Return to Slavery in the U.S.

minority inmates

Return to Slavery: Right Wing Wet Dream

Slavery has been practiced all around the world for millennia because it works so well-for the slave owners.

Historical Context: Slavery

In the West, we like to claim that we sprang from ancient Greece, the cradle of democracy, philosophy, and reason. Their art wasn’t bad, either. This is, of course, just another case of myth-building, since all cultures, including ancient Greece, build on the accomplishments of those who have come before. Greece was preceded by great Middle Eastern cultures in Sumeria and Egypt and people got around and shared ideas much more than history seems to indicate. How much did they get around? Humans spread all over the world from Africa to Australia, on foot, and many thousands of years ago. For example of historical distortion, Pythagoras actually got his theorem from the Egyptians.

Slave Owners Longing to be Free

Human beings from Plato to Thomas Jefferson find the leisure to philosophize, reason, and experiment because they are no longer busy hunting, gathering, or tending crops. They are no longer busy doing these things because someone else is doing those things for them. In ancient societies the producers were the “common people” and slaves. Slaves came from common people who became impoverished or from conquest-what did warlords do with survivors of warlording? They could either kill everyone left over (and sometimes they did) or they could bring them home and make them haul water and chop wood for the rest of their lives.

Greek Slavery

The renowned Greeks Plato and Aristotle used their free time to philosophize about politics, the natural world and the meaning of life. They also philosophized about a bit about slaves. Plato envisioned a Utopia in which three rigid classes (aristocrats, their warriors and everyone else) were led by a Philosopher-King: someone, well, exactly like him! Slaves were devoid of reason and of worth only as servants of their betters. Aristotle asked himself if some are “born slaves” and then he answered himself:

“There is no difficulty in answering this question, on grounds both of reason and of fact. For that some should rule and others be ruled is a thing not only necessary, but expedient; from the hour of their birth, some are marked out for subjection, others for rule.”

Slave Economy Works

We admire Plato, Aristotle and Thomas Jefferson-men who philosophized about liberty- and we make excuses for the hypocrisy of their slave-owning. “We can’t judge, it was the cultural norm, everyone was doing it.” But there has always been a sizable group opposed to slavery that we ignore in this rationalizing: the slaves themselves. Nevertheless, the system worked well for the autocrats and may have made their nations prosperous overall; that is, it no doubt enhanced the state’s GDP as a whole.

Man Does Not Live by GDP Alone

This is one reason GDP cannot be the only measure of a successful society, as it has become in the United States, a nation with a high GDP and now 39th worst in income inequality in the world. When intelligent men examined the question of slavery, they had to come out against it or rationalize why it was all right after all. It was all right, they decided, because it was the natural order. Aristocrats were genetically superior and slaves were born to be slaves. Slaves at best were like children and at worst like unruly animals. The patricians had to not only convince them selves this was true for the sake of their conscience, but also convince the slaves for the sake of the aristocrat’s safety. Southern planters were (justifiably) worried about slave rebellions. They were exploiting and abusing human beings who vastly outnumbered them.

Fast forward to today. The growing income inequality in America has resulted in a nascent wage slave revolt called Occupy Wall Street. How it will turn out we do not know. It appears that citizens reared on the ideals of equality will not tolerate inequality. The slave system fans have another plan afoot, however, and it involves the huge section of “surplus” human beings who are incarcerated. The U.S. has the highest incarceration rate in the world. In addition to war, the U.S. appears to really like prisons. A disproportionate number of prisoners are low-income people of color.

Face the Racism

Let’s face it; a certain segment of the U.S. population doesn’t like low-income people of color. They have no intention of providing jobs for them, so what can be done? Lock them up. But no, you might argue, they have committed crimes. So have the bankers who crashed the economy, yet they are too big to jail. Could any of the inmates be innocent? Surely some are, according to the New York Times which proves that drug cops plant evidence to meet their arrest quotas. The same segment of the population mentioned earlier dislikes immigrants. Immigration uproars have historically been racist in origin. As a result of draconian immigration laws in some states, crops are rotting in the fields.

