America is never going to have unemployment below nine percent again, and is never going to be a manufacturing powerhouse and a net exporter of durable goods. Saddest of all, we are no longer a bright shining dream the rest of the world looks to as an example and a role model; if anything, we are an object of derision and ridicule, regarded as a paradigm example of how a nation that has everything can lose its way in the blink of an eye, forget what made it what it is and squander resources, miss opportunities and shirk its responsibilities.
And no-one here seems aware of how bad it has gotten. No politician today has the cojones to look the voters square in the eyes and tell them that a), it’s never ever going to be the way it was (or the way we fantasize it was), and b), if our future is going to be anything less than an unmitigated disaster they are going to have to cowboy up. Their intellectual laziness, mental torpor and self-indulgent consumerism have greased the wheels of our demise, and they are going to have to help drag us back up from the depths of the abyss. Since no one on the political scene these days is capable of telling the truth, and the sleazy greedheads who run the system will never let a candidate like that exist, it’s pretty clear that our future is schnitzed unless some miracle takes place. I’m not even sure a political
leader could save our skins at this point; we could have a clone of FDR, Jefferson, Adams, Captain America and al-Khidr the Green Man and The System would somehow throw a spanner into everything he tried to do. It’ll take more than bandaids and a tube of Biofreeze to fix this place.I have put together a modest list of totally un-Constitutional actions that, in the hands of the right benign monarch, might just turn things around.
First, I would ban video games; 75 percent of our young men are too fat and/or stupid to get into the military at present, and Army and Marine recruiters say their values aren’t so good either – in other words, they don’t have any. The “entertainment industry” is systematically poisoning our young with twisted “games” like the Grand Theft Auto series; the supposed rating system is a joke, systematically sidestepped by greedheads who will cheerfully sell a 10- year-old a game that demeans women and venerates blind violence just to make a buck. And ditto that for Wi-games. How ridiculous; if you want to play tennis, get your couch potato butt out of the house to a court and play with a real racket and ball. It’s pure madness.
Education? Every school kid should learn a foreign language, at least one, and physical education should be more like Outward Bound; final exams in high school should include something on the lines of a Native American vision quest or the solitary meditation young Sherpa men and women traditionally go through, but structured as a sport or game. Arts and music courses should be mandatory, from grade one up, and Montessori-type hands-on learning activities as well.
As far as taxes are concerned, quit rewarding extractive industries for squeezing coal, oil and gas out of public lands, our lands with tax rebates; it’s sheer lunacy. And punish those Wall Street bazillionaires who nearly destroyed the world’s economy with their number-juggling swindles; I’m talking about taking all their money, and shipping them to the Aleutian Islands, where they can live in quonset huts and live off hydroponic potatoes, seaweed, and whatever dead marine life they can find on the beach….
But this is all fantasy, of course; it’s really all about values, and they can’t be legislated, written into law or fostered by some government agency. Our values today are, to put it mildly, disgusting. Case in point: there are now 130,000 veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts living on the streets, homeless, and those “patriots” in the Tea Party want to slash even more funding for veterans’ programs so they can have more frogskins to buy 80-foot-long mobile homes, second and third trophy residences and elections. The people in the news media couldn't care less, either; they’re too busy polishing the shabby reality of 21st century America till it shines in the sun like fools' gold.
Our whole mess was summed up for me last Sunday. It was the tenth anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks, of course, and Budweiser paid homage via a nauseating ad featuring the Clydesdales hauling a funeral cortege across America, ending up at the World Trade Center site. Talk about profaning something sacred...but no one even notices these things anymore.
They're commonplace, acceptable behavior, in the Benighted Estates of Hysteria.