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.