Back to the Cotton Fields

The brilliant solution to racist fears, the lamentable end of slavery and rotting crops is to boot out all immigrants and send the prisoners into the fields! Once again we can experience the thrill of driving past steaming fields with brown people sweating in the sun. Order will finally be restored to society and Plato’s aristocratic Utopia will have arrived. And get this-it’s constitutional!

Thirteenth Amendment: Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

Think of it: No immigrants, “colored” slaves, and Constitutional=Right Wing Paradise Found.

I have worked in prisons. Prison is extremely unpleasant and excruciatingly boring. But perhaps inmates would like to get out and do some work, even if it is for 50 cents an hour (what inmates were making “inside the fence.”) If it were truly voluntary, it would not be slavery. But the 13th Amendment allows involuntary servitude and citizens who object to slavery need to be ready for this emerging Right-Wing wet dream.

 

 

 

Jobs: “Service Sector” Rip-Off

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Wall Street Bull

With all the manufacturing jobs sent overseas, where will new jobs come from? “Service sector,” they say. What, exactly, are those jobs like?

NAFTA Rip-Off

Do you remember the hype about NAFTA-how it was a great idea because it would open up new markets for American products? This turned out to be a colossal joke and the joke is on us. Rather than open up new markets for American products, it opened new labor markets for American corporations, who promptly established manufacturing in Shenzhen and used the U.S. as the destination for Chinese products. We now export scrap metals and hides and import televisions, cell phones, and computers, resulting in a huge trade deficit. When is the last time you saw a television for sale that was made in the U.S?

The Corporate-Government Money Machine

It is nice that this has greatly enhanced the living standards in China. Even a $300/month job is better than no job at all. It has MASSIVELY enhanced the bottom line of a few mega-corporations, who in turn contribute to political campaigns in order to get more pro-corporate concessions and on and on until we find ourselves where we are now. Where we are now is hurting; unemployed, foreclosed on, credit ruined, school loans coming due and no decent jobs with which to repay them. To add insult to injury, pro-corporate pundits mock the 99% who got slammed-they are lazy, they want entitlements, they shouldn’t have gotten in debt (buying Chinese crap that made the corporations uber-rich.)

 $10 an Hour

Those light manufacturing jobs are gone forever, they tell us. Globalization can not be reversed, they tell us. We will have service jobs. I suspect the millions of citizens will end up in “service jobs” like waiting tables and working retail. They will be making $10 an hour, working holidays and weekends and if they don’t like that, they are soft, lazy and spoiled. Let’s look at a budget for a person making $10 an hour. After taxes, this is about $1400 a month. Below is a very optimistic budget for such a service worker.

 Live in a Dump

Though this depends on where you live, around here a person could get a rather dumpy rent for $500. Now he has $900 left. Utilities are maybe $120, phone service $50. Now he has $730. He would like to eat and that will cost him about $60 a week, if he doesn’t eat out. He has $490 left. How does he get to work? He needs a car, but can he afford a car payment? Assuming his credit has not been destroyed by past unemployment, he gets a clunker for $300 a month. He has $190 left.

 Hand to Mouth

Gas, oil, etc, costs him $80 a month and mandatory car insurance costs $60. Now he has $50. He should save for car repairs-without a car he loses his job and sinks into homelessness. But he can’t-he needs clothes, cleaning products, personal hygiene stuff. He’d like to go to a movie, go on a little vacation-but he can’t. He’d really like to buy presents for his loved ones at Christmas-good luck.

