Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Early, but no Worms

Like much of the world I have been monitoring the news, the net and the blogosphere regarding the Debt crisis.  Now that the US government has gotten off its proverbial ass and done the only thing possible, which is to raise the debt ceiling so that the government can fulfill it’s obligations, like I don’t know, fund Michelle Obama’s vacations pay Social Security checks, pay it’s obligations and avoid rising interest and probably spurning us into what people over here in Europe are calling the double-dip. I just can't read anymore about it, it makes me sad, angry and very pessimistic about the future of our nation and our world.  (Note to self: stick only to celebrity gossip).

So, since I can't read anymore about the crisis, the economy and where America is headed, I thought maybe I would write something.  I don't have anything tremendously original to offer, there are many people out there much more well read on the topic and saying and writing much more original and eloquent things that I can, but since I can't read anymore, I am writing. Since it is,  in just a little over a month,  the 10 year anniversary of 9/11, it seems fitting to try to scrape together some thoughts, at least before all those people who are better thinkers, writers, historians and economists get their asses together and write something way more original, snappy, insightful and with better style, so here I am trying clumsily to sum up in a couple of paragraphs, without getting too Wharton-School-of-Business on you where I think we are 10 years on from 9/11.  And I do this without out (or nearly without) talking Democrats or Republicans, Liberals or Conservatives, Tea Parties and without bashing Sarah Palin.  Because where we are goes beyond candidates, platforms or politics.  

I’ve had this feeling many times over the past ten years but never more profoundly than I have watching the debt crisis unfold in front of our eyes.  When all things are totaled I have this overwhelming and very uncomfortable and profoundly sad feeling that the terrorists achieved what they set out to do on 9/11 and that was not just the horror, the bruatality and the heartbreak of thousands of  American lives which were tragically snuffed out on that sunny September morning or the countless other soldiers and innocents who have been killed in the many years since but more and more I think Al Qaeda succeeded in killing the American way of life and the American Dream.  

Since 9/11 the world has descended further and further and further down the rabbit hole.   9/11 brought shock, tragedy and a sense of complete vulnerability to America’s shores,  and made real that saying that the bigger they are, the harder they fall.  September 11 is a day which lives on in the minds and hearts of everyone who experienced it, much like those a few years older than me say about the Kennedy Assassination and those from a generation before  them said about Pearl Harbor.  You just never forget exactly where you were when you heard, and after you heard, you stayed glued to your television for days, watching it again and again, in fits of disbelief and incredible sadness as a country mourned, learned what happened and began to sow the seeds of aftermath.  Yes, there were and are many heroes in this fight and where we are as a country now should not take away that there are many people at home and abroad who have fought and sacrificed to protect our nation.      

I  remember shortly after the towers fell it was President Bush or one of his ugly henchmen who very rightly said that we were now living in a post-911 world (yes, right and that administration are almost mutually exclusive but again point to another true saying – even a broken clock is right twice a day)—anyway I digress, my point is (besides that Dick Cheney sucks, sorry I had to get that in) that the world was forever changed that day in so many ways, so profoundly that now there is just a world before 9/11 and a world after 9/11. 

We are now a decade into the after and where are we as a nation? 

Based on the latest episode in our national dialogue and what now passes for a government of the people, by the people and for the people I would say we are well past the last outpost of the American Dream and we are not in the frontier, those amber waves of grain flapping in the breeze, we are somewhere else, landed in a sea of muck and shit and are gears are stuck and our tires are just spinning (yes, I am aware that I am mixing metaphors but so be it, it’s my blog, I’ll mix if I want to).

We spent the last decade reacting and living in fear, fear of the terrorists, fear that they were going to maim and harm us and force us to live in fear.  That if we didn’t go out there and get them, they were going to get us.  And you know what?  We got ourselves. We got ourselves as a nation so gripped by fear, so afraid, so sure that the threat from outside was so real that it caused us to go crazy, to support two very costly and ridiculous wars that we cannot win and we cannot end.  It made us forego individual freedoms and the idea that America has always existed and even thrived on different opinions and views, that debate was good, that it made for a better nation, a better government and a better country.  And not only that a few power players in Washington and corporations and banks got together and decided fear was good for their interests and so they perpetuated it, they stuck it in a proverbial, societal flower pot, they planted it, added water and food and stuck in the light of day, and dammit if it didn’t grow until a groundswell of people just became ruled by fear and convinced that compassion toward our fellow human beings was something we couldn't afford as a nation.  And the most interesting thing about it is that those who are shouting the loudest about it are some of the people who in fact benefit the least by the policies brought on by those fears.  And over the last months and particularly over the last days we have watched our government yet again put party politics ahead of what is best for the country.  If you think that Super Congress isn’t going to go and try to find 1.3 trillion in cuts by chipping even further away at social security and medicare, your head is about as far up your ass as Dick Cheney’s. 

The American Dream is beyond life support and I am not even sure it can be resuscitated anymore. 

I read a fabulous article on Facebook the other day which was posted as a note by a left thinking Christian organization (apparently such a thing exists) which summed it up beautifully.  We have been gripped by fear and Wall Street and our government have basically been exploriting our fear of fear for a decade to line their own pockets and to keep us all fighting so that they can do exactly what they want and dethrone our America. 
Others will say it more eloquently than me, with better arguments but this is my view after living nearly a decade in a post-9/11 world. 

It’s not the terrorists we should have been afraid of, it is ourselves.

And Dick Cheney still sucks. 

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