So if we Americans 6. Give up on America and 7. Embrace Apathy we have established a good base for a toppling of democracy in the future. But there is even more damage that can be inflicted by not being attentive to the important things. “What kind of government did you give us, Ben?” a citizen asked of Benjamin Franklin as he was walking to his carriage from having been a part of establishing the kind of government us Americans would have. “A Republic, if you can keep it.” He said. Keeping it meant that the people had to pay attention. To keep the riff raff from derailing it and the black hats from stealing it. Sadly, we have done little to insure our Republic stays whole and democracy still lives.
So, in continuing our study of how to shoot ourselves and our country in the foot let us consider the last point a bit further. In a sense to “embrace apathy” is an oxymoron. You don’t embrace something that by its very nature parades about with a big “Ignore” sign on its back. Apathy means you just don’t care. About anything, including the ways and operations of our own government. You (yawn) just don’t have time to talk about it, much less give it much thought. So in the interest of apathy here is number 8 just for good measure.
8. Pay no attention to slick new rules and policies. You know, arbitrary maneuvers made by our elected officials who sit in the high places of government. Pay no attention to the man behind the screen. Ignore him without questioning what he says. It shouldn’t cost too much, really. Say what?
When something seems odd and strange and comes in the form as a tax, just disregard it and deal with it tomorrow. Like the new and proposed arbitrary Interstate Highway system tax. We should have been outraged and outspoken against the newly devised and most likely to be law soon, the new Interstate Highway TOLL. Haven’t yet heard of it? Don’t feel alone. It failed to register on most Americans. When you are holding government officials accountable you would be more likely to notice it immediately and show outrage. But we’re not. And we don’t.
Recently the press announced that Obama and Congress are considering a toll on ALL Interstate highways traveled by anybody and everybody. Well, now there’s a novel way to cut another sizeable hole in the taxpayer’s take home pay. As ominous as an arbitrary sales tax, an Interstate travel tax would lower the standard of living of all Americans. It would cause us to pay more for all items we purchase that are trucked anywhere: food, gasoline, dry goods, lumber, and steel, you get the picture. We should be outraged. But ask anyone you know what they think about it. Then observe the blank stare. What is not known by some is placed in the futile file of others of us. After all what can we do about it? Get my meaning? We have become zombies of data overload and arbitrary tax increases. Did we stop caring about ourselves and our country? Was it all at once or was it a complex process over time? Are we out to lunch? Where has everyone gone? Here, maybe:
Great song. I heard it first when my plane touched down in 1965 in San Francisco. America had changed. People were walking about and talking with no faces. It was then that I first realized that many of them had punched out, surfboards on the car roof and headed for the big waves.
Football and baseball had trumped politics and issues that used to be important to the American people. It seemed as though people had had it with political issues. Picketing and flag burning seemed to be more trouble than they were worth to the average American. Viet Nam had weighed heavy upon the American people for sure. LBJ had had it up to his eyeballs with the Viet Nam protests of an unpopular war and would not run for a second term as president. Americans had become weary from too much debate, too many considerations. At that point we had begun to lose a great part of our humanity. Truth vanished from the land. Talking points became the truth, the ones that sounded best to a collective ear here at home.
Enter Ronald Reagan and the Hollywood actors turned politicians. Their abilities of performing before the camera lens proved invaluable. No longer did voters need to concern themselves with real issues. Now you got to weigh candidates subjectively. If a candidate like George W. Bush was the kind of president you would like to have a beer with that’s all you needed to know. No study was necessary. No valuable self-time needed be wasted on un-fun stuff like politics. If you liked the way your candidate looked before the camera that was plenty enough to make a decision.
You did not have to wade through all the substantive evidence of newspapers like the Boston Globe, the Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times that pointed to the likelihood that Bush had gone AWOL during the Viet Nam War.
And stuff like his condemnation of the poor people in America (who he branded as lazy people who did not want to work) waned pale compared to whether or not the camera loved him or not. His Economics professor at Harvard Business School, Yoshi Tsurumi and Bush’s own classmates who warned the world about Bush did not register on the American voter in the 2000 Presidential Election and beyond. “Shock and Awe” tactics in the initial attack on Iraq was no surprise to them.
So despite all the warnings America (and Antonin Scalia) pulled the lever for Bush anyhow and never looked back. You got to wonder if that philosophy is what got us to where we are today. Almost $18 Trillion dollars in debt and about to lose our position in the world where the US dollar is the only accepted currency for international trade in oil transactions, for openers. What if other countries such as Russia and China begin to trade in their own currencies for oil? What will happen to us if the US loses its status where all national currencies must first be exchanged for US dollars in order to buy oil? The loss of the American “petro dollars”, accepted as the only currency to allow oil trade could cause financial disaster for the US across oceans. If suddenly foreign nations no longer had to convert their currencies to dollars in order to buy oil, the United States would suffer substantially. And that is what is now in the making with sovereign countries who are tired of American monkey business such as borrowing and spending and Quantitative Easing.
So if our policy of borrowing and spending has caused us to come to a bad place in the road simply order the US printing presses to print more dollars. And if there is a shortfall on what we offer to what foreign sovereigns choose to lend us by purchasing our Treasuries, then just let the Fed buy those shortfalls needed to finance the operation of our government. Call it something fancy like Quantitative Easing or something. If the world buys it don’t knock it. And if the budget falls way short just lay off a hundred thousand Marines. Shut down some Air Force bases. Or close down both houses of Congress for 4 months. But wait. Why not just print more money? Of course. How silly of me.
Of course I am kidding, but guess who wasn’t when they got us into this mess of National Debt to begin with? Holy smoke, and I thought you just couldn’t run a railroad that way. That the rest of the world would get wise to us and kick us out as the keepers of the currency and the world petro dollars club.
9. Accept FOX NEWS as the Bible. Hey America, I got news for you. Fox News is anything but fair and balanced. They are corporation that is funded by big money that wants to slant news to be the most favorable to a rich man’s pocketbook. They favor the upper class elite views of the Koch brothers and the unprovoked attack of sovereign nations like Iraq to depose dictators like Saddam Hussein. In the immortal words of Ronald Reagan, “Are we better off?” What did we accomplish in Iraq besides the deaths of many thousands of our own soldiers and the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians? Are we better off after all that loss of life and $4 Trillion added to our National Debt?
Did we quell the terrorists by attacking Iraq? From what we have seen since withdrawing our armed forces, in the spirit of Fox News, you decide if Bush’s “shock and awe” and the longest occupation of boots on the ground in American history were worth it:
Fox News is not news. It plays to the audience that embraces prayer in school, a right to life, and a Creationist view to explain how we all got here. And that is biased and unbalanced. Definitely not news. But of course it does have an appeal to snag many thousands of the validity of Fox’s talking points (all curiously one way toward demonization of liberals and Democrats). Imagine that. Instead of both sides we get to hear the “money” side of the paid-for broadcasting of what Fox calls news. The slant of conservative views and the talking heads that support those views never varies. Never wavers. Joseph Goebbels was right. You repeat something long enough and enough times, and it eventually becomes truth.
And when you see Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity try to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear by extolling the virtues of Sarah Palin as a viable candidate for high public office, well, you know something is up. Immediately you smell a rat. But these talking Fox heads say it all with a straight face and never have a hiccup of shame when lying directly into the camera. See, she supports conservative values, so it does not matter how dumbass she might be, we will dress her up and apply lipstick to that pig whenever possible. It’s a dirty job, but somebody has to do it, eh?
When you follow the money you get what someone else paid for. And deemed it to be fair and balanced “news.” You decide.