On the Edge of Homeless

He has no health insurance, he doctors his own illnesses. If he should become seriously ill, he is ruined, he will lose his job and be evicted from his shabby rent. If his clunker breaks down, he is ruined. He can not afford a vacation, he cannot afford to patronize the very store or restaurant where he works for forty hours a week, therefore he can not “stimulate the economy.” He lives in a dump, drives a clunker, works full-time under crappy conditions and can not even afford a small vacation. He is always living on the edge of ruin-one illness and one car breakdown away from homeless. This is the future our leaders hold out for most of us. If we complain we accused of being socialists or communists (though communist China is OK because they are making profits there.)

Extinction of the Middle Class

The truth is, the 1% considers most of us to be superfluous. They think they don’t need us any more; they have the whole world to exploit for labor. It’s kind of a natural selection thing, the world changed and we didn’t adapt like they did, so that means they are the fittest and should survive and we should…what? We should– my dear 99%, become extinct-and leave lots of wide open spaces for the 1% to enjoy. Oh, they still have jobs for a few of us, tending their manor houses, doing their laundry and bringing them meals-you know, SERVICE JOBS.

Occupy Wall Street-Demands?

Occupy Wall Street

The Top 1% run America

Since a few hundred people occupied Wall Street two weeks ago the movement has spread across the nation like a wildfire in a Texas drought. As of today, thirty cities are protesting and many more have events in the works.

Media Doesn’t Recognize Democracy

The media, most of whom are little more than the mouthpiece of the military-industrial-congressional complex, complain that the protesters aren’t “organized,” don’t have a coherent list of “demands” and lack a clear leader. The complaints arise from the fact that the media wouldn’t recognize democracy if it rose up and slapped them in the face, which it just might be doing.

Hijacked Movements

When they say the protesters aren’t organized, they mean they can’t detect whether Democrat or Republican political operatives have hijacked the movement. Once they find that out, they’ll know how to spin their stories. The stories always must fit their pre-constructed Democrat-Republican bipolar worldview, one they nurture and promote to keep the people divided and weak. Where’s the leader? They need a leader, so they can do a background check and slap a label on them, like “left-wing” “loser” “dropout” “radical.”

Media Tools 

The media is lazy. They want to deal with a central command that issues press releases, like the pap they constantly recycle for the State Department or the Chamber of Commerce. They want pre-packaged propaganda; they know how to process that. What they don’t know how to handle is a movement of regular Americans from all walks of life who are mad as hell and aren’t going to take it anymore.

Occupy Wall Street Demands

Where is the list of demands-what do they want? People always ask this, according to standup historian Mark Steel in one of his lectures on the French Revolution. In pre-revolutionary France noblemen paid no taxes and had the power to grab a peasant to stay up all night keeping the frogs in the pond from croaking so the nobleman could get his beauty rest. What did the peasant want? He wanted the nobleman to shove his frogs up his arse, that’s what.

End Corruption

The common thread that runs through all the popular uprisings around the world is that they want an end to corruption. They want an end to the lies, and repression and an end to the top 1%, the users who parasitize them, slowly sucking the life out of them and using their life force to heap up luxuries; exploiting natural resources like there’s no tomorrow and “human resources” like they are nothing more than a stand of timber to be cut down.

Live-Free and Without Abuse

All people want to live. Uprisings start when people perceive that they have been so shafted their livelihood is in danger. How many world-changing revolutions started simply because the people had no bread? The 1% whine that the people want handouts: food stamps, unemployment insurance and “entitlements.”  The people want to live, something the 1% can’t understand because their biggest concerns are WHICH house to spend the summer in and WHICH politician to purchase. The people want to live, and quite rightly insist that they will live and will live free and without abuse.

The Greedmobile

The top 1% never learn. They could live in luxury if they also made sure the 99% could live. But they don’t-they just keep taking and taking until the 99% rise up and restore balance. The Greedmobile had a gas pedal but no brakes since “deregulation.” It ran 100 mph into a crowd in 2008, mowing many down and leaving others stunned. They have gradually come out of their stunned condition and are looking for the driver.

Jefferson on the People

Why now? The people, Jefferson said, are patient with abuses and slow to challenge those in authority.

