Los Angeles, CA (TFC) – Occasionally we print open letters. This is one we recently received.
Dear Fifth Column News Editor:
I support our troops. I believe might makes right. I am a consumer. I consume endlessly. In times of recession, I consume even more to get the economy back on track. I happily work longer hours with increasingly poorer benefits. I never disparage my employer for failing to pay wages that keep pace with inflation. I make only minimum credit card payments—to increase my debt load for the benefit of Wall Street investors. I see nothing wrong with having the same Congressman represent my district for 20 years. I prefer political attack ads over political debate. Campaign contributions are distinguishable from bribery because campaign donors must fill-out forms. I believe the super-rich have the right to spend as much money as it takes to win elections. I see no hurry to address climate change because American know-how always finds a way. I accept pollution as an inevitable byproduct of progress. Greenhouse gasses are good for the environment because they make the planet greener. Each year, I get four flu shots, one for each flu season. I relinquish my own opinions in favor of those from persons with initials after their names. I satisfy all wants and needs that Madison Avenue creates for me. I never protest in the streets, nor attend city council meetings, but I do obey doctors’ orders. I always ask my doctor whether medical advice from TV commercials is right for me. I accept perpetual war as the inevitable consequence of an oil-based economy. Perpetual war is good for national morale because it spares us the shame of another Vietnam-style defeat. Fluoride strengthens tooth enamel. I buy tomato soup with the pink label—despite the fact that it contains known carcinogens—because it helps them find a cure. I don’t bother reading nutrition labels because they won’t tell us what’s in the food anyway. Our two-party system is the pinnacle of political evolution because of the built-in safeguards against collusion. I accept that poverty will always exist, especially among the poor. The unemployed should just “get a job.” Food server wages should be dependent on my capricious tipping whims. Food stamps are the main reason for our skyrocketing national debt. Welfare is wasted on the poor; we should give welfare money to large, impersonal corporations and re-label it a subsidy. I stand up for what’s right, but only where I directly benefit, and only moneywise. Freedom and justice are antiquated ideals best left to Hollywood action movies. I never question the government version of events, and where others express doubt, I ridicule them as wild-eyed conspiracy theorists. No, I never heard of NDAA. The Patriot Act is basically a loyalty oath—anyone opposing it is unpatriotic. Warrantless searches are okay because they eliminate red tape. A gun-free society will make us safe and hyper-militarized police will make us even safer still. The government spy program shouldn’t bother anybody unless they have something to hide. If we all relinquish a little privacy, then we’ll all be a little safer. If we relinquish a lot of privacy, we’ll be a lot safer. Terrorists hate us for our freedoms, so giving up our freedoms maybe isn’t such a bad thing. Television commercials are louder than television programs so we can hear them on the way to the fridge. I disregard proper diet and exercise because I can always fall back on once-a-day pills. I show undaunted courage in the face of possible side effects. Alcoholism is a choice, not an illness. Obesity is an illness, not a choice. I cannot remember a time when our skies were not spray-painted like the tic-tac-toe World Series. Public schools should prepare students for big-box retail instead of college. Organic is too expensive. No, I don’t know the difference between gluten and vegan. Corporations are people too, with thoughts, emotions, and constitutionally protected free speech and religion. I acquiesce to a corporate culture that quietly industrializes violence and death both on the battlefield and in the slaughterhouse. Everything I know about history I learned from the History Channel. I will not pass “Go”—but I will have another ninety-nine cent cheeseburger—because I am the American consumer!—the tyrannical silent majority!. I stand for nothing—I fall for anything. Apathy like mine grinds civilizations to a standstill. And it never dons on me that I am superfluous in their eyes. Truth is, our kind are now so plentiful that we disprove traditional science –hydrogen is NOT the cosmos’ most abundant element –it’s inexcusable, unrepentant ignorance. ~TMP
by T. Matthew Phillips, Attorney-at-Law