Recently my wife and I were re-watching the 2009 blockbuster movie, Avatar. First time we saw it was with our entire family at an IMAX theater. Avatar on the huge screen is certainly candy for the eyes. But in reality it is just another retelling of the age-old tale about man finds paradise, paradise inhabited by nice but different beings, nice beings have something man wants, man rationalizes killing nice beings and taking their stuff, man destroys paradise, end of story.
The part of man is played by the owners of profit justifies anything big corporations and their army of highly paid, massively armed, and highly capable mercenaries. The part of nice beings is played by beautiful creations who live idyllic lives and are in perfect harmony with their world.
The parallels of this are limitless; native Hawaiians meet Christian Missionaries, noble savages meet inhabitants of Mayflower, native peoples of Central America meet Chiquita Banana. These scenarios usually share the same ending; natives get hammered, wealth
is stolen, and dirty deed doers end up being the heroes in forthcoming history books.
I’m reminded of all this because of what the Trump administration is doing to the paradise we’ve tried to create. First of all they undo decades of environmental protection. They regard science as if it were the Devil’s own device. They turn the government’s attention away from preservation and redirect it towards exploitation. They preach the myth of “clean” coal rather than the reality of clean and renewable wind and solar. Everywhere one turns there’s a Trump minion clawing at something designed to heal the abuses of the past and make a better world for the people they are supposed to serve.
They do this for the sake of wealth and power, part of which they spend strengthening their roles as America’s Pied Pipers, using fear, racism, xenophobia, lies, and extravagant promises to lead the unsuspecting closer to the river’s edge.
Unfortunately too many people aren’t able to see what’s happening. They fail to see where theirs and the nation’s best interest lie. They get the rolls reversed and can’t figure out who the real bad guy is. My best example of this relates back to the first time we saw Avatar. At the movie’s end the planet rapers and their hired guns are defeated and forced to return to earth while there is hope that life on Pandora will someday return to normal. A few days later I ran into a fellow I’ve known for most of my life and he’s always been pretty hard-core conservative. He told me he’d also seen Avatar and I asked him what he thought. He admitted that he enjoyed watching the film but thought, “they’d been a little tough on our guys.” He had failed to understand that it wasn’t the US Marine Corps that was defeated on Pandora, it was a bunch of hired killers working for a bunch of money-grubbing capitalists.