Michelle Obama raised eyebrows when she said, “For the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country,” because, “hope is making a comeback” and the country is “hungry for change.”
Unlike her, I feel disappointed in my country-- more specifically, in its federal and state leaders—and not for the first time.
I am not unpatriotic. I appreciate the liberty the United States promises and the great American (immigrant) spirit that made it a superpower. I cry at the Star Spangled Banner and at Fourth of July parades. I am grateful for the quality of my life here
But I do not agree that the USA is the only place on earth where one can enjoy such life quality. Today, many countries offer the same (or higher) levels of personal freedom, economic advantages, high living standards, affordable (even free) quality health care, free education and exciting employment opportunities.
America has hit a new low in global perception of its once unchallenged “greatness.” Not since Vietnam have we been weighed down by such misguided militaristic blockheadedness. Our leaders seem determined to again airlift the last remaining US diplomat from the roof of a stormed embassy before we have the good sense to come home and bind our domestic wounds.
But the war is not the only reason to be ashamed of what we have become.
We have triggered a global food crisis that threatens the lives of people far outside U.S. borders. We were warned this could happen: even Fidel Castro predicted the famine-for-fuel folly we have created.
Meanwhile, America’s richest 2% enjoys tax relief while working class majorities lose their jobs, homes and aid in record numbers. It will be decades before the internal economic damage of this millennium can be repaired.
China and India—once considered far beneath the USA technologically and economically—are now countries on which we depend. Indeed we are in their debt to the tune of trillions of dollars.
The Executive and Legislative branches, meanwhile, are so politically compromised they do nothing. Laws controlling immigration, regulating monopolies, protecting the environment, and upholding human rights go unenforced. Washington sits idly by while pharmaceutical firms, the ghost of organized labor and other campaign-supporting lobbies hold America hostage.
American children are undereducated: our elders uncared for. Nuclear families have disintegrated and our society cannot fill the void. Our greatest institutions—religion, government, and academia—have served up an endless and spirit-breaking series of scandals, crimes, and hopeless disappointments. Americans have been lied to, taken advantage of, and used by the very people and entities they most need to trust to survive.
If Barack Obama—or anyone running for president this year—really had a cure for all this, it wouldn’t matter. A corrupt and prostituted Congress insures that no remedies that might disrupt the political power and personal fortunes of a few will be enacted.
Obama, Clinton and McCain are part of the problem. You simply cannot get into the US Senate or any high level of federal or state office in America unless you turn a blind eye to corruption, power, and political gain.
McCain can’t tell the Sunnis from the Shiites, and admits economics is not his strong suit. He’s called a war hero, not because he rescued a village or several military colleagues while sustaining injuries, but because he got caught by the enemy who put him in a prison camp.
Barack Obama came out of nowhere—or rather out of the belly of Chicago’s Democratic party-- arguably one of the most corrupt political machines in the nation going back to Mayor Daley the Elder. No one knows who Obama really is, and no one wants to ask because his half-blackness has become his invisible protective shield. Can anyone question his white half without being “racist?”
Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, tells us repeatedly she “has baggage” and everyone’s been through it anyway so this makes her the candidate of choice. Not the most uplifting rationale.
Unemployment is moving toward 6%, 4000 military are dead in Iraq and we are almost out of available soldiers to send anywhere. Bank foreclosures are at a historic high, consumer confidence hasn’t been lower in 26 years, and even Republicans gag at the mention of W.
Our global neighbors either hate, distrust, or deride us. The dollar is worth half a British Pound and only two-thirds of a Euro. We depend on Canadian pharmacies for our medicines and anonymous voices from Mumbai and Manila for our “technical support.”
Michelle Obama, professional six-figure administrator and former aide to Chicago’s Mayor Daley, may be “proud.” We’d be “proud” too if millions of people were paving our way to the biggest political payoff in the country (if not the world.)
The rest of us have to focus on “survival,” which may not allow for much “pride.”
- ▼ 2008 (17)