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.

When the recent phony “deficit crisis” showed that those in power are trying to put the Greedmobile back on the road and expecting the mangled victims of the last crash to pay for its upkeep, the people said “no.” Tell us your demands,” the 1% say…so we can make promises we won’t keep, pass laws we won’t enforce and have a few more years to squeeze the last drop of blood from your anemic bodies. The people said, “Our demands are many… and by the way, take this frog and shove it.”

The Meltdown (Documentary-What Happened in 2008)

The White Man’s Burden

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Heroic, Benevolent Conquerors

Ever notice that all groups have a tendency to create a mythology of superiority, complete with creation stories, cosmologies, and a prophesied ultimate victory?

Western Superiority

“Western civilization” is a loose term generally referring to the culture of Europe, and by extension to North America and other European settlements. It appears to be a universal human trait that self-identified groups think, quite simply, that they are the best people on earth. Other people are therefore (obviously) inferior. If the inferior group is no threat, they are seldom noticed, but if they are perceived to be a threat in any way, it becomes a duty approaching the sacred that the inferior group be subdued or destroyed.

The Chosen People

It is a sacred duty because the superior group is the best example of humanity on earth, the benchmark all other people should strive toward, God’s Chosen People, and whether that phrase is used or carefully avoided, the actions and attitudes of the superior group betray that this is how they regard themselves. This attitude can be seen in Jews, Muslims, and Christians, mixed with and empowered by their religious ideology. It is not limited to any of these, however, or to any religion. Anti-religious groups, such as the Russian and Chinese communist regimes, displayed the same superiority complex and zeal-no, duty-to eliminate threats from inferior groups.

Eurocentrism Creation Myth

Eurocentrism is a tendency to interpret the world in terms of European superiority. The mythological Eurocentric creation story, endlessly repeated in history books especially in the past few hundred years, is that Reason and Democracy sprang up fully-formed in ancient Greece, sort of a miraculous virgin birth of the virtues that would then flow through the mighty Roman Empire to Europe and to North America. Africa, India, and the Middle East, those barbarous, dark-skinned, and backward peoples, not only contributed nothing to the advancement of civilization, but are even now languishing in need of the superior virtues possessed by us.

Writings abound betraying the Eurocentric superiority complex, but few are as revealing as Rudyard Kipling’s poem, The White Man’s Burden (1899) The first stanza:

 Take up the White Man’s burden–
Send forth the best ye breed–
Go bind your sons to exile
To serve your captives’ need;
To wait in heavy harness,
On fluttered folk and wild–
Your new-caught, sullen peoples,
Half-devil and half-child.

Genocide and Sterilization

The poem continues for five more stanzas in this vein, but the first stanza is enough to illustrate several factors. For one thing, we are breeding superior stock, like conscientious farmers improving the herd. This may seem silly, but this is the idea behind the American Eugenics program, changes in U.S. immigration law, and the forced sterilization of over 60,000 “unfit” American citizens. That program was instrumental in and complicit with, Hitler’s plan to produce his blonde, blue-eyed superman and usher in 1,000 years of Amazing Aryan-ness. Ideas matter.

Serving the Backward

The poem also mentions that you will take captives in order to serve them. Your captives are sullen, half-devil and half-child. The Eurocentric worldview (and its child, American Exceptionalism) is totally blind to the possibility that when you invade a nation and take the people captive, treating them like half-devil and half-child, this might make them sullen. Why aren’t they grateful? You, the superior people have come to elevate their backward selves to something approaching the level of their own glorious civilization.

To be generous, this displays an innocence, a naiveté that is almost sad, and a blindness that does not bode well for missions to the strangely sullen. But I don’t feel like being generous, so I’ll say that this displays an arrogance and stupidity that can only end in tears.

When Will We Ever Learn?

