March 26, 2014 5:16 pm -

I’m 59 years old. I’ve had Parkinson’s disease for 14 of those years. That’s 23.7 percent of my life. Parkinson’s is not a fatal disease in and of itself. It’s something you die with, not of. But studies show it shortens the life span of folks who are diagnosed as early in life as I was. It won’t be the Parkinson’s that kills me. It will be the aspiration pneumonia when that sip of coffee goes into my lungs instead of my stomach. It will be the broken hip from the fall caused by postural instability, causing me to need 24/7 nursing care, spending the rest of my life in bed, advancing senility and the associated mortality.

I’m 59 years old. If I make it to 62, no one will be more amazed than me.

And to this, I say…

Thank you, Jesus.

I have no fear of death. None.

I fear living in the country that we are becoming. I fear the brutality of the oligarchy. I sense the approach of the end of our days as a government of the people, by the people, for the people. I see a day in the not-at-all distant future when we the people are parts of a machine, to be worked until we wear out and die and are replaced.

This will be of our own doing. We will have no one to blame but ourselves.

The death knell was rung with the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizen’s United. Corporations are people, my friend! Remember?

The grave digger’s shovel is poised over the oil-soaked dirt awaiting the court’s decision on Shaun McCutcheon et al v. the Federal Election Commission which, when given the 5-4 green light, means representative democracy in the United States of America is officially dead. Elected office will be a commodity, for sale to the highest bidder. There will be no limit on corporations because of Citizens United, and Shaun McCutcheon et al v. the Federal Election Commission will ensure that these corporations can give as much as they can scrape together to the people who promise to give them the kind of government they pay for. Your voice as a citizen means nothing. If you can drop a few million bucks in the tip jar, only then you are someone who must be listened to.

This is our own doing. We’ve done this to ourselves.

George Orwell was an optimist. This won’t be a 1984-style dystopia. This will be worse. The inner party will be the wealthy people pulling the strings. The outer party members will be the functionaries, needed for the operation of that which must be operated, replaced as needed. The Proles won’t have it as good as they did in Orwell’s 1948 novel of a world gone wrong. If you are a taker who can’t make, you will be useless and will be treated as such. Food stamps? WIC? Unemployment insurance? Social security? You threw that all away, starting in November of 1980.

We allowed Ronald Reagan two terms in office to begin the destruction of our great country by deregulation of the media. Now, instead of news departments operating independently of the entertainment part of the network, the news has to pay its own way. They won’t go broke underestimating the American taste for crap. For every Jon Stewart, Steven Colbert, Bill Maher or Alan Colmes, there are hundreds of corporate-owned network correspondents and hometown news anchors and reporters who pump out the propaganda their bosses want pumped.

With very few exceptions, the media has no interest in rocking the boat. Have we been served as a nation by the extensive coverage of Benghazi on one network, the coverage of Bridgegate on another network or the wall-to-wall Malaysian Air story on the other? Or are these stories nothing more than eye candy to dull the intellect, keep you glued to the channel that most closely matches your ideology and thereby increase ad revenue?

Put all these things in the melting pot. A government owned by the wealthy, a media owned by the wealthy, a population unaware that they are citizens of Huxley’s “Brave New World,” being fed SOMA through the eyeballs and eardrums on an hour-by-hour basis by their new corporate masters. No wonder they vote against their own self interest. It’s the American thing to do! THOSE people want OUR MONEY when the people who really NEED it are the rich people who need to get richer so they can make YOU rich, too! And you buy it. You believe in the foolish “trickle down” philosophy. Why give YOUR money to THOSE people who just have babies to get MORE of YOUR money to stay at home and use their luxurious refrigerators to keep their macaroni and cheese from spoiling?

Cut oil subsidies? Won’t that mean an increase in gas prices? Of course it will. And it would mean more money for THOSE people.

Better yet, let’s approve the pipeline that will take the tar sands from Canada to ships in New Orleans or Texas and ship it to China — that which doesn’t end up in the water supply from pipe ruptures. It will mean thousands, or hundreds, or dozens of jobs and do nothing to lessen our addiction to fossil fuels, but who cares? Jesus is coming soon! Climate Change? Pffft. We’ve had ice ages before. And besides, Jesus won’t let that happen, unless we keep aborting babies and allowing homosexuals to marry. Then he’ll get mad. And he’ll smite the land with tornadoes and earthquakes and hurricanes. Because that’s what Jesus promised, right? Someone said so, right?

We will hand over the deed to this nation, and we won’t even know we’ve done it. Voters will continue to be disenfranchised, they’re already floating the idea of a constitutional amendment saying only property owners can vote. With the right people in the right offices at the right price and a compliant media that knows you care more about Lady GaGa’s dress than you do about starving kids in your own town, it won’t be long until the oligarchy or plutocracy or whatever you want to call them is officially calling the shots, instead of surreptitiously, like they are now.

Take a dog turd, wrap it in gold foil, put an American Flag sticker and one of Ronnie Reagan on there, sell them as “America Bars,” and we’ll gobble those babies right down and tell our friends how GOOD they are.

Well, maybe you will. I won’t.

I’ll be dead by the time all this happens.

At least, I hope I will be.

Bill Schmalfeldt