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writing for godot

Open Letter to Morgan Freeman

Written by Anna Tolstoyevskaya   
Tuesday, 07 November 2017 09:10

Dear Mr. Freeman,

I’ve been a fan of yours for a long time and feel compelled to write to you after the release of the recent video that you recorded for the Committee to Investigate Russia. The cognitive dissonance of trying to reconcile your calm demeanor, beautiful voice, supreme acting, and the eternal message of your Stories of God and, most recently, Us, with the declaration of being at war with Russia, and all that it entails, was too jarring for me to deal with on my own. I’m afraid I, and thousands of your other fans, need your help to get through this.

I understand that the idea of having a delusional, racist, sociopathic narcissist, with a predilection for violence, in the President’s office is hard to grasp and come to terms with. It is something that we all have to cope with on a daily basis. But we are not doing ourselves any favors if we try to look for an explanation, or worse—blame, for this cosmic horror show outside of our own society.

Many respectable analysts have commented that President Trump is not an aberration or the result of some diabolic foreign intervention, but a symptom of the much deeper, systemic issues we are facing. In the prophetic words of Chris Hedges,

The crisis we face is the result of a four-decade-long, slow-motion corporate coup that has rendered the citizen impotent, left us without any authentic democratic institutions and allowed corporate and military power to become omnipotent. This crisis has spawned a corrupt electoral system of legalized bribery and empowered those public figures that master the arts of entertainment and artifice. And if we do not overthrow the neoliberal, corporate forces that have destroyed our democracy we will continue to vomit up more monstrosities as dangerous as Donald Trump. Trump is the symptom, not the disease.

You have to admit it is difficult to see what, if anything, Russia or any other world power had to do with this internal malaise. Furthermore, blaming the results of the last Presidential election on foreign interference is hurting this country first and foremost because it distracts the attention of its citizens away from these issues that are truly eating at the core of the U.S. democracy. It also does incalculable harm to the world at large for it puts the two countries with the largest nuclear arsenals on a path to catastrophic conflict.

I am not going to waste your attention with debunking the founding myths of the hysteria around Russian meddling in the U.S. Presidential elections. Suffice it to say that even if there was such a thing as Russian interference, the extent and impact of which are questionable, it pales by comparison to the damage that Clinton’s campaign suffered from her own comments about “the basket of deplorables” in the U.S. electorate and from the devious tactics that her campaign deployed to sideline the candidacy of Bernie Sanders.

Be that as it may, this subject is largely irrelevant to why I am writing to you today. I have no illusions about governments and intelligence agencies in either the U.S. or Russia (or any other place for that matter) and the extent to which they go to manipulate public opinion in their own countries and abroad. This is precisely the reason why we the people have to be judicious and circumspect with our attention, attitude, and the information that we choose to share with others.

If I may, I would like to tell you a story instead.

Once upon a time, there was a country, whose citizens enjoyed more freedom than almost any other place on Earth. It also had a large military and more nuclear weapons than any other nation, except one, which it had dubbed the “Evil Empire.”

These two countries were in a state of Cold War for decades. The reason it was “cold” is because both had so many nuclear weapons that it would have been MAD—Mutual Assured Destruction—to engage in direct military conflict.

So the two countries waged proxy wars all over the planet, competing for the control of other nations and employing sabotage and covert operations by their vast intelligence agencies to overthrow governments and install puppet regimes in their respective areas of influence.

The government of the “Evil Empire” was a lot more corrupt, far more disrespectful of its citizens, and a lot more abusive of the nation’s resources, and so it ended up collapsing, plunging the country into a prolonged state of devastation and lawlessness. The other country, on the other hand, failed to see the writing on the wall and mistook the demise of its rival as a victory rather than an ominous warning.

It kept on diverting huge amounts of its taxpayers’ money to the military-industrial complex, which accounted for nearly half of the world’s total arms spending, and continued meddling in the affairs of other nations. It has encircled the globe with a vast network of military bases, housing at any point in time over a quarter million uniformed personnel, which constituted a form of “military colonialism.” Its intelligence agencies perfected the art of “regime change” to such a degree that they no longer had to be directly involved in that dirty business. Instead, they could rely on a nexus of non-governmental organizations that they funded to “promote democracy” around the world, replacing disobedient governments that dared to defy their will in a series of color revolutions.

