I was talking with my friend yesterday before going to see Book of Eli (excellent film) and wondered aloud when it became commonly accepted that governments at the local, state and federal level would bleed red ink as a matter of course.
Hardly a day goes without some odoriferous official complaining about the looming shortfall in their already obscene budgets and the resulting lack of already lackluster services that will result. Our political pimps present the fait accompli of their plans as if we were idiots, incapable of understanding the shell game they are running with their partner pimps in America’s biggest companies.
I am beginning to think that a vast majority of us are in fact brain dead given the brazen zeal with which they operate their scams and the ease at which we are taken. Zombified by high-definition television, high-calorie diets and a pharmacological cornucopia of self medication that would make a Haight-Ashbury acolyte feverish with anticipation. We react with Pavlovian precision to the slightest twitch of our strings by the puppet master du jour.
“Government Bad! Corporations Bad! Other Bad! Me want Twinkie!”
Through a long history of not being able to vote or choosing not to vote, the difference between the two being nil in the final scheme of things, we have a society that is built on the foundation of predator and prey rather than one of shared prosperity and sacrifice. We got to the mountain top only to race back to the bottom because there was a sale on some shit we didn’t need and couldn’t afford but simply had to acquire before someone else beat us to the punch.
The tragedy of the situation is that throughout our political spectrum Americans would probably agree on many structural changes that need be made to the existing system even while deciding to table the remaining disagreements for a later date when the house is no longer on fire. We speak at each other and past each other without every really hearing the grievances of our fellow citizens in a way that might lead to solidarity of action rather than a conflict of ideals.
I can’t remember a time when Americans have lived up to the inherent possibilities in our system of government, but that doesn’t mean we can’t start now to facilitate a transition back toward something a little more in line with the Constitution we purport to follow. We need more state-level tactical implementation of broad federal strategies and that shift requires a fundamental change in how our taxes are levied and managed. With local implementation, it becomes easier to enforce accountability of those monies raised and spent.
We seem reluctant to conduct detailed analysis of the problems and solutions, both those we agree with and those we don’t, before forming our opinions.
Instead, our political discourse features bitter partisan rants, seeming to care more about the symptoms than the disease with predictable results for the patient. Heath care reform becomes more about regulating insurance companies or too much government control or not enough access to care rather than changing specific public policies that make us sicker as a nation. Put our exponentially widening population into any country with national health care and it would soon crumple under the weight.
America is seriously damaged in some very fundamental ways that no one seems to want to discuss outside of one-on-one encounters across the kitchen table or the back fence.
— 30 —
Rec’d for this comment alone:
I almost ended the blog right there, but I am never that brief.
You beat me to it. That was a laugh-out-louder.
Yes CT I agree and thanks for everything yesterday…:D.
Good companies have a commitment to service. Good citizens also do. The cause, in a simplistic way, is that people get lazy. So, the question is how to make ‘doing, working, striving, and trying’ a meme for Americans?
Not to mention good Christians, eh? The country was born in a spirit of service at the behest of a landed elite. That fundamental dichotomy needs to change.
I get funny looks when I say this: Universal Conscription. At age 18, everybody goes into the military. No exemptions, no deferments, no exceptions. (Only the most severely disabled would be excluded). Eight weeks of basic training (old school), eight weeks of training in a military specialty, including weapons training and combat training. Then serve 14 months in either further military training or some designated forms of community service.
I don’t make this suggestion lightly, although some Libertarians may scream “indentured servitude”. I prefer to see it as your contribution to society. As I see it, there have now been two full generations with virtually no “investment” in their country. Everyone should make some sacrifice, have something at risk. Understand the true value of your citizenship.
I’m sure you see the value of the physical training. I’m sure you see the value of the contribution of service. I can assure you that the shared experience brings people together in surprising ways. Wars of aggression would be less likely. No more chicken hawks like Cheney’s “I had other priorities”. Eighteen months of military service will shape you up and grow you up more than you can imagine. And give you a whole new perspective of the world around you.
yep, less wars too.
As a man who owes just about everything he is today to the US Navy (and a single mom who wouldn’t give up on her hellion of an oldest son) you’ll get no argument from me about this one.
It would require a great many other structural changes to the way we go to war today so that so many warm bodies don’t turn into an excuse for empire, but I would love to see every kid go through this process.
Maybe it is how one earns the right to vote?
The protection against more wars is that the war mongers children are also serving.
I think the only way to truly stop imperial wars is to disband the standing army and go back to fifty state militias under control of the governor.
Declaring war should be the hardest thing we do and require the approval of all fifty states. I have no problem with an all-volunteer, tip-of-the-sword force with the Navy and Marine Corps. That is accounted for in the Constitution and there is a need for such.
But it has to be ordered by Congress for a defined mission with international support. We can’t afford to foot the bill for global security much longer, especially when our own efforts tend to destabilize things even further.
