Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Civic involvement: a communist plot?

Absurd, you say? Not at all!

That paragon of intellectual reasoning, Glenn Beck, has been conjecturing that the new call to volunteerism by the Entertainment Industry Foundation is a giant mind control experiment by Obama aimed at fostering zombie-like agreement from unquestioning public. Really? He is worried that we will soon find ourselves in Mao's China. Hmmm, very interesting.

Coincidentally, a recent study from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, showed that in a large cohort of baby boomers, what determined happiness and fulfillment was not the relentless pursuit of money, but... you guessed it, giving back to the society through such activities as volunteerism!

So, why does Glenn, being an authority on everything, from politics to science to history, worry about rampant volunteerism promoting a totalitarian system? Well, the answer is he is not. That's right, he is not. These are the same tactics traditionally used to derail healthcare reform. Remember Reagan's ads in the Truman era equating socializing medicine to a descent into the Nazi Germany and Communist Russia? These are blatant lies, but they strike at the core of our national fears. This is exactly what Glenn and his cohorts are doing -- fanning the flames of the cold war left-overs. Why? The answer to this is surprisingly simple: to keep us down.

The message of the UMass study is very clear: single-minded pursuit of money leaves a spiritual void that can be filled only by civic engagement. This thought is subversive: if the population is fulfilled, they are potentially less prone to manipulations of consumerist marketplace, and they may even see through the deception of the wealth myth (work harder to make more has not been the case in the last 30 years for 80% of the American workers). Such mass epiphany would threaten the stranglehold that conglomerates such as Rupert Murdoch's has on our national consciousness. Simply put, Glenn and other minions are terrified by these developments because their message machine will become impotent and unable to sell us the bill of goods that has so successfully kept them in style and the rest of us in painful conflict.

So, be afraid, Glenn, be very afraid! Civic involvement builds communities. Strong communities can in turn guard from yours and other media propaganda. Strong communities create healthy and caring individuals, the best antidote to your cynical attempts to keep us isolated and unhappy and unsuccessfully filling the void with plasma screen TVs, new cars, in need of ever-increasing fixes of these false gods. Strong communities are anathema to anti-healthcare reform rhetoric: if we know and care about our neighbors, the impersonal healthcare disaster stories we hear today gain a very personal dimension. In strong communities your media noise is replaced with family conversations, and children learn to respect others and themselves. This is exactly why your fears are justified, Glenn (and Rupert). In a nation starved for real values and happiness, civic involvement will prevail, and your empire of cards is sure to collapse. Good riddance!

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