America was a nation founded on the guts of men.
Pete Wagner
America was a nation founded on the guts of men.
Sat Jan 10 18:02:57 2004

Gut Check
By Pete Wagner

Sometimes we just have to trust our gut on things. We have to do it despite knowing that our guts may be a lot different than those of others. There are certainly cases where some of us just can't seem to digest what the others find very palatable. Sometimes we are made to feel like a fool over these differences. But still we go on trusting our gut because that is how we are, how our biology just happens to work.

We could, of course, choose to ignore our gut, as is not uncommon in this age, but that is bound to lead to serious digestion problems at some point. No doubt there are many today who experience the occasional gut rumblings as they follow the mainstream news. Often what we choose to consume does not always sit right when it's down there, and in these cases the gut may eventually try to violently purge itself of those contents despite our other intentions.

The gut of course is our intuition -- that thing that we ultimately trust when our frontal lobes are having trouble with the information at hand. The intuition serves us in this way whether we think it does or not. Sometimes we may think that our gut is not serving us very well so we try to ignore it, but this is really just our gut telling us to ignore that thing we have been thinking is our gut. Only our gut knows what our gut really is. But certainly it is the thing responsible for our urge to reevaluate what is in our minds when what we have consumed is not sitting well; just as it is also responsible for that satisfied feeling we get when we are sure of what we believe, the "facts" be damned.

America was a nation founded on the guts of men. Those men came up with the system they did largely because the idea of a powerful government did not sit well in their guts. Their guts kept telling them that mixing power with government was a formula for tyranny. Thus their guts led them to the premise that their new government was to have no more power than required to adequately serve the function intended of it. A few rumblings here and there and they decided their new government should be divided into pieces, each with explicit restrictions (such as that inhibiting a permanent standing Army), and a systems of checks and balances to ensure that no part of government could grow too powerful. A few more rumblings and they decided to create a bill of rights, just to ensure their new government would not forget that it had no real power over the people. I imagine they all took some additional rumblings to the graves in which they are all now spinning.

We live today in what could be called the Post-911 era. The giant sucking sound resulting from the manufacturing jobs that have left the country over the last 20 years has been replaced by a giant rumbling sound in our guts when we realize America's new direction. Those doing gut checks now might be noting that the queasiness is greatly intensifying. Those with any geo-political sense at all would be buckled over in pain right now. Those who understand the intents and purposes of the constitution would surely be displaying a pale hue of late. If Benjamin Franklin, Mark Twain or Smedley Butler were still alive today, they would almost surely be spending their time in or near certain facilities.

But it is truly strange that we have allowed conditions to continually worsen over the years. Those who are not the least bit queasy about our current state must have gotten so used to the canned botulism that has been part of the American diet of late that a total transition to fascism might seem no worse than a leftover McFish sandwich with cheese. The guts of these people are now probably just like inert PVC lines, where whatever goes in the one end comes out the other completely unchanged. No longer do they have the organisms designed to break up and slowly digest the input. The gut no longer has a use for that when its owners are merely supposed to believe and even repeat just what they are told. I call these people dead-guts, and there are a lot of them.

But don't blame the dead-guts; there is only so much Post-Modern American "education", "entertainment" and "culture" most guts can take before they just up and die on their owners. Besides, functional guts are no longer even needed to do quite well in the world today. Just watch any reality television show. The fact that "reality" shows even exist should tell us something. Here we have a cross-section of American pretending they are not pretending and for the purposes of our entertainment. Gut check anyone?

But the ultimate reality show is the Bush Administration and their "war on terror". Unfortunately the worse part is that we are all trapped in the show, so I guess we are all supposed to pretend we are not pretending and actually believe that their colorful threat levels have some basis other than in the minds of those trying to control us through fear and uncertainty; or that motivation to commit an act of terror is based upon a hatred for freedom; or that we have been told the truth about 911. Excuse me while I quickly shuffle to the bathroom.

But even a dead gut can only take so many orders of olestra-soaked biggee lies before it realizes it too needs at least some nutrition. At some point when we are trying to explain to our children why their world is nothing like the carefree and happy one we grew up in, we might find ourselves craving a good old-fashioned home-cooked meal of simple truth. We could call it soul food.




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