I think it may be the move on mentality basic to Americans. If you don’t like it here, you don’t have to fix it, just move somewhere else (go west!)
There is lots of talk on both sides about forming a third party but we just barely support the two parties we have. We think we have a elected a president with a magic wand he waves and fixes everything then have a hissy fit when he doesn’t. Talk about instant gratification – pacifiers all around please.
Just look at TPM. Out of all the people that visit everyday there are only a handful that take the time to comment. How can we get people to get out and do civic participation? Twinkies and gift certificates to Walmart?
Thanks for the post Jason.
I think you make a great point about so many wanting to form a third party while not really supporting the two that already exist and are waiting to be transformed.
The numbers don’t lie: 70- to 80-percent of us refuse to participate in primary elections in any given year. Without consistent voting in each and every election we will continue ot be screwed.
Excellent points splashy…
You wrote “America is seriously damaged in some very fundamental ways.”
The very foundation of our Government has crumbled, is corrupt and worthless, with its layers of worthless pursuits, layers of false knowledge.
I believe it’s because it no longer seeks the WAY.
First-century Disciples of Christ were spoken of as belonging to “The Way.” (Acts 9:2)
We do not have a firm grip on the REAL LIFE.
(1 John 2:16-17) . . .because everything in the world—the desire of the flesh and the desire of the eyes and the showy display of one’s means of life—does not originate with the Father, but originates with the world. 17 Furthermore, the world is passing away and so is its desire, . . .
(2 Timothy 3:1-5) . . .But know this, that in the last days critical times hard to deal with will be here. 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, self-assuming, haughty, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, disloyal, 3 having no natural affection, not open to any agreement, slanderers, without self-control, fierce, without love of goodness, 4 betrayers, headstrong, puffed up [with pride], lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godly devotion but proving false to its power; and from these turn away.
“(1 Timothy 6:19-21) . . .safely treasuring up for themselves a fine foundation for the future, in order that they may get a firm hold on the real life. 20 O Timothy, guard what is laid up in trust with you, turning away from the empty speeches that violate what is holy and from the contradictions of the falsely called “knowledge.” 21 For making a show of such [knowledge] some have deviated from the faith.. . .”
I liked the Movie ELI,
What I thought was great. It wasn’t the book as much as it was the person who had the knowledge.
(Matthew 5:13) 13 “YOU are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its strength, how will its saltness be restored? It is no longer usable for anything but to be thrown outside to be trampled on by men.
The knowledge that would have protected this Nation was rejected. Now we flounder around asking why we’re in the mess we’re in
I am probably not the best person to make Biblical appeals to, unless it is a strategy to shame Christians into living up to their stated belief structure for once. Religion is lousy with hypocrits.
I don’t think this nation doesn’t another book of rules it refuses to pay heed, instead we might start with following the words that were written to form the Republic to begin with since the Constitution was a pretty good plan that we failed to follow from day one.
My reply is below
Vitamin fortified bites of whole grain sense.
Does a body politic good!
“We got to the mountain top only to race back to the bottom because there was a sale on some shit we didn’t need and couldn’t afford but simply had to acquire before someone else beat us to the punch”
I’ve had a good chuckle on this very same thing (just to keep from crying). Especially at Christmas time, when adults trample each other for the “privilege” to buy some piece of trash their kid will forget about in 3 months.
I agree. There is something not right about the way we view some things.
I thought it was an appropriate metaphor given the holiday. How we solve the disconnect between our stated ideals and our current reality is the generational challenge we have faced since 1776.
Love it Jason.. rec’d….
Thanks, Mac. Glad you liked the read.
Perhaps our public doldrums are because we lack a sense of purpose and direction.
The War on Terror is every three year old’s dream of hunting down and killing the boogie-man under their beds.
Our exploration of space ended with the space shuttle and space station.
Our success in taming the microprocessor had made life too easy by reducing our dependency on people and machinery to mass produce more at cheaper costs.
New gains in health come at a cost many of us can not afford.
And many of us are finding out our skills sets are no longer required or can be replaced by someone younger already trained and willing to work for far less money and benefits.
Something happened along the way and the turns the nation took has led us all to a place that no one cares calls home. It’s just a place to stay until we get to were we’re going. The problem is … no one knows where we’re going.
All great thoughts, many I have asked myself from time to time. I wonder why our moments of national unity seem so short-lived and so far apart.
Is it a lack of leaders or our expectations an impossible measure given their schizophrenic diversity? Can any leader measure up to our out-sized demands of perfection absent perspective or pragmatism or precedent?
I am convinced that we have such a linear self-image that by tweaking our political lexicon We The People could modify the existing systems toward drasically different ends.
