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America, a Nation Struggling to Recapture its Identity, Purpose and Direction

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Message Michael Payne

Question: America is the world leader in exactly what? Your answer cannot be war, because that is already widely acknowledged. Only positive, meaningful endeavors for which America can claim pre-eminence in the world can be considered. While this is a very difficult question to answer, two things come to mind; being the world's leader in imported products from other nations, as well as being the biggest debtor nation - both are negative indicators of a nation's economic health.

At the conclusion of World War II, America projected a sense of strength, purpose and direction; we had confidence in who were, we had a vision of what we wanted to achieve and how to get it done. That is no longer the case. Today, America conveys an impression of a nation that has lost its confidence and is searching for its lost identity. The former positive vision of the future has been replaced by uncertainty and a fear of the future.

The American economy and our system of capitalism resembles a rusting car with 250,000 miles on the speedometer, worn out tires, a leaking radiator and black smoke pouring out of the exhaust. Our mechanics, the U.S. government and the president, are trying to fix this wreck by doing more oil changes, filling the tires with air and changing the air filter when what the car really needs is a new engine, tires, radiator and exhaust system; or better yet, trade that old beater for a system that, once again, makes American manufacturing the driving force of our economy. Only one problem: where can we find the leadership and talent to make it happen?

Here are but a few examples of why we find ourselves caught up in this dilemma:

America's aggressive, media-savvy generals keep escalating and surging but the insurgents remain in control of their country. This Afghan fiasco is a lost cause but the Pentagon keeps pumping billions more into that giant furnace that consumes invading empires that attempt to conquer it. In economics that's called diminishing returns or throwing good money after bad.

The Republicans continue filibustering and blocking critical legislation. They keep saying NO because their next idea will be their first. As nasty and ugly as they have been toward the American people, many of these same Americans are on the verge of electing the very same misfits that have been stabbing them in the back.

Millions upon millions of Americans want to get up every morning and go to work but there is nowhere for them to go unless they want to migrate to China to try to reclaim their jobs. And suffice to say, our government and our president have no idea how to get any of these jobs back.

Wall Street and the banks accumulate billions and enrich their CEO's but keep the lid on loans to small businesses. They have no interest or concern about the plight of millions of Americans as they fatten their own coffers. Real customer service, eh?

The poverty level is now 13.3% or 43.6 million Americans. Today, the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans owns more wealth than the bottom 90 percent. With this massive inequality of income in America our system of capitalism, fueled by consumer demand, cannot and will not work. If this poverty level continues to grow, the violence in America is going to reach epidemic proportions. And, when that happens, where will the ultra-rich hide?

In the midst of a major decline in ethics and morality in America, churches in our nation remain silent, afraid to speak out for fear of offending someone. They are fully aware of America's illegal and immoral invasions of foreign nations, and the resultant spilling of innocent blood. Many of these churches who espouse the Ten Commandments seem to have lost track of a couple of them, specifically; you shall not kill and you shall not steal. The silence of the American clergy, save for a small minority, is deafening.

Something is terribly wrong; America is extremely good at creating and developing weapons systems but those talents, quite obviously, are not being extended to the creation of new manufacturing industries that would, once again, bring stability to our nation. America needs a renaissance, a modern-day industrial revolution, a national transformation; but how do we get there? The "American Dream" is dying a slow death; you know, that dream in which you can own a home, have a decent paying job and a good retirement, and each generation can look forward to a better standard of living than the previous one.

Things are getting very dismal and depressing so let's dream a bit and think about what America might be like if we could free ourselves from the mental prison that is limiting our vision and stifling our creative thinking; let's dream of a way for America to recapture its identity such as portrayed in this scenario:

*In 2012 a new presidential candidate suddenly appears out of the blue and is elected, a totally unexpected new leader who has the vision and the determination to transform America from a reactive nation into a proactive one; a leader who refuses to be dominated by the military and takes action to end the illegal wars, who will oversee the rebuilding of America's manufacturing and infrastructure and, once again, honor the American people as the keystone of our democracy.

*This creative leader quickly adds a Department of Industrial Development in his cabinet. This department will represent a major breakthrough in the goal of creating and developing a new industrial sector that will be manned exclusively by American workers. Outsourcing by transnational corporations will banned or be severely restricted by new tax rules and the end result will be a stable, on-going industrial base designed to grow and sustain our economy.

*This president and the Congress finally decide that the interests of the American people must be their #1 priority. They work together to completely overhaul the U.S. Senate's outdated, unworkable structure and rules. The current totally undemocratic system of two senators from each state, regardless of the state's population, will be replaced with one that has one senator from each of the 50 states plus additional senators for the most populous states. The destructive, obsolete filibuster rule will be eliminated and the Senate will follow majority rule.

*This bold president appoints a special commission, and becomes its chairman, to begin an immediate study to determine how to completely restructure the Pentagon and reduce the scope of America's military operations worldwide. The major objective will be to strategically reduce our military empire of over 750 military installations to a system that guarantees the safety of Americans, substantially reduces the more than $1 trillion Defense Department annual budget, and eliminates the need to invade and occupy entire nations by using new techniques and strategies to deal with terrorist threats.

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