I came of age during America's Cold War with the Soviet Union, witnessing its denouement while serving in the U.S. military. In those days, the USSR led the world's weapons trade, providing arms to the Warsaw Pact (the military alliance it dominated) as well as to client states like Cuba, Egypt, and Syria.
Astore nails it. Our minds having been stewing 24/7 for more than 15 years in a broth of fear & violence, brewed by Democrats as much as Republicans. Hillary's record as the Butcher of Libya & her other military misadventures show that her hypothetical presidency would have represented 8 more years of paranoia at home & pointless slaughter abroad. In such a context, weeping over the loss of Obamacare seems more like crocodile tears.
My answer for a long time has been that we need to fill in the cesspool (leaving the bottomfeeders on the bottom).
* Then we should top it up with good soil so we can grow a garden on it which will let us grow a new government, with genuine Representatives "of the People, by the People and for the People."
* We have a good model for this, called the Constitution of the United States (which is rarely brought up in these days of the
US Fourth Reich).
* We need to put it back in the Halls of Government, intact and functioning. The only major amendments needed are to tighten up the checks and balances so nobody from the Greedopoly can ever again buy it and use it for their own purposes.
I do not believe that we can 'go back' to the 'good old days' of a 'true' representative government. Our so-called representatives have always found ways to subvert the will of the people to their own benefit. Then, when the rot and greed get hugely out of control, actions are taken to 'save' capitalism. Capitalism has, repeatedly, shown itself to be an adversary of the multitudes and the planet. The destruction our 'representatives' have wrought over the past few decades is massive, and now the Orange Dictator is busily passing edicts that will necessarily pit us against one another in order to protect those at the top.
Our system of government is a FAILURE. The 'bottom feeders' you discuss will always rise to the top when money is elevated to the supreme 'good' and actions that hurt the most vulnerable create massive gains for the few.
Maybe we can 'patch it up' again, as FDR did, but it won't take long before it crashes down around our ears again, as it is doing now. As long as we allow a selected few to write all the rules, We the People will lose.
" Strangely, most Americans remain either willfully ignorant of, or indifferent to, what their country is becoming. That American-made weaponry is everywhere, that America’s warriors are all over the globe, that America’s domestic prisons are bursting with more than two million captives, is even taken by some as a point of pride."
This is the problem, in a nutshell.
There is a bias to this article. The Warsaw Pact was formed in response to the formation of NATO. The USA continually led in the arms race to build bigger and "better" nuclear weapons. Joe Stalin's USSR was not a cuddly teddy bear, and Joe Stalin was a very nasty little man, but the USA has certainly played the part of the carrion eagle assuredly well since 1945.
Let's face reality. Western nations have been paranoid about Russia/USSR since 1919, when it showed that the established feudal order in Russia could be overthrown and that modern communications, even of the 1920s type, could rapidly spread the word that people no longer need put up with serfdom.The violent cesspool of today is certainly a making of our own paranoia. It is less expensive to provide humane social services, like a public health system, pensions for the elderly , good taxpayer funded education right through to tertiary level and fair wages that allow a single wage earner to buy the family home without usurious interest..
And the UK is not even third in selling arms? I am surprised at our moderation.
There are no good old days to go back to. The U.S. was founded on genocide and theft, and built with slavery. The debts have not been repaid; the foundation is cracked and crumbling. For many of us, the old edifice wasn't all that great anyway.
What is truly sustainable will survive. What isn't, won't. That's nature's way. Collectively, the U.S. has been acting as if it was above all laws, even the Law that binds us all, for a long time. That isn't sustainable. There's no point in blaming, or in trying to resurrect a dead thing walking. There's only getting on with finding what remains viable, and building something better from it.
Think I'm just about to stop reading Common Dreams. Cuz it seems that these are the dreams common mostly to older people. The younger folks I talk to already know everything I've written here. They are determined to go forward. They'd like to have some elders with them who understand what they do: there is no where to go back to. We must evolve to solve the crises in which we are immersed, and in which we will be immersed for some time to come.