This poem was written in 1899 and we haven’t learned our lesson yet. At a recent gathering I attended, an elderly man said that it was good that our troops were in Afghanistan, because our troops can show how nice and fair and kind Americans are. This will make the Afghan people want to be like us and so they will set up a capitalist democracy, which will make them prosperous and happy.

I had promised my daughter not to say anything radical at this gathering; these were her friends, and a promise is a promise.

Chinese Troops at the Mall

But imagine occupying Chinese troops wandering around town, patrolling the local mall, barging in to people’s homes and arresting them; treating everyone like inferior human beings. Some of the local boys in my neck of the woods would be taking pot shots at these troops. They would be called “insurgents” or “terrorists.” We would all (sullenly!) hate those troops, except for those of us who chose to collaborate, and most would secretly aid the insurgents. What we would want, with all our hearts, is for those funny-looking, heavily-armed, Chinese-speaking troops to get to hell out.

American Racism: Eugenics Overview

Right-wing Deal with the Devil

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Perfect Rightwing candidate: He's white, carries a weapon, loves wars, executions and hates health care

The trouble with making a deal with the devil is that you can never trust him not to turn on you in the end.

Faust is the star of a classic German legend in which a successful, but dissatisfied man makes a deal with the devil, exchanging his soul in order to get everything he wants on earth. A faustian bargain describes a deal in which an ambitious person trades their integrity to achieve power. This resonating theme keeps recurring in art, music, and literature-and maybe in real life. Al Pacino, in the movie The Devil’s Advocate, delivers such a powerful speech as the devil, that ever since I watched it I have to remind myself when I see him that, no, he’s not really the devil, just a very gifted actor.

Racism is Devilish

Human beings cherish devilish ideas at times and one of the most potent and persistent is racism. According to anthropologist Donald Brown in his book Human Universals, preference for our own kinship group, or tribe, is completely natural. It serves a good purpose, in that it motivates us to care for each other in manageable groups. We can’t care for all of mankind the way we care for those in our tribe. In fact, some who claim to care for all mankind fail to care for their own children, thus they avoid caring for anyone at all on a nitty-gritty level.

Prejudice is Common

Prejudice is also natural, defined as a tendency to judge quickly, to take a few cues and promptly put people or events into little pre-labeled boxes in our brain. We label people “thug” hick” “snob” and such things based on a glance. We are often wrong, so why do we do this? I call it part of the Principle of Cognitive Conservation, the tendency to avoid thinking too much. It can also be called stupidity. But it’s ubiquitous, saves us lots of energy, and can be corrected when we become aware of it.

Core Racist Beliefs

Racism is more sinister. It is a complete, organized belief system that maintains that the race to which you belong is superior (racists never think any other race is superior.) The superior race does not have to operate by normal laws of human decency toward members of lesser races. Lesser races are meant to either be eliminated or to serve the superior race. They can be abused in any manner the superior race deems fit-in their superior opinion.

Racism, Religion, and the Pit

Racism is a devilish idea, yet some religious racists justify racism from their scriptures, which generally take a dim view of the devil. Then again, anyone can justify anything from any collection of books. Racism is also a powerful idea, drawing strength from the natural and universal human preference for kinship groups and revving it up until it plummets right over the cliff of morality and into the pit.

Right Wing and Racism

Right wing groups, which rely heavily on fear and a consequent need for order, like to employ racism as a propellant to power. The Jew, the Mexican, the immigrant, the “other” is to blame for our difficulties. We can’t be to blame, we are superior-it’s the “other” we need to kill, export, or incarcerate and the right wing politician promises to take care of this for us. They will keep us safe; return us to the purity we once enjoyed. Obviously, we detect echoes of Hitler, but do we detect this in our current political discourse?

The “Other”

The Republican Party which once ran such honorable men as Dwight Eisenhower, has been playing footsie with the devil. The “other” is those lazy welfare queens Ronald Reagan mentioned, those brown people coming across our borders, those other brown people wearing funny scarves on their heads, well, really, brown people in general. Perhaps worse than the brown people are the white pointy-headed liberals who are traitors to their race and to the mythical pure beginnings of the Republic.

