There’s little question that the United States of America, a comparatively young nation in the civilized world, has been the “greatest” and most influential country on the planet for over 100 years. Nonetheless, recently the sound bite “Make American Great Again” resonated with a goodly number of righteously disgruntled voters.
They may well be right. American Greatness should never be taken for granted. But many of the problems they’ve been led to believe plague America are the subjects of propaganda designed to divert people’s attention from the real threats to our nation. We need always to remember America now has an untrustworthy, conniving, malignantly narcissistic President who seems to change his rhetoric about as often as he changes his neck ties.
A President who tweets echoes of baseless blather he heard on late night Fox News is probably not going to keep America great. If Sweden has supposedly had a dramatic spike in rapes and robberies due to the recent influx of Muslim refugees as Trump alleged in one of his recent rallies, no one in Sweden is aware of it. These must be secret rapes and robberies, known only to him.
No President in history has made such an idiotic, misinformed and embarrassingly false proclamation in such a public forum. But hey, he’s Donald Trump – give the guy a break.
This is what happens when a President of the United States relies on “intelligence” gathered by Fox News and eschews briefings from the nation’s experienced intelligence agencies. How can any public office holder rely on anthing Fox News reports without getting a confirmation from some trustworthy source, like maybe the CIA?
Unfortunately, Trump has learned that he can get away with anything he says, so long as at least part of his audience is willing to believe it. It is shocking how easily his trumped up allegations against Muslims turned all disciples of Allah into scapegoats for a fictitious outbreak of atrocities that simply have not happened. How does Trump’s demonizing of Muslims in America differ from the demonizing of Jews in Germany in the 1930s and 1940s? How does this Make America Great Again? Was Hitler not elected as Chancellor on the promise to Make Germany Great Again? His playbook must be around here somewhere.
What Makes America Great?
Let’s consider what has made America great: Is it our dedication to freedom? Is it the strongest and best equipped military in the world? Is it our Constitution?, our justice system?, our free press?, our states’ rights?, our civil rights?, our religious freedom?, our history?, is it the freedom of expression that’s in our DNA?, our aversion to oppression?, or perhaps our leading edge technologies?, our ability to invent?, our entrepreneurial vision?, our robust national economy?, our leadership of the free world?, our diversity?, our common ancestral and/or contemporary immigration to America in search of freedom? (Ironically, true native Americans whose ancestors were here long before most of the rest of our ancestors, have virtually lost most of their freedom to make room for ours.)
It’s all of this and more. All of these American traits come from America’s values that have always been the grassroots tools of our Greatness. Today these include:
- Fair Play/Equal Opportunity for all;
- Individual Respect;
- Tolerance of Differences in Ancestry, Opinion, Ethnicity, Race, Intelligence, Customs, Gender;
- A Government Accountable to the People and Not Vice-Versa;
- Personal Privacy;
- The Right to be Heard;
- Rule of Law and Civil Disobedience of Law that Violates Our Rights and Values;
- Mobility, and
- The Sanctity of Human Life.
America – An Experiment in Progress
The radical socio-economic experiment that is America has been amazingly successful, so far. We have found ways to blend the survival of the fittest foundation of economic Capitalism with the generosity and respect of a Social Conscience that tries to assure that the basic needs of all citizens are met. The balance between Capitalism’s competition and the “no one left behind” tenet of Socialism is never static, but they do coexist. Because the pendulum swings back and forth, the search for equilibrium in the experiment is definitely not finished.
In fact, the American experiment will never be finished until and unless it fails.
Like all human endeavors, America constantly operates in social, political, scientific, economic, ethical, and international environments that are always in a state of change. Figuratively, all of these arenas carry weight and collide with one another in various and unpredictable ways, creating massive tension just below the surface of our lives. So far, when the socio-economic pressures have erupted and surfaced, America dealt with the damage and siphoned off similar pressures to avert repetition of the eruption.
A Parade of Challenges
The American Civil War was probably the country’s most costly and bloody eruption of pent up pressure ever. America was literally blown apart into two distinct governments for a few years. The intense divide – slavery and a regional, nearly regal, agrarian economy versus a more heavily populated abolitionist region and its industrialized juggernaut – was driven by two irreconcilable sets of American values. While the Union was preserved 150 years ago, regional tensions from the war still exist. A century after the end of the Civil War, insidious, unresolved racial stress fractures in the nation’s experiment erupted again leading us to define, re-confirm and protect the value of Civil Rights for all Americans, regardless of race, creed, gender, or religious belief. Anti-war movements, women’s suffrage and later women’s rights in the workplace, abortion rights, gay rights, a World War against Fascist oppression, the Great Depression, similar periodic economic crises, and a host of other eruptions are among the litany of challenges that have threatened the viability of the experiment.
Today, some issues have been resolved but others still require a good deal more work. Our American values have matured and reshaped our nation to meet our challenges and to keep the experiment that is America alive and well.
But is there a potentially insurmountable challenge in our midst that could destroy the American Experiment?
A Fundamental and Difficult Conundrum
Ugly new challenges to America’s greatness are quickly growing before our eyes today. The electorate’s discontent with, and righteous distrust of, our elected representatives is a cancer that threatens the whole organism of our nation. The sources and symptoms of the disease are fairly plain to see. The cure, however, is not.