For those ready to participate, there's plenty of good work close at hand. Most of it doesn't involve sitting at a computer arguing with people you'll never meet about how to rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic...
Yes, that is the problem along with a WalMart and McDonalds in every town or city in the US.
Wonderful post! And I am an oldster who agrees with you. I do say however that more should live simply so that more will be sustainable. I learn more every day. I did notice that when I asked some people what they were actually ( not for attacking but for ideas) that I was attacked for being insulting!
If people did not REALLY rise up ( except for OWS) when Wall Street and the housing industry crashed the global economy then I do not know what to tell you. Instead most people threw up their hands and said ; "Oh well."
I meant to say doing after actually.
I think I am saying goodby to answering comments on CM as well- the articles are interesting, and I am more interested in the solutions section of the website. The comments seem to come from the ivory tower crowd to see who can cite the most history and use the biggest words. Not interested anymore.
My wife's niece's husband has a PHD from MIT and he works for a defense contractor developing weapons systems. His family is vegan, they go to church on Sundays and they are environmentalists. I'm trying to get up the nerve to send him this article, but it could hurt family relations. I also have a brother in law who has made millions as a corporate lawyer. I am in contempt of both of these relatives, but the feeling is mutual.
The labor movement started in the mid 19th century in the US. By the 20th century, the communists were a strong part of the movement. Though not liked by others, they were tolerated for the strength they lent. And thus the hatred of communists. The rich hated the labor movement and feared that it would join solidly with the communists as the rich fought back in every way.
So the communists had to become an enemy that all americans hated or else the rich would suffer. The overthrow of the czar was proof that it could happen here with so many poor people being oppressed by the rich.
In the end the rich conceded some to the labor movement out of fear. And since then they have fought to destroy what little they gave the workers. But the hate of the communists was engrained among americans.
send it..cant go wrong with truth, is it any wonder there are millions of refugees fleeing there war torn homelands just so defense contractors and there shareholders continue to rake in billions? the proffit numbers mentioned at the begining of the article are obscene as are the death, destruction, caused by the endless sale of weaponry around the globe, ...an enviormentalist weapons develloper? bit of an oxymoron is it not? and they can go to church twice everyday, but no amount of praying will cleanse them from the untold grief they help spread around the world, so....if the feeling is mutual...send it... good luck..
Those original founding father's wrote the initiating documents on which this country is based on the backs of the Native people they crushed and the Black folk they enslaved. They were a non diversified group of white dudes with influence and power who had keeping it that way in mind.
And this is how those checks and balances shake down over time. To one group of greedy MF's burning the house down. Time for a revolution in thought and being and a sweeping away of the old paradigms that have been hijacked by capitalism.
If we can't pull this transition off, Mother Earth will do it and she will have no prisoners taken.
Comments on line are made by all generations not just "older" people. And if you check the actions of the past, much of the work toward good has been done by those older folks.
Working together to create a better future includes thought, discussion and action. And as Howard Zinn remarked and I paraphrase, doesn't happen overnight.
"How did America's Ideals become so Twisted?"
By the Overthrow of Our Democracy, by the CIA, aided and abetted by the Military, and the FBI, on November 22, 1963.
They're the ones Driving the Bus ever since, no longer We the People.
" I ask myself how America today could have become such a land of weapons and warriors, guns and gun exports, prisons and fear, led by a boastful and boorish bullyboy."
A great article; the above quote taken out of the end describes what America has been about for most of its history.
As far as Americans believing in "exceptionalism" (a substitute to explain the bullying), if they had to try to believe otherwise it would throw their whole lives upside down.
"The Can't Handle the Truth"!!
Our system fosters greed as the basis for the pathetic life of "consumers".
A narcissistic false life if there ever was one.
We can as a world, clothe, shelter, educate everyone as a community but that would take the wealth away from the few.
When peaceful revolt becomes impossible, violent change will follow.
The presidency of DT I believe will precipitate the seeds of civil war.
Both major political parties have created this mess; neither one will have any answers.
And, most Americans better wake up; they have no clue what their country is about.