You'd think that something as insane as invading Iraq for no apparent reason would get through if anything would, right? Not me. All I learned at that point was that Fox would legitimize anything for Republicans and demonize anything concerning Democrats, and vice versa for CNN and MSNBC. But I believed that they were all just misguided. I had no idea that it was propaganda. That was 2003.
I didn't figure out that something was wrong until 2008. First, this obscure guy named Ron Paul was ridiculed and treated as if he was a traitor for suggesting peace and free trade as an option for the U.S. I barely knew who he was at that time, and it sounded like a refreshing idea to me. I was even going to vote for him. But even that behavior from the other Republican candidates just seemed arrogant and rude mostly. I still wasn't quite there yet.
Then in September that year, Hank Paulson gave a speech before Congress saying that he needed something like $700 billion, no questions asked, for the banks. I had been working in the mortgage industry and although I didn't understand why, I had been aware and watching for over a year, knowing that it was collapsing. They kept calling it a "correction", but that was not at all what it looked like from the inside. I saw it coming and thought it couldn't happen to a nicer bunch.
For the first time in my life, I wrote and called all of my representatives and told them not to give Paulson a cent. I knew that the banks' bad behavior had gotten them into trouble, and they deserved whatever happened to them. All of my representatives wrote me back explaining why they didn't want to do it, but they had to for reasons that I wouldn't understand.
That was it. Instant surreality. It was a contradiction too big to ignore. The implication was unthinkable, but I was forced at that moment to consider it. There could only be one truth. Everything else had to be a lie.
I discovered my brain that day, at the age of 44. Before that, I actually thought Americans ran this country by voting and protesting. Shameful and embarrassing, but true. I have been catching up ever since. When people talk about the "Matrix", I laugh because they are talking about me. There is no going back.
Want DP delivered to your inbox daily? Subscribe here: