As a world, are we thriving at our best? The question may seem comical. Of course it depends how you look at it. There is our day-to-day happiness, living in the moment, and feeling fulfilled by our home, our job, our loved ones, our environment. Then there is the deep-rooted issue of feeling like we are not thriving as a world, because there are obstacles we simply cannot overcome.
I was sitting on the beach the other day, staring out at the vast ocean, and asked myself, do I feel free? At first I thought, well, yes. Despite government control, in my own little world, I am happy, and do not feel chained to an idea, a person, and so on. But then I wondered if perhaps I am just brainwashed.
Foster Gamble of Thrive answers in a way that both alarms me and causes me to open my eyes:
"... my research revealed that a small group of financial elite have gained control over key areas of our lives - energy, food, health care, education and more - and are the single greatest threat to humanity's ability to thrive."
The financial elite who govern us do so out of greed, not for a better world, a better America, but for heavy pockets and incredible power. A study conducted by two political science professors suggests ordinary Americans have virtually no impact on the making of national policy. So who runs America? Rich individuals and business-controlled interest groups.
In the throes of political upheaval, there is so much discussion about what should have been, could have been, and what will be. It is a confusing and controversial time in the U.S. When voters put Barack Obama in office, they anticipated big changes. Obama sought to defend civil liberties and privacy, yet many question how Obama's version of national security is that much different than the one he inherited.
"His 2007 speech has become a cautionary tale of the gulf between powerful campaign rhetoric and reality," noted CNN. So while the president lets down the country, and we are left to believe in his wrongdoings, the reality is, he couldn't have pulled through in the first place.
"Guantanamo Bay remains open. The NSA has, if anything, become more aggressive in monitoring Americans. Drone strikes have escalated. Most recently it was reported that the same president who won a Nobel Prize in part for promoting nuclear disarmament is spending up to $1 trillion modernizing and revitalizing America's nuclear weapons," notes a 2014 article from The Boston Globe.
This isn't really a discussion about what was accomplished or not with Obama in office, however. That's just a small part of a much bigger issue. Tufts University political scientist Michael J. Glennon backs up this idea that Obama couldn't have changed policies much even if he tried. As Americans, we are told we can steer our own government by electing new officials, but the truth of the matter is we are victims of a "double government." There's the one we elect, and then there's the one behind it, in which a disturbing amount of policy goes unchecked.
For instance, Glennon points outs out Obama and his team's shock and dismay upon discovering that the military gave them only two options for the war in Afghanistan once he arrived in office: The United States could add more troops, or they could add a lot more troops. So while Obama fans became angered to find that he had opted for adding 30,000 more troops, the reality is, he had no choice.
It's hard to swallow the pill that a "secret government" truly governs us, making us mere puppets in their play, but there are far too many examples of such a theory for it to be overlooked.
Take a look at the National Security Agency (NSA) for instance. Founded in 1952, its existence was kept secret from the public until the mid 1960s. And even more disturbing is the National Reconnaissance Office. Founded in 1960, it remained a secret for 30 years before it was officially revealed by Edward Snowden a few years ago.
There are a plethora of political individuals who have discussed this secrecy as well. Jown F. Hylan, for example, was Mayor of New York City from 1918-1925, and has been famously quoted as saying:
"The real menace of our Republic is the invisible government, which like a giant octopus sprawls its slimy legs over our cities, states and nation ... The little coterie of powerful international bankers virtually run the United States government for their own selfish purposes. They practically control both parties ... [and] control the majority of the newspapers and magazines in this country. They use the columns of these papers to club into submission or drive out of office public officials who refuse to do the bidding of the powerful corrupt cliques which compose the invisible government. It operates under cover of a self-created screen [and] seizes our executive officers, legislative bodies, schools, courts, newspapers and every agency created for the public protection."
And in times like today, with WikiLeaks blowing the lid on the many lies within the U.S. government, it's hard not to feel even more tricked, even more out of control of our lives than ever before. Bernie Sanders said from the beginning that he was essentially being bullied by the DNC, yet it wasn't until the first "Hillary Leaks" that we have come to find out just how real and serious, and, more than anything, how rigged the political game really is. It's not about fairness. It's about money, and so a hidden agenda sweeps us all off our feet and continues to take control.
So the question remains, and is more pertinent now than ever before: How can we truly believe we are living in a "democracy" when presidents don't even have enough power to significantly change anything?
Are we really free? Or have we been conditioned to believe we are? Corporations and mainstream media have us glued to our TV screens, searching for answers, searching for promises that can never be kept. Living as the puppets we are, we've become distracted from the truth, our attention diverted to what we want to hear as opposed to what we need to hear.
Go ahead and argue over who should be president, and go ahead and be angry or excited over the president that does get elected. But just know that you are wasting your breath on this very surface idea
If we want real change, we have to look within, we have to look to ourselves. We can't keep putting our faith and tasking our 'leaders' with the task of changing this world. The first step is awareness, and it's happening faster and faster. More people are starting to become aware of what's really happening on our planet. The next step is action, and we are just starting as a collective to take various action steps. The future really is brighter than ever, it's always darkest before the dawn.
© Alexa Erickson