Sunday, March 11, 2018

My Country

My country, right or wrong. I never believed it myself, but you used to hear it all the time. I mean back in the "Cops of the World" days, the days when meaningful protest changed the course of the country and slowed down wild-assed, counter-productive government policies.

I'm in America now, staring it directly in the face instead of checking in on the Internet from time to time. I don't like a lot of what I see. The United States of America: I love this country and its flag. This love forces me to strongly disapprove of much that is going on these days.

For one thing, construction sites are flying American flags, big ones, just like during the anti-war days of the Vietnam era. (The photo shows the construction of a commuter rail project. This flag flew uninterrupted for the entire two weeks of my visit. Day and night, rain or shine. That, by the way, is contrary to the rules of etiquette regarding the flag.)  Other flag motifs are common as well. Those flags do not mean, "we love our country." They mean, "we hate the people who disagree with us regarding the current government's policies and the direction that our society should take going forward."

The country is dangerously divided, both politically and financially. Divided in terms of the security of its citizens. These divisions are getting worse. The income inequality is startling, not only between the very wealthy and everyone else, but also between the still prosperous and the desperate poor. These things are self-evident; they require no explanation.

"What can be done about it?" would be a good question, but a better question, I think, is, "can anything be done about it?" We live in a speed-of-light communications environment that has never existed before. Many voter's bad attitudes have been created and are being constantly massaged on a minute to minute basis. The information that bombards people is a mix of the true, the dubious, and the intentionally misleading, and people have less and less ability to tell the difference, even if they cared to sort things out according to their reality quotient. It may be too late to do anything but ride this tiger and see where it takes us. Maybe all we can do is hold on and hope for the best.

What would "the best" look like? It might be a realization by the power elite that THEIR best interests lie in keeping the rest of us relatively comfortable and secure. Allowing people to have lives that feature some degree of meaning and security. It is highly possible that such a world would generate a much bigger total financial product that would make the very wealthy and powerful even more lavishly well-off than they are today. I don't think that will happen, though, because it is not necessary. Ninety-nine point something percent of a world full of insecurity and desperation is already more than enough to provide the bosses with more than they could ever spend or benefit from controlling. So why bother? The power-elite is nothing if not practical. Selfish and practical.

"Oh, say, does that star spangled banner still wave?" Well, yes. But the rest of those words don't apply anymore. This isn't that land anymore.

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