Posted by: Michael George Daniel | September 29, 2008

Bail Out

It’s not hard to start hearing new meanings inside of the phrase ‘bail out’ even though it has taken on the clink of a cliche’ overnight. Life in America has gotten more circus-like with the debate about $700 billion to address the sudden onset of the emergency fiscal crisis. Where have the politicians been all this time? It was a sleeper until last week and now it is an emergency of the utmost concern. Enough to even stop the campaign (but not the politicking)! There is no real bail out, just as there is no way to drill our way out. The idea of a bail out is useful if you are ready to expand your thinking a bit. But the way it is currently understood is a distraction, another form of denial perpetrated by both political parties yet again.

In Washington and on the TV, the talk is about the merits of the bail out package, the details of who gets what, and whom pays for it. As usual, it is useful to try to look at the frame inside of which this debate is roiling. One, they are talking about US dollars that must, ultimately, represent value in the world. This bail out is just another nail in the coffin of our currency having any real value in the relative sense as it compares to the currencies of other countries. Now, we do support the value of the dollar with our guns, bombs and threats. But, can you sense the futility in this? It is kind of like trying to levitate yourself by pulling on your bootstraps. Maybe the classic Perpetual Motion machine is another analogy that you’d permit me. Because eventually we pay for those bullets and bombs with US dollars. So at exactly what point does the rest of the world simply say, enough is enough? When they do it in congress (forgive the pun), then you will see where the fiscal crisis is really heading.

Two, the so-called bail out implies ‘if we can only get through this sticky period’ everything will be alright in a little while. But will it? If our way of life is solely dependent on cheap oil and cheap oil doesn’t exist anymore, how will things get better? Where will the money come to build yet more new houses if the credit depends on an ever expanding economy in an environment of depleted resources? Where will the materials come from? How will we get to these new homes, in ethanol-fueled cars? What will we eat?

You can read James Howard Kunstler for an advance peek into where this is all going. The author of The Long Emergency and World Made By Hand, (among others) has recently made a simple request on his website: pass along the following ‘meme’: ‘Remember to help spread the “meme” — help “re-brand” the Republicans as The Party That Wrecked America’.  From my perspective, it is not so much about who wrecked what, but more about WHAT COULD POSSIBLY SAVE US. The current ideological bent of the Republican party is one of domination and control of both the natural world (check out Sarah Palin’s photos with the animal pelts and trophies on the wall) and of other countries (just listen to John McCain’s answers to foreign policy questions in the debate). The fact is, we need a collaborative, global, environmental perspective that recognizes the importance of diversity, collaboration and integration with the natural world, not to mention an evolution in consciousness. Sticking to the outdated modes of thought represented by the Republicans is a recipe for disaster as we hurdle through space toward oblivion. At least the Dems have a shred of progressiveness.

The bail out that we have the option to think about is different from the one being debated currently. First, despite the truth to Kunstler’s ‘meme’, the bail out I’m talking about recognizes that the Democrats don’t have any lasting answers either. They are too connected with the status quo – which in a very general but very real sense is the source of the problem – to be able to offer any real, fundamental change. Specifically, I’m talking about our addiction in the US to violence and consumeristic denial. Automobiles fall into this category. (Just think about how the thrill of that tuned exhaust and hemi-powered V10 Dodge testosterone-imbued pick-up truck helps take your mind off  being a living, natural being in the moment. And cars, as you might guess, are on the endangered species list vis’-a-vis’, Peak Oil.) I’m talking about the deep, deep fear we have to just be who we are. The fear of our own shadow. The celebration of all this light – we bring democracy to them – at the cost of our insidious acting out of our own darkest nature (like a million dead in Iraq).

Bail out means abandoning the facade of normal we have come to accept in this country and learning to be with ourselves as living, caring human beings connected with everything else that is. It is about bailing out of our glass and metal cars and connecting our senses to the world so that we can have a genuine discourse of meaning between our own sense of self and everything else that is.

How about we start by bailing out of the cars? Start by going from two to one. Get a recumbent bike. Have you ever seen or heard of a velomobile? Check them out. Bail out of the status quo. Stop supporting corrupt corporate agendas. Bail out of financial instruments that turn a blind eye toward social and economic injustice. Read Catherine Austin Fitts website for more information. Bail out of the assumption that we need more stuff to live happily. Bail out of the dollar. Bail out of the broken the national two-party system.

Bail out of the belief that we can create more community by building community centers instead of addressing the psychological basis of our isolation. Bail out of garden salads that travel 1,800 miles. Bail out of the emotional crap that we hold in front of us like a shield – our guilt and hurt and longing for real human and natural connection. Bail out of our assumed personas, roles, to-do list, after-school activities. Bail out of everything the teachers taught you that subtly conditions you to be a good ‘worker’. Bail out of what the administrators tell you to teach if it doesn’t involve real creative thought on the part of the student. Bail out of being disconnected for purposes of profit, success, survival. Know that you will survive and that life will have a distinct glow that is far different from the chemical laden water and nuclear waste infestation we are heading toward.

Support the Bail Out! But make sure you’ve got the right bail out in mind.



  1. Does the sky have buddhanature?

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