I believe a lot of this is do to the “horserace”-nature of our political coverage these days. There is little real analysis of policy but instead a concentration on “who wins”. Case in point: I read quite a bit and consider myself relatively well-versed in current events, but I would have an incredibly difficult time summing up what exactly is covered in the house/senate versions of the healthcare bill. We’ve heard lots of talk of the public option/death panels, etc., but it has never gotten much beyond that (at least that I’ve run across). It saddens me that we as a country seem so unconcerned with our political (for lack of a better term) illiteracy.
Great post. Thanks, Jason.
Hey, SC, long time no see. I agree that we seem to crave horse-race idiocy based on what they keep feeding us. If we didn’t create the demand would this environment even exist?
I am not sure what the answer to that question is because then it takes us off into conspiracy land of large corporate interests broadcasting garbage on purpose rather than for ratings.
I can’t help but think we are getting exactly what we asked for, either directly via the channels we watch or indirectly for deciding not to vote.
Jason wrote “I am probably not the best person to make Biblical appeals to, unless it is a strategy to shame Christians into living up to their stated belief structure for once. Religion is lousy with hypocrits.”
(R) No it’s not about shame. It’s about people without direction, floundering around looking for solutions. Yet the solution was right in front of them all along. Having eyes but blind
But the people said” we don’t need no Book of laws (Bible), we can find our own way. Now that the people are lost they keep saying let us be, we still don’t need No Law book (Bible)
Jason wrote “ I don’t think this nation doesn’t another book of rules it refuses to pay heed,
(R) First off your thinking this Nation does not need another Book of Rules, IS THE PRIMARY REASON, WE ARE IN THIS MESS
(Jeremiah 10:23) . . .I well know,……. that to earthling man his way does not belong. It does not belong to man who is walking even to direct his step.
(Ephesians 4:17-19) . . .This, therefore, I say and bear witness to in [the] Lord, that YOU no longer go on walking just as the nations also walk in the unprofitableness of their minds, 18 while they are in darkness mentally, and alienated from the life that belongs to God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the insensibility of their hearts. 19 Having come to be past all moral sense, they gave themselves over to loose conduct to work uncleanness of every sort with greediness.
Jason wrote “instead we might start with following the words that were written to form the Republic to begin with since the Constitution was a pretty good plan that we failed to follow from day one.
George Washington wrote “ Of all the dispositions and habits, which lead to political prosperity, Religion, and Morality are indispensable supports.—In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men and Citizens.—The mere Politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them.—A volume could not trace all their connexions with private and public felicity.—Let it simply be asked where is security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths, which are the instruments of investigation in Courts of Justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion.—Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure.—reason and experience both forbid us to expect, that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.— 26
’Tis substantially true, that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government.—The rule indeed extends with more or less force to every species of Free Government.—Who that is a sincere friend to it can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric?—“
(R) This Nation in it’s arrogance sought a different path, It is lost and in it’s haughtiness and ignorance it cast aside the very pillar George Washington said was the foundation; Religious values.
The Bible was George Washington’s and this Nations greatest bulwark against drift.
Our Nation is adrift and it has no anchor. Cast about on every wave without a rudder, we have crashed against the rocks; yet still, we fail to recognize the cause of our shipwreck was the ignoring of Godly wisdom. We had a choice live or die. Our Nation chose death. A slow but sure death.
Our nation chooses to follow blind leaders
(Matthew 15:14) . . .LET them be. Blind guides is what they are. If, then, a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit.. . .
There is a reason why George Washington didn’t write the Constitution but was instead charged with upholding its charter.
Further, despite his religious leanings, the man still enslaved his fellow man even while speaking of providence and found no sense of grace until he was dead and hone. That we were a nation founded by moral hypocrites is a pretty explanation of why we find ourselves where we are today.
The history of western civilization is riddled with men who would hold a Book over God. I choose the latter, as did Thomas Paine, while the money changers cling madly to the former.
Well it’s definitely easy for the lawless people to avoid the term hypocrite.
Having no law, makes it easy for some people to do whatever one thinks is right, and avoid the term hypocrite.
How can a lawless one be called a hypocrite when you don’t know from one day to the next what they stand for? Like a moving target they think they can avoid judgment.
But of course the lawless ones, love to blame the worlds ills on another group; lawless hypocritical Christians.
So the lawless ones can attack Christians as scapegoats and yet the very reason for the problems we face as a Nation is because; even those claiming to be Christians ignored Christian values
Fast at judging Christians, making them the scapegoat, as most lawless people do.
Lawless ones won’t take responsibility for they’re own ignorance of the Law Book.
So we as a Nation have to suffer at the hands of the greedy, the corrupt or whatever vile thing lawless people do, because they may think all they have to do is abide by the Constitution?
The same Constitution you so admire, allowed slavery.
Your unfounded faith in the Constitution falls short, because it cannot legislate morality.
