White Elk Motel, Idaho (Photo: Jost)Shield, Chief Arapoosh, Montana, 1825Jasper Johns, MapGeorge Zimmerman, killer of Trayvon MartinTarget Store (Photo: Linn Ehrlich)Dalton GangDead pines near Butte, Mt. (Photo : Jost)Storm clouds move over west of Palmyra, IndianaAaron Siskind photographBy the tracks, Missoula Mt. (Photo: Jost)
Festooned with the bright colors of the flag, America entered summer 2012 with the bang of fireworks, concomitant fires, and a vast heat wave hinting at our hot future, and of course, the cyclic noise of electioneering. Soon lawns will bloom with campaign posters – Obama or Romney – though from where I write now – Montana – is more inclined towards Ron Paul. The drone of pundits will assert a secret knowledge to be found in the arcane tea-leaves of gaffes, and eager to make of our quadrennial electoral charade a contest, they’ll take any dip or bump in “the market” as a sign of disaster or hope for one of the two authorized and permitted candidates. Blame will be duly apportioned for whatever befalls the nation – a drought or flood, an economic slip, or a bonanza. Given the Supreme Court’s recent rulings, billions will be spent to cajole the voting population into supporting this or that candidate with an avalanche of falsehoods, lies, and bombast, not to mention legalistic maneuvers to delete from the rolls certain segments of the populace, and where that fails, to confuse them with bogus mailings, false addresses. It matters, in certain essential matters, not at all who “wins.” The game is rigged, and while in many domestic matters it will matter a little, in the basic ones governing America’s imperial behavior, it won’t matter at all: the drones will drone on, the military-industrial complex will continue its path, and we will all follow. Thus flows the beneficence of our democracy, in which a combination of self-interested hyper-wealth and a vast public ignorance are meant to deliver wisdom to the public domain. Good fucking luck.
And so another July 4th comes and goes, announced with barbeques and fireworks, the birth of the nation celebrated in a mindless and drunken splurge. What was it all about, that Declaration of Independence?