It was a great America. The home of the brave and greatest middle class the world has ever seen. Rock-and-roll. Jazz. Blues. Country. The movie making of Hollywood that was the envy of the world. Baseball. Football. Basketball… all American inventions too. And tax dollars that generated the greatest and most ubiquitous technological advancement in history: The Internet. ”
But what have we done lately? In a word, devolve, and profoundly so. And there are many reasons for America’s race to the bottom…
Reason 1: Anti-Science, Anti-Education
But now we follow. Math and science literacy is a national embarrassment. Student loan debt is greater than mortgages and car loans combined. A certain Congressman openly passes out “Atlas Shrugged” as required reading to his staff. Scientists are ridiculed as self-serving elitists by self-promoting ignoramuses.
Reason 2: Insatiable Greed
No more literally “shooting for the moon” as JFK challenged a generation. The only goal now is to extract as much wealth as possible, by any means, including demonizing the poor while purposefully moving their jobs oversees shows the insatiable appetite that is the hallmark of greed. It has no allegiance to anything whatsoever except itself. Three cheers for Ayn Rand and her favorite prodigy… Paul Ryan!
Reason 3: Anti-Intellectual; A Disdain for Smart People
The possibility that the future generation will do better is over. America’s winning streak has ended. We will never become great again, at least not for a generation. You need industrial might, a skilled workforce, scientific research, and long-term visions, and of course, opportunities for all. But most importantly, we need elected officials that are as smart or smarter than the rest of us who receive council from experts who know even more about particular issues than they do. And that’s not happening.
Reason 4: Delusions of Grandeur
Instead, the Far Right can’t even admit our many exigencies, let alone deal with them. It prefers to fight battles it already has lost. Kinda reminds of me Berlin circa April 1945. The Nazis had no chance of winning but they could still take a few hundred-thousand Bolsheviks down with them, so why not? If they can’t win, then be content with causing as much damage and destruction as possible. It’s a disturbing chapter in history, and we’re witnessing a repeat.
Reason 5: Poor Sports
Yes. This “sore loser” zeitgeist has resurrected itself in the halls of Congress championed by the arrogantly ignorant taking their marching orders from a most odd coalition of financial elitists and anti-education, anti-science and anti-all things that don’t have white skin fanatics. All share one thing in common. They are losing majority status and deep down, know it, but will fight to the last proverbial bullet. If they’re going to go down, they’ll do so scratching and screaming. That’s why we’ve seem some 50 futile votes to repeal Obamacare, even shutting down the government to the detriment of billions sucked out of the economy and millions of workers on temporary furlough. Note that the main pillars of Obamacare came from the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank. Most conservatives liked it, but when Obama proposed it, they suddenly hated it. Why the sudden change of heart? Maybe it had something to do with the President being black? You think?
Reason 6: Personal Vendettas
I will not mince words… These people should be called out for what they are: Nazis, or at best, those who pander to them. The decline of the white dominated politic is so utterly intolerable to them that “what’s good for the country” is no longer a factor in decision making. Mitch McConnel infamously said on the Senate floor a few years ago that his goal was to make Obama a “one-term” president and that he would do “everything in his power” to do that. Again, “everything within his power.” And this is the same guy who proudly brandished a rifle at a recent conservative conference, much like Saddam Hussein used to do. Well at least he didn’t fire it! One thing is sure. He’s no patriot. There’s no way to openly take whatever action possible to take down a president and call it patriotic. By Mitch’s logic, he would have to vote against any Obama proposal — even if he 100 percent believed in it — like the Heritage Foundation’s healthcare reform plan which became Obamacare. And that’s exactly what he did. That’s pretty intense stuff, when you’ll vote against your own beliefs, your constituents desires, because taking down the President trumps “everything.”
Reason 7: Empathy has become a “dirty word”.
