I recently saw a 10-minute video filmed in 1958 on the building of the Mackinac Bridge spanning the Straits of Mackinac between Lakes Michigan and Huron. The narrator had the usual campy 1950s style, but the pride of achievement for American engineering was apparent throughout the film.
Now massive engineering marvels such as the Mackinac Bridge seem far away and long ago. Our industrial base is floundering. Things are no longer as steady, dependable and predictable in the United States as they once were. My mental image is a bicycle speeding along, hitting an obstacle, wobbling alarmingly and then crashing to the ground. We are in the wobbling stage in which the wobbling is becoming out-of-control and irreversible.
Between crime, unemployment, government surveillance and the increasing attempts to remove the Second and Fourth Amendments, our benevolent leaders are desperately attempting to keep us placated so the bubbling cauldron of discontent doesn’t overflow into civil war, at least before their plans for total disarmament can be achieved.
And the best way to placate a nation, historically, has been the offering of bread and circuses to the populace.
Bread and circuses refers to appeasement techniques utilized by Roman rulers – “the creation of public approval, not through exemplary or excellent public service or public policy, but through diversion; distraction; or the mere satisfaction of the immediate, shallow requirements of a populace.”
In short, when our politicians can no longer dazzle us with brilliance, they baffle us with bullpoop. Rather than responding to the outrage of citizens who object to our rights being dismantled, they throw us diversions such as a soaring (manipulated?) stock market, legal marijuana and extended (again) unemployment benefits.
It was the Roman poet Juvenal who sneeringly observed how a populace distracted by “shallow” palliatives no longer values civic virtues. In other words, divert us with garbage and we won’t notice our rights being removed or our liberties being dismantled. Bread and circuses has come to be “a metaphor for a superficial means of appeasement.” It is a devastatingly effective technique.
It seems Americans no longer expect or even want their leaders to adhere to the Constitution and Bill of Rights. All they want is free cell phones, lots of drivel on TV and the newest Xbox. And while we’re pacified with free food and entertainment, our government sneaks around behind our back and systematically dismantles what was once the greatest nation on the planet, a nation that proudly built a massive bridge such as the Mackinac. Wheeee.
It’s uncanny how much history repeats itself. It’s equally uncanny how few people heed obvious signs and arrogantly assume “It can’t happen here” or “It can’t happen to me.”
But it is. And it has.
Can anyone doubt we are being fed a steady diet of bread and circuses? While the president announces “Promise Zones,” our government quietly gets ready to institute microchipped national identification cards. While we watch the antics of the Kardashian twits, we are informed our right to bear arms will be removed if we seek comfort or guidance from a counselor or psychologist. While we drool with greed over the Dow reaching records highs, no one notices the parallels with the Great Depression or wonders if the stock market could ever go down.
If I were a conspiracy nut – and I’m not – I could almost claim that our path toward “circuses” has been long and planned. “We are simply not the same country that we used to be,” notes Tyler Durden on ZeroHedge. “Americans are proud, selfish, greedy, arrogant, ungrateful, treacherous and completely addicted to entertainment and pleasure. Our country is literally falling apart all around us, but most Americans are so plugged into entertainment that they can’t even be bothered to notice what is happening.”
America has become a land of bread and circuses. Whenever people are offered diversions to draw attention from the important to the mundane, RED FLAGS SHOULD GO UP.
Yet we are assured over and over again by our benevolent politicians that we’re headed in the right direction, a path toward greater enlightenment, harmony and liberation. We are told that our concerns are unfounded and backwards, that they’re right and we’re wrong.
Comedian Carol Burnett was once asked how she prepared for her role as the evil orphanage manager in the movie “Annie.” She said, “Evil persons in general are convinced that the world is wrong and they’re right.” These are wise words. Evil people forge ahead in their evilness because, hey, they’re right. And we’re wrong.
Those who recognize the bread and circuses for what they are, are told they’re wrong to be concerned. We’re given metaphorical pats on the head and told to toddle along. If we continue to object, we’re marginalized and called names such as right-wing extremists, wackos, racists and the ever-popular domestic terrorists. The government needs to deprive us of our rights since we’re not mature enough to handle them by ourselves, don’cha know.
It doesn’t matter that our national debt has expanded stratospherically and is entirely unsustainable. It doesn’t matter that our government is supplying aid to our enemies and practically inviting them in. It doesn’t matter that our Constitution and Bill of Rights are becoming jokes. Silly people. Just eat your bread and watch your circuses and don’t worry about anything.
Meanwhile our government encourages division among us. They foment racial divisions, gender divisions, sexual divisions, religious divisions, economic divisions and any other division they can utilize to keep citizens from cooperating as a unified whole and binding the government down with the chains of the Constitution. Divide-and-conquer is still a devastatingly effective technique.
In conclusion, let me leave you with these eerie words spoken by David Horowitz: “When Lenin set out to transform, fundamentally transform Russia, he didn’t say he was going to kill 40 million people, create famines and concentration camps called gulags. He said he was going to give them bread, land, and peace.”
Hope and change. Bread and circuses. Don’t say you weren’t warned.
Media wishing to interview Patrice Lewis, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.