There we all were, spending the last whole eight years of our lives fearfully huddled around the six-o'clock news, anxiously watching the Middle East for signs of danger to our country from "terrorists" -- while all along our safety was being systematically destroyed by "privatization" and "globalization" and the well-oiled Bush-Cheney-McCain axis of opportunism instead.
The dollar is falling right now -- and it's going continue to fall. You don't have to be Madam Jane to make that prediction, however. All you gotta do is look at the ads that are flashing across the top of your internet browser right now. "Take advantage of the fall of the dollar!" they scream.
Thanks to the fall of the dollar, America will probably never be a superpower again. But what's done is done. You can't put Humpty Dumpty back together. So what we need to do now is to figure out how to salvage what is left of our country and go on from there.
"First we need to take a look at what we have left to work with, boys and girls." We have approximately 300 million relatively well-educated people, some fairly intact infrastructure more or less, and a lot of land. Will we be able to use these basic ingredients and somehow manage to start over again? Sure. Hey, the Soviet Union did.
In order to rebuild ourselves, however, we are going to have to start thinking differently. Forget about financing a military on steroids that can dominate the world. Those days are gone. Forget about bailing out Wall Street with taxpayers' money. They had their chance and blew it. Forget about corporate welfare and globalization and insider perks at the White House. We already saw where that got us. If we just keep on trying to re-create the 1950s again and again, we are never gonna be happy in the future and will just end up being some tired old June Cleaver wannabes with no hope and no pride.
"Madam Jane, that's crazy. That's too extreme. Crafts cooperatives? Family farms? You can't be serious. I'll get my hands all dirty. I'll break a nail!"
Sorry, dears. But it's just too late for quick fixes by Washington politicians and/or more corporate welfare and "globalization". The last time the dollar fell this low was in 1929 and we had a major Depression. Think about what people did back then and start doing it now. Do what the Okies and hobos did and become nomadic. Use your $300 tax rebate to buy solar panels, strap them on the back of your hooptie and follow the sun. Or, if you can still afford to stay at home, save all that junk in your closets for barter. Network with your friends. Think outside the box. Forget about malls. Sit down and figure out what your real power base is going to be and what exactly you will need to do to help you and your family survive in this new post-Bush economy.
What will you need as a power base to get you through the Fall of America? "Madam Jane predicts that it's not going to be television. It's not going to be CitiBank or Bear-Stearns. And it's sure as heck not going to be made in China or powered by oil."
Look around you. What do you value most? What can you hold onto during the coming hard times? And who will help you? Who can you trust?
The America that we know is gone. It was shoplifted out from under us while we were busy watching the Twin Towers burn and focused on Al Qaeda. And while we were distracted, guys in blue suits snuck into our treasury and happily replaced our big bags of gold with big bags of sand. All that stuff is gone. Wave goodbye to it, start looking at your life with fresh eyes and then pray that the rest of the world will help us in some other way than the way that we "helped" them.
Do you live near a park with open spaces that can be plowed? Can you drill a well? Can you put on a talent show when your I-Pod gives out? Did your grandmother teach you how to can? Then you might be okay after the Fall. "Your life may not be like it was in the good old days, but you WILL be all right." Always remember that 150 years ago, no one had cars and no one even had electricity. But they did okay. So can we.
PS: My trip to North Korea in April is currently on hold because of new travel limitations sent out from the DRNK. But frankly, it's probably just as well. My days of thinking that if I could only report accurately on what's going on in Iraq or North Korea or some place on the other side of the world, then I might somehow be able to save America from its own folly? Well, those days are gone too. The Next Big Story is no longer gonna be found in Gaza or Somalia or Afghanistan. The Next Big Story is going to be found right here at home.