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  • Carroll Devine

Bullied, Bamboozled, and Duped

Take a deep breath…It’ll all be over soon, but then something else will be happening, and we’re not sure what. There is something I do know, and that is that the American spirit may be ailing, but it’s not dead. It still lives in We the People.

And yet, the level of dishonesty, malfeasance, unethical and base behavior, and general corruption among our government’s most powerful, and most self-serving, that we’ve seen, of every political color, has been humiliating at best and, devastating at worst.

We find ourselves wondering how this happened. We have our Constitution to protect us and our high principles as a nation to guide us, but too many of us who seek to live by these principles have been BULLIED, BAMBOOZLED, AND DUPED until gradually, the foxes have usurped the positions of guardians of the henhouse. It didn’t happen overnight. We law-abiding, hard-working citizens have been too busy doing what we do to make a living, to create good homes, and to contribute to society – too busy to pay attention to so many situations and issues outside of our realm of direct responsibility. We have also been too naïve and trusting to realize how corrupt the system was becoming.

The very worst though is that the very rich and powerful, in order to keep themselves in their positions, have constantly sought to divide us, pitting friend against friend, brother against brother – whether along racial, economic, social, religious, or gender lines – when we should have been holding their feet to the fire.

The hypocrisy is stunning. Some of the wealthiest among them, whether politicians, Hollywood stars or those who are celebrities only by virtue of their somehow being celebrated, are often ones that cry loudest against the “wealthy”. They talk in favor of more handouts rather than handups to those at the other end, stealing away their motivation and self-respect, while the disappearing middle class foots the increasing tax bills.

Some of the powerful are among the loudest environmentalists (in name) who also frequently flit around the world on private jets for lavish vacations or to have “climate change conferences”, live in multi-million dollar mansions, make millions in the oil and gas industry, while denouncing oil companies, and telling the rest of us to ride bikes, tighten our belts, and pay more taxes.

Among the political and celebrity hypocrites too are those who speak loudest on gun control, having us believe that guns are the root cause of “gun-related” murders. They don’t go far enough to see and work on solutions to the problems behind a majority of the killings, most especially the alarming increase of heroin and other hard drug use and mental illness. (But preaching against guns is much easier than working on the real problems, and likely buys more votes.) They apparently see nothing wrong with their security guards and body guards having guns to protect them, because they are surely more worth protecting than we and our families are.

Please forgive me this foray into political censure, but my revulsion of the current presidential race and all that’s behind it, has boiled to the surface. No matter which side of the political fence you’re on. I suspect you feel the same. For the highest office in the land, it’s beyond pathetic that we have only the two choices we have.

We are dancing as fast as we can. Although dancing is essential, perhaps we need to slow down the dance a bit, step out of the frenzy and take time to re-focus on the true and the real. Maybe we don’t need to do so much, go so much, buy so much, have so much. Maybe we don’t need to watch TV so much, listen to the “pundits” and talking heads so much, or get on the Internet so much, but instead use some of that time to study and find out the truth for ourselves, study history, keep a closer watch on those who would control our lives, and make wiser judgments, before Rome falls completely. We are wiser now.

We can do this, I know.

After Hurricane Katrina completely flooded my home, and the filthy flood waters remained inside it for five weeks, everything had been ravaged – all furniture, appliances, artwork on walls, clothing, and hundreds of books, which were waterlogged and swollen into their shelves. When I returned to my home day after day, to try to salvage pieces of memories, my upright piano was face down in the muck, keys frozen, and in every room, I had to climb over mildewed piles of sheetrock fallen from the ceiling and walls, soggy upholstery, kitchen cabinets, mud-covered treasures. It was dreadful.

But in that mud and slime, something sang. In the room that was my office before, I had over time, Scotch-taped onto the closet door small strips of paper containing some favorite inspirational quotes. Incredible as it was, those strips were still taped to the door, and the quotes still readable.

My favorite: “There is no depression in this house and we are not interested in the possibility of defeat. They do not exist.” - Queen Victoria

So, no matter the outcome of the election, I believe there is hope if we choose it.

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