WE perpetuate beliefs instilled in us by this dominant culture, without really questioning what we are told. WE think that *homophobia* is a matter of personal prejudice. WE think that racism is also a matter of personal prejudice. WE think that patriarchy and the sexism and violence against women it inevitably creates is yet another matter of personal prejudice. WE think that wealth and income inequality is a matter of personal failings on the part of the poor, failings that could be remedied with good old-fashioned hard work. WE ignore the extent to which the powerful political and economic forces in America have a deep investment in our continued degradation. WE ignore this as Big Business busts up unions, sends jobs offshore, and lowers wages for the few workers they now require as the unemployed beg for work. And WE ignore politicians passing laws that require mandatory jail time for petty, victimless crime in order to keep meeting the minimum capacity terms of the for-profit prison contracts, and passing budget bills that pour money into the military contractors coffers for *cost plus* contracts replenishing new weapons used to destroy older weapons they built at taxpayer expense a few years ago (that were given to rebels fighting the *enemy-of-the-week* back then and over there). WE ignore a local political action committee using the *news* of alleged travesties occurring *right in our neighborhood* to recruit new members full of hate and to stuff their campaign war chests with wealth derived from stolen lands, stolen labor, and free government- and bank-provided capital.
This is perpetuated by a media that conveniently hides the truth: the truth that the Gulf of Mexico is still oil-saturated and more dead, hopelessly dead, today than it was just after the Deepwater Horizon debacle in 2010. There is still oil on Alaskan shores left over after the Exxon Valdez ran aground, for goodness sake. The truth is that the 400 tons of radioactive water spilling into the Pacific Ocean every day is not the main problem there; in fact, we don’t even know what the main problem is there as we have yet to get even a robot camera close enough to any of the reactor cores in Units 1, 2, or 3 to know where they are, not to mention what condition they might be in now that they have been doused with sea water for the past three-and-one-half years. The truth is that there aren’t any decent-paying jobs for Americans to be had once the tar-sands pipelines between Canada and our Gulf or West Coasts get open; refinery workers aren’t adequately paid for the health risks they take and no other work will be available as the horrible *resource* known as bitumen is processed for dirty burning in engines in China that will further pollute our air worldwide. Unless there’s enough sabotage of the pipes that more workers are continually needed for repairs, that is. In fact, when you look at how the job situation has played out following the beginning of offshoring and the rise of robots during the first many years of this century, WE must have amnesia about this issue too: real wages have fallen when compared to ten, twenty, or forty years ago. When jobs are added to the economy, the vast majority (nearly 75%) are low-wage jobs, paying less than $13 per hour and lacking benefits like retirement, health care, even vacations in most cases. It’s no wonder that the only way a new car gets sold today is by issuing a sub-prime auto loan that can be sliced and diced into a loan-backed security. Have WE also forgotten how good, reliable, and economically sustainable these loans and the resulting financial products are not? And the truth is that our police don’t have to be *militarized* in order to kill young men of color. A black person is killed by those WE have entrusted to protect us every 28 hours on average. This truth gets us back to where we started: problems of race, class, gender, and sexual identity are not personal problems that one individual can eliminate within him or herself and then be a *good* person. These issues are systemic. Until the system changes, rich, white, straight, males have nothing to fear. They can wave at Officer Friendly as they roll through the stop sign or jaywalk to get to the Starbucks in the middle of the block without a concern in the world that *today might be the day I die*. All of the rest of us, well, WE just go about the business of forgetting the dysfunction in which we live. WE forget the real issues that plague our communities. WE forget the history of stolen lands and stolen lives that built this country. WE forget that every market we use: stock, gold, oil, food, interest on loans, you name it; is rigged to benefit those at the very top of the pyramid that is our national wealth. WE stay off the street where we might be considered to be resisting arrest for asking a simple, quiet question and therefore punished with a beating if we are white; or killed if we are not. WE allow the charade to continue: that every vote taken in what is erroneously referred to as a *democracy* is bought and paid for, and ensures the outcome desired by business, not citizens. WE accept that we cannot find a job and chalk it up to being in our 40s, and obviously of no more use to business. WE pretend not to know that alcoholism rates exceed the unemployment rates on Indian reservations (both over 50%); while the worse crime is that WE still have reservations in 2014 where the native people of this land have been shunted off to die as if they were a danger to be around, contagious in some way.
Oh sorry, I forgot. Those natives, yeah well, they do hold to a worldview in which all life is connected in a web, and where WE are not separate individual islands of awareness in the great sea of the cold, unfeeling Universe. Rather they know in their soul that WE are dependent upon each other and that plants and animals and humans can actually communicate with each other and serve the greater good of the planet, not some corporate master. They know that there is more to reality than meets our jaded and corrupted cultural eye and that everything: rocks, trees, salmon, and you dear reader has a consciousness of some degree and deserves respect and, dare I say it, love. I guess they are a danger to be around after all. And I suppose that if I am ever to get in touch with what’s really going on in the Universe around me, I best be moving away from dominant culture and onto a reservation, a place reserved for those who see the world as it is, not as the media tells us it is in the dreams of the powerful who steal our lives.