Sunday, November 6, 2011

The State We're In...

So, there are 20 million unemployed Americans with no unemployment benefits. The country is bankrupt both fiscally and morally. We are now robbing the once sacrosanct Social Security stash to keep funding perpetual war in the Middle East. Politicians keep favoring the kings of capitalism with their bills and laws. And the middle class is decaying faster than road kill in an Arizona summer. That at least describes the tip of ice berg. (At least the part that Sarah Palin can see from her backyard.) So how did we get here and what are we going to do about it? The answers would be simple if they weren’t so complicated.

Certainly politicians seem more intent on shedding blame than accepting responsibility. They have ignored the president’s job bill, choosing rather to focus on making the phrase “In God We Trust” part of our official branding. Well, these idiots better trust in somebody because they don’t have a clue what is really happening. Or, scarier yet, they do but they choose to remain inert and dysfunctional. And isn’t that a frightening prospect; when your elected officials are busy bumping into furniture rather than turning on the lights.

Of course Americans also have to take responsibility for the state we are in. After all, we gave George W. Bush eight years to mess around with this country. That was like giving a five-year old kid a loaded .45 hand gun and telling him to go have some fun. (Unfortunately, out kid didn’t shoot himself.)

I can hear all or you moderate/Republicats saying that this is just another “Blame Bush” diatribe. You’re damn straight it is. When President Clinton left office, we had money in the meter. When "Daddy's Little Cowboy" left office, not only had our meters expired but our cars were being impounded.

Thank God the Earth is more resilient than its inhabitants. This rock knows how to bob and weave like a veteran boxer on the ropes. It is programmed to endure; humans are not. We are, alas, ants busy running our maze to nowhere. But what do you expect from the culture that created MTV, speed-dating and TV dinners: if it isn’t satisfying in less than 4 minutes, we are just too busy chasing the American "dream" to deal with it.

In the eternal conundrum of whether the glass is half empty or half full, I ask who the hell drank half the glass when I wasn’t looking and what are we going to do about it. Yes, I’ve become a curmudgeon. (Andy Rooney R.I.P.) Back in the 60’s one of the anthems was “don’t trust anyone over 30!” Now it’s become “don’t trust anyone!”

Since this country’s leaders have adopted a philosophy based on lifeboat ethics or social Darwinism, reason, logic and rational thought have become as rare as a Pentecostal minster at a Slayer concert. The fortunate ones ask “why all the whining and moaning” while those staying afloat by hanging onto whatever debris is left of their lives after the flogging by King Bush ask “who the hell drank half of my glass of water while I wasn’t looking?” That whole concept about a nation “of the people, by the people and for the people” has floated into polluted waters never to be seen again. But perhaps it was just idealistic rhetoric the old guys needed to sell the deal back in 1776, too na├»ve to ever survive the test of time.

Even our founding fathers argued over the benefits of a lais·sez–faire economy. Is the republic responsible for the quality of life of every citizen? It would seem not, unless you are an unmarried mother or a recovering drug addict. Who decides who is worth saving: the party in power, of course.

America was designed to be constantly at war with itself. Unlike many older countries in Asia and Europe who have acquired wisdom from their mistakes, America looks to its future with all the savvy of a juvenile delinquent waiting for his parents to bail him out. We were designed to be a country divided and so we are. And so we shall remain until revolution alters our matrix.

It seems our founding fathers, being largely Free Masons, had a keen sense of weights, balances and the absurd. Apparently they envisioned the two-party system as a good thing. A way to police ourselves when one party got too powerful; that whole checks and balances thing. And so it goes to this day: one party pontificates their policies for 4-8 years, while the other party relentlessly objects. Unfortunately, because of this continual turmoil, the psyche of the populace is kept in a continual state of upheaval. We are always in a state of flux with one party insisting they speak for the good of the people, while the other party prays for a slip in rhetoric so they can pounce upon the opportunity to make the same claim. What’s a citizen to do: who are we to believe?

This continual friction creates the energy to turn the turbines of this beast we call America. And this two cylinder party makes sure this machine never rests. It is perpetually creating energy through chronic dissent. And through this inherent lack of equilibrium our country stumbles forward like a drunk leaving the bar at closing time. On the rare occasion when the machine is finely- tuned and running with majority approval, it can thrive. Unfortunately, this baby’s drive train is straight out of a British sports car, which means constant maintenance.

The machine that is supposed to drive America is continually breaking down. We are in the shop more than not. And what is the result of this constant aggravation:  thuggery against ourselves and the rest of the world. Hey, we have to take our failures out on someone.

After all, America is the ultimate bully. We have a wretched legacy of beating up on the little guy JUST BECAUSE WE CAN. Just take a look at the most popular video games and you will get a sense of the “Rambo” mentality that infiltrates every home in this country. And, for most Americans, what they see is what they believe. As the media serves up, so we consume. After all, we are America, the country that kicks ass all over the globe and leaves logic bleeding by the wayside. If truth is the first victim of war, then logic is right behind.

But what about the terrorists, you ask? Don’t they hate America? Of course they do. And not just the terrorists, who are certifiably insane, but the people of the Middle East and most of the world wonder at our penchant for misconstrued violence.

Take a group of people from divergent backgrounds, divide them up according to their beliefs, and you’ll discover that our forefathers were right: people’s feelings, are grounded in nothing more than the tainted rhetoric and prosaic prose  , will indeed fuel their beliefs, which in turn creates dissent against those opposed to those beliefs, which in turn moves the great machine.

But unfortunately, this constant turmoil dumbfounds much of the populace. Sitting like the kids in the back of the class, stoned out of their minds from huffing glue bags, these lost souls find lonely solace in agreeing with the person sitting next to them, who in turn does the same. And so begins the process of dumbing down society.

(TO BE CONTINUED) 

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