Millions of impoverished who now qualify for Medicaid are still being denied by Governors who will do anything — even killing people by denying them access to Medicaid… estimates say 10,000 to 17,000 per year — again, out of spite for the first black President. That’s right, thousands of people will die because some Governor would rather have blood on his hands than accept a program that doesn’t cost the state anything, will help millions of it citizens, and just so happens to be authored by a black guy in a white house. Who in their right mind would do this?
Reason 8: An Epidemic of Non-Critical Thinking…Dumbing it Down
It’s amazing how far wearing an American flag pin will get you. Just get the stupidest assholes — who can’t even spell critical thinking — that’s the sweet spot — and spew Star Spangled nonsense all around, and they’ll whip themselves into a red, white and blue frenzy. I have to admit it. These guys are good. Just dumb it down to the lunatic fringe, or in other words, the Real America (with a proud governor dropout doubling as pied piper). I can hear Joseph Goebbels cheering from his grave. “These guys are good!”
Reason 9: The “Moderate” Republican as Endangered Species.
An alarming number of folks really believe this shit. Others just play along, and yet fewer — that rare specious know as the “reasonable republican” — will privately tell you their embarrassment of that the GOP has become. God, I miss Bob Dole, Ronald Reagan, and Bush, Sr.
America used to do great things and both parties can claim their heroes. It was more about the person than the party back in those days. Leadership has a way of transcending ideological boundaries and political calculus.
Lincoln didn’t free the slaves because it was popular (while building the first transcontinental railway at the same time). Yeah. He could walk and chew gum at the same time. Eisenhower didn’t create the federal highway system because constituents were screaming for it. Neither did JFK challenge a country to put a man on the moon because some poll said it would be politically expedient. And let’s not forget the biggest one…
The founding fathers did not sign the Declaration of Independence out of popularity. In fact, political scientists contend that if a vote were taken at that time, independence would have lost by a 20 point margin!
Since Eisenhower, almost every single President tried to pass healthcare reform for these very reasons. Obama got it done. That’s what leadership looks like my friends.
Winston Churchill once noted, “It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government, except all those others that have been tried.” I wonder if he would reconsider words if he were alive today.
Thomas Jefferson said, “Every generation needs a new revolution.” Obviously, his confidence in democracy was dubious at best.
And for Karl Marx, not even he could imagine that the “dictatorship of the proletariate” could ever look the way it does today.
Perhaps Ecuador has it right. All citizens are required by law to vote in all elections. If they don’t they’re hauled away. If they show to vote drunk, same thing. Little know fact. George Washington offered free Apple Jack — a popular colonial alcoholic beverage — to voters just outside the voting booth. You know (wink, wink) vote for me, I, after all, got you loaded!
Reason 10: Lack of True and Honest Convictions
America has risen from the brink many times in its history. Can it do it again? I see no reason that it can. Too many politicians pandering to people on issues they clearly don’t believe in. America used to be about leadership. Now it’s all about power, and money, and the deceit of the public that makes it all possible. A word to Thomas Jefferson, I now get what you were saying. Our country is being run by bullies and cowards. We’re in deep trouble. There a few adults in the room but what teacher can be expected to oversee hundreds of kids who are taking their queues from millions of ignoramuses. That’s why we won’t make a comeback anytime soon. We can recover from many things, but from dumbing down an entire generation, not so easy. Smartening up America will take at least an entire generation. But that requires a collective will to do so and sadly, the apparatus that fuels Nazi ideology cloaked in star-spangled rhetoric, and celebrates ignorance and promotes hatred and intolerance, well, they’re doing just fine.
On Saturday, June 21st, I am imposing a “no opinion” day on myself and welcome you to do the same. Free yourself from the torment and temptation and illusion of being right and the shame of being wrong. Just for one day. What do you have to lose other than the acts that necessarily foster division, divisiveness and discord, not to mention suffering and rigidity? Indeed, if we are not our opinions (or beliefs), by taking a hiatus, we stand a real chance of discovering who we truly are. And that’s really getting somewhere.