It has been said that it is no measure of health to be well adjusted in a profoundly sick society. And there is no way you can be awake and deny that we live in a profoundly sick society. So, are you well adjusted? Listen, if you live in the United States or the UK or in one of the countries where the ruling class benefits from the dominant system of global corporate capitalism, your government is either committing or enabling crimes against humanity that include, but are in no way limited to war crimes, illegal surveillance, illegal occupations, and covert government coups. THESE ARE FACTS, not hyperbole. Life is not, in the words of Forrest Gump’s mother “a Box of chocolates where you never know what you are going to get.” The global elite know what they are going to get- they are going to win and the rest of is are going to lose.
If the movie Forrest Gump teaches us anything it is that no matter the injustice or horror of the past, it is best to stay dumb, just keep plugging away, and sooner or later you will get your favorite little chocolate instead of the macadamia heath bar coconut crap that you chew twice and try and sneak back into the box before grandma can see. Sure, some of us (white people and people of color in Superpowers like the United States and our allies who play along; who present as well adjusted) benefit from the global systemic oppression and a are rewarded with nice chocolates, in other words: comparatively decent schools, nicely groomed little league fields and credit lines at Wal-Mart to buy clothes made in homicidal sweetshop conditions in a country far away from a WalMart associate who is paid so little that WalMart supercenters cost the taxpayer almost 1 million dollars each because their employees qualify for food stamps and other government programs to meet their basic needs while the six Walton heirs have an accumulated wealth matching the bottom 40%- or about 150 million- Americans, but hey, save money, live better right?
And if you are cool with all of that, you are well adjusted.
Being in the U.S. armed services is a much more extreme version of being a U.S. citizen. The code of obedience and the punishments for stepping out of line are far greater than for citizens like me. Bradley Manning, who saw the insanity of war, who released evidence of crimes the U.S. government was committing, whose truth telling ended the war in Iraq and helped spark a global revolution, and as Rainey Reitman of the Freedom of the Press Foundation says, caused “no more harm to the United States than a dentist hurts a patient when removing an abscessed tooth” was sentenced to 35 years in prison, while the architects of the illegal, immoral and blowback inducing war on terror remain free. More than that, less than 24 hours before Manning learned he would be sentenced to 35 years, Obama’s Department of Justice requested that George W. Bush, Richard Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice and Paul Wolfowitz be granted procedural immunity in a case alleging that they planned and waged the Iraq War in violation of international law.
When President Obama declared Manning guilty in April 2011, more than two years before his trial began, how many journalists save for Kevin Goztola & Alexa O’Brien and a small handful of others were pointing out that Obama’s statement constituted an unlawful command influence, in violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. You see, if you have press credentials and you parrot the narrative of the Pentagon and the White House, you are a considered a journalist. If you challenge the dominant narrative- and very few do- you are considered a terrorist.
Ask Laura Poitras, the documentary filmmaker who teamed up with Glenn Greenwald to held Edward Snowden reveal that Big Brother exists, not in an Orwell novel, but on your computer right now. Go ahead, ask her: she now lives and works in Germany because she does not feel she can safely do her work in the U.S.. Ask Glenn Greenwald, who continues to break the story of Edward Snowden’s revelations and who saw his partner David Miranda detained in an airport under a terrorism act and who had his computer, video game, mobile phone, and his memory card seized because he was traveling from Poitras to Greenwald. Ask the editor of the Guardian who saw computers and hard drives in that news office destroyed under threat of legal action by the British government. Or ask ask Michael Grunwald, Time magazine’s senior national correspondent- who last week said that he couldn’t wait to write a defense of the drone strike that takes out Julian Assange. You see, people, even journalists – pick sides. That in and of itself is no crime. What is a crime is that more journalists can’t or won’t pick the side Bradley Manning chooses: truth.
And so the dominant narrative remains that we are in a well-adjusted society, enjoying a box of chocolates. And if you continue to stay in that box, well, stupid is as stupid does.