New Clear Vision


constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted


Object Permanence

September 02, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, Missy Beattie, Politics

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Inured to the Propaganda?

by Missy Beattie

The Empire marches on. Next stop and drop, Syria. Accomplishing missions.

The top stories on Google News this morning (Monday) are chemical weapons in Syria and Miley Cyrus’s gyrations and crotch grabbing as she performed “We Can’t Stop.” We. Can’t. Stop.

We can’t stop is the order of the day from the commander in chief whose weapon of choice is a drone. And while polling indicates most Americans oppose US military involvement in Syria, they support intervention if there’s proof of chemical weapons use. I’ve read the comment sections beneath mainstream articles to take the nation’s pulse and those chemicals are “game changers”. On and on it goes with WMD propaganda. We can’t stop till we get enough. Never enough.

I’m seeing dead people.

I’m seeing the war profiteers direct their maids to dial down the thermostats as the planet boils, dial up during the bitterly cold winter that’s predicted, unconcerned about climate change, oblivious to the poor and middle class. I’m seeing them limo their way to board a private plane to paradise while there’s still some sand left on beachfront property.

I think of Jean Piaget’s concept, object permanence — a term used to describe a child’s ability to understand that things continue to exist even when out of sight or hearing range. And I consider fellow human beings, maimed by explosives, slaughtered, incinerated by drones, out of sight, unseen by us. That we don’t hear the cries of parents, of children, of spouses, agonized, traumatized by state sanctioned violence.

If CNN, MSNBC, or Fox shows an image of war, a viewer can at any time remote to another graphic, perhaps a Miley Cyrus performance or whatever reality show is seasoned to one’s particular perfection. The child with no limbs is forgotten, object impermanence — yes, an object — just another collateral casualty of the American egomaniacal, imperial, security, blood lusting behemoth.

Monday afternoon, here’s John Kerry’s statement on Syria:

What we saw in Syria last week should shock the conscience of the world. It defies any code of morality. Let me be clear. The indiscriminate slaughter of civilians, the killing of women and children and innocent bystanders by chemical weapons is a moral obscenity. By any standard, it is inexcusable. And despite the excuses and equivocations that some have manufactured, it is undeniable.

Ending with: “President Obama believes there must be accountability for those who would use the world’s most heinous weapons against the world’s most vulnerable people.”

What’s undeniable is the hypocrisy. That the US even has a code of morality. Please. Let me be clear. The greatest purveyors of moral obscenity are this country’s leadership for whom there is no accountability, for the huge corporations that influence the broken system that we call a political process. For the manufacturing of weapons almost beyond imagination in their heinousness. And perhaps we’re seeing a calculation — a plan to deflect attention from the NSA’s invasive claims on our privacy. Mission accomplished. And we shouldn’t be surprised by any of this. So inured to it we’ve become.

Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine, and was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in Baltimore. She is a Contributing Author for New Clear Vision, and can be reached at  missybeat(at)gmail(dot)com.

1 Comments to “Object Permanence”


  1. Nancy Mattina says:

    “The greatest purveyors of moral obscenity are this country’s leadership for whom there is no accountability, for the huge corporations that influence the broken system that we call a political process.” Sadly and respectfully I have to disagree. If we even glance at history’s lessons, we know that the Hitlers, Mussolinis, and Milosevics could not have done what they did alone. Why do the gun-toting, earth-raping, misogynist haters keep getting (re)elected time and again in the U.S.? Why does close to 50% of the voting population align itself with “conservative” values? Why does the money the Koch brothers pump into advertising work? Americans are not the victims of bad leadership but the eager perpetrators of bad, immoral ideas, covered in sanctimony and patriotism. As long as through sentimentality or laziness we prefer to “believe rather than know”, as EO Wilson once astutely summarized the problem, we undermine the tools of democracy, however imperfect they might be. Blame our leaders because millions of Americans don’t hold them accountable at the voting booth? That’s a second act in the magic show that makes a crowd vanish when a writer pulls a guilty rabbit out of her hat. It’s demagoguery in reverse with the same result. I suspect all NCV readers are tempted to fume at individuals who are constantly in the news cycles and I indulge in that myself as needed in private. But it’s the town hall meetings and twitter feeds that worry me the most. Any help with awakening our neighbors to their own obscene moral logic is greatly appreciated. Even that takes a village, as well as a tremendous amount of personal moral courage.

    1


Leave a Reply