Editorial by John Kostura
Pretending is something we all did as children. It was fun and was considered a plus in developing our creativity. The more imaginative and creative the better. I always encouraged this with my children and often talked to and even fed their imaginary friends.
July 13, 2003
Living in a pretend world as an adult would probably result in us getting locked up in a mental ward. We live in a world of reality and we are no longer able to participate in the pretend world of our childhood . . . or do we?
The latest trend in TV land is "reality television." Let's see, this is made up and consists of improbable situations with a mixture of strangers brought together to accomplish an imaginary task or survive a non-existent problem. And this is called reality? If this is reality . . . what is pretending?
The truth is that we pretend more as adults than we ever did as children. Pretending is how we survive. It is how we relate to the real world and our very survival depends upon our ability to pretend. I would contend that when we are no longer able to pretend our way through life, then we have real mental problems . . . depression . . . paranoia.
Classic examples of our country's pretending to survive are the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, and Martin Luther King. Just seeing these names on the same list should give you a clue of a consistent political agenda and philosophy. Yet for some reason, we as Americans cannot wrap our minds around the concept of "political assassinations" in this country. If those three men had been killed in any other country, it would have seemed obvious to us that they were killed for their political views and social agenda.
I thought that Time Magazine's "Person of the Century" should have been the "Crazed Lone Gunman." This person(s) did more to change our world than anyone else in this last century. The government claims that all is known about these assassinations and there is nothing else to know. Well . . . okay. So why are all the records sealed? Why?
The answer to this question is obvious. The government is simply helping us to pretend. This works because we want to pretend. We want it to be over. We have to pretend. The alternative is too horrendous to contemplate for even a moment.
Having President Kennedy's assassination wrapped up within hours of his death certainly brought immediate stability to this country. This certainly was a matter of national security. The news media patriotically participated in helping us pretend, and it was over. Power was immediately transferred and the country was safe.
The Warren Commission later told us that pretending was okay because it was all really true. Heck of a deal! Bless that "magic bullet."
I have come to the conclusion that politics is a contest of coming up with the most popular story that voters are willing to participate in. The candidates run from the center of the political spectrum and after the election they run to their political extremes. I have also come to the realization that there is simply no difference between a Conservative and a Liberal; they both lack good old common sense. Don't believe me? Watch C-Span for a week and draw your own conclusions. After watching the Senate and the House on C-Span you would have to pretend really hard to believe that either the Republicans or the Democrats have our best interest at heart. It is about pretending. They each want to present the story that is going to make you want to pretend with them.
The latest story offered for pretending is the prescription drug plan. What I want to know is, why do drugs cost so much more in this country? The drug industry says it is because of the high cost of research. I guess I could pretend along with this story, but why do U.S citizens have to finance drug research for the entire world? Because the funding comes from our own government. Yep that's the deal. We give the drug industry direct funding for research and incredible tax breaks for research. Then they turn around and sell the drugs to us at highly inflated prices to recover the cost of that research. But that is not the story we are supposed to pretend along with.
Prescription drug costs are rising 3 to 30 times the rate of inflation. It should also be noted that the major drug companies are now spending more than twice as much on advertising as they spend on research.
But at least their drug patents run out and generic drugs can be produced at a reasonable cost. Well not really; the industry has found several ways to get around this and can keep a drug from the generic companies for an extended period of time.
So where is the truth? I think it would be almost impossible to corner the truth on the drug industry and their practices. It just comes down to pretending and what story you want to pretend along with. I choose to pretend that if the drug industry operated with any sense of integrity and morality we would not need a prescription drug plan. Prescription drugs would and should be affordable to the majority of the American public. This is not a Liberal or Conservative issue it is simply a human issue.
Another classic example of pretending was the Impeachment of Bill Clinton. The Conservatives were appalled by his indiscretions. Their righteous actions however set a new low in morality. Don't get the point. Take a look at the Congressional record and see what they created for our children to read. Did Clinton resign in disgrace? No Newt Genrich attained that high honor. What did you get out of all of this pretending? Yep, Bill did lie about sex. I have to admit that I did enjoy the reality check when the founder of Hustler magazine, Larry Flint started outing Clinton's detractors. Our Republican congressman J C Watts held a news conference to admit that his illegitimate child was being raised by his uncle.
