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I grew up in two different worlds: the world we all share, and the world of my imagination created by stories in books.

I had no television in my home growing up, and thankfully, reading was strongly encouraged by my parents and grandparents. Series like The Narnia Chronicles and The Lord of the Rings were favorites. Small bands of heros fighting against dark armies and impossible odds are powerful and exciting archetypes.

After hitting my mid-twenties, I switched to reading mostly non-fiction. I grew up and took my place in the “real world” of responsibilities and all that.

Yet more and more, as I read non-fiction books, journalistic essays, articles on various “real world” events, I am reminded more and more of the archetypes of those early fantasies.

There is a very real darkness over the land, over the entire planet.

There there are dark armies which serve a dark government, with shadowy alliances and covert goals to control the dwindling resources of the world.

While there is not a single dark lord or sorcerer controlling a single seat of power, there are powerful players at their evil game, and perhaps the greatest of them is the United States of America.

America wears the disguise of being a bastion of democracy and freedom, and sells this idea to the world while it acts against democracy in order to further it’s expansion of power.

Ask the citizens of Chile if they believe we supported democracy when America helped overthrown their democratically elected president and installed a vicious dictator who tortured, disappeared, imprisoned and murdered thousands of Chileans.

Ask the citizens of Iraq, where over 100,000 civilians have died since America brought democracy to their country.

Ask the hundreds of “war on terror” detainees, few of whom had even the slightest link or tie to terrorism, while all of them suffered physical and psychological abuse at American hands.

Ask an American citizen like Bradley Manning, if he enjoys equal treatment under the law while he waits for trial in solitary confinement, forbidden from sleeping during the day, or exercising in his cell, while guards “check” on him every five minutes. Who was long forbidden bedding, proper clothing, and any personal items.

America doesn’t seem to care at the glaring cracks in its facade. The current president has no problem calling other governments to refrain from violence against peaceful protestors, while in American cities we see the “New Military Urbanism” in violent police actions against peaceful demonstrators across the country.

Violence against people and violence against the planet and other species are merely a means to an end.

American leaders act with impunity while ordering torture and other war crimes.

Financial criminals not only go unpunished, but are often rewarded with appointments to high government offices.

We are living in dark times where remote controlled drones kill indiscriminately, where dissenters are physically and psychologically tortured, where no indictment is needed for assassination, and where the power and greed of a few threaten the entire biosphere.

The time for heros has come.