Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Where Are We As A Nation?

The United States exists in the northern hemisphere of planet Earth, in the middle of a great land mass that has the nation of Canada to our north, and the nation of Mexico to our south. The Atlantic ocean girds the U.S. on its east coast, and The Pacific on its west. End of Geography lesson. Now, where are we with respect to our functioning as a nation?

Here are a few ideas (where they are not facts, they are opinions) in no particular order of importance:

1.) America isn't # 1 anymore in anything, except raw military might, per capita gun ownership, and incarceration.

a.) Our once vaunted healthcare system works well.... for the well to do, but then that is the case in many nations.
b.) Our educational system, taken in the aggregate-from public K-12 through University- is by no means the envy of the world, though there are still plenty of foreigners who aspire to send their children to the United State's most prestigious private universities.

2.) The United State's Federal Government is captured by the banking industry. Even without such capture, the U.S. has not, for some time, functioned as a Democracy, but rather a simulacrum of one.

To wit:

The right to vote does not equate to authentic democracy, and the nation's only two fully functioning political parties, heretofore known as The Republicrats, do not offer anything like genuine choice each election cycle. What they unfailingly offer is merely the illusion of genuine choice. The ruling precepts of the two parties are effectively the same, and so, as a result of that fact, and the fact that the Republicrats are funded by many, if not mostly the same sources, this translates into, except for issues of style, identical modes of governance.

3.) The standard of living of the vast majority of U.S. citizens has been falling for decades, masked only by the extension of enormous sums of credit to anyone over eighteen that could fog a mirror.

And speaking of debt:

4.) The Federal government, along with a number of states, most prominently, California, U.S. corporations, and private citizens are, where they are not effectively bankrupt, choking on debt.

5.) Fortunately, environmentally speaking, the U.S. does not appear to be, as China does, a catastrophe in the making. However, until the U.S. cures its over dependence on imported fossil fuels, and curbs its (truly) mad levels of consumption, which entail frightening amounts of pollution and waste, it will have very little to be proud of.


Thai said...

And how is this different than how our nation has ever been? ;-)

Hope you are well

DED said...

You summed it up quite well, Edwardo.

Edwardo said...

Thai asked,

"And how is this different than how our nation has ever been?"

How is what different than how our nation has ever been?

I almost can't believe you are asking what you appear to be asking, but...

First of all, let's compare apples to apples. It makes no sense (and definitely doesn't help your assertion) to look at the U.S. before the 20th century. In truth, it doesn't help your assertion to look before the era (post WW2) when the U.S. became the world's premier hegemonic power.

So, let's see, how are things different today than they were in, oh, say, the mid-sixties, when I was a young sapling.

One major difference is that the U.S. was not then a debtor nation. That doleful condition did not happen until the 1980s. Additionally, individuals and corporations were not up to the crown of their heads in debt.

On a different and broader note, I maintain that, in general, the standard of living in the U.S., rose for many, many generations up until the 1970s. The economic statistics, and a whole host of other measures bear this out. In essence, people of our generation were blessed with more prosperity then our parents as we became adults. Likewise, our parents generation experienced the same rising quality of life when juxtaposed with their parents condition. This is irrespective of advances in technology that tended to make each successive generation's life a bit easier than the one before.

The Federal political system, while always prone to ebbs and flows of corruption, now has a kind of legalized, entrenched level of corruption, so severe, in my view, that it threatens a complete breakdown in civil society.

With that in mind, the Town Hall rancor while certainly being fanned by "vested interests" still evidences genuine and deep discontent. This discontent is the result of a well founded perception of accumulated abuse by government towards those government is meant to protect.

I could go on, but I hope by now I've made my point about how things are different.

Thai said...

Edwardo, I was just getting you going...

Edwardo said...

I had a feeling that was it.