16
Jul
08

Smoke and Mirrors

Awareness Prevention Education.

OK, go back and read that again. Let it sink in.

You back?

OK, those are the words I saw writ large on the monitor of my wife’s PC, on some Web site she was on just recently. Those words made me stop in my tracks.

Now, as it happened, that wasn’t a sentence or even a phrase, nor a title of some initiative or program. They were three separate words putting forth the general mission of a non-profit group devoted to issues around brain injury survivors. They advocate: awareness, prevention and education. So, we can relax for a moment. Heave a sigh of relief if you like.

Better now? Yeah, OK, so you weren’t thrown off by those words like I was. Congratulations.

The visceral shock and dismay those words made me feel—before the real context of them had sunk in—was amazing. For just a split second, I feared for the world that we might somewhere have in place a program or initiative or stated goal of awareness prevention education.

But wait a minute! We do have awareness prevention education all around us, don’t we? Not simply one such program, and nothing official of course, but rather a general effort to keep us in the dark by the powers that be. I’m being realistic here, not paranoid. I don’t believe the government is smart enough or secure enough to carry out real wide-scale conspiracies. But still, in so many parts of our society, there really are folks who are working to prevent us from having any kind of awareness about what it really happening around us, whether individually or as organizations. I mean that in terms of politics, the economy and even the spiritual and religious realms. Like the “Wizard” at the end of The Wizard of Oz, they are telling us: “Pay no attention to the man behind the mirror!” And too often, we comply.

I’ll rant about the political and economic stuff in a moment just because—well—well, because it’s my blog and I can, even if the rant doesn’t fit my usually religious and spiritual ramblings. But let’s start with the religious/spiritual side.

One of my regular readers and commenters around here, WNG (who has her own blog called A Whole New G), recently commented on my post “Choosing Satan” a couple weeks ago and quoted a great line from a fantastic movie called The Usual Suspects that goes like this: The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.

Think about it. How many preachers really preach about Satan? Not many. My father in law does with fair regularity (he’s a preacher, yes), and he’s even trying to write a book about the reality of Satan’s existence, the tools he uses and the defenses we can bring to bear—and I presented a smidgen of what he wrote in my post “That Ole Devil” recently. But most preachers don’t talk about the devil, or they talk about him in casual passing ways, or they even sometimes act like he doesn’t exist at all—or that he’s not active in the world itself but just in Hell.

And that kind of ignorance is exactly what allows Satan to move in stealth mode to influence people and events. If every time there’s a horrible natural disaster or some personal problem in our lives we’re blaming God because we don’t realize that we humans empower Satan here on Earth and that he actually has a lot of free rein to cause shit because we’re mostly a sinful, godless lot who allow him to run free…well, that gives Satan a lot of power. You can’t fight what you don’t even believe exists.

Also, the general societal penchant for misinformation on important issues of the day would also have us believe that every prominent pastor or other religious leader is a crook, a kook or both. Rev. Jeremiah Wright may have had some thorny opinons and maybe a couple radical views, but it wasn’t until Barack Obama took center stage that the media played soundbites from his sermons in ways that made him look like a crazy and much more radical guy than he was. He’s not the only religious leader to be painted thus, but he’s one of the most recent.

And yet the supposedly religious leaders who make us feel good and give us self-help-style advice instead of telling us the truth, like Joel Osteen, get major book deals and no one tries to paint them in a bad light. And folks with truly crazy and hateful notions like Pat Robertson, John Hagee or Jerry Falwell often get a pass in the media. People looked to them and people like them, and still do, for public commentary or private political advice without ever shedding light on their very shady sides. Yet Pastor Wright points a bright light at some of our nation’s very real spiritual problems and tells us we need to do better, and he’s a painted almost as a madman.

And as far awareness prevention education in the political realms, our government has had people believing that gasoline would always be cheap and that we could build sprawling suburbs and sell gas-guzzling tanks instead of devoting money to public transportation, intelligently designed communities, fuel efficiency and alternatives to fossil fuels.

Our government also managed to paint an opportunistic war in the Middle East as an attempt to protect us from terrorists, playing on the fears generated by that national tragedy we simply call 9/11. Billions upon billions sunk into a war and a postwar effort that we might not be able to get out of for years, all for greedy and petty reasons—money that could have rebuilt our thousands of old and sometimes failing bridges, helped our school systems, repaired our roads, fixed our Social Security mess and maybe gone toward getting health insurance for those who cannot afford it now. We can find the money for war, but we can never find it for promoting peace and building up our own house. And that’s because the government entities (and the businesses who both manipulate and serve government) always have us looking at boogey men instead of speaking truth. And we buy into that nonsense and let ourselves be led.

And if we focus on the “education” part of awareness prevention education, we need look no further than our public (and often private) school systems that teach a sanitized view of history that paints the United States as the paragon of democracy and capitalism and wisdom while glossing over the enslavement of Africans, the disenfranchisement of Black Americans, the genocidal efforts against Native Americans, our abuse of child labor and adult labor too, our successful attempts to steal land from Mexico and our unsuccessful ones to steal land from Canada, and so on.

The news media, which once actually served as the “fourth estate” to keep tabs on our three branches of government, is now focused almost solely on generating ad revenues and satisfying sponsors; getting higher ratings with fluff and bullshit while slashing funding for real coverage of world events; and putting blowhards in front of the camera to spout ideological claptrap instead of practicing any kind of balanced journalism and real examination of the issues. At this point, the media is one of the biggest promoters of “awareness prevention.”

Awareness prevention education is real, folks, and it’s been active for quite some time. Like I said before, it’s not a formal thing and it’s not even a secret conspiracy. But it’s a mindset created by the rich and powerful that we choose to accept as reality. We see something on the news or on the Internet and we just swallow it as truth without even thinking twice. We support “awareness prevention” all the time. We embrace it (either actively or by our silence) and we live by it. By avoiding awareness of what is really happening, we put our souls in peril, we are running our country into the ground, and we are destroying the future that we should be building for our children.

Be aware. Be educated. Don’t be led by people who don’t have your best interests at heart. Use that brain God gave you.

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3 Responses to “Smoke and Mirrors”


  1. 1 WNG
    July 16, 2008 at 1:46 pm

    YEA for making me famous!

    I’ve got nothing else to say except that I agree with you 150 million percent.

  2. July 16, 2008 at 4:50 pm

    I think that preachers don’t preach on Satan because it’s hard to discuss him and break new ground. I actually don’t want to hear too many messages about Satan and his evil abilities. I think it draws focus away from the fact that we as Christians don’t need The Devil to trip us up because usually we’re our own worse enemy.

    I think Satan is active and he tempts us regularly. But, I think focusing on him or his power can create a feeling of helplessness in certain Christians. I prefer messages that tell me what I need to do with the help of God to improve myself.

  3. 3 Deacon Blue
    July 16, 2008 at 5:18 pm

    I hear ya, Big Man. And I don’t advocate a heavy focus on him. But I do think there is a huge danger in ignoring him. I am reminded of Sun Tzu’s tactical advice about “knowing your enemy and knowing yourself.”


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Deacon Blue is the blogging persona of editor and writer Jeffrey Bouley. The opinions of Jeff himself on this blog, and those expressed as Deacon Blue, in NO WAY should be construed as the opinions of anyone with whom he has worked, currently works, or will work with in the future. They are personal opinions and views, and are sometimes, frankly, expressed in more outrageous terms than I truly feel most days.

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