Running on Empty

It’s never going to happen.  America’s bottomless abyss of excess will continue to drive this country.  Frank Rich is correct in his article today about Washington’s ever-present need for lobbyists and special interests.  Even I was, and am still, not naive enough to believe Barack Obama’s campaign promises to throw  out the greedy, ethically handicapped creeps who really control our government.  Even though “America may run on Dunkin,” our underlying political and governmental structure runs on profit-and power-motivated special interests.

As per Mr. Rich, we provide ourselves, individually and as a country, with a self-fulfilling prophecy.  Our misplaced goals coupled with our misspent (absent?) morals and drive for more, more and more, eventually ends up in a flash of self-immolation and failure.  Just look at the boom and bust cycles of Wall Street, especially the moguls behind the trendy terrain of finance.  Even when faced with the possible demise of our economic system, no checks and balances have as yet to be enacted.  One good depression deserves another, and I believe the next downturn will be even more dangerous that the one we are somewhat exiting at this time.

Similarly, our passion for war is eating us alive, both morally and financially.  It is no longer feasible to enter into a foreign country to provide it with a democratic structure (whether they want it or not) or use that opportunity to flex America’s long-standing need for exercising  its substantial amounts of testosterone.  Once again, our excess, driven by the individual and institutional penchant for money and power, are ruling any semblance of common sense.  Our cowboy mentality just has no place is securing a safe and sane world.  It surely is one thing for Americans to go after what they want, but it is another thing entirely to sacrifice our entire nation, with its economic well-being and moral validity at risk, in order to reach those desired levels of special interest supremacy.  I think we are at the point where we have to consider the differences between sweeping goals and the effects the process has on individuals.  That is where we have lost our mojo.

Even President Obama is realizing this daunting feat of subduing our selfish national persona for the greater good.  It may be an impossible task.  Look at our health care debate: in our pursuit of corporate earnings and payoffs, we have so far been unable to design a health care policy that will fulfill the needs of our population.  Just the mere thought of a public option has created violence that threatens not only our citizens, but also our President.  How can we accept a nation that does not provide for affordable, universal health care?  The driving force behind this selfishness is simply the personal fortunes of our lawmakers and business entities.  Enough.  The next rebellion, based on a health care system that does NOT offer a public option due to an unwarranted fear of government intervention, will be bigger and more damaging than whatever it is we are currently experiencing.  Once again, things will have to get worse in order to get better.

All across America’s vast national map of issues that must be addressed so that the seemingly insurmountable can become surmountable, there is this pervasive miasma of personal gain holding sway over what really needs accomplishing in order to have a more perfect union.  That means that historically, we have had no qualms in ignoring and denying the basic rights and needs of our people in order to assure the attainment of money and power for the chosen, usually elected, few.  There have been limited uprisings in the far past, such as the Boston Tea Party in the 1700’s, and in the most recent past , i.e. the anti-war, anti corporate efforts of the 1960’s, with many protests in-between.  However, our basic national identity, I guess fueled by the very nature of democracy and capitalism, has remained unchanged in its glory for the mighty buck and disregard for the benevolence of the people.

President Obama is no idiot.  He knows his efforts to alter this national identity probably will be inadequate in the long run.  This is who we are.  Unfortunately, if real change were on the horizon, the state of our nation would have to be in a much more serious and precarious position.  Frank Rich is correct is stating that he would “short” America.  Ironically, to provide a sea change in our thinking and doing in America, things will have to deteriorate.  This is the only way America learns.  We live in a country of superlative thinking and actions, where the middle ground has none of the allure that the intoxicating “best and worst” offer.  Unlike Frank Rich, I am not optimistic that President Obama can effect such reform.  Power-grabbing is too ingrained in our national ethos.

Hold on to your hats.  When excess rules over moderation, especially in terms of money and power, the outcome will be excessively bumpy.  We can wring out “running on empty” for just so long.


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3 Responses to “Running on Empty”

  1. Natalie R Says:

    I, as you probably know by now, agree with what you say and have been saying that for quite some time at least since Obama’s efforts or lack thereof have seemed SO anemic. If you see no other film in your lifetime see Michael Moore’s “Capitalism–A Love Story”. People in MY neck of the woods in the theater stood up and clapped. It was THAT good and anyone who says it isn’t either does not get it OR is one of the top 1% who benefit from the economic disaster which still goes unabated.

    The war in Afghanistan is heating up as it yesterday took 8 more American lives. Vietnam anyone? (Okay so that was different). Still wars without end have similarities they produce a LOT of death, maiming, destruction, anger and cost A LOT!

    It’s still been nearly nine months in the Obama presidency enough to make the complexities of a baby (okay so THAT’s different). I will wait a little longer [toe still tapping]. So far I remain unimpressed. I personally believe we’ve been had! Maybe though dear Brutus the fault lay NOT in the stars but in MYSELF for expecting way too much!

    • yomamaforobama Says:

      My Dear Cuz-
      The fault is not in Obama, but rather in all of us, our history, practices and values. They were inherent way before Obama got in, are still there and will assuredly still be the basis of our society long after Obama’s gone.

  2. indyfromaz Says:

    And Emperor Obama fiddles while America Burns…

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