Monday, June 25, 2012

Dare Mighty Things

For me it is impossible to pinpoint the exact date Americans became a herd of placid sheep more than willing to accept the crap shoveled in our faces on a daily basis. Somehow, we have consented to the idea of diminished expectations from our elected officials, journalists, and ourselves to the point that as our nation slowly grounds to a halt from ineptitude, apathy, and greed we resign ourselves to this new standard because while it has gotten bad for some, the credit cards still work for most.

Instead of working to expand the horizons for everyone, something we once assumed was encoded in the American DNA, we increasingly huddle in smaller groups to guard our precious belongings from those we believe might try to take it from us. Fearful of those with less we have begun to listen to contemptuous little men and women, with their own agendas, as they stoke our suspicions to even greater heights to the point fools begin to walk around talking about “Second Amendment remedies” and taking the country back to how it was during the era of the Founding Fathers.

Because of this attitude otherwise decent people react like frightened animals and begin to strike back egged on further by those whispering in their ears that the boogiemen is still stalking them just outside their window. The results of this are scared and ignorant people passing laws taking away the right to vote from certain groups whose participation in the democratic process others find inconvenient. Feeling that tax dollars are wasted public schools become increasingly crowded as teachers are laid off making it even harder to educate, a very neat self fulfilling feedback cycle. Pushing these fears to the very edge of sanity some states openly talk about breaking away from the rest of the country to form their own currency and army. A certain state has even made plans to form its own navy, even though it is landlocked.

Where once the news media would quickly jump on these clear faults and expose them, they have become tepid at best to show where we are going wrong. Sure, exceptions exist but people skilled in the art of spinning information to their benefit will just as quickly point out some character flaw of the journalist or other person seeking to correct an issue. Confusing things further as a nation our news media and entertainment has become intermeshed to the point it is hard to find where one ends and the other begins. Instead of bad or inconvenient news the producers will often offer up something about the lifestyle of some ever so naughty celebrity.

Of course, none of this would be possible if we still gave a damn about anyone but themselves. This is not the nation I was taught to love and respect. That nation felt an obligation to those less fortunate while others swam in money and power. That nation funded schools, libraries, the sciences, and the arts without hesitation because it served the public interest and lifted everyone up. You can forget about the usual pious and incorrect platitudes offered up by sanctimonious preachers about the United States founded as a “Christian nation” because we are the farthest thing from it. The teachings of Christ have been largely abandoned in favor of the power and glamour of money.

 Everything these days has to be looked through the prism of the profit motive. Waste and mismanagement exist at all levels, even in corporations but that is called a tax write off, but a government official cannot shit without some Norquist-like slug whining about the cost of the toilet paper he or she used, heaven forbid a library or school want to buy updated books or equipment. Finishing up this rant I will just restate this is not the nation I was raised to believe in where capitalism is a religion and American pride comes from the bomb tonnage the newest bomber can drop on some primitive village. My America dared to do great and mighty things, it’s a tired attitude in this modern era of easily entertained sheep but hints of what once were are still out there if you look.


squatlo said...

Well written, friend! There are people out there who profit from stoking the paranoia of fearful folks, and they're in high cotton these days. The rest of the economy may be in the dumpster, but gun manufacturers and ammo sales are through the roof.
People hunker down behind gated community walls, lounge about in air conditioned comfort, and all the while they've forgotten how to hunt, fish, or farm for themselves. Your average American kid has no idea what a real, fresh, garden tomato tastes like. They think those styrofoam red things mom gets at Kroger are tomatoes. And instead of putting a couple of plants out in the backyard and teaching children how to raise food, we ingest the crap sold to us by the agri-giants, full of chemicals and steroids and antibiotics... in between runs to McDonalds for fast food.
How do we break through to the Sheeple in time to save them from themselves?
Great post.

Mike Williams said...

I'm going to post this link to my facebook page. Unfortunately you are are right this is not the country it was. But I think we keep on fighting the good fight and pray for a weather change.

Windsmoke. said...

I reckon the same attitude you describe is happening all around the world :-).

Mr. Charleston said...

