August 15, 2008, Volume 15 Nr. 13, Issue 244
The National Phone Directory.
In the short story, "Harrison Bergeron", part of a collection of writings by Kurt Vonnegut called "Welcome to the Monkey House, George and Hazel Bergeron, living in the year 2081, unknowingly suffer from the impact of radio, television and the "news". They are oblivious to its main function, that of making them mentally handicapped, where reality is produced and they consume it. The media present George and Hazel with all the images, messages, thoughts and opinions that they as members of society need to know and accept in order to be part of the communitarian State where everything is always well. George and Hazel go on day in and day out with their lives watching TV, being part of what it reinforces as normal. They have no free thought, no free expression, take no action, avoid conflict and controversy, challenge no one and no one challenges them. Their boat never gets rocked and they would never rock anyone else's, nor the States' boat. Worse, they are beyond the ability to challenge the system under which they live as they are crippled into clueless happiness. George and Hazel are desensitized by the constant barrage of TV images that control them into behaving acceptably. Unbeknownst to them, however, are the invisible ruling elite that control everything. George and Hazel are kept in line. Everything that they do is monitored, listened to and recorded. For George and Hazel, life may be pointless though they don't think so, but it is predictable and just the same as it is for anybody and everybody else. Very much like many people today, George and Hazel are comfortable living a mundane life with little interest in changing anything.
Today's controlling corporations are the government. Their ubiquitous propaganda messages, masquerading as harmless advertising, are behavior programming from cradle to grave. There are societal and economic repercussions for those who do not participate in the programming, that is, the "American way". We people in the USA operate under the delusion that our uniqueness and individual rights are protected by the United States Constitution. The State propaganda machine's only concern is that we believe they are. The 1966 song by the Buffalo Springfield, lyrics written by Stephen Stills, puts it this way:
Or perhaps, the man come and put you in a pen, a portable concentration camp. Associated Press writer, Mary Hudetz, in her July 30, 2008, piece entitled, "Recreate 68 Will Protest DNC's Freedom Cage" writes of the upcoming 2008 Democratic presidential convention held in Denver, CO that,
In the 1995 movie version of Harrison Bergeron, written by Arthur Crimm and directed by Bruce Pitman, the president of the United States is randomly chosen out of the national phone directory and then called by telephone and notified of the "honor". Crimm is telling us that it does not matter who the president of the United States is. Crimm's reasoning reflects the common thread throughout the movie that everyone is equal so who becomes the president is irrelevant. Also, the president is not in charge of anything. As in "Harrison Bergeron", the movie what we see is not what we get. What we see on TV and the media is the sideshow passed off as reality for we have all become the George and Hazel Bergerons of the 21st century.
Whether Barack Obama or John McCain wins the 2008 presidential election does not matter. The same rich power players will continue ruling the nation and attempt to rule the world. The shadow government revealed by Oliver North during Ronald Reagan's administration and clearly displayed by G.W. Bush and Dick Cheney is in charge. Nancy Pelosi may be the Democratic Party's speaker of the House but her inability to protect and defend the United States Constitution reveals her loyalty to the rich, ruling elite, who control her. Democratic and Republican are merely word descriptors for the gullible masses that place them in opposing camps. It is the Corporate Party, i.e., the fascists, that are in control.
Perhaps, there is a Harrison Bergeron within our midst? And just as in the Kurt Vonnegut short story, perhaps some person like Harrison is spreading ideas that are slowly taking apart the bricks in the status quo wall getting people to think beyond their entertainment-induced stupor. Ralph Nader is such a person. In this presidential cycle the electorate has the opportunity to go beyond the robotic casting of their vote for either one or the other of the two corporate State-approved mediocre candidates. We can go beyond the corporate-dictated presidential candidates: Barack Obama or John McCain, who might as well have been chosen by randomly selecting two names from the national telephone book. Voting for Ralph Nader is throwing the phone book away. While speaking at the 2003 Association of College Unions (ACUI) annual conference, keynote speaker Ralph Nader said,