Thursday, December 26, 2013

A Tale of Two Christmas Speeches

In a revealing contrast of Christmas messages from President Barack Obama as well as from Pope Francis the difference between the permanent warfare state of The Homeland and the message on the teachings of Jesus Christ were made clear. While the Pontiff delivered his initial Christmas message to the world from St. Peter’s basilica, calling for peace, in Sudan and in Syria even as the warmongers in America continue to push for war in both countries as well as a resolution to the forever intractable Israel-Palestine situation Barry was promoting militarism and empire. Obama, in Hawaii on holiday vacation with his family took time for the obligatory visit to a Marine Corps base for a public relations appearance to pay homage to our imperial stormtroopers.  He laid in on thick as he and the first lady milked the military appearance for all that it was worth, “Michelle and I know that we would not enjoy the freedoms that we do if it weren’t for the incredible dedication and professionalism and work that we do” crooned El Presidente. While it wasn’t exactly a surprise visit to a Baghdad war zone chow hall on Thanksgiving Day wielding a plastic turkey as a prop as his predecessor did it was more than surreal to hear the man whose NSA surveillance programs are a global disgrace and who dials up drone strikes that often kill innocent women and children taking about “freedoms” and holiday peace.

The always pervasive U.S. militarism can no longer be escaped, not even on Christmas Day in this armed madhouse of a country. It is now deeply embedded within the national DNA now, sporting events are rife with military references and metaphors, cloying and insincere homages to our blessed troops, million dollar flyovers of stadiums and mandatory suckling of all things military have siphoned off any form of enjoyment from all of it for a non-worshipper of the religion of the state.  It has gotten far worse too, since “the day that changed everything” and set the U.S. on a course of perpetual warfare, when in the aftermath the flags and bunting and regalia were a star spangled reincarnation of the state bachanallia of late stage Weimar Republic when everything also changed for another society that had a date with destiny and an unyielding love of militarism.

Writer Lawrence Vance had a piece over at Lew entitled The Cult of the Uniform from which I excerpt:

There are a number of distinctly American symbols that evoke feelings of pride, nationalism, and patriotism. There is the Constitution. There are monuments like Mount Rushmore, the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, and the Jefferson Memorial. There are structures like the Statue of Liberty and the Liberty Bell. There are buildings like the White House and the Capitol. There are also things that there are many of: American flags, bald eagles, dollar bills, and images of Uncle Sam and the Great Seal of the United States.

In the last ten or so years, these symbols have all been superceded by one image that is so powerful and so overwhelming that it drives some Americans to tears and causes others to act in the most nonsensical and irrational of ways.

I am referring to a military uniform.

Not just any military uniform, of course, but one of the United States Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marines. And especially a uniform adorned with lots of badges, awards, medals, ribbons, and insignias. Naturally, a uniform that indicates that a member of the military has been in combat is far superior to a uniform not so ornamented.

The reverential status bestowed upon our servicemen and women, who are now just anointed with the title of “HERO” despite the majority of them never actually having engaged in any actual sort of heroic behavior as has been understood from previous days is a dangerous distinction in that it is a confirmation of a society that has already accepted authoritarianism. Put the “heroes” in full uniform and patrolling the streets of America when the day of the collapse finally arrives and it smells like tyranny. Obama also used his Christmas radio address to appeal to the better angels of Americans:

"For families like ours, that service is a chance to celebrate the birth of Christ and live out what He taught us - to love our neighbors as we would ourselves; to feed the hungry and look after the sick; to be our brother's keeper and our sister's keeper."

But it all rings very hollow coming from this leader of this country at this time in history. While the Pope used his Christmas address to also reach out to those of other faiths as well as atheists to call for peace and social justice it must always be remembered that we live in a corrupt land of hypocrisy where each and every year brings more income inquality and a callousness of our ‘leaders’. Were Obama a sincere man he would have spent the holiday acting more like Jesus, perhaps providing comfort in one of the plentiful tent cities that have sprung up while the national credit card continues to be racked for more wars and banker bailouts instead of making a phony public relations appearance on a Marine base acting like he gives a rats ass about the troops while his administration and the detestable congress continue to work ceaselessly to start more wars that they can then be marched off to serve as cannon fodder for corporate profits.

And most importantly of all, campaign contributions. As General Smedley Butler so aptly put it "War is a Racket" and nowhere on the globe more so than here in our god kissed land of destiny.