Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Can America Be Salvaged?

The title is the stark question posed by this recent article on The Smirking Chimp. And the short answer is nope. I cannot say I disagree. The only question for me as a historian is to formulate some sort of hypothesis as to exactly when the US moved from being salvageable to where it irrevocably sits now. I'm thinking Obama's predecessor, if not the one who brought us to that point, surely sealed the fate of this country. The writer of this piece, David Michael Green, a regular contributor to the blog, ticks off the crux of it in several weary sighs of "I really don't know what to say anymore about a country in which . . .  "

  • proposing a new and better version of corporate-plunder masquerading as national healthcare gets you burned in effigy for being a socialist stooge by gun-toting angry mobs.
  • the same people who hate you for being a socialist simultaneously hate you for being a fascist.
  • angry mobs of supposed anti-socialist demonstrators scream at their congressional representatives to "keep your government hands off my Medicare".
  • claims that the government is going to start killing off seniors are taken seriously by tens of millions of people.
  • people are all worked up about government czars, but sat silently while the Bush administration destroyed the Bill of Rights and used a thousand signing statements to write Congress out of the Constitution.
  • deficits have all of a sudden become the source of enormous anger among people who said nothing about them previously, as the tax cuts for the wealthy, off-budget wars based on lies, and unfunded prescription drug Big Pharma giveaway transmogrified the biggest surplus in American history into the biggest deficit ever.
  • politicians can rant incessantly about other peoples' sexual morality, get caught screwing prostitutes, and then still be reelected to the highest ranks of government by trashing the president.
Now I put it to you: do you know what to say about this? Think about last November, not even a year ago. All that promise, all that hope for the future of our country. Who could have possibly predicted the utter viciousness of the opposition to a guy who really, really wanted to fix some of the terrible problems that had been ignored for years and years? Who could have imagined that people would wear pistols to public gatherings, that they would virtually froth at the mouth at the thought of our awful, inequitable, inefficient, and horrendously expensive healthcare system being changed? Who in their right mind would have thought that the Republican party to a man would oppose everything the Democratic White House proposed. Everything. What in the world is wrong with us?
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