So now we have a new morality based on "honesty and integrity" in the White House. I feel so much better and the world is better for it. Sorry, Iraq slipped my mind for a second. Let's get those self righteous scales of justice out for a moment. On one side we put lying about sex and on the other side we put lying about Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). Tough one for sure. On one side we have the staining of a dress and on the other side we have . . . war.
It just isn't the same thing. No it isn't . . . one is much worse than the other. I do feel safer now, don't you? I have lived in the terror of being attacked by a stained dress. It is all a magic act. They have us looking one way and the real work is being done behind our collective backs.
I would really like to blame this on the media for lack of investigative reporting. I doubt seriously that something like Watergate would ever see the light of day today. I would also like to blame it on an apathetic populace . . . but that really is not true. Everyone seems to have an opinion and that is not apathy. So what in the world is going on? Why does there seem to be no end to this madness? The answer can be as simple as one word . . . fear.
We have been convinced that we must be afraid and live in a state of fear. Everything seems to be directed toward keeping us in this frenzied state of fear. My real fear is that a lot of this is pretending. I choose to not participate in this game of deceit and manipulation. This is not what made this country great. Fear keeps us from developing our full potential as an individual and, yes, as a country.
I heard an economist talking about the Great Depression and his main point was that it was a state of mind. The Great Depression was the result in a complete lack of confidence in the economy. If we collectively decide that the economy is unsound then what we have is a depression or if you prefer a recession. The fear of expanding, hiring, and purchasing puts us all in the dumper.
When Bush took office the economy had slowed. Nothing new about this in an election year and a change in leadership. The "wait and see" mentality is not that uncommon and considering the election, there was a little more suspense than usual. So what does Bush ask us to do? He wants us to pretend that the economy is really, really bad and we need a tax cut to prevent a recession. He did such a good job of convincing us of the economic doom on the horizon that we had the famous "self fulfilling prophecy." And of course the tax cut did not change things at all. Heck of a deal.
Picking on Bush? Perhaps. I apologize. It really should not be about personalities. This is part of the pretending. That is what they want us to do. Hate him or love him it is all the same. It stops us from understanding exactly what is going on and what is really happening to us. Don't play the game. Look past the personalities and the labels.
Remember post 9/11? The clamor for why the FBI and CIA did not connect the dots? My question is, have you tried to connect the dots? Try to look past the labels, personalities, and manipulation. Or are you willing to pretend along with them and stay in this perpetual cycle of fear?
There are plenty of dots to connect. I am not talking about conspiracies or UFO's or things that go bump in the night. Do a little research and start connecting the dots yourself. Abrusco, Bin Laden family, Ken Lay, Enron, Dick Chenney, Haliburton, Bush Sr., and the Carlyle Group. Heck of a deal. Thank God they are trying to lock up Martha Stewart. More and more pretending.
So we are apathetic, and because of that apathy they can do what ever they want. I simply do not buy it. It isn't apathy; it is simply a lack of courage. We want to pretend. We want everything to be okay. This explains why the world community had one feeling about going to war and we in the United States had a totally different opinion. We are so deep into this now that we will never stop pretending.
It is a vicious circle of lies and deceit. The more we fear the more extreme their actions and the more we have to fear. Just where does peace fit into all of this? Where is the profit in peace? Sorry, that was a bit too cynical.
Will we ever know the truth? To be honest I do not think so. Pick a topic . . . it doesn't matter we will never know the complete unvarnished truth. But that does not mean that we have to accept it. It does not mean that we have to pretend and go along for the ride.
Let's chuck the labels and personalities and start asking the hard questions. It will require a little effort on our part. You are reading this on the Internet, and what a tremendous resource we have at our disposal. Try looking at some of the news coverage from the BBC and the Guardian in Great Britain for starters. Watch C-SPAN yourself and skip the sound bytes on the nightly news. Connect the dots.
If you have an interested in Israel, checkout Barry Chamish.