Essay

The Suicide Club: A Voice in the Wilderness

By: Gary Van Haas

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I couldn’t believe they said it. They were actually talking about suicide and the best way to do it as though it was a casual everyday matter. They even went into detail of how to go about it! The ladies went on to tell me you had to take a certain kind of animal pill from a veterinarian that would kill you, but first you needed to take Maalox to make sure you didn’t throw up. Never had I heard of such lunacy, an extraordinary kind of craziness that shivers the soul. My god what were they thinking? Had their lives been so bad? After talking to them for a while I found out they had both come from affluent, well to do upper middle-class families. These attractive ladies in their sixties had lived full and adventurous lives, so why would they consider this? They claimed they were disgusted with life and the dreary state of world affairs. They were just plain tired of living.

As one grows older, you begin to notice the world is getting weirder and weirder and more unrecognizable from the somewhat easygoing days of the 1960s and 1970s. Well, maybe not so easy going because we had the Civil Rights movement and the anti-Vietnam war movement, but it was different. People today think entirely differently than they did thirty to forty years ago, and of course, in the ‘90s with the advent of cell phones and the internet, it changed our lives forever. Whether the electronic age has been good or bad is debatable. But then you see kids and most everybody constantly texting, Googling, or endlessly talking with on cell phones held tight to their ears and you get the picture.  Communications has gone bonkers as everyone tries to keep up with the others by buying the next latest iPhone, X-Box, or fancy swanky computer.

Today we have mass school shootings, but these things never happened thirty years ago. Where the hell did our kids attain so much hate? Could it be the collapse of the family unit, too much violence in video games, TV and movies, or is it all the wars we started from our questionable political leadership? Every night on TV they see wars and fighting in the Middle East and then see Republicans and Democrats tearing each other to shreds, egged on by an irresponsible news media looking to top ratings. News isn’t news anymore and stories are exaggerated and over-hyped. If you’ve noticed, there are also very few investigative journalists around these days. We are not seeing normal news anymore, only malicious propaganda, thus the term “Fake News” has become the new norm and rightfully so.

Then we have the world’s biggest corporations who have taken over many small companies in shady mergers, including most television networks, and all this is happening fast to the point of near 1984 Orwellian control! What happened to our Antitrust Laws against big companies and monopolies? The problem is: We the People are at fault! Most of us have become born into a system of indentured corporate bondage we cannot escape. We have slowly grown accustomed to a bizarre feudal mentality of servitude and accept our fate believing we are just trying to survive.

Incredibly we have given our personal rights over to corporations that we take jobs that require drug testing, which is a flagrant violation of worker’s civil liberties. The problem lies with big corporations. When they become too big to fail status, they facilitate the erosion of society and democracy, and adhere to their own selfish directives, which is simply to make more and more money. Any company making billions of dollars today reaches the realm of an international sovereign entity. Like a living creature it creates its own path for survival. It bribes and controls politicians who fall under their political umbrella, and then these unscrupulous politicians design and pass laws that preserve the corporations’ financial interests.

Governments then no longer work for the people and become a mechanism for fulfilling corporate interests. Wars are waged in the name of “democracy” or for humanitarian reasons like world safety. But the real reason Congress legitimizes theses conflicts are to make the war-torn landscape available for business. It is called “resource exploitation” and it paves the way for expanding new markets.

Today powerful multinational corporations bully their adversaries and political opponents until they submit to their will and agenda to a point where democracy becomes a joke. Candidates, regardless of ideological rhetoric, are exactly the same. They exist to serve the corporations while presenting the illusion of choice. There is no choice. The only solution is to limit the power of corporations. . The solution: There must be limits placed on a corporation’s size. This is why we had Antitrust Laws to protect the common citizen.

It wasn’t like this in America thirty to forty years ago, so what happened?

To me it’s obvious: we have been shamefully sold out by our politicians to corporations, with no real oversight in Congress. Most of our elected leaders take bribes out of sheer greed. In fact they take money from all sides, which now contribute to more wars and increasingly polluting the planet by deregulation of corporate polluters. Our government leaders are also sucking up to the military industrial complex. It was President Eisenhower himself who warned us against the deviousness of military industrial complex. Yet we didn’t listen, and now our Congress passes absurd bills for bigger and deadlier military budgets into the trillions! It has gotten so bad that our politicians recently passed new laws even militarizing our own local police in cities all over America! What the hell is that about, do they consider the people the new enemy?

We have a multi-trillion dollar debt out of control, but it doesn’t seem to matter because our politicians are working full speed ahead, unchecked, and have the nerve to consider increasing more congressional spending for unaccounted trillion-dollar black ops projects off the books. They want to buy more nuclear weapons when we can even pay our bills for Social Security! Most of us find this deeply offensive and unacceptable. It appears we are on a road to hell bent on destruction of the planet, bringing desolation and the end of humanity. Is it any wonder why people contemplate suicide, why people hate America and why our own kids shoot up their own schools today?

The rich and military powers around the world cause so much misery starting futile wars for their own monetary gain. Is it any wonder why America has enemies all over the globe? In America and Europe we have arms manufacturers selling weapons to anyone who pays. Even Germany and Japan who fought us to the death in World War Two seventy years ago are selling weapons. Have we all gone mad?!

