By Jim Smith
The new year, 2008, is likely to be a fateful one for all humanity. It may well be the last chance we have to affect climate change without waiting for thousands of years to see the results. Good luck to us all with George Bush and gang running the country. Sad to say, but big business and the military seem to be firmly in control of the Congress as well. Setting things right with the climate will involve stepping on some very big toes, the auto industry, the coal industry, the oil industry, the military-industrial complex and many more.
Yes, Dr. Kevorkian is out of prison, but this is no time to use the services he advocates. We need every person, able-bodied or not, to enlist in a citizen’s army that will take on the polluters and war mongers at every turn. Unfortunately, the oligarchs seem to have become successful in numbing the overwhelming majority of the populace with TV, sports, video games, and other trivia. All we need are plug-ins a la Matrix to make it complete. So long, breathable world.
Meanwhile, George W. Bush is scheduled to remain as President (and Dick as VP) for the entire year of 2008. But waiting in the wings is a crew of Democrats that won’t pledge to have all troops out of Iraq by the END of their four-year term. With candidates like that, who needs an election? Besides, it is written that a Clinton will replace a Bush. Barring any last minute name changes by the other candidates, that leaves Hillary as the anointed one. Who will be the Republican chump who runs against her? Hopefully someone who acknowledges the possibility of evolution.
No matter who is elected in November, the control and monitoring of us undesirables (that includes you and me) will continue to be ramped up. You’ll be urged to put the names and personal information for all your friends on the internet, where all your personal information already resides. You’ll be on camera at least 100 times a day as you go about your business. Your cell phone and your car will betray your every move. In 2007, you can’t go to Mexico or Canada without a passport. The way things are going, in 2008 you won’t be able to leave your house without an official identification card. We must fight terrorism, you know.
A devastating economic crash is likely in 2008. It will cause hardship and suffering for billions of people around the world. When it is over, we’ll wake up to find that we live in a third world country. On the plus side, perhaps worsening economic conditions will push people around the world – and us – to say enough is enough, and throw out the petty thugs and punks who control most countries by force and terrorism. And first among these are our own Bush and Cheney who should be shipped to The Hague to undergo a trial for war crimes and crimes against the people. More than one million Iraqis – men, women and children – and nearly 4,000 U.S. troops have died because of their illegal invasion. They have shredded the Geneva Convention with their wholesale use of torture. There are many more charges awaiting a prosecutor.
Already too many families have seen their children and their friends disappear into prison for the crime of getting high, or disappear into the military, and never return. Just a generation ago, students in California could take advantage of nearly free college education to improve their lives over those of their parents. In 2008, they’re living with their parents because they can’t afford the cost of college, let alone the cost of an apartment. The main impact of the digital revolution so far has been to eliminate jobs and health benefits. In a humane society, it could have meant an unprecedented increase in the quality of life, including the end of poverty, hunger and homelessness.
Here in Venice, we can expect the corporate cookie-cutter to continue its work of homogenizing our pleasant oasis. That means more chain stores, more soulless cuboid buildings masquerading as homes, and more attempts to stifle the dissent for which Venice is known. Of course, it’s really our fault. We Venetians allow our overlords downtown to make decisions that should rightfully be ours to make.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Collectively, we have the power to stop the war in Iraq, end global warming and create a paradise on Earth. All we have to do is get off our collective duffs and refuse to let a small elite – including the Republican and Democratic candidates – run our lives for the benefit of corporate greed.
Happy New Year, and have a great 2008!