Death of bin Laden: Doomsday or Renewal?

Posted on May 6, 2011


Author: Stan Moody

We are left to speculate as to the effect of the execution of Osama bin Laden on the American psyche. On a feeding frenzy since 9/11, the military industrial complex, the most self-conscious wing of corporate capitalism, will need the kind of resuscitation that only money can buy.

There appears to be no end of supply.

Pulitzer Prize winner, Chris Hedges, stands nearly alone in his condemnation of corporate capitalism as the killer of the middle class. His vision, enumerated in an April 25th Truthdig article, is of a burgeoning ruling class of insatiable power mongers in control of both major political parties:

They will continue to exploit the nation, the global economy and the ecosystem. And they will use their money to hide in gated compounds when it all implodes. Do not expect them to take care of us when it starts to unravel…It will be up to us to keep alive the intellectual, moral and culture values the corporate state has attempted to snuff out…It is not much of a choice, but at least we have one.

The End of Hidden Agendas:

Certainly, the most confirming evidence of this doomsday scenario is the emergence into the open of previously hidden agendas. The illusion that the GOP is the party of individual responsibility and achievement and the Democratic Party of rights for the powerless began to wilt with the emergence of the American police state post 9/11.

The Great American experiment as we know it is on fragile ground. Riches and power are, reportedly, distributed in direct proportion to faith in and faithfulness to God and/or country, those two strangely interchangeable realms.

At the other end of the spectrum, prison has become a means of disposing of the rebellious bottom tier of society – those for whom the American Dream has become an illusion. Here in Maine, one middleclass town in desperate search for jobs seeks to build a private prison for federal prisoners. The pre-condition is that Maine prisoners be transferred to private prisons in other states. Out-of-sight; out-of-mind!

Fate of the Rest of Us:

The bottom tier that now overwhelms our prisons is comprised primarily of the drug-addicted and minorities. With prisoners, probationers and parolees standing at some 3% of our population, Hedges’ nightmare reduces to means for controlling the less rebellious, more responsible among us. He sets the bar at 2/3 of the population to be detached from hope.

That 2/3, he posits, is a public entranced “…with celebrity meltdowns, gossip, trivia and entertainment.” Thus, corporate elites have found “…sophisticated mechanisms to thwart popular aspirations, disenfranchise the working and increasingly the middle class, keep us passive and make us serve their interests.”

A Desperate, Grasping Underclass:

Hedges sees the end as a desperate, grasping underclass of citizens, slightly elevated above the prisoners we now squirrel away. In such a world, those without power or money become imprisoned by the strictures of economic and medical survival, fast becoming interdependent. If you fail economically, you fail medically.

Education, former gateway to success, becomes a symbol of irrelevant elitism.

Will the death of bin Laden signal the beginning of the end of our national nightmare? A nation re-defined over 10 short years since 9/11 is now poised to retreat from its police-state ethic and begin the process of sending hidden agendas of racism, classism and greed back into the closet.

How that is accomplished depends on our ability to rise to the hope conceived in liberty. Whether it is accomplished is a matter of the will. On that, the jury will remain out for a time.

The End or the Beginning of Hope?:

Hedges looks into the future sees the end of hope. His take on the execution of bin Laden is that we have sealed our fate. Perhaps he is right.

Another prophet, however, offered an alternate option in the announcement of the execution:

The cause of securing our country is not complete. But tonight, we are once again reminded that America can do whatever we set our mind to. That is the story of our history, whether it’s the pursuit of prosperity for our people, or the struggle for equality for all our citizens; our commitment to stand up for our values abroad, and our sacrifices to make the world a safer place.
Let us remember that we can do these things not just because of wealth or power, but because of who we are: one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.


• Chris Hedges. Truthdig, April 25, 2011.
• Chris Hedges. Truthdig, May 1, 2011.

Posted in: Politics, Religion