Death Debates

In two recent debates for Republican presidential candidates, the big applause-getters came when Rick Perry’s Texas was noted as having executed 234 more people than any other state. Applause. Kill them, kill them all. The next big applause-getter was when Ron Paul was asked a hypothetical question about a 30 year-old uninsured man who gets sick. Should he be allowed to die? Cheers from the audience-hell, yeah, let him die!

Now that they’ve let the demon out into the general population, has it taken control? Can a Republican get elected who isn’t in favor of death to ‘others?’ A Republican who tries to take a moderate position on war, or brown people, or sick people? Can you make a deal with the devil and expect him to dance to your tune? Or will he turn and consume you?

 

 

We are What we Believe

I am Right

Despite Differences, Humans Share Common Concepts

We all believe lots of things and they are important to us in relation to where they lie on our personal belief continuum. Our belief continuum is unique; differing from one person to the next at least as widely as our fingerprints do. Some things we disbelieve, that is, we believe they are false, some things we mildly assent to, but our positive core beliefs define to ourselves who we are.

The Belief Continuum

The belief continuum has hundreds, maybe thousands of points. On one end is “No way, not ever,” and on the other is “Absolutely-beyond-a-shadow-of-a-doubt.” In between are such degrees as “Hmm, maybe,” “Probably,” “Dubious,” and I don’t think so.” The center of the continuum is cold; we don’t care very much whether the thing is true or not. Spreading from the cold center, our beliefs get warmer and warmer until the extreme ends of our continuum are blazing hot.

Belief in a Creator

For example, if I believe there is a Creator, the Ultimate Value, who is the source of all that is good, then I arrange my other beliefs in line with this belief. I try to live my life in line with what is good, with love and truth and beauty. This Absolutely-beyond-a-shadow-of-a-doubt belief is a hot belief that defines who I am. I find that this core belief makes me a more open, joyful, and loving person and think that if everyone believed the same, it would put an end to all the suffering man inflicts on his fellow man.

Belief in Reason or Science

On the other hand, if I believe that there is no Creator, that in fact this is a myth created to control people through fear, then the person who believes in a Creator is deluded and part of the root of all the suffering man inflicts on his fellow man. This belief should be stomped out in order to eliminate ignorance and suffering. Nevertheless, it is not enough to identify the source of evil. This person, too, must have a positive Ultimate Value. Perhaps it is Reason, or Science, the environment, or Art. This becomes a hot belief that defines who he is.

Which Belief is Right?

The prospect for irreconcilable conflict between these two persons is obvious. The conflict is irreconcilable because neither one really employs reason in the conflict.* These are hot beliefs being challenged, emotional attacks on the core of what the other person is. It is very personal, it feels-life threatening, and in a way, it is. If what you are is under attack, then it is an existential conflict. The conflict only appears irreconcilable, though. What the two people share is the belief that there is something transcendent, something of Ultimate Value, and the belief that man should stop inflicting suffering on his fellow man. It really boils down to an argument over who has discovered the correct Ultimate Value, and that argument cannot be resolved.

Unending and Futile Arguments

The argument can rage on and on, and in fact, it has…to no avail. The more argument, the more each side heats up and hardens their core belief; the more they each seek confirmation from others, from “authorities,” and from their social groups. This works the same with political or economic or child-rearing core beliefs. It seems hopeless, but there is a way out.

1). Admit that you choose what you believe. You have thought about it and your belief is justified as far as you can determine. I do not suggest thinking about the possible fallacy of your core belief because that’s too scary to contemplate. Just admit that the beliefs you hold dear are subjective, just like everyone else’s.

2). Realize that others also choose their core beliefs and they have the same right to do so that you do. Must you wipe out all opposition from the face of the earth to justify your beliefs? That betrays a certain insecurity, don’t you think?

