Friday, June 01, 2007

open thread friday

some of my non american blog buddies have asked recently- what the hell? ok, i paraphrased. they are far more eloquent than i. i tell them i don't know. because i don't. why is our country ranked 96th out of 100 countries on the peaceful index? why are our allies all in the bottom tier next to us? why do we bully, extort, invade and tell other sovereign nations of the world what to do? i don't know. i keep asking myself- and others- why do we bother to keep fighting? who and what are we fighting to save? america today is a far cry from the grand experiment that was started over 230 years ago. we may never have lived up to the ideal, but that ideal was a powerful force in the world. the very idea of what america was supposed to be inspired millions of people to foment for change in their own countries. now, we have countries telling us that they don't want democracy like ours. i don't blame them- because it isn't democracy.

having one of the most corrupt and probably the most secret government in the history of this country is not something to be proud of. having no one being held accountable for what are clearly "high crimes and misdemeanors" sucks the life right out of me. we have brave service men and women who have been placed in a no win situation so that we can occupy a nation for oil and for profit. these 'people' we have 'governing' us make no effort to hide their intentions anymore. the oil industry made billions and whistle blowers with integrity- lose their jobs.

so- yeah. i am understandably bitter and disillusioned because then i started looking at my own little slice of america. i live in a medium sized city in upstate new york- and no- we are not a bastion of blue up here. new york is a 'blue state' because of the city. much of upstate new york is red. happily, here in binghamton, we are more purple- otherwise i may have committed hari kari a long time ago. we are an old industrial city whose industry has moved on- as well as people giving a shit apparently. it is one thing to look at far off figures in washington- or even albany- and be unkind. it is another to take a look at who lives next to you in your neighborhood and really see what their values and beliefs are. i did. i am not saying that these people are horrible people. but i don't like them. someone does- i am not one of them.

you can start the excuse machine and say- well, they grew up in an earlier time and that's why they are bigots against gays and blacks. or you can say- well, they didn't have a family unit to teach them and that's why they got evicted for breaking windows and stabbing people in the head. or you can say- well, they have been desensitized by our warrior culture, tainted food supply, and over medication and that's why living creatures mean so little to them that they abuse their children and abandon their pets. all of this has happened on my block in my corner of america and the world. you have some people who are 'privileged' and some who are 'disadvantaged' but the bottom line is- they are all the same underneath. selfish, mean and empty.

so- this is why i cringe when i see headlines that condi is calling other nations out for their 'democracy and human rights records.' this is why i cringe when i see any of the executive branch on tv extolling the wonders that are america- because it rings hollow. when i see the pandering of the folks next in line for the white house, i feel dead inside because i know that this country is on its last legs. when i sit down at a bbq thrown by the neighbors and listen to them talking about how there shouldn't be gay marriage because it isn't natural, i know that we haven't really come that far. belief that white is right and christianity is the national religion- and that spanish speaking people are less than- makes us all less human.

what to do? well, i can't speak for everyone. my plan for peace is knowing. it is knowing that this country is gone as a democratic emblem and that we will have to learn to live under a theocratic or dictatorial government. it is knowing that this planet will be made inhospitable to humans by humans because we are greedy and shortsighted. it is accepting that- and reconciling that- and continuing to live with it. i am going as green as i can and as off the grid as i can. i am going to continue to be the best person i can- because i can't be anything else. it is continuing to combat ignorance by not letting it slide. there is no dialogue that can take place but not allowing the lies to float free without challenge is possible. speaking the truth is what people of courage have used as a weapon against the fear mongering mouth breathers for centuries. history does repeat itself. over and over again. but this time- the planet won't heal. i will be ready.

"It's a problem that George Bush invaded Iraq," Gore told me. "It's a problem that he authorized warrantless mass eavesdropping on American citizens. It's a problem that he lifted the prohibition against torture. It's a problem that he censored hundreds of scientific reports on the climate crisis -- but it's a bigger problem that we've been so vulnerable to such crass manipulation and that there has been so little outcry or protest as American values have been discarded, one after another. And if we pretend that the magic solution for all these problems is simply to put a different person in the office of the president without attending to the cracks in the foundation of our democracy, then the same weaknesses that have been exploited by this White House will be exploited by others in the future." arianna huffington


Time said...

We have been telling ourselves for so long; how great we are, that we have become snobbish, superior, egotistical, selfish, materialistic, monsters. Believing our own hype, and letting it go to our heads.

Our aggressive approach to progress and our fierce sense of independence, has always had the effect of neglecting the consequences of what we ruin , as we go.

We killed off the Indians, raped the land, stepped on the weaker people in our society, enslaved humans to enrich ourselves, worshiped the idol of money, and on, and on, and on.

Now we are doing the same to the rest of the world, and we wonder why we have so many enemies and bad feelings towards us ! Which only shows that we are also stupid !

When will we learn? Will we learn, or will we continue to be a nation of brats who think only our way is the right way.

It's amazing (based on the Constitution we have) that we turned out to be such failures at decent national character.

The Future Was Yesterday said...

As you know, I'm not exactly thrilled with "things", myself. I have learned, painfully, but at least I did learn, that these things don't need to define me, unless I wish to let them.

Everything seems to be crumbling around us: that doesn't mean my values and morals have to crumble along with them. Believe in "us." It's all we have. The people who are busy making America the #1 terrorist in the world, do not define us.

betmo said...

that's true- but it's precisely those folks who are in charge- and i just don't want the folks in power to have power over whether i end up in a torture chamber for having a brain in my head. that is what i have been trying to stop. definitions don't bother me- secret prisons do. i live my life according to my own moral code. i had lived according to my constitutional code as well- but now i have to rely solely on my moral code. i still believe in the declaration of independence and the constitution. i would love to be able to reinstate them, but i don't look for that to happen. the grand experiment has failed.

Sarah said...

I believe we are looking at the fall of a "Great Empire" here. Our lack of ACTUAL morals - not the ones the religious right whines about all the time - is going to be our downfall.

Time is right - we are a nation of brats. We ignore our great ideals, such as the Constitution and the Declaration, for much more shallow goals.

Intrepidflame said...

It feels like we have this same discussion every few months,but I still can't see where you get the idea that America once had these noble ideals. It has always been an uber-capitalist behemoth hellbent on empire.

The question is how can we stop it?

Check out this site, i just found:

betmo said...

the idea was taught to me. that is my bigger point. i grew up believing in that ideal and that was my world. then i started seeing things as they really were- much like not believing in santa claus anymore. that is where i am today. i want to strive for the ideal and the idea of america.