In recent posts I have been looking at the disparity between appearances and realities as an important theme in Hamlet and, increasingly, in the world we live in. I suppose one could argue that governments have always used propaganda and various media to convey a perspective that they want their citizens to share, but I can’t help but think there is something much different about what is going on today. It seems to me that all kinds of policies are being enacted and promoted that have little concern with the common good, so that the lies currently being propagated have, in many instances, become vehicles for promoting hatred, evil, suspicion and paranoia. Certainly these are not results that strengthen society. People deserve, and are entitled to, much better.
The most obvious illustrations of this revolve around the American-initiated ‘war on terror,’ a war which, as in the one depicted in Orwell’s 1984, will seemingly have no end. Ever since that horrifying attack on the Twin Towers, George Bush and Dick Cheney have used the politics of fear and manipulation to further their goals. For example, although Iraq had nothing to do with the attack, the administration carefully, in the lead up to the invasion of Iraq, suggested there was one.
The effect of this manipulation was such that as of January 2003, 44% of Americans believed that some or all of the Sept.11 highjackers were Iraq. Of course, the truth is that none of them were. One can see the motive behind this manipulation was to make the invasion of Iraq much more palatable to the American people.
Yet the truth is never obvious. Fortunately, with the formidable access to information afforded by the Internet, there is at least the potential for citizens to be able to sift through what they are told and come up with reasonable conclusions about their leaders, who often, when the data is analyzed, seem to be sneering at the electorate. For example,such is the contempt the U.S, government has for its own people, it even indulges in www.huffingtonpost.com/taylor-marsh/stephens-hayes-hearts-dic_b_60861.html revisionist history. If you have the time, the link in the previous sentence will take you to an entry from the Huffington Post which then offers a link to NORAD tapes which clearly show Dick Cheny caught in an egregious misrepresentation of his role during the 9/11 crisis.
But the lies and malfeasance continue, costing so many lives, both American and foreign, in remote parts of the world. And to what end? In the play Hamlet, only after the waste of many lives is there a sense of restored order and the beginning of healing; in our world today, I suspect that the latter is still a long way off.