The Road Not Taken
Thoughts while passing the point of no return
by John Kaminski
Sometimes when we're traveling, we get so engrossed in our own
conversations we fail to see significant things. We speed by these
emotional landmarks without noticing them. It may be the very thing
we've been looking for all our lives, but we miss it for a distracting
remark that happens to turn our heads in the wrong direction at that
Think of what constitutes the point of no return. The days that
follow ignorant and unwise decisions are always filled with grief and
remorse. Sometimes, in the distance between the moment where we passed
it and the spot where we realize we've passed it, the epiphany dawns on
us - there is no turning back, despite all our fondest wishing and
hoping, despite all our teary promises to do better next time. Real life
has no reset button. Then comes that hollow time, with its aluminized
applause of silence, when understanding crashes in on us. Some mistakes,
like the death of your mother or your son, simply cannot be corrected.
Sometimes, in this life, there is simply no going back.
So it is with the American dream, lying crushed in the bleeding dust
of official lies presented as eternal truths by neatly dressed young
people trying in vain to speak English correctly in front of mobile
television cameras, saying things like "the American people support what
has been done in Iraq" and trying to show their spontaneous sincerity as
the scripted words slither from their painted lips.
America has been twisted from an example of hope for the world into
an armed robber intent on fleecing everyone it meets. Just recently,
America has changed the world from a place of hope to a place of fear.
We pass by these significant events as the newsreel of our memories
unfolds before us. We show appropriate horror at the mangled bodies of
people we never knew, then go on about our business - to the mall for
those birthday presents meant for people we hardly know, to work on time
to meet the daily shift quota, or to our homes to retreat from the daily
assault of debilitating images that assail us by using whatever
substance pleases us at the moment. So many events we try to pass by and
forget. Some can't, but most do.
In the days following these events, we try to rationalize that some
mistakes can be corrected: we can go to court and demand a recount for
an election that has been so obviously stolen; we can catch the
perpetrators of a stunningly horrific crime and try them in a court of
law in accordance with the finest traditions of democratic justice; we
can appeal to the better natures of elected officials who pass laws
without even reading what's on the paper; we can take to the streets to
protest decisions to drop nuclear weapons on peasants far away; or we
can point out to anyone who'll listen that our leaders are lying about
everything they say.
But in the days after that, we learn to our shocked dismay that the
courts are closed to people without flashy pedigrees, that elected
officials seem not to want to catch the villains who perpetrated a
shocking mass murder, that legislators only really listen to
representatives of large companies who can fund their vacation homes,
that large protests are really great social events that accomplish
nothing, and that precious few people really care whether our leaders
are lying or not, as long as we have our homes, our paychecks, and our
cold beer and warm beds.
Most fail to perceive that if you fail to adequately protect what
you have now, chances are good that you won't have it for very long. I'm
talking about the future here, although you probably didn't realize it.
Listen, can you remember that sound you heard when you passed the
point of no return. No, of course not. You were busy. Talking about
Since the turning of the millennium, we have passed by four events
that have changed the consciousness of our nation and the world forever
Was it like T. S. Eliot's "not with a bang, but with a whimper"?
Right after all those wonderful millennium fireworks celebrations,
we came to a fork in the road, only almost nobody noticed, because we
were all too busy having so much fun and congratulating ourselves about
what a wonderful world we had.
Since that magical moment, we have been travelling full speed down
the wrong road, with most of us still pretending that everything's OK,
that when we wake up in the morning, things will be as they always have
been, the stock market will rise, certain alluring items at the store
will be on sale, that our jobs will be there and we'll always have
plenty of gas in our cars. What was it we were talking about when these
events happened? What did we think about them? What did we do about
What will you be talking about when you pass the point of no return?
Baseball? Dietary supplements? Social obligations?
We're going full speed down a road of no return. We took a wrong
turn at the millennium fork. Plenty of people noticed, but nobody said
anything. We were all making too much money, all having too much fun.
Had we been a realistic, functional society - one that cast our
focus on the health and maintenance of our lives and our world rather
than one that seeks to escape from our responsibilities because we are
so afraid of death - we could have learned plenty from those four
post-millenium events that have so profoundly changed our world for the
Were we not led in the wrong direction by the pathetic prostitutes
we see on the TV screens every night, we could have found out that
Katherine Harris and Jeb Bush conspired to deprive over 90,000 people of
their legitimate right to vote. I'm not saying any of the subsequent
events would have changed if Al Gore had been the president (after all,
Bill Clinton bombed the hell out of Yugoslavia at the behest of the
International Monetary Fund, and the murderous masquerades in Waco and
Oklahoma City were not exactly good advertisements for an open, honest
government), but it doesn't seem as likely that Gore would have rammed
the Patriot Act down our throats, despite the fact that it was written
by Democrats, or bombed New York City on the basis of Dick Cheney's
think-tank report. Who knows? Maybe he would have. The people in OKC
sure think he might have.
The great lesson that has been missed by the stifling of the
investigation into the World Trade Center disaster is the opportunity to
see a continuity of manipulative aggression in the foreign policy of the
United States throughout the 20th Century. I mean, the situation now is
not that much different than it was in the 1890s when a stock market
crash was engineered by rich industrialists, and then a new grand plan
of imperialism was undertaken by U.S. presidents that resulted in major
carnage in the Philippines, Cuba and even Hawaii that rivals in
dishonest insincerity what has recently taken place in Afghanistan and
Had there been a legitimate and independent investigation into the
horror of 9/11, more people could have seen that the land of the free
and the home of the brave has been provoking wars for profit around the
world throughout the 20th Century, and that even the U.S. motivation for
participation in World Wars I and II are subject to alternative
interpretations that clearly reveal the main cause of them was
manipulative profit-seeking from Wall Street and Washington.
