Filed under: — lana @ 1:32 am

I work in a strange environment. That goes without saying at this point, I suppose, but occasionally bears repeating. But really, the strangeness is spreading.

There is someone in my class who regularly espouses his opinion on politics. I don’t really mind, since he is fairly young and seems to just like using big words to make him seem smart, so it just turns into a tragic game. He declared he is a libertarian, so I now regularly spit out views to get him to disagree. The fun part is when I get him to disagree with libertarian views, which has become more frequent as he falls into the pattern. Mostly, this only serves to prove I am a bad person, but really, this is very common through the military. And the more I read the news these days, the more I notice it everywhere: the world is becoming brainwashed.

The military is particularly strange. It is a socialist, almost communist environment, in theory to promote discipline through taking care of the “Everything Else.” Free health care, cheap life insurance, free education for Soldiers and their children, discounted goods, free housing… I could go on. What is so peculiar is that so many people in the military are terrified of such living for everyone else. They rarely even realize that they live the way they do, many of them indoctrinated otherwise in one way or another. Some of them from home, having grown up in gun country. Some of them get it from work, from the media, from a myriad of sources. The military attracts them. It’s actually remarkably frightening some days, despite the potential entertainment value. They remain blissfully unaware that everything that comes out of their mouths which is a repeat of a statment from The O’Reilly Factor is in direct contrast to the life they already lead.

This morning, as I waited for my breakfast to digest so I could go to the gym, one of the supergeniuses from one of the mixed armed forces that pop through here from time to time was watching the news. On the television was the usual tripe about who hates whom this week and for what imagined reason. She, unlike the television, was impossible to ignore, however, so I had hear it. She was boasting about how her friend was going to keep her child home from school because the president was going to be aired at the school, “Spreading his brainwashing program.”

While I normally just laugh at the stupidity of such a comment, remembering when Bush Senior went on television for the exact same reason and we got the special treat in school of watching it (my school rarely allowed us onto any live access ever since we watched the Challenger explosion), I also observed that she was not alone. Apparently, the president can no longer encourage students to stay in school without raising a ruckus among those terrified of brainwashing. They are apparently unaware that they, therefore, have been brainwashed. Even right-wing media has shown that the speech will be about studying and staying in school, and that the Department of Education rescinded the silly wording that went from “goals to help the president” (ahem, even that wording was about personal education, not about health care, people… the kids are not of voting age) to “goals to get smarter” (paraphrasing). But really, who gets that far in the article? I get surprised when half these people show proof they can read at all.

When did people stop thinking for themselves, and where was I when this happened? Was I on vacation or off napping when everyone went dumb? Is it because I have not owned a television in three years or so, therefore meaning I have to read whole stories instead of being innundated with two minute talkies with flashing lights and pretty pictures and people with nice hair and smooth voices? Or is it just my natural cynicism and charm? This woman’s friend was going to keep her child from a day of education because she is afraid of a speech about… staying in school. So she doesn’t believe he should be president, therefore she does not believe he should be the one telling her child to stay in school. So she keeps her kid home. Does anyone else see the irony here?

She is right: she should be the one telling her child to stay in school (and sending her child to the aforementioned school). But the problem is that also doesn’t occur to people these days. Despite not wanting someone from the government to brainwash their children, people also want to blame the government when their child can’t get a passing grade. Wanting everyone to stay out of your business all the way up until something goes wrong, at which point it becomes someone else’s fault. Just like these people who agree with libertarian views unconditionally all the way up until someone asks what happens when one state won’t recognize a driver’s license from another because the laws are vastly different.

Now I don’t get involved in politics. I stay educated on them, but really politics has become so polarized that there is little point in discussion. No one listens, so no one learns. I even got points taken off the other day during an exercise because I found an article when doing my required research that contradicted what the instructor had on paper. He didn’t know how to react, so he told me the research must have been wrong and docked points. Evidence, as usual in these situations, was pointless. Plus, the class is pass/fail, so I did the unthinkable (for me) and bit my tongue in hopes that I can make it two and a half more weeks.

We now live in a world where the president cannot do the same as several predecessors (of the other party) because people are afraid. Everyone is scared that a decision might be the wrong one, so no one makes one. It’s everywhere, from the people to the military to the government. We are in a mess. It is why we can’t get beyond health care, why my unit can’t figure out if they want to pay me or not, and why my class of eleven people could not come up with four toppings to put on pizzas for dinner on Friday when we had to stay until almost 2100.

So who is brainwashed now? Give you a hint, people, it ain’t your kids. They are fine, and they should stay in school and study so they can learn to make up their own minds and thus be smarter than you.

As for us, well, half an hour later we settled on two chicken and pineapple and two various pork product pizzas.

1 Comment »

  1. If my kid watches the President’s message on staying in school, the next thing you know govt agents will be taking my guns away. How will I be able to properly protest universal health care without being armed? It’s a slippery slope…..

    Comment by Bruno — 9/20/2009 @ 8:19 am

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