Its leaders grew so cocky that they decided the whole point of history was to let them impose “Democratic Capitalism” on the rest of the world, whether it wanted it or not and by whatever means necessary. The only way this could happen, they concluded, is if their country were to remain the world’s sole preeminent superpower, using its “Full Spectrum Dominance” to prevent the rise of another rival. And so global primacy became the overarching goal of the country’s foreign policy and military strategy.

Moreover, its military and political leaders have decided that the era of MAD limits on their power was over. After a series of deliberate improvements in the nation’s nuclear first strike capability (“largely concealed from the general public”), such as the “super-fuze” technology, which tripled the killing power of its nuclear warheads, and the missile defenses to counter any retaliatory strike from the deteriorating arsenal of its former rival, the country’s leadership have concluded that they have achieved nuclear primacy and were no longer bound by the threat of the rival’s nuclear deterrent.

And so they pursued increasingly irresponsible foreign policy, directly invading countries they detested. Every time such invasions were preceded by massive propaganda campaigns at home that demonized the leaders of governments that were about to be overthrown and spewed lies about the threat they were posing to the country’s citizens and the world at large. Every invasion, in turn, resulted in massive human suffering, hundreds of thousands of civilian casualties, and millions of refugees flooding neighboring countries.

The country more and more embodied the worst traits of its former archenemy. Its citizens lost many of their freedoms. No longer were they entitled to habeas corpus or the due process of law. They could be assassinated at any time by an edict of the country’s President. Truth became an endangered species in the nation’s mass media, which was being used increasingly to keep the population divided, misinformed, in constant fear, deprived of factual news coverage, and inundated instead with the government’s propaganda and corporate advertising.

Anger, conflict, and confusion have permeated every sphere of public and private life, with millions of people becoming addicted to drugs, alcohol, and anti-depressants, pumped into the nation’s bloodstream by the all-powerful corporations. Weapons manufacturers have flooded the country with guns, claiming the lives of thousands of people every year. Politicians no longer represented the will of the people, but the special interests of those same corporations, whose money was buying the laws that enriched the few at the expense of the many and the planet.

Long gone were the days when the rest of the world looked up to this country as the beacon of democracy and freedom. Almost a quarter of the world population now viewed it as “the greatest threat to world peace,” three times as dangerous as the next contender for that dubious title.

This transformation of a “shining city on a hill” into an “Evil Empire” has been accompanied by the coming to power of the most aggressive and radical elements of world elites in many other parts of the planet. The world has been turning into an increasingly dangerous and unstable place.

The country’s former archenemy at one point has realized the danger of such a unipolar world and has formed alliances with other nations to try and change the balance of power. Its leader has become an outspoken critic of unilateralism and “uncontained hyper use of force in international relations.” His government has blocked the “regime change” efforts by its former rival in some places and has ended up in the cross-hairs of the latter’s global primacy strategy.

The country’s Deep State took advantage of divisive internal politics and launched a massive propaganda campaign that maligned the resurrected rival’s leader, whose shady past presented prolific opportunities for such a campaign, and blamed his government for much of that strife and division at home. They even recruited some of the leading celebrities to become the mouthpieces and unwitting accomplices in bringing the Cold War 2.0 to life.

In the meantime, the archenemy’s military have assessed the demonization campaign against their country’s leader in the context of prior “regime change” efforts by their rival and against the backdrop of its nuclear primacy doctrine, and concluded that the new “Evil Empire” was preparing a preemptive nuclear strike on their country. They put their own nuclear arsenal on hair-trigger alert and prepared for the worst.

The new Cold War was getting hotter by the minute…

By now, you must be wondering about the moral of this story. As far as I can tell, it is encapsulated in these words of veteran Middle East correspondent Robert Fisk:

…the problem today in both East and West is that our governments are not our friends. They are our oppressors or masters, suppressors of the truth and allies of the unjust.

And the dilemma for this country is best expressed by one of my personal inspirations, William Blum:

The American people have to be reminded of what they once knew but seem to have forgotten: that they don’t want BIG government, or SMALL government; they don’t want MORE government, or LESS government; they want government ON THEIR SIDE.

The question is, Mr. Freeman: what are you and I going to do about it, while we still can? The Doomsday Clock is ticking on the story of us.


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