An American Problem

So let me ask you a question…seriously too (I know I fuck around a lot)…at what point in the future of this amazing country—and it is a truly fucking amazing place—do we admit to ourselves that we can’t do everything we want to do? Regardless of how important it is, or how humanitarian it is or even, that if we don’t do it we believe the country will be destroyed…the facts are that we’ve become so large with so many competing priorities, so many special interest pushing and pulling that we effectively cannot move forward or backward. And, importantly, if we do the honest things and admit we can’t be fair, we can’t be balanced, we can’t give everyone everything they want, what next?

It’s always been kind of the American ideal that there was nothing we could not do but that was when this country was a child, when we thought we were indestructible and tomorrow would never come. We fought wars for moral reasons and to protect the future but I can’t remember the last war where either of those was true. We used to believe that we could do anything because goddammit we went and did it! We split the atom and landed on the moon for Christ sake!…we honestly and painfully examined ourselves and saw that we were dead wrong and gave women the vote and passed the civil rights act…we accomplished grand and truly astonishing things simply because no one told us we couldn’t. And if they did, we just plain didn’t believe them.

As we grew and the country was a virtual teenager, we idealistically saw government as an enabler of freedom and a protector of the weak; the collected conscience of a people manifested in our desire to embrace progress and lift he quality of life for everyone. But, like all teenagers, idealism is no match for reality so the help we thought we were giving to the third world was just another form of enslavement but this time without whips and chains, instead we used money and guns, bombs and napalm…we thought throwing money at problems, dictators, and repressive governments would make them go away but they only made them very expensive problems. Problems that lasted for years and some are still going on.

Because we were teenagers (admit it, we still kind of thought tomorrow was never coming) we did not understand what it meant to be self-sufficient, we threw money we didn’t have at those problems, which was then lost forever, so ultimately we had to borrow just to eat, just to hreat the place…to send the kids to school…but we’re approaching middle age as a country and the debts are coming due. We are in so much debt there is no way that we will ever pay it back…and we’re borrowing more and more every day…but after the other countries stop lending, where do we go?

So I ask the question “if we can’t do everything we want, what can we do?” Can we still say that the government protects the weak or now, does it create a weaker citizen? Can we say that we embrace progress when we look at our elected officials and see that nothing changes year over year, when the same sordid squabbles over the same meaningless bullshit is what has become the work of congress and the house of representatives?

I know what my answer is and it’s one I don’t like at all…but I am sure that it is the only one I have….yet there is nothing I can do about it. I can merely sit here helpless along the siding, elbows on knees, my face in my hands and watch the grand train that used to be this country pick up speed and head toward it’s date with destiny. This is not a Republican or Democrat problem, this is an American problem that has to be solved by America. I hope to fuck we can do so in time…

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