The right to remain comfortableThe mythos, the ideal... the American dream. A shining light to the world, a beacon to its oppressed and down trodden, a source of hope and pride and inspiration to We, The People.
I don't know. At what point do we get to call bullshit on all this irrational rhetoric? How many bullets have to be fired in the name of America's wealthy elite, how much blood has to be shed to maintain or increase corporate profit margins, before we are willing to admit that high falutin' phrases like 'mythos', 'ideal', and 'dream' all pretty much boil down to a self-righteous delusion that America is something exceptional... a delusion we all use to justify and rationalize away the undeniable, objective fact that throughout the world, millions still suffer every minute of every day from a lack of critical necessities... food, water, shelter, a healthy local environment... while we Americans cheerfully ignore it all, as we mindlessly pursue our own God given and utterly inalienable rights to continuous comfort and endless entertainment?
The true history of America is now, and always has been, one of barely hidden greed, selfishness, dehumanization of ourselves and others... in short, outright evil, swaddled in poetic parchment. Ask the American Indian tribes, ask the native Hawaiians, Puerto Ricans, Alaskans, Mexicans, ask the descendents of the Chinese and the Africans we imported to build our infrastructure, ask the Japanese we put in detainment camps.
Now, America's global image as the shining exceptional light of freedom etc etc etc has taken some hard shots under the conservative consortium over the last half decade or so. Many of us prefer to believe that this conservative consortium has degraded the essential identity of America in some way. I think our political masters have simply become so brazen, as we enter what are almost certainly the last days of our current state of civilization, that they've allowed their customary mask to slip a little.
Why not? Who's going to actually do anything about it? No one else in the world dares to stand up to America. We'll kick their asses.
We The Peepul won't do anything ourselves about any of this, of course, other than whine a little bit on the Internet, and maybe go to a few meaningless public protests (after which we'll get back in our SUVs and head to the nearest upscale chain coffee house to congratulate ourselves over lattes). Our rulers have surreptitiously hijacked most if not all of our liberties, but they've been careful to let us keep our luxuries, our indulgences, and most important, our entertainments.
Americans will turn into an angry mob that our 'elected' officials feel some actual need to assuage... when? Over what? Free speech zones? Illegal wars? Random and endless imprisonment of our fellow citizens at presidential whim? Covert domestic surveillance? The imprisonment, torture, rape and murder of innocent non-Americans, many of them children? Secret prisons, support of viciously tyrannical puppet regimes, corporate exploitation of the poor?
No. We'll get pissed off by 'high' gas prices... and when I say 'high', of course, I don't mean, actually approaching anything like the gas prices the rest of the world has been paying for decades, I mean, about a third of that. But we can be lulled back to sleep there, too, if the autocracy just releases some of our national reserve to temporarily drive the market down again. It's not any kind of solution to the long term problem at all, but it keeps us off the streets and in our air conditioned houses watching SHOWTIME for another election cycle... which is all anyone cares about.
The American way of life has, honestly, never been anything but a mass glorification of individual human selfishness. The American dream is to be better off, more comfortable, and more entertained than our neighbors. Is that something that can be degraded? I don't think so. But it's something that can be destroyed from within by its own internal fallacies, as we suddenly find ourselves facing the cessation of the resources we kidded ourselves into thinking were perpetual... oil, land, cheap foreign labor.
America's problems... the world's problems... are not, in essence, political, although they have certainly been exacerbated by the absolute evil exemplified by the conservative corporate coalition that has taken overt control of our elective apparatus over the past half decade. Our problems mostly stem from a rampantly out of control consumer lifestyle that is rapidly approaching a point where it will simply become insupportable.
What we're going to do about that, I have no idea, but it's interesting that neither political party wants to even mention it. Present day Americans don't sacrifice, and they don't vote for anyone who asks them to... not that that matters any more, in a land where the results of elections are largely determined before anyone does any voting, anyway.
My self righteous ire, so self evident as you read this, stems from the same source as yours, of course... I'm not so much pissed off that I find myself in a time of historical crisis, as I am that it seems like I may have to do something about it, or die. I hate this. I see the problems all around me, and like any good, middle class, spoiled brat of a U.S. citizen, I want someone else to take care of it for me. As Homer Simpson -- in so many ways, the voice of so much of America these days -- has put it, "Did we lose a war or something?" I feel that I'm entitled to sit back in air conditioned comfort while channel surfing from one station to another, eating microwave kettle corn while other people -- I don't really care who, just, you know, not me -- set things to rights again. I want the judiciary to do it, I want the justice system to do it, I want the Democrats to do it, I want Patrick Fitzgerald to do it, Christ, I want Captain America and the Hulk to do it... I just don't want to get off my fat ass and do it myself.
Why should I feel any different? This is America! I go to work. I pay my taxes. What more is expected of me? If the tree of liberty must from time to time be refreshed with the blood of patriots, well, isn't that someone else's job? I have a family to support! I can't be expected to be out there getting petitions signed, carrying a placard, lying down in front of buses, getting thrown in jail... Christ! I might miss an episode of Deadwood!
All of which is to say, I'm no better than any of the people I'm yelling at. What am I willing to do to solve all these problems? Why, I'll whine about it on the Internet. And then I'll go get myself a popsicle.
Why the hell isn't someone else taking care of all this stuff for me?