A truly legitimate investigation into the grand deception of what is
called 9/11 might also have revealed that it doesn't really matter who
is president - that the tyranny and the murder goes on no matter who is
president, because that's the way it has always been in America.
A real investigation into 9/11 might just have allowed us the
opportunity to at least hope for a humane world, and possibly work
toward one. A real investigation would have enabled us to see, perhaps,
that American capitalism engineered by behind-the-scenes billionaires,
funding both the Bolsheviks and Hitler, has caused all the wars of the
But now the cat is out of the bag for all the world to see. Naked
and vicious power, with nothing - secular or sacred - able to stand in
its way. No reason needed to use it, only an impulse toward gluttony by
a sufficient number of godless petronazis mouthing religious phrases to
keep the evangelical zombies lulled ecstatically in their apocalyptic
As one commentator said the other day, the neocon conspiracy that
has grabbed control of the United States and its military might is now
much more dangerous than Hitler's Third Reich or the Soviet Union's Red
Menace ever were, in part because there is no one to stop America from
turning the whole world into a radioactive wasteland like the one that
now exists in Iraq, but also because there is no voice of freedom
anywhere in the world able to stand up and oppose the American Zionist
propaganda machine that trumpets is new, horrid messages that twist the
truth and obscure the atrocities. Like "freedom is economic slavery" and
"democracy is a one-party system where all opposition is treason." The
irony is that the rich patricians uttering these sadistic slogans are
the ones who are the real traitors to the people of the world, and
everything human and holy.
There was a time, not too long ago (I'm thinking '60s or '70s here),
when idealism could have prevailed, where the noble nuances of
selflessness and concern for others could have determined the future we
have chosen for ourselves. But corporate fascism belittled and
marginalized such quaint sentiments as inferior to naked profits and
sophisticated selfishness, and now we are travelling down a road on
which there are no U-turns. Although it happened very recently, we are
well past the point of no return, and the road not taken will forever
haunt us in our dreams, in each needlessly dead body we see sacrificed
on the evil highway of pure profit.
What was it we were talking about when all this happened, and how
important does it seem to us now, now that we can no longer turn back
around, and make all those needlessly dead people live again?
And we teach our children that stealing money from the dead is all
we need to make us feel good. Rejoice, ye faithful, this is the new
Surely, this is the point of no return. We passed it some time ago.
What was it you were saying when we passed it?
- The stolen election of the year 2000, in which the surreptitious
denial of voting rights to tens of thousands of people of color and
manipulation of computerized voting systems turned the vote count in
favor of fascism, turned America into a police state. Few then were
prescient enough to have predicted democracy would soon die, but it has.
Now there's no going back. The deed is done. The Constitution is
nullified. Habeas corpus is gone for the first time in 800 years. The
police can come into your home at any time for any reason. People can be
executed without legitimate trials. All as a result of a fixed vote. We
should have seen it coming. But we were talking, and the moment passed
by. Now, no amount of second-guessing can turn back the clock. Just look
at the political opposition, acting as if nothing really serious has
happened, that they can fix the difficulties with a few pieces of
legislation. And still America slumbers.
But there is no going back. Democracy died when a bill was passed by
those who didn't even read it. The new American way. Goosestepping in
silence. And all across the political spectrum, the phony functionaries
who grovel for our votes (and who will ignore us when they have them)
act as if this shameful occurrence was normal. Perhaps it IS normal in a
society of treasonous pigs with no scruples, which is apparently what
America has become. Just a gaggle of dishonest accountants who don't
really care where the numbers come from
- The mass murder of many thousands of people in New York City,
Washington, D.C., and western Pennsylvania was blamed on Arab terrorists
minutes after it happened, yet all the top officials insisted during
those tear-stained days that they had no premonition such a monstrous
event could even happen.
Do you understand how those two thoughts do not and cannot co-exist
in the same logical space? And if they don't, and you do understand, you
also understand that your entire sociopolitical paradigm was shattered
that day, because you know 9/11 was the handiwork of the rich
manipulators who run our society, a hard-hearted ruse with which to
plunder Arab treasures to the robotic applause of the drugged-out and
brain-dead American populace
- America dropped radioactive bunker buster bombs on defenseless
peasants in Afghanistan, leaving them to twitch in the dust as their
children developed horrific red tumors on their heads. This was billed a
direct response to capture the alleged perpetrator of the 9/11 horror.
Yet when the alleged perpetrator was offered up for trial in a neutral
country, the U.S. ignored him and continued bombing. And it turns out
the war in Afghanistan was planned long before 9/11. How can you launch
a war that was planned before the crime was committed, and then insist
the war was in response to the crime? Did we miss all this? Were we
talking about something else when all this happened?
- Now America can bomb anyone it wants to for any reason. The
reasons don't have to be the truth, or even grounded in reality. They
can be total fantasy. This is the scenario we are now witnessing in
Iraq, where even proven presidential lies barely raise eyebrows and most
agree that Iraq needed to be bombed because the president and the TV
anchors said so. What was it we were doing when this became a logical
action? What trip were we taking when we missed that point that honesty
was no longer necessary for doing business in the world? And once they
decided they could kill all those innocent prisoners at Guantanamo
without real trials, where we going then? What was the sound of the
Constitution being ridiculed by federal judges and taken away forever?
Did you hear it? What did it sound like?
John Kaminski is a writer who lives on the coast of Florida and
can't believe how many Americans just don't care about the world they
live in. Autographed copies of his collection of Internet essays,
America's Autopsy Report may now be ordered ($18.95, plus $5 shipping
and handling) by writing to him at 250 N. McCall Rd. #2, Englewood FL
34223, or by e-mail through Pay Pal.
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