Too many of us. Everything's gotten so big that we live in a morass. Forget the press, at least the traditional press. Owned lock stock and barrel by 3 giants who profit by pounding us with capitalist propaganda. For this brief moment in history, the internet and social media are the only free speech medium left.
The multi-nationals have got us by the scrotes and there ain't nothing we can do about it.

Pixel Peeper said...

As pessimistic as your post sounds, I tend to agree with you.

But then I watched the video clip and I'm just in awe about the geniuses who are part of the NASA team who designed the Mars rover. Maybe, just maybe, there is still hope for us.

lime said...

i tend to believe both my ww2 veteren grandfathers would be spinning in their graves if they saw us today.

deafmutes said...

In the 80's we had a forecast of Max Headroom which turned true quite a bit....looks now like we might end up with the something of the Hunger Games.

From Wikipedia
Already long ago, from when we sold our vote to no man, the People have abdicated our duties; for the People who once upon a time handed out military command, high civil office, legions — everything, now restrains itself and anxiously hopes for just two things: bread and circuses

In the case of politics, the phrase is used to describe the creation of public approval, not through exemplary or excellent public service or public policy, but through diversion, distraction, and/or the mere satisfaction of the immediate, shallow requirements of a populace

Symdaddy said...

We live in complicated and interesting times, do we not?

Randal Graves said...

You just want to have your own Blofeldian base in a volcano on Io, you ain't fooling me.


Collin Hinds said...

I am in the process of finishing up reading EJ Dionne, Jr.'s new book, Our Divided Political Heart. The main them that runs throughout is the idea of how our country was founded on a balance of taking care of the greater good while insuring the rights of the individual. We are out of whack right now and the culprit is the rugged individualist. Republicans used to be the progressive/liberal party and are now the party of me, myself and I, the collective be damned. It is primitive thinking to believe that we can exalt the individual by killing the collective. It's like slowly killing yin to make yang stronger.

Akelamalu said...

I think what you write about is happening in other countries too. :(

Beach Bum said...

Squatio: I actually think the situation is much worse.

You wrote:People hunker down behind gated community walls, lounge about in air conditioned comfort, and all the while they've forgotten how to hunt, fish, or farm for themselves.

In my little suburban wonderland there are huge restrictions on gardens and even an old fashioned clothes line. I've said it at least a thousand times if I had the ability I would jump off this increasingly suicidal merry-go-round and live someplace far away.

Mike: I have to hold on to the idea that all eras end, even this insane one we are stuck with now.

Windsmoke: From what I can piece together from non-American news sources that appears to be the case.

Mr. Charleston: That's a big 10-4.

Pixel: That is why I posted the video, there are isolated segments of true American Exceptionalism.

Lime: My Granddad thought the country was in the toilet back in the 1980's.

Deafmutes: It does appear that we have entered our own version of the early Roman Empire period right before old Julius.

Symdaddy: It took me a long time to understand why the Chinese thought that saying was a curse.

Akelamalu: While I am not religious in the usual American Bible thumper sense I've got to admit that for us folks here in the West have lost something with the decay of general spirituality. I figure things would be a lot better if the general population was more rational and intellectual instead of believing just in shallow material pursuits.

Beach Bum said...

Randal: LOL!!!!! I am actually trying to walk in the footsteps of the awesomely great George Carlin and Hunter Thompson. Now if I could just get my hands of some LSD.

Collin: The Sci-fi author David Brin has written a good bit about excessive individualism and I happen to agree with him and what you wrote. This legendary bullshit myth of American individualism during colonial times has a grain of truth but for every mountain man out alone beyond the edges of the frontier there were hundreds of people working collectively to develop a civilization.

Life As I Know It Now said...

Eat the pain away.
Drink the pain away.
Smoke the pain away.
Be entertained in whatever fashion to fill that hole, to take the pain away.

Lather, rinse, repeat...

Robert the Skeptic said...

Well you have put your finger precisely on the pulse of our decline... we are a nation of individuals. We don't work together, we compete with each other - The way for me to have more can only be attained if someone else has less.

This is completely opposite of the European and other civilized modern cultures who think in terms of community and overall benefit. To Americans that is Socialism/Communism. We all hang together or we all hang separately. I don't see that situation improving any time in the near future.