That’s what George Washington was trying to tell you. The Constitution is only as good as the people who serve it, and some of the servants are rotten, lacking moral values.
I believe the best instruction book for moral values is the New Testament and so did our founding fathers.
When a country is largely made up of “Christians” then chances are most of the “lawless” will be of that sect and can be deemed hypocrites as a result.
The founding fathers didn’t believe anything of the sort or it would have been in our founding documents, though I am sure they would be shocked to see how central the religion has come to the country and how far away we are from the teachings it espouses.
I would say look into the First Council at Nicea before coming in here to spout how the New Testement (Which one by the way? The one originally written, re-written by Martin Luther or King James?) is the best instruction book for morals.
The book you worship was written by man.
You wrote, “When a country is largely made up of “Christians”
False Christians are not Christians no more than if I say a few legalistic words makes me a lawyer.
Why is it people like yourself always presume since you personally didn’t hear the Word of God it does not exist.
Some people understand the beeps and coded messages from our launched space missions. Although YOU personally can’t see the source or even if you did, you couldn’t receive the messages if your receptive powers were hindered.
Why do you presume the Creator of the human brain doesn’t have the ability to have men with receptive powers record as a secretary’s, the thoughts of a source you don’t understand?
Bringing up the subject of the Council of Nicaea proves what?
That men could twist the words to fit their interpretations is nothing new.
(2 Timothy 3:16-17) . . .All Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight, for disciplining in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be fully competent, completely equipped for every good work. . .
Mans interpretation can be proven true or false. It is easy once a person is trained, to ascertain if what is said, comports with the rest of the scriptures.
But whose fault is it, if men don’t care to learn? Purposely ignoring the law book, as an excuse for badness.
Are you suggesting the Constitution is so pure it makes it better equipped to lead men in moral values, or that the Constitution is immune to the crafty designs of men to twist or construe it for purposes it was never intended?
Did the Constitution prevent the financial collapse? Yet if our Nation had adhered to Bible principles, it would never have occurred.
“Of all the dispositions and habits, which lead to political prosperity, Religion, and Morality are indispensable supports.—In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men and Citizens.
Patriots understand what George Washington was saying.
I believe that God has bigger things to do than dictate a book that makes zero sense on its face and even less sense with even an ounce of objective review.
Why is it that Christians such as yourself try to cram religious interpretation down everyone’s throats yet Jesus asked you to do no such thing?
I am suggesting the Constitution was meant as our system of government. That our laws stem from that document and not some 1,700 year-old book cobbled together by a bunch of old men afraid of being fed to lions.
No Your believing that “God has bigger things to do” is your misguided faith, not based upon God’s words; it’s only your wish.
God really has our planets best interest in mind.
Pollution to the point of completely destroying the planet.
Wars to the point of completely destroying the planet.
(Genesis 2:17) 17 But as for the tree of the knowledge of good and bad you must not eat from it, for in the day you eat from it you will . . .
But NO mankind’s parents had to be selfish and wanted to eat of the tree. It wanted to make the decisions, of what was good or bad.
Now, today, our time period. Mankind in its rejection of God’s right to say what is good or bad as recorded, has brought our planet to peril.
Yet you still cling to the idea we don’t need God’s word the Bible.
(Hebrews 3:4) . . .Of course, every house is constructed by someone, but he that constructed all things is God. . .
(Psalm 104:5) . . .He has founded the earth upon its established places; It will not be made to totter to time indefinite, or forever. .
Your Constitution, your high-minded opinions of mans capabilities are hopeless.
How much longer will the planet and all inhabitants have to suffer, at the hands of man who thinks he can decide what is good or bad.
Yet even knowing the decisions are bad; for the planet humans can’t do anything to stop the destruction.
MASS EXTINCTION UNDERWAY
The lawless ones are killing the planet.
My faith in his words gives me the solution
Rev. 11:17, 18:. But the nations became wrathful, and your own wrath came, and the appointed time . . . to bring to ruin those ruining the earth.”
That is the only way to save the planet, our home; “to bring to ruin those ruining the earth.”
Ignore the law book at your own peril. Problem is yours and others like you who would ignore the results of ignorance to the law.
You place the rest of Humankind, the animal kingdom and Plant life at risk. All of life destroyed because of not listening to the landlord of the planet
Who do you suppose will save our planet in time, MAN?
Who do you suppose will save the planet? The Pope?
No, the Pope is a man.
The one who will save the planet is the same who created it.
The one who bound the atom.
(Ephesians 4:17-19) . . .that YOU no longer go on walking just as the nations also walk in the unprofitableness of their minds, 18 while they are in darkness mentally, and alienated from the life that belongs to God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the insensibility of their hearts. 19 Having come to be past all moral sense, they gave themselves over to loose conduct to work uncleanness of every sort with greediness. . .