I watch and read the news every day. I always have done so, because I like to keep up with the happenings in the world I live in. As an American, I watch or read US news, but also, European, Asian, African, and South American news. I have never limited my views to what CNN or Fox News has to say. I like to keep up with world events, local events, and the ideas and opinions of others. I’ve learned that, by doing so, I can define my own opinions, thoughts and ideas clearly.
I’m no journalist, and I am surely no writer. Bertrand Russell said, “The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution.” I am no great thinker, and offer up no solution – there are times when I have things I feel deeply, and want to talk about. Today is one of those times.
Over the last couple of years, I’ve watched the US decline. I’ve seen, first hand, the falling of the WTC. I’ve seen, first hand, the effects of the Bush administration, with all it’s lies and deceit, put fear into the minds and hearts of the American people. I’ve witnessed troop movements — miles and miles and miles of military vehicles moving towards some unknown place, to go to Afghanistan, and then Iraq, in defiance of the United Nations, and at the sheer want and will of GWB and his cronies.
I’ve witnessed first hand men who have come back from that place with no limbs, with half their face gone; in wheel chairs, with prosthesis in place of legs, or arms; Men blinded because shrapnel to their face took out their eyes. I have hugged my friend Jeff, when he came back alive and whole. Alive he may be, but whole he is not. There is a deep sadness within him — His once sweet eyes, full of mirth, and life, are no longer – now they are sharp, glaring, frightened, and the horror that I saw when I looked in his eyes was heartbreaking.
I look back at the way we used to be. The Clinton Era, and Pre-GWB, and often wonder what has become of the American people I was so proud of? I’ve never been naive when it comes to the opinion of America – I know too many Europeans with a bitter taste for the US.
But there were as many good things about America, as there are deleterious. We used to care. We used to try. We kept watch on what our government did, and tried, if not always succeeded, to do the right thing by, not only ourselves, but the people of the world. Perhaps that really is naive, but it was my perception.
Looking at the last 7 years, I’ve seen the decline of the America I knew and loved. The America that cared about what happened in the world. An America that would care about the Darfur Genocide, or the lashing of Tibet, or the hunger that is an epidemic in so many countries in Africa. And the hunger that now has begun in earnest here in this country.
My parents generation protested the “war” in Vietnam. My own generation is tacitly expecting somebody — anybody other than themselves — to stand up and say No more. Where are the students to protest in Times Square? Is there an SNCC any longer to bring groups of 30,000 to Washington? How about the 400,000 who marched in NYC to protest? or the 100,000 that marched in San Francisco? How about the 100,000 who marched in the shadow of the Lincoln Memorial and gave voice to the millions who felt the same way? Or the 35,000 who marched on the Pentagon? Maybe we need another May day.
We have no King, no Jerry Rubin, no Abbie Hoffman, and no one who can step into those places. What we’ve got instead is a country full of people who are apathetic, with an indifferent attitude towards this “war” in Iraq and this depression we are sliding into.
Why have we become so complacent? Why have we let this go on this long? What, exactly, are we waiting for? We can’t get through to our government officials, they don’t listen to what the people say or want. Our President has always had his own agenda, and has been both blind and deaf to the needs of the people he governs. Government spending is through the roof, yet some of the basic services put in place long before George took office have been pushed to the wayside, and forgotten.
This country is going in to a financial depression, and one that, in my opinion, won’t be short lived. Fuel prices are up, and going to go up. Food prices are already on the rise, Utility prices are going up, and our job market is already falling. I’ve personally sent out over 100 CV’s, and have had little response. And I’m pretty damned qualified.
Not only is our country going into a financial depression, but I honestly believe the apathy, the general lassitude of the American population is a form of population depression, deriving from the fact that our middle of the road Congressmen, Governors, representatives, mayors, all the way down to the local Police chief don’t or won’t rock the boat. The loss of a voter, and re-delectability is more important than doing what is ethical, honorable, and righteous. How can a normal American feel anything other than apathy when our government is held on a tight leash, by a President that has failed us, failed to do what is right, what is just, and what is called for? When our congressmen fail us, when our representatives fail us?
I long for change. Change in the way we act, and feel, and do, and say. Maybe that change will happen with a new Presidential administration. Maybe it won’t. But that is my own dream. I am counting down the days until Election day, with the hope that my own belief in the America I miss won’t die out.