I believe that when Marshall McLuhan wrote in 1964 ” the medium is the message” he understood that a half century later the medium would control both the message and the messenger — and thus enable the message to control us. Certainly it is true that we are in danger of losing control of the medium(s)- in this day the internet- the servers, the iPhones, even the very computer that I am using to convey this message to you. I remember such an idea never occurred to me when I used my typewriter. Now a good portion of our “citizens” surrender most of their time ears and eyes to machines- and these machines convey direct and subliminal messages. Twenty years from now these machines will vote as we wear their clothing.
We are in a constitutional crisis. For the past century and one half the executive branches of our governments (State and Federal) have seized power from the Courts and Legislatures. I fought against it, even during my alliance with the Republicans in the Assembly. I urge you to do so.The Courts can fend for themselves as they remain aloof and secluded, and can decide when and how to assert their power. But the legislatures have both an adulterous and incestuous relationship with the executive.The leadership of the majority party in a legislative body invariably is submissive if the Executive (President or Governor) is from the same party, The leaders cower the “faithful” in the caucus to do the will of the executive. When the rules of the legislative body , designed to protect the legislative process from such pressures get in the way, the Executive employs the “leaders” to enact revisions eg: (end of Senatorial Courtesy) thus rendering the legislative branch anemic and impotent. While these systems may seem undemocratic, they were designed to preserve the power of minorities, and the independence of the legislatures- and they worked that way. In the years I served in both houses of the NJ Legislature, I witnessed a progressive erosion of power which mirrored the erosion of the white sand beaches in Deal I loved so much. Fight for the power that you were granted by those who elected you. I know you wil do so.
My mind works a bit differently from most. I suppose that I seek causal explanations for things as much as anyone else, yet I do not trust reductive reasoning. We are too much into our own minds, defining our own context, to see the forest from the trees. I seek movement, shifts in power,the progression from light to darkness, cold to hot- these observations tell me more about what will happen than looking back- for the present-this moment- evolved in that same way. So let me apply that to what I see happening. I shall take my chance at being wrong.
I see a dynamic shift back to the power of the legislative branches, much like the days of the French revolution- “power to the people” expressed in that way. Today 367 members of Congress (Democrats and Republicans) “advised” the President to consult Congress before finalizing any agreement with Iran. As it realizes its power, this movement with expand. After all- the Congress IS and was intended to be an independent branch of government to check the power of the Courts and the Executive. As Legislators it is our sworn obligation to uphold that function. Obama argues that the Congress has no role in foreign policy? Rather, by progressive destruction of the meaning of plain language, he has converted “ treaties” into (placid?) agreements? We truly live in an Orwellian world in which “newspeak” a controlled propaganda language has been created by the state as a tool to limit freedom of thought, and concepts that pose a threat to the regime such as freedom, self-expression, individuality, and peace. It is what the Bible calls Babel- communication is foiled because language has no meaning. So, treaties are not treaties, “exchanges established by the States” means “established by the federal Government”, “war” as in ”only Congress can declare war” has no meaning at all because :
‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’
‘The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’
‘The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master — that’s all!”
The dynamic movement favors the infusion of power into both the legislative and judicial branches. This “revolution”is not secular- it expands to the masses. It is expressed in the Middle East by the rise of Isis, and other “pitchfork” groups opposed to the control of wealth by the few. I do not qualify the quantity- I find it monstrous. My point is -look to the gathering of force. Watch the clouds if you want to know when it will rain.
“Darks drifts covered the horizon. A strange shadow approaching nearer and nearer, was spreading little by little over men, over things, over ideas; a shadow which came from indignations and from systems. All that had been hurriedly stifled was stirring and fermenting. Sometimes the conscious of the honest man caught its breath, there was so much confusion in that air in which sophisms were mingled with truths. Minds trembled in the social anxiety like leaves at the approach of the storm. The electric tension was so great that at certain moments any chance-comer, thought unknown, flashed out. Then the twilight darkness fell again. At intervals, deep and sullen mutterings enabled men to judge of the amount of lightning in the cloud.”
― Victor Hugo
“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. …We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. …In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking,we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons…who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.”
Edward Bernays – Propaganda – 1928
So I will tell you what I see.
In Europe revolutions are in Spring. Greece will fall, and Spain and Italy and not far behind. The Euro is doomed with the Euro zone not far behind. Borders that opened to trade will be controlled by armies. Pakistan and India are close to war over water rights-appearing as the tension between Hinduism and Islam. Islam and Christianity and Judaism become the message of the Middle East mediums, expressing deeper forces, the dynamics of powerlessness seeking power, poverty to wealth, hunger to fullness. In short wherever I look , I see masses in movement, revolutions, power in flux- and in virtually every expression it is the rise of many against the few. In the United States more and more people are descending deeper into debt and extreme poverty. The present economy only works for 30% of the population, tens of millions of people have been eliminated from wealth, power and life. In these times we must be careful to preserve our democratic traditions-our basic human values-our Bill of Rights-ours by the grace of God.
And….. globally what began as decentralized uprisings is morphing into mediums of centralized control to undermine prior systems of centralized and consolidated power. A new world is being born. Why do I think I heard those words before?
“Little by little, the old world crumbled, and not once did the king imagine that some of the pieces might fall on him.”
― Jennifer Donnelly, Revolution
……. now moving to a different place.
“They tell us Sir, that we are weak — unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs, and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot? Sir, we are not weak, if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature has placed in our power.” — Patrick Henry
These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their county; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny like hell is not easily conquered yet we have this consolation with us, the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value.” — Tom Paine after the Declaration of Independence