I have been stunningly without many words lately. It is not that I have nothing to say, it is that my brain, my heart and my fingers do not seem to have the desire to make the connection. I have been silenced by what I can only call the utter and complete decimation of what was once good, fair and right in this nation. Now mind you, it was not completely good, entirely fair and always right; no it wasn’t that. But there was enough good, fair and right that many of us believed it was worth fighting for and working toward better. Hell there was enough good, fair and right millions of people from all over the world immigrated here for a ‘better way of life’.
Now? Those who come, they come because their own nations are torn by war, whether religious, drug or other, generally if you peel back the layers far enough we are in there somewhere stirring the pot. Or they are coming because despite the terrible xenophobia of this nation, the poverty is so terrible in their own they can only hope here will offer a chance to feed their families. Then of course, there is the alternative to these scenarios, there are those who are invited in to displace Americans in their jobs. They come here come to rape the nation of what few jobs remain to us in IT, Engineering and other high tech careers, leaving the dregs, the contracts at low rates and no benefits. They come with the help of Congress, with no complaint from anyone on either side. They come because ‘good liberals’ with deep pockets along with ‘bad conservatives’ are constantly storming the gates demanding broader expansions of this insidious program, because according to them, there are just too few Americans to fill all those waiting positions. This is the nation today, this is the vision of the future and there doesn’t seem to be a bright silver lining.
I have listened intently to what all the candidates for President have had to say. The Republicans with their petty bickering and attempts to out ugly each other. The Democrats with their attempts at calm and civility. The lines drawn in the sand today are brilliant if you stay at the superficial level of the arguments, if you don’t ask the hard questions or truly dig under the surface of unsustainable policy dreams, bright promises of better futures or ‘Winning’.
Is it me or is it truly worse? Is the ugly truly uglier? I think it isn’t worse, not really worse. I think what it is today is more public in some cases. I think there has been, over the past decade a move toward a sustained and unrestrained malice with the culmination being this election season. I think we have seen xenophobia, racism, nationalism and the doctrine of Manifest Destiny stirred into a stew rich in ugly emotions, fired up by looming fears of the failure to thrive.
Dreams of our fathers indeed. Dreams we were created equal in this land of immense wealth and promised opportunity. We know this isn’t true though, we know it wasn’t ever truly designed for all of us, not for most of us even. If we are honest and we should be, we know those pesky words about equality and opportunity were meant only for the few, the chosen who were of the right social class, the right economic class, the right gender (outie not innie please) and let’s face it, the right color or race, though throughout our history we have hated more than just those with obvious differences. Truthfully, xenophobia is one of our favorite pastimes. Want to stir the pot? Point to the influx of immigrants, German, Italian or Irish all free game at one time, though eventually they were absorbed to swell the ranks of ‘just like us’ when the rampart was weakening.
The truth of the matter is, this nation is nothing at all without an enemy, or two or three. Some group to focus our hate, our ire and of course our military might on. The bedrock of this nation is war, the heart of our economy violence. We make war to keep the money moving. Those at the top of the food chain, beat the drums patriotism at every opportunity keeping the mighty war machine well-greased and the war-mongers well paid while the rest of us, we either fall in line or are labeled as anti-American, unpatriotic or other even less flattering things that most who shout them do not have even a fundamental understanding of their meanings. Without violence, without an enemy, without war we are nothing it seems; we love to declare war.
War on Drugs
War on Poverty
War on Terrorism
But in the declarations of war, who really is the enemy? In the declarations of war, who are we really focused on? Who has really benefited from these Wars?
Dreams of our Fathers, indeed.
I find I am tired. Worn out already with the idiocy and nonsense of the early Presidential season. With the bombastic bullshit from the Right and the pretense of civility from the Left. I find I am weary with the do-nothing Congress who does less and less with each passing session. I am exhausted by a citizenry that bitches, whines and moans but refuses to go to the polls when given the opportunity to do so. But more than anything, I am shattered by how far we have fallen as a nation and a people, by the sheer nastiness of our public speech that is not only accepted but defended.
I am sure I will find my will soon. But right now, I find I am simply crushed and silenced by a nation and a people that refuse to seek greatness in favor of the lowest common denominator.