America the Betrayed Walt Whitman: 'Poet of the People'

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Previously
by Richard C. Cook: The End of Money and the Future ofCivilization

If you want
to get an idea of what America once was like, read the poems of
Walt Whitman. Whitman was born on Long Island in 1819 and grew up
in Brooklyn, N.Y. His family was poor, but even though he left school
at the age of 11 he gave himself an education by reading and working
in the printing shop of a newspaper until he gradually became a
published writer. He worked as a teacher and news reporter and owned
his own newspaper by the age of 20.

In 1848 Whitman
was a delegate to the founding convention of the Free Soil Party.
During the Civil War he worked as a nurse in Union military hospitals
and held several government jobs, including interviewing Confederate
prisoners for pardons. Some of his greatest poems came from his
war experiences, including his famous elegy upon the assassination
of President Abraham Lincoln, “Oh Captain! My Captain!”
His great collection of poems, Leaves
of Grass
, was self-published. He died a national hero in
1892 in Camden, New Jersey, where thousands of people came to pay
their respects.

Whitman has
always been viewed as a poet of the people, in contrast to the pretentious
dandies from academia who have controlled official American culture
for much of our history. He wrote of workmen, farmers, sailors,
soldiers, lovers, criminals, and prostitutes.

In the text
of the first edition of Leaves of Grass, he wrote of himself
as, “Walt Whitman, an American, one of the roughs, a kosmos,
disorderly, fleshly, and sensual, no sentimentalist, no stander
above men or women or apart from them, no more modest than immodest.”
He had discovered a great secret, one that is known to everyone
who is young at heart: that the free individual, always potentially
a “kosmos,” stands at a much higher level in the scale
of creation than any man-made collective.

Thus was Whitman
a hero to the Beatniks of the 1950s who tried to rediscover an authentic
American voice in the streets and on the roads and highways of this
great land. The spirit of Whitman was surely present through the
rebellion of the 1960s, when America’s young men and women
rose up and fought the Establishment to stop the Vietnam War and
bring civil rights to racial minorities.

The Establishment
fought back with a vengeance and, through the most egregious betrayal
in history, reduced the world’s greatest industrial democracy
to the pathetic shadow of its former self we are today.

The first thing
the Establishment did was destroy the industrial job base by shipping
millions of good jobs to China and other Third World nations, where
slave laborers could be forced to churn out consumer products at
a fraction of the cost of similar work done by American workers.

Acting through
the CIA and organized crime, the Establishment flooded the cities
and college campuses with illegal drugs in order to rot the minds
and souls of our youth.

They dumbed
down education to the point where young people who graduate today
know little and can do less of a practical nature. Vocational training
is dead. A high school graduate is worth virtually nothing in the
job market, and many college graduates are semi-literate and self-absorbed,
often lacking backbone, skills, or initiative. Some high school
and college graduates are even drug addicts or alcoholics.

They turned
the economy over to thieves from Wall Street and created a military
machine that turns youth into murderers and assassins whose job
it is to conquer the world for the fat cats of global capital.

They ruined
the arts, literature, and music through crass commercialization,
making it almost impossible for any real original creativity to
be produced or communicated. The one bright light in this darkness
is the internet, which is being threatened by commercial suppression
of freedom of expression by the ambitions of big communications
companies. Thank goodness too for the rare creative genius like
Michael Moore who has the courage to hold up a mirror to this deeply
diseased society.

Then they wrecked
people’s health with processed food and constant inducements
to a sedentary lifestyle while pumping us full of dangerous vaccines
and prescription drugs. They drummed it into everyone’s head
that we are basically weak, ill, helpless creatures who can only
survive by taking pills and making constant trips to doctors, hospitals,
and clinics.

They induced
us to fight over our possessions and freedoms in law courts with
the aid of greedy lawyers in front of rapacious judges who have
built up the largest prison population in the world.

They pulled
money and credit out of the inner cities and rural areas leaving
those segments of the nation and their populations to rot.

The list could
go on and on and on.

Today we are
in the midst of not just a recession but a terminal depression.
Getting the banks to lend again so people can buy homes at what
are still over-inflated prices or so they might compete with immigrants
to get construction jobs through building of more useless office
buildings or military bases is not a recovery. The “greening
of America” is a myth. There is no resurgence of alternative
energy investment or new public infrastructure apart from a few
highway projects.

American family
farming is practically dead and is under a new assault from speculators
who are undercutting prices and forcing foreclosures. The local
manufacturing sector never came back after the calamitous decline
produced by the Paul Volcker recession of 1979–1983, when interest
rates were deliberately raised to over 20 percent to kill off family-owned
businesses so that global corporations could step in and take over.
Since then we had the “Reagan Revolution” when the banks
took over the economy, the Clinton dot.com bubble of the 1990s which
crashed in 2000, and the George W. Bush/Alan Greenspan housing bubble
which blew up in 2008. Now Main Street lies shattered and shuttered
as a result of the crimes and treacheries of the last 30 years.

True, there
is a rebellion brewing, including a monetary reform movement that
has attacked the power of the Federal Reserve, as well as a few
progressive voices that call for a much larger economic “stimulus”
than the Obama administration has seen fit to implement.

But is there
any practical plan on the part of either political party or organized
movement to restore America to what it once was – a place where
ordinary people could live, work, learn, and flourish? The answer
is a resounding “No.” Not a chance. And “Change You
Can Believe In” hasn’t changed a thing. All it has done
has been to produce another financial bubble, this time using huge
amounts of public debt through the sale of U.S. Treasury bonds.
Business is not growing and jobs are not coming back. The only thing
that has gone up has been the meeting of military recruitment quotas.

This latest
bubble will fail too, because money created through lending to float
the prices of assets is not wealth. Rather wealth consists of goods
and services produced by labor applied to natural resources. Those
who provide the labor must be recompensed fairly.

So what is
to be done? The answer is that nothing can or will be done, if by
that you mean whether a political savior is going to come along
to rescue our nation and its people from destruction.

In fact, what
they are planning is to continue to throttle and enslave us with
a predatory financial establishment and a military policy that is
preparing the groundwork for World War III. The war will be fought
with American troops against Russia and China, after which China
will take over as the world’s policeman while this country
disappears from the face of the earth. It’s the ultimate plan
of the New World Order, the ones American politicians, financiers,
military leaders, and academics bow down to.

It is time
for each and every individual who values his or her own life along
with the creative potential of the human spirit to begin to work
with others to create a new nation and world. The government isn’t
going to do it for us. Please believe me. This is not a system that
can be reformed. It is a system that must be replaced. And it must
be replaced by the ordinary working men and women who have been
crushed, used, and abused during the past ugly half-century.

Americans,
get to work. Call your friends and family together today and begin
to figure out what to do. Start with 15 minutes of prayer and meditation.
You will be shown the way from within yourselves. My own view is
that setting up local currency systems, as many communities are
now doing, is a good place to start.

This article
originally appeared on GlobalResearch.ca.

November
9, 2009

Richard
C. Cook is a former federal analyst who writes on public policy
issues. His latest book is We
Hold These Truths: The Hope of Monetary Reform
. Visit
his website
.

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