In Brief — With sadness, the author briefly explores the state of America today under an erratic and autocratic leader as it descends in status. Just another flawed country that has lost its way after a promising beginning. [Written April 2017.]
The Fall of Giants—
No, I’m not anti-American but I AM a realist. If I didn’t care about the country of my birth, I wouldn’t mourn the state of affairs that poisons America.
The facts you are about to read examine just a few of the many cracks in the structure that undermine what was once a nation that promised so much to citizens and immigrants alike. When asked by a woman about what the founding fathers had given the people, Benjamin Franklin is reported to have said, “A Republic, if you can keep it.” There is still a glimmer of hope in this fractured, ultra-partisan nation, but right now it looks like we have lost it.
A republic is defined as a country in which the supreme power is held by the people and their elected representatives, and which has an elected or nominated president rather than a monarch.
America is not perfect nor has it ever been, but the experiment that was brought into being by a group of men in the 18th century was the best to arise from the Enlightment that emerged from centuries of darkness and oppression. With the guarded hopes of its founders, the oppression of the church was replaced by common men rather than prelates. And large hunks of the citizenry have now trampled on that promise.
Some of the many ways America has lost the promise that was created by the founding fathers and offered to all immigrants by the Statue of Liberty can be seen every day when we look at the destruction we see around us.
The United States, once a promising democracy that was scarred by slavery, lasted until the Civil War ended the experiment and Jim Crow took over where slavery left off. Under its current government the country is now a plutocratic and racist oligarchy that is coming dangerously close to becoming an autocracy — even a Christian theocracy — ruled by money and corruption. Times have changed, but barely camouflaged slavery still exists and inequality flourishes.
Not long ago, five conservatives on the United States Supreme Court, ruled in the Citizens United case that prodigious amounts of money are entitled to the same standing as the votes of the average voter. Put clearly, they refused to recognize that money has the power to exert outsized influence and corrupt. Indeed, money is corrupting governance not just in America but throughout the world.
Those same five conservatives ruled in the Hobby Lobby case that the religion of an owner of a closely-held corporation overrules the beliefs of the corporation’s employees. To help you understand this, it means that the religious belief of that owner negates the beliefs — religious or not — of all the company’s employees. It should come as no surprise that the conservatives on the Supreme Court are partisan politicians in black robes.
Now, let’s look at some other major flaws in the American system.
The two controlling political parties, Republican and Democrat, not only deprive the people of the power of the vote, they actively prevent Third Parties from taking part in the elective process. The legislative branch, congress, has become dysfunctional to the extent that, despite the loud objections of the Republicans, the former Democratic president was forced to do his job by executive order, executive orders now embraced and misused by the current Republican president. The congress obstructed every move by the former president for partisan and probably racist motives, but they have no trouble in accepting the current president’s corruption and unconstitutional executive orders.
America’s corrupt oligarchs wanted a widely-despised woman to be the presidential nominee of the Democratic Party while the backward-looking Republican Party that created the current ethically-challenged president now supports the most reviled man ever to occupy the Oval Office. Ignoring the message of the 2016 election, both parties now threaten — each in its own way — to bring down the country. Corruption is the mother’s milk of the American government.
America now fights wars in several parts of the world bent on forcing its vision of freedom on the people of foreign countries who want to decide their own destinies. Both political parties give more money than the American military asks for as it lies consistently and squeezes the rest of the world in its python-like embrace. At home, the military arrogantly tests new weapons on its own people despite laws designed to prevent them from doing this. Now, the Republican Party and its president shower even more money on the military. Indeed, military generals manipulate the levers of power at the highest level of government. It appears as if the military has taken over.
No doubt this piece barely scratches the surface of America’s many flaws, not least justice, sexism, racism and inequality. We know that America could do much better, but its political elite puts the pedal to the floor and heads even lower on the ethical road. Only the people have the power to put America on the right road toward the promise of its beginning. Will we do it? Is there time left?
The Weekly Sampler—
As a reminder, go to the Archives on the right side of the page and click on the month and year of that week’s featured Sampler. If you wish, go to the January 15, 2017, blog (“A Simple Reading Assignment”) for more thorough instructions.
If you want to read the entire piece, simply click on the box titled “Continue Reading.” When you want to read the next piece, simply swipe your cursor across the one you have been reading and you will find the next one. Do this every time you want to read the next piece.
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Go to the Archives on the right side. Click on July 2017