Monday, February 16, 2015

The Beginning of the End of the American Empire

This post of FDR's "Economic Bill Of Rights has been making its way around the internet. I came across it on Facebook. To me, it just makes sense: if we are a great nation--hell, if we care at all for our people--we should see to it that they have this much at least. But I have friends--conservative friends--who disagree.

The argument seems to be that, while these are certainly excellent ideals, worthy things to strive for, it goes beyond the power of any nation to call them "rights."

Excuse me?

Whatever happened to "American Exceptionalism"? Isn't that the theme that is supposed to be part of the conservative model of this country? Now I am not saying that I *agree* with it--we are what we are, flaws and all--but I hardly see how one can argue that we ought to be called "exceptional" if we allow millions of our own people to live lives lacking these fundamentals of decent humanity that so many other nations supply every one of their people. Instead, we allow our richest people to hoard our wealth and our government to spend our collective wealth on an ever-growing military that is the envy of the world but is also absurd in its incongruity.

We could supply *all* of these basic needs for a tiny fraction of the military budget. Instead we continue to fund 500-billion dollar boondoggles like the F-35 because it suits political whims and spend *trillions* of dollars fighting unnecessary wars because---because---well, no one can really say WHY. It sure as heck wasn't WMDs. It sure as heck wasn't 9-11. It sure as heck wasn't Al Qaeda. (Could it have been Bush's Daddy issues? Cheney's interests in oil companies? Rumsfeld's outsized ego?)

Bottom line: we live in a country that seems to value the daily lives of individual people less and less each day, which makes sense because, each day, it becomes closer and closer to the oligarchical society our Founding Fathers sought to escape from. The only difference between the Koch Brothers and King George is that King George wore a crown and everyone recognized him as the one in charge.

All empires fall, and ours is falling right now. It will not last the century in its current form, even if by some miracle the earth as we know it does. In retrospect, the great democratic experiment that was the USA began to fail with the fall of the Soviet Union. Once we no longer had a common great enemy, the right wing of this country--with no unifying principle--was in disarray. It needed a new focus, and it found one: the country itself. Its previously precarious unholy alliance with the religious right was solidified and codified, and--beginning with local elections for town councils and school boards--obscenely right wing, fundamentalist, narrow-minded people began infiltrating our political scene at all levels. It led eventually to what we have now: a nation divided into people who understand the world as it is and was and tens of millions who, due to thirty years of having the same lunatic ideas beaten into them, many from birth, now believe things that the rest of the world absolutely scoffs at...for good reason.

How can so many Americans doubt evolution? How can so many Americans, enjoying our ultra-sexy movies and TV shows, be such prudes about sexual conduct? How can so many Americans have forgotten the Melting Pot? How can so many Americans actually believe that our Founding Fathers wanted a Christian country? How can so many Americans actually believe that the Second Amendment had *anything* to do with *anything* other than the need for militias in an era before the country had its own mind-boggling standing army? How can so many Americans believe in the absurd notion--proffered only in recent decades by the way--of "American Exceptionalism" in the first place?

And how can this even remotely be possible?

For the answers to these and other questions, see above: the decades-long control of school boards by the right wing and the religious right have succeeded in the "dumbing down" of the American people. We now have tens of millions who believe what they have always been told and do not know enough to question it, people who are now revved up by Fox News on a daily basis to keep that party line intact. And when you add those numbers to the *economic conservatives"--people who fool themselves into believing the principles of trickle down economics despite the last three decades of evidence that it SIMPLY DOES NOT WORK, telling themselves that it is a more "grown-up" and "realistic" form of economics while the richest get richer whenever Democratic Presidents manage to get their way and impose its opposite on Wall Street, lifting it to ever-higher record-breaking daily finishes--there are enough sheep to combine with those who swallow the other lie fostered by the right wing that there is "no difference" between the parties to keep the right in the political pictures when it should have died a natural death decades ago.

Because it did not, I fear, America will. Not a huge revolutionary death, I expect. More like death by a thousand splinters. Unless something radical reverses this process, the stagnation of America will become gangrenous. I think it may already have begun to do so. This is not at all the country I grew up in, in which the word "secession" would never have been bandied about like a political baton, nor would the President of the United States--who was then Richard Nixon, for crying out loud!--have been submitted to the kind of unabated hate speech that Obama has been hearing since he began his initial campaign. This is a country in which we are all armed to the teeth against a fear we do not even understand, and someday, probably not all that long from now, we are all going to get caught in the crossfire.

Bookmark and Share


it's your hair that i notice first
streaked with morning
it frames your face
you lying there eyes closed
soft breath not quite there
i follow its path as it bends the sheet
and i can touch you there
touch what i feel is you
in the spark of daylight
you'll rise
pull on the wrinkled shirt from last night
say something you think is beautiful
drink some coffee
from behind my paper
and drive away,
leaving a kiss on my lips
and a hole in my heart
where a fire ought to be

Favorite Films

  • The Wizard Of Oz
  • Amelie
  • The Princess Bride
  • Casablanca
  • Annie Hall
  • The Lord of the Rings
  • All That Jazz
  • Citizen Kane
  • Love Actually
  • Moulin Rouge
  • Big Fish
  • When Harry Met Sally
  • Almost Famous
  • Bull Durham
  • Notting Hill
  • Apocalypse Now (Redux)
  • Magnolia

All-Time Favorite TV Shows

  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • Gilmore Girls
  • M*A*S*H
  • The West Wing
  • The X-Files
  • The Daily Show
  • Ally McBeal
  • Picket Fences
  • All In The Family
  • Seinfeld
  • The Mary Tyler Moore Show
  • Star Trek
  • Firefly
  • Wonderfalls
  • Northern Exposure
  • Get Smart
  • The Dick Van Dyke Show
  • Twin Peaks
  • The Larry Sanders Show
  • Monk
  • Felicity
  • St. Elsewhere

Current TV Shows I Enjoy (in no particular order)

  • Perception
  • Major Crimes
  • American Horror Story
  • Louie
  • Suits
  • The Newsroom
  • Falling Skies
  • Franklin and Bash
  • Veep
  • Scandal
  • Fairly Legal
  • Girls
  • Don't Trust the B---
  • Justified
  • Portlandia
  • Psych
  • The Middle
  • Person of Interest
  • Happy Endings
  • Hart of Dixie
  • Real Time with Bill Maher
  • Nikita
  • Raising Hope
  • Castle
  • Drop Dead Diva
  • Covert Affairs
  • Elementary
  • Rizzoli and Isles
  • Revolution
  • The Last Resort
  • Alphas
  • SNL
  • Revenge
  • Community
  • Suburgatory
  • New Girl
  • Once Upon a Time
  • Grimm
  • Nashville
  • Downton Abbey
  • Smash
  • Homeland
  • Fringe
  • Glee
  • Haven
  • Community
  • Warehouse 13
  • Modern Family
  • Vampire Diaries
  • The Daily Show
  • How I Met Your Mother
  • The Colbert Report
  • Parks and Recreation
  • Leverage
  • Rachel Maddow Show

xkcd - A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and