At a train station today, a man with a stack of flyers invited me to watch a movie about how America tortures. "I know too much already," I said with resignation as I walked past.
"Well, we have to organize to stop it," he shouted to me.
I just shook my head and called back, "We'll never stop it."
And at that moment I stood face to face with my weakness as a political animal: cynicism. I'm far too cynical to be an activist. I don't believe any of that "we can change the world" stuff that Graham Nash was singing about 35 years ago. Heck, my mom did, and look what happened. Robert Kennedy dead. Nixon in the White House. Twice.
This is not about voting. That isn't going to stop something like torture anyway -- we are stuck with this regime for three more years, with impeachment unlikely. Besides, I almost always end up voting for the lesser of two evils rather than for someone I really want. And even when it is someone I believe in, they usually let me down (did someone say "Obama?").
Cynicism personified: as much as I complain about how FUBAR everything is, I don't really think we can do anything to change it. Short of revolution, that is. But the iPod-listening, Nike-wearing, big screen TV-watching, SUV-driving American consumerist masses are too blind to even see it coming, much less support it or participate (I predict that when the inevitable class war comes, the rich will pay the other classes to die for them -- isn't that sort of what's already happening in Iraq?). We've all been played with promises of material pleasures, and now the game is rigged against us. The next step is to knock out the distracted middle class at the knees. I am convinced that this is the true agenda of the modern conservative movement. Then the Halliburtons and Enrons will finally have what they want. Today they have to buy political influence. Their ultimate dream is to be the essence of political influence -- they won't have to pay a thing because there will be no other voices to drown out.
Torture comes from the top. Bush used to blow up frogs with firecrackers as a kid. And he's the kind face on this administration. One can only imagine what sort of childhood games sadistic bastards like Cheney and Rumsfeld used to play. The "war on terror" exists because America has terrorized others through covert and not-so-covert means for generations. Do enough rotten shit, and karma will get you. That's what's happening to us now, and all we have done since 9/11 has perpetuated and amplified it. Alas, short of wiping out America's ruling class and starting over, there's no way we'll ever stop the crimes perpetrated in our names. I wish the man at the train station well, but I believe he toils in futility.