The love of money and the political power it buys has infused a pernicious, potentially fatal disease in our national and state legislatures and executive offices. The one common element necessary to prevail in any election in this country today is no longer a candidate’s intelligence, leadership ability, moral integrity, dedication to the truth, sincerity, fairness, heroism, or reverence for motherhood and apple pie. It is money, money, and more money.
Absent considerable amounts of money, a candidate has a snowball’s chance in Hell of being elected to what is supposed to be a position of service to the “public trust.” The Number 1 priority of nearly every national and state elected official is re-election. The day after they’re elected most of our vaunted representatives begin “dialing for re-election dollars,” a 365-day, annual, unwritten requirement of survival in their jobs.
The conundrum of this reality is clear. Any effort to curtail or remove the sale of influence by legislators, regulators, jurists, and others will have to be initiated and supported by the very people who owe their financial and political success to the purchasers of their influence. In order to truly represent the interests of a majority of one’s constituents, somewhere along the line a representative would have to betray his/her financiers and seriously jeopardize his/her chances of re-election. Except in rare instances, like Bernie Sanders’s crowd funding of his 2016 presidential campaign, legislators and members of the executive branches personally have little or nothing to gain by biting the hands that feed them. The office-holder is the supplicant and the money-holder is in control.
Is it any wonder that the political influence of the wealthiest 10% of the nation’s electorate is greater than collective political influence of the remaining 90% of voters in this nation? What majority of politicians will coalesce to successfully legislate the boundaries necessary to break this stranglehold on our elected representatives? There’s that snowball in Hell again.
Absent the will to break the financial bonds that tie elected officials in the Congressional Branch and Executive Branch, what hope is there?
A Pivotal Failure
The judicial system of the US, intended as a check and balance when things go constitutionally awry in our country’s legislative or executive branches, has failed miserably in its crucial role of preserving the integrity of elected officials. Citizen’s United is an insulting misnomer for both a Political Action Committee and a Supreme Court case that far more accurately should be called Corporations United, or better yet, Corporate Bribery United.
The sanctity of the Supreme Court should never come into question, but somehow I cannot rule out what should be the impossibility that one or more of our “conservative” justices may have been corrupted. It is difficult to find any good reason for their swinging wide the gates of secret corporate money to further solidify the hold of the moneyed interests on our government. If this was what the “Founding Fathers” intended, we need to re-write all American History books.
And the Beat Goes On
In the name of “Making America Great Again,” today’s spin doctors pervert the truth while Foxy “news” outlets openly identify themselves as commentators disguised as reporters. Talk radio crackles the air waves with hatred as “commentators” instigate listeners with unfounded vitriolic charges designed to create and capitalize on divisions among the ethnic, racial, religious, and even gender allegiances of Americans. The bigger the lie, the more it is believed.
Simply stated, the virtually unbridled influence of money in politics may be the force that ultimately kills the American experiment for all time.
The concentration of political power in the hands of a few, elite, self-anointed masters of the universe is already pretty far advanced on the road to dictatorial power behind the scenes. When Russia’s “elected” dictator, Putin, is held out as a role model by the President of the United States, something evil must be afoot. And when Russia brazenly and sucessfully manipulates the outcome of an American Presidential election, something unquestionably needs to be done to Make America Great Again.
Putin recognizes the importance of the opportunity of having the perfect stooge in the White House. Accordingly, the complicity of the Trump political organization in Putin’s scheme needs to be vigorously and impartially investigated. There are strong indications that Putin may have wasted little time in purchasing the egomaniac’s influence along with that of his small cadre of “advisors.”
Business Insider, January 17, 2017 – Memos: CEO of Russia’s state oil company offered Trump adviser, allies a cut of huge deal if sanctions were lifted
“A dossier with unverified claims about President Donald Trump’s ties to Russia contained allegations that Igor Sechin, the CEO of Russia’s state oil company, offered Trump ally Carter Page and his associates the brokerage of a 19% stake in the [$350 -$450 Billion] company in exchange for the lifting of US sanctions on Russia. … In return Page confirmed that were Trump elected US president, sanctions on Russia would be lifted.”
Perhaps the reason the Trump Administration has has yet to fill more than 600 job vacancies in the Executive Branch is so he and his cabal won’t have to share the wealth. With no one on the phones or texting from them there is little danger of a whistle blower exposing the plot if all the desks are empty. When (not if) Trump removes the sanctions and this deal is consumated, worldwide consumers of energy will provide Russia ample funds to de-rail the American experiment. There is nothing Putin wants more, and let’s face it, Trump & Co.’s complicity could easily be part of “the art of the deal” for the right price.
The “alternative truths” and baseless rallying cries of division and hate that have found homes in the minds of many Americans are proof positive that skillful propaganda still works.
In a relatively short span of time, the money-and-power hungry are well advanced in their own greedy interests in America. They are not overt, but they are unquestionably greedy. They work diligently to cultivate the outright support of Americans agitated by their propaganda while they pick Americans’ pockets, protections and rights at the same time.
Indeed it is a Crucial Time to Make America Great Again.
Donald Trump can only lead America into oblivion. The question is, do we take our American values seriously enough to fight to preserve America’s greatness? One thing is certain, it will take a massive grass roots effort to regain our nation from the wealthy manipulators of the truth, if it is not too late already.