The Great Myths of the United States
Written by Alfonso Elizondo
According to activist, writer and actor Lee Camp, the high level of inequality that exists in the United States should prevent their society from functioning. Camp says that 63% of Americans could not meet domestic emergency expenses even if they were only $500, while there are multimillionaires with fortunes of billions of dollars.
With the capital of just one of those billionaires the problem of world hunger could be solved for many years and he would still have more money left over than he would need to live comfortably for the rest of his life. This being the case, however, there are no riots on the streets, the real estate, financial and commercial system has not collapsed, everything works and everyone wants to continue living like that.
According to Camp, it’s all due to the myths that have been sold since we were born, so they are accepted and never questioned. Camp wonders when was the last time that Congress did something that was not supported by the majority of the society and he says that both the Carter Center and former President Jimmy Carter say that the United States has become an oligarchy with a small, corrupt elite controlling the country without any participation by the people because the leaders only need the myth that ‘we are a democracy’ to give us the illusion that there is control in the State. The main myth is that there is a legitimate and accountable voting system.
Despite this myth, the State works with great lies and inequalities since there is a wide variety of election phenomena, such as the manipulation of many voting blocs, the disappearance of data on voters, provisional ballots, super political action committees (super PACs), dirty money and the exclusion of minor parties from the debates. None of that, says Camp, belongs to a legitimate electoral system.
Another American myth is that there are many independent media that force the leaders to be accountable. Camp denies this, noting that the media are financed by defense contractors, pharmaceutical giants, big banks and large oil companies. The corporate media – says Camp – work to promote a war, applaud Wall Street and spread consumerism.
Myth # 5 about an independent judiciary is a weapon that is also wielded by the corporate state. According to Camp, bankers can legally execute mortgages on millions of homes without going to jail, while media activists are serving sentences for ‘non-violent civil disobedience’. For his part, activist Ralph Nader says that the US judicial system has legalized secret laws, secret courts, secret tests, secret budgets and secret prisons in the name of national security. According to the New York Times, 97% of federal cases and 94% of state cases end in plea bargains and defendants plead guilty in exchange for a lighter sentence.
US myth # 4 claims that the police protect us and are our friends. Camp says that the US police force is designed for two things: protecting the private property of the rich and waging an immoral war against drugs that is really an internal war because the United States imprisons more people than any other country and is the largest prison state in the world, so much so that China and North Korea are amateur prison states.
American myth # 3 is the one that suggests that shopping brings happiness. Camp says that most people feel ‘a persistent emptiness, an inner alienation beneath their superficial emotions’. That’s because most human beings squandered their lives in jobs they hated and then went to those cells called houses or apartments.
Then we turn on the television for everything to make sense by watching so-called ‘reality’ shows about people who are having a worse time than us and that seems funny to us. If we are lucky, we will earn during the week to pay for weekends with beer and for it all to make sense. And if that is not enough satisfaction, the TV ads will say that ‘shopping will make you happy’.
Myth # 2 says that the American spends much of his life at work and yet never ends up being happy, so he spends much of his useful life doing useless things instead of dedicating it to creative things and trying to be happy in this life.
Myth # 1 .- Camp says that despite the fact that the United States is one of the most unequal and least free societies in the world, its myth # 1 is ‘We are Free’. So to prove it using black humor I recommend some simple actions that would prove the opposite:
1.- Light a fire in a parking lot to keep warm in winter.
2.- Sleep in your own car for several hours without being harassed by the police.
3.- Try to maintain privacy for a week without having a single email, a web search or any other tracking attempt that will not be collected by the NSA or official telecommunications.
4. Try to join the Army because you need money for college and then try to get out saying you do not want to be there anymore.
5.- Introduce yourself as a third-party presidential candidate or use the Starbucks bathroom without buying anything if you are a black person.
According to Camp, US society is one of the most unequal and hard-working societies on the planet and with more billionaires than ever. As a final point, Camp says that to operate this illogical and immoral US system, the current corrupt leaders do not need guns or teargas to keep their exploitation mechanisms moving.
They only require good, solid myths that allow them to deceive the vast majority of poor people.