Then we have big pharmaceutical companies pushing bogus, over-priced drugs so that half of America is addicted! These unscrupulous corporations are way out of line, tainting everything they sell, including fraudulent housing mortgages, which caused the 2008 crash. If you noticed, nothing happened to any of the bankers responsible and now most average Americans are scraping to get by, living on the last of their savings.

I was visiting Los Angeles recently and shocked to see all the homeless people on the street. Then I went to Washington, D.C. and saw the same appalling situation there. How can it be that descent, honest, American citizens are on the streets begging? How can this be allowed in the Land of the Free with all our wealth and plenty?  Our politicians and community leaders see this problem, but do absolutely nothing. It is a disgrace to see this and terribly sad for our fellow human beings. This should not be tolerated in the richest country in the world. England, Denmark, Germany, Sweden and Norway all have free medical and housing programs for its underprivileged citizens. Why not in the U.S.A.?

Yes, the world has changed, but not for the good of mankind, but for the good of a few who appear to have lost their way in their insane pursuit of wealth and power. The so-called elites seem to view the average person as nothing but a lowly animal.

A couple of years ago when Finance Minister of Greece, Yiannis Varoufakis was in power he talked about a similar situation with harsh austerity demands from the EU and IMF that were bankrupting Greeks and putting people out on the street and when he was asked to sit down for talks with the IMF, ECB and EU Commission, they discussed Greece’s debt problem. Mr. Varoufakis sat with German Finance Minister Schaeuble who told him curtly, “Elections can not be allowed to change economic policy” In other words, the EU does not believe in its citizens or democracy!

Varofakis then turned to another EU Member who told him not to argue with them about Greece’s debt in public or to news media. They said it wasn’t allowed and then they asked if he was in or out. Varoufakis asked what “in or out” meant and they told him: “What we say to you stays behind closed doors, and if you are in, you will be told our plans and rewarded financially and stay on as Finance Minister of Greece. But if you are out, nothing further will be told to you, and you will eventually be removed from office.” Needless to say, Mr. Varoufakis didn’t agree with the IMF and EU leaders, and he was soon ousted as Greek Finance Minister a month later!

It is apparent that most EU and American leaders and politicians see the ordinary citizen as being in the out group since we are not told what goes on behind closed doors. Is this the world we want today? Where the world is dominated by a few wealthy elites? Will we allow their unfathomable greed and despotism to rule over our lives from a crooked Capitol Hill or an EU dictatorship from Brussels? Is there not a patriot or honest politician left who will stand up against these reprehensible oppressors?

Part of the solution remains at the ballot box. That is one answer, but we must remain vigilant who we are electing because today in America because both Republicans and Democrats have proven they are basically the same, with the same agendas and rigged party platforms used to get their dirty candidates elected. Both parties take money and campaign donations from the same wealthy shady donors and lobbyists who happily provide funds in return for political favors. I know most people and the mainstream news media hate and complain about Trump and I do too, but where were those same people when George Bush Jr. was elected President? No one said a thing when he started the phony War in Iraq. Bush Jr. was probably the worst lying, conniving, war-mongering president in U.S. history with his lies about Saddam having Weapons of Mass Destruction, but most of the U.S. news media jumped behind this war and wholeheartedly supported him!

This sorry state of affairs can not be allowed to continue. Haven’t you noticed our so-called Legislators are slowly destroying our original Constitution and Bill of Rights? There needs to be much shorter terms in office for all government officials to curb this, and most important of all, there should be no US or foreign Lobbyists of any kind allowed to blatantly bribe our elected officials! This practice must be stopped and banished from the halls of Congress. Only then will we begin to see the true Will of the People and bring our country back to normalcy again. Otherwise we are living a lie, in a ruthless oligarchy run by the rich and gluttonous corporations without conscience or responsibility for their actions.

Now we also have the nuclear threat raising its ugly head again. The Pentagon wants more money for Weapons of Mass Destruction while our government talks about new wars with North Korea, Russia, China and Iran. Have they lost their minds? Everyone knows there are no winners in a nuclear war. What can they be thinking? Nuclear war brings a nuclear winter and afterwards comes death, famine, and destruction to the whole planet!

As far as environment and climate change, researchers believe we could soon cross a threshold leading to boiling hot temperatures and towering seas worldwide in the centuries to come. Even if countries succeed in meeting their CO2 targets, we could still go down this irreversible path. With the widespread rise of right-wing populism, with its associated rejection of the messages of those perceived as ‘cosmopolitan elites’ and specific denial of climate change as an issue, the likelihood that the combination of factors necessary to allow humanity to navigate the planet to an acceptable ‘intermediate state’ must surely be close to zero.

Whatever happens, we had better wake up soon or we are doomed. Voters worldwide are responsible for allowing this absurd situation to continue and if climate change is allowed to persist and if by some accident missiles are launched by Russia, North Korea, China, America or whomever then we too are committing suicide.

They say life goes in cycles, and for us it’s time to regain control of our world and come full circle again before it’s too late. It’s also obvious if we do nothing to stop this insanity it will continue. Is anybody listening?

 

END—

Gary Van Haas is a film producer and screenwriter who also worked for many years as a feature writer for The International Herald Tribune, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Time and Newsweek Magazines. Writer sold a $30M book to movie deal for “The Devil’s Banker”: http://www.thewrap.com/movies/article/stealth-media-group-co-producing-devils-banker-40121

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Categories: Essay, Non-Fiction

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