In the movie, War Games, an advanced computer has taken over control of America’s nuclear weapons and is set to launch the missiles thinking it is playing a game. A frantic young programmer, played by Matthew Broderick, changes the computer’s setting to play itself and the computer begins to analyze every variation of how a nuclear war could start and end. The computer, WOPR, finally realizes its error with the following statement:
“Strange game. The only winning
move is not to play. How about
a nice game of chess?”
Most American’s think that our country’s challenges could be fixed if the nation simply voted for the party of their preference. They would be wrong. The parties are a symptom of a larger problem. It is not a person’s conservative or liberal tendencies that are ruining our country. These differences are what make each of us unique. For example, a fourth generation coal miner from West Virginia may have a different view of unionization or the integrity of big business than a venture capitalist from San Jose, California or a small farmer from Nebraska. We can’t expect it to be any other way. Our life experiences shape our views.
This diversity of opinion percolates up through the political process and gives us the options during different stages of our history to shape the changes needed. At times we may need a little more of the left brain, law oriented, analytical, conservative approach to an issue and at other times the right brained, artistic, fairness oriented, liberal approach may be needed. The political body needs its yin and yang; its red states and its blue states; its bunker side and esoteric side. Consequently, if we have a debate of the left and right, which springs from each side’s honestly held values, then we get a result that is real, balanced as best it can be, and authentic.
But we rarely get such resolutions because the system has been corrupted, or more properly co-opted by what some refer to as the “DEEP STATE.” The Deep State is a cobbled together group of governmental agencies, private companies, and certain politicians that are the real deciders of major policies. It is the government outside the government. It is the military-industrial complex writ large. It is all those relationships in Washington D.C. and Wall Street that set the agenda. It is think tanks that frame the narrative of America’s role in the world for our political leaders. It is the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve who look out for the interests of the banking system as opposed to common good of the nation. It is the media who can’t challenge the real truths of our national predicament because they are controlled by corporate masters or are outright informants for the government. It is the 854,000 private employee contractors with top security clearance, more than held in government, who work for the U.S. government but who are not beholding to the citizens.
Our problem is our belief that our political leaders are pulling the levers. Voters pick a winner, but you never control the pool from which the candidates develop. People, who think outside the box, whatever their political inclination, will not be tolerated by the system. Organic growth of ideas and candidates must be co-opted (Tea Party) or crushed (Occupy Wall Street) by the Deep State.
No matter how noble a candidate’s intentions, they have to raise prodigious amounts of money to get elected. The Deep State funds them, welcomes them in the door, and then sets the parameters within which they can act. Dutiful allegiance will often get legislators a cushy job when they retire or at least someone in their family. Buck the Deep State and you end up losing an election, your livelihood, and your relevance. Reveal the secrets of the Deep State and you end up like Edward Snowden living in a foreign country, where you don’t want to be, because you fear for your life.
This Deep State creates a disconnect between the citizens and “their” government. Cause and effect are not rationally tied. This is why the Tea Party feels betrayed on the issue of immigration. They win at the grassroots level but are thwarted at the federal level. They can accept being defeated by the opposition, but they can’t fathom why their elected representatives are consistently compromised on those principles that helped them get elected.
A more dramatic disconnect occurs when the government actually sets out to destroy a political movement as they did with the Occupy Wall Street movement. OUR government crushed this movement. I challenge anyone to look at the facts and come to any other conclusion. Occupy Wall Street challenged major tenets of the ruling paradigm, namely, that people with the most dimes make the rules.
The Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street are on opposite ends of the political spectrum. They may not agree on much, but the original and central focus of each of these groups was an authentic response to a game they correctly understood was rigged against them. What we all need to come to understand is that elections are marginal because they are only meant to give the simulation of democracy. They are a relief valve for the anger of the electorate. Elections release enough steam to prevent the boiler from exploding but they never solve the people’s underlying pent up frustrations.
The net effect of this Deep State control is that the electorate is allowed to play a game that has no winners and no losers. Conservatives and liberals can organize, campaign, argue, fight, and fundraise until the cows come home. It won’t matter. It is like playing Tic-Tac-Toe when both players have figured out the game. No one ever wins. The game is always a draw. The game is inherently fixed to avoid dramatic outcomes because dramatic outcomes are a bane to those in control. So the only winning move is to NOT TO PLAY THE GAME!
But is there any hope? There is always hope. The seeds of our desperation were sown in prior decades. Those crops have grown, been harvested, and we now find ourselves in the winter of our discontent. In Core Principle #8, The Season of Our Discontent, I summarize what I consider to be one of the most important and prophetic books I have ever read, The Fourth Turning, by Neil Howe and William Strauss. I encourage you to read my “long” summary and really urge you to read the book. The book suggests that our country experiences a fundamental mood change every 80 or 90 years that results from inter-generational interaction and manifests itself in a CRISIS.
This attitude change in the population allows for rapid and significant changes. It is hard for us to imagine the magnitude of the possible changes because in our lifetimes we have never experienced an existential CRISIS. The CRISES of American History have been the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and the Depression/WWII. These are ancient history to most Americans. The theory proposed by the book doesn’t predict what the nature of the CRISIS will be, but it does suggest that the responses will be unprecedented. It doesn’t tell us how to define success nor does it tell us if we will be successful. But it does give us the mechanism, our call for greater order and purpose, to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles. The opportunity for dramatic change is both our greatest fear and our greatest hope.
“You take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up in your bed
and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill,
you stay in wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole
goes.” The Matrix
This is why your thinking is so important. When you step out of the Matrix, you are free from the numbing, frivolous, political discourse in this country. Patterns become clearer. Efforts are not wasted. Emotionally you don’t buy into the deception. The truth does set you free! The system doesn’t change immediately, but for you it does, because you can now begin to think of what it will take to challenge the seemingly irresistible Deep State. When Neo took the red pill and understood the nature of the matrix, his journey didn’t end, it merely began. It would take time, effort, a considerable degree of risk, personal transformation and the assistance of countless others to overcome the Matrix. As Neo also realized, accepting a new paradigm could only come from within him.
Core Principle #5 I Am the Problem, I am the Solution, reminds us that while it is very human to blame other people and institutions for all that vexes our country; the real truth is that we all share in the blame. We have allowed it. Your deliberate choice to perceive and reject the Deep State, will give you the freedom to make a difference in this struggle. Maybe not today, or tomorrow, but some day soon, the system will need the people’s approval to remain in control. It will beg you to patriotically support its desperate efforts to save itself. Your response, to an evil system precariously balanced on the edge of destruction, should be to gently push it into the abyss and end its miserable existence. Remember, the only winning move is not to play the game! So take the red pill and let the journey begin. As always it begins and ends with you. Thou Mayest.