The shame of our country by Ed Dunphy

by Ed Dunphy
Guest Writer
Dandelion Salad
April 13, 2012

Recently I viewed a special on PBS which featured an old acquaintance. I feel more like a friend since he was such an influence during the sixties. However, I was more in tune with him than he was with me. In actuality it was honestly a very casual acquaintance . I guess in my mind it was more, since it was such a brush with greatness.

His name was Phil Ochs, a true progressive patriot with a beautiful singing voice and a wizard on his gibson. His “I ain’t marching anymore” took the folk world by storm. In fact it becomes relevant again and again as our beloved Red, White and Blue continues to invade and occupy. As a frequent visitor to the old Gaslight Coffee House in the heart of MacDougal St in Greenwich Village. It was there that I started my life of activism. This is where Phil frequently played along with the likes of Dave Van Ronk , Patrick Sky and yes, even Dylan. After his show Phil would often sip a few at the old “Kettle of Fish” a gin mill which was right next door. We would sit at the bar and have a few words and a few beers from time to time. He didn’t look like a typical Village dude as he was often sporting a dress jacket. Sometimes though in black leather jacket. In my memory he was quietly angry off stage but hell fire unleashed on stage.

His severe bi-polar disorder got the best of him and tragically Phil committed suicide at the age of 35.

The PBS special was a grim reminder of the horror of the Vietnam Nam era. The country was angry and vocally divided. However in retrospect although very ugly at the time, there was a more honest aire about what was really happening.

The news actually covered the war live. You could sit in your living room and watch the horror. Flag draped coffins were pictured in the press. Could you imagine in your wildest dreams, our corporate controlled media airing this much truth today ?

The Chicago Democratic convention showed the brutality of Mayor Daley’s neanderthal like police. The Kent State shooting made the front page. The Tet offensive was reported thoroughly by the news media. Things were happening and we were all aware.

The absurdity of how our current day administrations and press gets away with the dumbing down of our country is an absolute outrage.

However blaming the government and press is like blaming a chicken for hanging around the hen house. I therefore place the blame squarely on the American people.

They would rather ingest the novocain of “Do you think you can dance!” or “American Idol” rather than focusing on the utter destruction of our Nation.

I remember back in the sixties, as I was part of a peace march down fifth ave in Manhattan. I remember the shock in a French woman’s voice when she pointed out a girl carrying a sign that said “I am ashamed of my country “. It was shocking even for those days.

Well now that I feel that way, I don’t feel so shocked. I am in fact ashamed of my country.

I am ashamed of the ignorance of the American people . Ashamed of the lack of caring of the murder we commit as we invade the Middle East, of the shear self inflicted ignorance of the corruption in our government. It astonishes me of how many people don’t even know who Blackwater is. Nor do most realize that a whopping .56 cents of every one of their tax dollars goes towards our obscene $678 billion dollar military budget. They are not even aware that this budget is completely discretionary. Nor do they know that only 10 percent of this budget goes to our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

They will not look any further than their nose as they consume the pablum of ABC , CBS, NBC and CNN and the like.

There is no excuse for this ignorance. Never in our society has there been so much available information. Never in our country has there been so much apathy.

To my so called progressive friends, please wake up and see that there is little difference between the Democrats and the Republicans. Be loyal to neither.

To my brain dead fellow Americans. Shame on you!

You are why “I am ashamed of my country.”

Ed Dunphy is a political Activist and a small business owner in the New York-New Jersey metro area.

13 thoughts on “The shame of our country by Ed Dunphy

  1. Pingback: How Did We Let this Happen? By Timothy V. Gatto « Dandelion Salad

  2. Instead, FIRST Party like we’re In LABOR (WE ARE!); Stein/Green- Anderson/Justice, that’s the ticket!

    • Hi Donal.

      It sites like Dandelion and others that are the best antidote to the Coleoptera run media.

      The only answer for real
      It is sites like dandelion and other great sites that are the best antidote for this corporate media.

      The only way for real change is educating the public. As Ralph Nader points out. The best and most effective advertising program is “word of mouth”. Even more so than print or electronic media.


      • Ed
        Word of mouth is only for receptive ears.
        Written word employs more human brain activity.
        And a picture paints a thousand…

  3. Ed,
    You write my exact thoughts.
    Shame is not the word but the context is on song.
    Ireland is damaged by cronyism and nepotism in politics and business.

    There is no Fourth Estate to challenge political corruption.
    Establishment media deference is a destructive force on any society.

    • Thanks, Donal. The corporate media does a disservice to the public. We, the people are not being informed at what is really going on, so…we must become the media.

      • [Edited: DS]
        To become the media we must engage the establishment.
        Many good wo/men have tried /are trying in TV documentaries, blogs , news print etc.
        Eg this blog , Robert Fisk,John Pilger and many great writers have produced great work.
        To what effect, where are the changes evident in any sphere of political corruption and abuses of power.
        Given the dedication of many over decades and the failure to impact on these war mongers and politically corrupt governments, has the time come for a review of why there is no impact for change?

        We the people are very well informed (and aware). In Ireland there is a thin veil of deception and spin which hardly bothers to conceal the blatant corruption of political cronyism and nepotism.
        Without the Fourth Estate people are powerless and without a voice.
        Corruption thrives in such circumstances.

        Breaking out of incestuous little media circles and publishing regular communications on a global scale could be powerful media work.

        • I edited your comment to direct it to me, not Ed as I wrote the comment you are replying to.

          It takes time and perseverance , but I do think it’s working. More and more people are now turning to the Internet and Independent media websites/blogs/podcasts/youtube videos, etc.

          Keeping the Internet free and open to all without censorship is one of the most important issues of our day.

        • Defining Reality:

          Keeping the internet free from regularion is important.

          The issues discussed here are more important and may be advanced by free internet activity.

          Unfortunately my argument is proven by the atrocities of wars perpetrated for and on behalf of national governments. Decades of writing, film making and communication by scores of peace and justice advocates have not impacted on these nations of war and inhumanity.

          Look at the powerless United Nations as an example of peace failures.

          Is there a future for such writings, films or documentaries and should there be a review of failures to communicate anti war tactics?

          For example acceptance of humans as basic savages with killer instincts might be a starting point.

          Military activity has been too domesticated, too well depicted as some how “civilised”.

          Military commanders who wage war on hundred of thousands of innocent men, women and children are portrayed and accepted in society as heros?

          And their political masters are re-elected as political heros also.

          Working towards controls and restrictions on political powers by challenging the lust for killing which attaches to politicians in power.

          Writing about war atrocities must be viewed as nothing more than recording current “battles” for future historians. The impact on world peace prospects are at best,weak.

        • Donal , your optimism toward an antidote is appealing on the surface , but i don’t feel that the root of the problem will be dealt with until man’s heart changes. i view the internet as part of the problem . people seem to be talking in a ”feedback loop” if they are serious , and the rest of them using this medium are taking what could be a great thing like the internet and are either hiding behind it sniping at each other , or using it for their own frivolity . Technoautism is rampant .

          But again like all issues , the heart of the matter is that humans need a change of heart if anything is going to change and stay changed.

          now that may sound optimistic , or utopianistic , but i view it as a bulwark against utopias that become dystopias . as a pacifist i am with you 100 per cent on what you are saying , but again ..this kind of activity wont change until men change –deeply and profoundly .

        • There must be ethics and freedom of religion as rocketkirchner states.
          Thank you for your comments.

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