3). Setting aside your differing Ultimate Values, do you have any common ground? Anthropologist Donald Brown in his book Human Universals listed 200 things that all humans have in common across all time and cultures, such as affection felt and expressed, planning for the future, and resistance to abuse of power. You do have some of these in common with any other human being, no matter how much you appear to differ.

Most people believe, and it’s a fairly hot belief, that we should extend to others the same rights we claim for ourselves. If that belief is acted upon, then the two persons mentioned should extend to each other not only the right to form their own beliefs, but also freedom from ridicule, attack, and attempts to stamp out their core beliefs.

Never in history has anyone changed what they deeply believe due to force or ridicule. They may have conformed to the oppressor outwardly to save their lives, but one other human universal-a private inner life-prevents the extinguishing of core beliefs by either tyrants or thought police.

*Cognitive researcher George Lakoff says the 18th Century Enlightenment view of human reason is way off. Our thoughts are actually 98% unconscious and employ frames and metaphors, not logic.

 

2012-What Will Happen?

earth in space

What will happen in 2012?

The ancient Mayan calendars end at 2012, which means, of course, that the world will end then. After all, if the world was going to continue after 2012, the Mayans would have gone further with their calendar-making, because they were very clever calendar-makers; so clever, in fact, that the precise date for the end of the world is December 21, 2012.

Given this scenario, I suggest celebrating Christmas early and ferociously. This is the year to max out your credit cards, buy your kid a pony-hell-buy them a ranch to ride their pony around on. No worries about fitting into a bathing suit come spring, there will be no spring, so hedonistic holiday eating binges all around!

But what if the Mayans just ran out of calendar tablets when they got to 2012?  “Ahuatl, go get some more calendar tablets.” “How far did you get?” “2012” “All right, I’ll pick some up next time I go to the quarry.” The Mayans weren’t such great predictors. For example, they didn’t seem to foresee the fact that their civilization would be gone 1,000 years before the fateful year 2012 rolled around.

New Agers, think 2012 is a significant date. They’ve been looking for a new age (hence the name) since they skipped around singing about the dawning of the Age of Aquarius back in the Make Love Not War days. They think 2012 marks the beginning of a new era in which Mother Earth and her children will undergo a positive physical or spiritual transformation, when peace will guide the planets and love will steer the stars.

The theorists from the Dark Side think 2012 will bring a catastrophe, perhaps a cataclysmic solar event, the earth’s collision with a black hole, an asteroid, or the planet Nibiru. For Dark Side Theorists these scenarios are actually preferable to the world’s surviving 2012 and being taken over by the creeping Islamo-Socialist-Homosexual conspiracy currently at work.

Solar destruction, black holes, planet Nibiru, evolutionary great leap forward-all of these will be believed by someone, somewhere; and if history repeats, probably by many people in many places. The New Agers can claim that a spiritual change took place on December 21, 2012, because its spiritual and you can’t actually see it. If, on the other hand, earth gets vacuumed into a black hole, no one will be around to take credit though Dark Theorists will be shouting, “See, I TOLD you!” even as the earth dissolves.

What will happen on November 6, 2012 is that the U.S. will hold a Presidential election-Yes, the $6 Billion Dollar Great American Political Circus is coming to town! Candidate’s hairlines, waistlines, and family members will be minutely examined and debated. Tempers will flare, pundits will spit venom, and campaign ads will appeal to our basest instincts and cause us to bemoan how dirty politics has become-just like back in the 1800’s.

What Americans will believe about December 21, 2012 will, in many, cases depend on who gets elected. The Dark Side will be expecting-maybe praying for- planet Nibiriu if Obama gets elected. The New Agers may go back to the drawing board if a Republican gets elected, looking for a calendar from another lost civilization and a new date for when peace will begin to rule the planet. December 21 and then December 25 will pass into history and the rest of us will take down the Christmas tree, make resolutions, and go on a diet.