinary Americans (who are dependent on this system because
we have no choice in the matter) are no longer in our control
... Somewhere along the way, our freedom to chose went missing
-- was waylaid -- as we were pimped into wage slavery for the
profits of the corporate class.
I must confess: I wish there existed drugs that provided an
effect powerful enough to allow me to hallucinate visions of
Instead, I will proffer this stark fantasy: I believe, at this
late hour, the second best thing that could come to pass in our
crumbling republic is for the total destruction of the
Democratic Party -- and then from its ashes to rise a party of
Now, I believe the best thing that could happen for our country
would be for the leaders of The Republican Party -- out of a
deep sense of shame (as if they even possessed the capacity for
such a thing) regarding the manner they have disgrace their
country and themselves -- to commit seppuku (the act of ritual
suicide practiced by disgraced leaders in feudalist Japan) on
Because there's no chance of that event coming to pass, I
believe the dismantling of the Democratic Party, as we know it,
is in order. It is our moribund republic's last, best hope -- if
any is still possible.
Regarding this, I hope I'm proven to be dead-ass, Flat Earth
Theory, Warren Commission wrong.
How have I come to this despairing conclusion?
First a caveat: While I harbor little affection for nor feel any
affinity with the corrupt establishment of the Democratic Party,
I don't believe, as is the case with the present leadership of
the Republican party, they're a klavern of insane, death-smitten
apocalypticists. However, I do believe that a craven desire for
power and privilege has transformed them into morally bankrupt,
lickspittle, corporate stooges.
For this, I believe, they have disgraced themselves as well.
Does anyone believe that the denizens of K Street have, as of
late, begun enriching the coffers of the Democratic Party
because the lobbyist class now harbors a secret desire to create
a system where a greater diversity of views can be promulgated?
Yes, and Jack the Ripper stalked the streets of East London
because he wanted to draw attention to the wretched plight of
underclass women in class-stratified Victorian England.
Ergo, regardless of which political party controls congress, the
empire will continue to unravel. Corporate "leaders," like
feudal lords, will continue to ruthlessly wield power and have
dominion over our lives no matter the outcome of the midterm
elections of 2006.
The mind-shredding propaganda of the so called "free market"
will continue to be our culture's defining mythos; its corrupt
priesthood will continue to fleece their dazed and hapless
American roadways and so called freeways will remain as clogged
as the arteries of the junk food bloated commuters, sitting
stalled and stupefied in traffic, within their grotesque motor
vehicles, in the time-grinding limbo created by the
international petroleum state.
Wealth, power, and privilege will continue to be consolidated by
the already wealthy, powerful, and privileged. Public schools
will continue to fail to educate. The over-fished,
pollution-afflicted, global warming-decimated oceans and seas
will continue to die.
Official lies will still proliferate like swarming locust. As a
result, the public will grow outraged and demand more of their
own rights and civil liberties be curtailed. The poor will
disproportionately suffer while the rich will sleep the
untroubled sleep of the kleptocratic class.
As, all the while, our fabled Shining City on the Hill will
suffer ongoing brownouts and power outages.
Amid all of this disorder and dissolution what possible
difference could it make to vote for either a corporatist
Republican or a corporatist Democratic candidate? -- The runaway
entropic decay of the present system cannot be reversed by
Ergo, this year, the voting public is being offered a choice
between imbibing the Empire Lite of the Democratic Party or the
Republicans' Empire Mad Dog
20/20. Accordingly, we've been provided with choice number one:
stick with the Republicans and continue on with our
planet-destroying bender (that will end in either the detox
hotel named the Limits of Imperial Power or our being fitted
with a toe tag in the Morgue of History reading, "Deceased.
Cause of death: expired after succumbing to Acute Empire
Intoxication Poisoning"). Or choice number two: the Democrats'
covert flask-sipping, internal organ-rotting, problem drinking
of the heady drafts of corporate corruption. In short, both of
the two major political parties have been privy to the bacchanal
of bribery that passes for business as usual in the present
A vivid illustration of the hopeless mindset of chronically
diffident Democrats is their failure to demand the use of
traceable paper ballots this election cycle. In this way,
they're analogous to a timid, denial-ridden spouse whose mate
returns home, with smeared lipstick and disheveled clothing,
sans undergarments, reeking of Jack Daniels, all the while,
defensively asserting her fidelity -- after an impromptu road
trip with an outlaw motorcycle gang -- and her credulous spouse
believing the whole episode has strengthened the relationship by
building trust between them.
Yet dread gnaws beneath the surface of the collective awareness
of liberals and progressives. What belies Democrats inability to
agitate for meaningful change is: At a deeper level, they, as is
the case with most of us Americans, realize that, in order to
live in the manner to which we have become accustomed, we must
continue our complicity in the crimes of empire. Hence, they
realize they would be politically burned at the stake if they
ever ventured to utter such heresy aloud.
For, deep down, we know that our actions are not only unethical,
but unsustainable as well. Our minds have difficultly grasping
this fact; its ramifications are too overwhelming ... The
knowledge -- that we maintain "our way of life" on the bartered
blood of the innocent -- is too unnerving. Its implications are
too damning; therefore, we banish such thoughts to the darkest
regions of our unconscious.
It would seem: We can't see the forest through ourselves.
We whimper into the abyss for reassurance.
The abyss replies: "It's always darkest, right before ... it
goes completely black."
In this manner, we unwittingly carry the darkness of empire.
Perhaps, if we Americans were to unburden ourselves of the
illusion of our exceptionalism, our load would lighten. It would
be easier to support the load, if we relieved ourselves of the
weight of so many lies, self-deceptions and rationalizations, as
well as the other onerous byproducts of our denial.
At this point, given the abysmal levels of mass ignorance,
self-deception and delusion at large, are we Americans even up
to the task? Or has our pervasive disconnect from civic life
deteriorated to such an extent that a majority of us are even
capable of apprehending the dire circumstances confronting the
nation? (It would seem that not only have we chosen to ignore an
elephant standing in the living room of our collective
awareness, but we have chosen to cover him over with nondescript
upholstery and now regard him as part of the furniture.)
My motive for bringing this up is not to be merely provocative;
I'm asking because I'm chilled to the core of my being afraid.
Regarding it all, I'm in the thrall of a sitting bolt upright in
bed, quaking with night sweats terror.
Nor am I coming from a lofty moral plane on this one: I'm coming
from a pounding upon the ground despair -- a scanning the line
of the horizon searching for any signs of hope desperation -- a
shaking my fist at the indifferent sky rage.
As you may have surmised: I'm outright mortified as to where we
as a nation are headed, regardless of the outcome of Tuesday's
midterm elections. Given the bender of destruction we've been
on, our nation needs far more help than a simple changing of the
party affiliation of our corporate enablers -- it needs an
But that line of thinking would probably lead to a seizing of
power by an Oprah/Doctor Phil junta -- and the empire would
still collapse, beneath the weight of self-help platitudes and
Phil Rockstroh, a self-described, auto-didactic, gasbag
monologist, is a poet, lyricist and philosopher bard living in
New York City. He may be contacted at:
Angela Tyler-Rockstroh is a Broadcast Designer/Animator who has
worked with major Networks such as Cartoon Network, Disney
Channel, HBO Family, PBS, as well as with Flickerlab on the
animation "Bonanza" sequence of Michael Moore's documentary,
"Fahrenheit 9/11. She currently is a wage-slave for HBO, but in
her spare time creates satirical graphics for Phil Rockstroh and
graphics for Moore's forthcoming documentary, "Sicko", on the
subject of the American health care system.
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