Friday, October 25, 2013

A Spectacular Insanity

Before anyone's knickers get all twisted into a wad of righteous indignation let me state that I am a honorable discharged veteran who served four years in the active duty army and seventeen in the South Carolina National Guard. During those years I saw both the exceptionally positive aspects of serving in the military and, of course, the nasty dark side that neither the mindless gung-ho types will admit to nor the armchair generals have any idea exists. So while I am a sorry ass, bleeding heart liberal strangely fixated on little things like social and economic justice for all Americans I, unlike a multitude of chickehawk conservatives, have actually served my country. While that does not make my opinion anymore important than that of the craven little fools who love the idea of war until they, or some member of their family might serve, at least I can say with all certainty I am not a hypocrite.

You do not have to be an anthropologist to understand Americans are a conflicted people these days. Many of us feel privileged to the point that any suggestion that we as a nation might be wrong in even the most miniscule issue can cause multiple waves of self righteous indignation. We wallow in a semi-fascist concept called “American Exceptionalism” that makes everything we do something directly ordained and approved by God. The planet can be raped and corporations can run amok but its all okay because we are the baddest people that ever walked.

Despite these narcissistic tendencies our longstanding dominance of the world stage is faltering because other countries are becoming better educated and organized while conversely we Americans seem to have our collective heads permanently stuck up our consolidated asses. We live off a mental diet of inbred reality shows and abject escapism deep fried in a batter of indifference. So much that a strange collection of elected morons can shut down the government bringing us damn close to causing a national economic meltdown but just a few days after the crisis is postponed we quickly return to our favorite delusions.

But deep down I have this gut instinct that Americans on an unconscious level understand that our privileged status and days of power are running out. The country that was once sickly optimistic believing that every problem could be solved with just the right amount of intelligence, faith, hard work, and guts has become a place where paranoia, fear, and self interest rule almost exclusively.

Our defense budget is greater than what all the other major nations spend combined. It makes up fifty-seven percent of the total discretionary budget available to the United States government. A paltry six percent goes to education while science gets only three. This is not the behavior of a people ready to meet the future and remain a player on the world scene.

So while we continue to build things like massive aircraft carriers, stealthy submarines, and sleek jet fighters designed to fight a power like the dead and gone Soviet Union shit like this happens: 

From the Washington Post

Hey, I understand what the armchair generals and chickenhawks will say. "It's a dangerous world filled with crazy mother f*8kers that live to blow themselves up. We've got to defend our freedoms and all that awesome shit that makes America special."

Okay, like I said at the beginning, I'm a veteran myself and I do understand that like Bruce Wayne's butler Alfred said in one of the Batman movies there are just some people who want to see the world burn. So yes, that means for a long time we will need men and women ready to defend this country and our allies.That is still no excuse to let the United States decay and fall apart because politicians like the idea of a world empire at the same time the CEO's of the corporations making up the military/industrial complex play atop their mountains of taxpayer dollars. 

Hell, even some of the big brass types that warm expensive and ergonomically correct office chairs at the Five Sided Funny Farm (the Pentagon for those who didn't know) think we are wasting gigabucks on stupid projects. But who are they to question the wisdom of constantly building bigger, better, and more expensive toys so the politicians can massage their egos, corporations can loot the planet, all the while kids without trust funds fight in foreign lands and twelve-year old little girls die because the school can't afford a nurse. For the most part it's better not to think about this crap, it's too damn depressing, but when I do I have to admit there is a spectacular insanity to this all worthy of an exceptionally stupid people. That is my definition of American Exceptionalism.



The Bug said...

It's just inexplicable to me. I understand the hawks & the corporate greed & power mongers. I DO NOT understand the people who continue to vote against their own self interests. All we like sheep...

Stan Bush said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stan Bush said...

The ugly truth is still the truth. I don't think a majority of the US Citizenry has the intestinal fortitude to go the distance, or the testicular fortitude to begin the conversation. As long as their cable is on, they get paid furlough, and nobody is taking THEIR property... all is good. I tried to dismiss this article as a hoax btw, but it did in fact happen. The current mode is to fund/give money to thieves in order to 'feel comfortable' rather than resist.

Sarge said...

Great Post!
I love your venom...


PS: Weekend warriors used to annoy me - No longer.



Pixel Peeper said...

My heart just breaks for the 12-year-old's family.

It would be interesting to see pie charts from other countries' spending.

Sherry said...

We're broke dontchaknow? We can spend 34 million on a military headquarters building in Afghanistan that will never be used.

We can spend (Air Force) 1 trillion on a computer system that will never work.

We can spend 1.5 trillion on military planes that won't fly.

We can't spend on education that would reduce unemployment by training people in the skill sets needed in today's workforce.

We can't spend to improve the lives of our citizens.

Government of the people? Which people? Oh right.

Cutella said...

Visiting here..nice post!

Beach Bum said...

The Bug: Yeah, I see working folks complain about health care and how if grandma gets sick they don;t know what the will do but the minute someone tries to fix the system they go teabagger.

Stand: That pretty much covers its Stan. Americans, in general, are cowards.

Sarge: I have a short fuse dealing with armchair generals and chickenhawks. Even though I was one I have meet National Guard types that were excellent soldiers and some who I would not piss on if they were on fire.

Pixel: The United States spends far more on defense than the top ten countries combined. It's a form of insanity.

Sherry: I agree and it actually worse. The military corporations have carefully spread their factories across many different congressional districts to influence voters. That way a cancelled weapons project, even one that does not work, means a loss of jobs. It's a nice scam.

Cutella: Thanks! Will visit your site soon. I've fallen behind.

lime said...

our state is desperately trying to demonstrate we can go from the top of the heap in educational performance to the bottom in record time. our previous governor slashed public library funding, if memory serves, in half. our current governor cut public education by $1 BILLION. our schools are f*cked. the decline is so rapid and so obvious it is embarrassing.