The U.S. is at a critical juncture in its history. Our democracy is being challenged, even usurped by forces from within that have misused their influence and threaten its very foundation.
The road we have been embarking upon, an imperialist road, will bring our ultimate demise if we are unable to reverse it. We must pull back from our hegemonic ways to restore clarity and purpose to who we are as a people, who once gave hope to the rest of the world.
We have lost our way. Our exceptionalism has become arrogance and hubris. Our attitude is "We know what's good for you and we will bring it to you, even at the point of a gun." We of course don't express it that way, but the rest of the world sees it, fears it, and loathes it, while some openly defy it. Our wars are not to defend us. That need ended long ago. There are no more Hitler type Germany's or Imperial Japan's. The Soviet Union exists no more. China has become an economic juggernaut and a prime underwriter and holder of our debt. It shows no imperialist ambition. The truth is there are no imminent threats against us. Sure there is terrorism. There has always been terrorism. The names have changed and the causes are different. Osama bin Laden is a creature of our making. He and his lot are but the latest terrorist criminals. They don't represent Islam, but its distortion. They garner adherents by our wars in Muslim countries, our military bases in their countries, our drone attacks that kill innocents in their countries. They grow from our wrongheaded policies.
Our fears of terrorist's criminal deeds are exaggerated. 9/11 was not the equivalent of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. It was made into something it was not. It was not the opening shot from a new imperialist force that threatens the U.S. and the world, but a criminal act by fanatical men, lost in their fundamentalist beliefs and vowing revenge for their "cause." It is a cause that uses propaganda, an intentional misreading and misapplication of Jihad, the Koran and its teachings.
With no real threats against us, we have contrived one. When there is no enemy that justifies our bloated defense spending, an enemy that no longer exists, we invent one, (terrorism), with Osama bin Laden as its face. The enemy we go to war against and must fight to the death. Hitler, Stalin, Mao are no more. Their visions of conquest extinguished with their passing. So we have substituted the "real" adversary with an "invented" one. Is he dangerous? Of course he is. All psychopaths, mass murderers, and serial killers are dangerous. They need to be brought to justice, not made into potential conquerors of the world.
When we distort reality with fantasy we have lost our clarity and purpose. We no longer see the problem as it actually exists. If we are unable to focus correctly on a problem, misread it, misidentify it, we become unable to correct it.
It shows in our inability to effectively "reform" our health care system. The "Rube Goldberg" monstrosity of a Bill that will be enacted will be portrayed as "reform". A single payer, Medicare type system would have transformed health care, provided needed competition with the private health insurance companies, cover everyone, eliminate the dropping of people with pre-existing conditions and reduce costs over time. It was never on the table.
Look at our inability to regulate Wall Street and the financial industry "bandits" that created the financial meltdown and the subsequent economic calamity we're still in. They were rescued by the "bailout" and many saved from certain bankruptcy. They've had a banner year and resumed their risky behavior as if nothing has occurred. They know they will be rescued again when the next crisis they create threatens to bring the financial system to its knees. It is "business as usual", with bonuses and unwarranted compensation mirroring 2007, the year before the crisis. Meanwhile "Main Street" continues to suffer increased unemployment and a jobless recovery, rising foreclosures, personal bankruptcy increasing, while credit remains frozen for many, even for those who qualify.
Our politics, our political system has become dysfunctional, corrupted thoroughly by moneyed influence.
A Hurricane Katrina devastates a city. We knew it could happen. We knew what it would take to protect it. Instead we ignored it. Our response to its devastation, to the people and their possessions was predictable. Governmental incompetence, lack of preparation, coordination and negligence prevailed. It was typified by a clueless president mouthing the incredulous words, "Brownie you're doing a great job" (to FEMA Director Michael Browne) as they flew over a devastated New Orleans.
The government is the last line of defense as a protector of its people against the forces of nature. That government needs to be the entity that restrains the forces of unfettered Capitalism when its risky behavior threatens the very system that permits it to exist.
When that government succumbs to the outsized influence that these capitalists exert and essentially usurp that government to do its bidding and against the interests of the people, that government ceases to be of, by and for the people. It is up to the people to demand its government return to being the "republic" it originally set out to be.
Not the "empire" that benefits the moneyed interests, their lobbyists and their government cronies.