Nothing is more obvious than political discord in America today. You can’t get away from it no matter how hard you try. It’s everywhere in the news, on social media, on the radio, and on hats, bumper stickers, action figures, and t-shirts.
Yes, only in America are there are merchandising opportunities that play on political division.
Try to escape that division and you’ll discover it’s pretty much everywhere in the United States these days.
Rational people are asking themselves, “what the fuck happened to America?” That uncertainty reveals how Americans neglected their civic duty to stay aware of what’s going on in our democracy and that once everything got so bad, we act surprised.
The counter-argument to that is, “well, we elected representatives to represent us. What the fuck have they been doing all this time?” Apparently, they have NOT been representing the people who supposedly elected them.
America is called the “United States of America” because the idea was unity. In the Preamble to the Constitution, it clearly says:
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity…”
But we do not have a national union, nor justice, and we don’t have domestic tranquility either. We also don’t have a government that is promoting the general welfare or the blessings of liberty either. Most importantly, the part where it says “posterity” is completely ignored for the sake of corporate profits.
There are many reasons why division and uncertainty are so pervasive. I think most Americans are dwelling in a painful and polarizing political quagmire.
There’s no call for unity in America. In fact, the call for disunity is loud and clear. And that discord, disunity, and division strongly suggest that the Great American Experiment failed miserably.
Where did we go wrong?
1. Historic Failure
The Great American Experiment in Democracy, Freedom, and Capitalism lasted for almost 200 years until it failed. From 1776 to 1976, the United States was, for the most part, dealing with conflicts and issues as best we could given the circumstances.
Most of the significant issues of that time were also failures that mostly worked themselves out over many decades. What worked to overcome most of those circumstances was deliberate action based on “doing the right thing”.
It wasn’t all about party politics, propaganda, or science back then. Despite the many people in the country that had a sense of right and wrong; ethics and morals; honesty and honor, the most significant problems with American society still exist today due to their failure to confront the difficult issues head-on and take action for the country as a whole.
After 1976, for at least 40 years, most domestic conflicts have remained unsettled, forgotten, and most of the significant problems in our society are still unresolved. From about the mid-70s, the country was focused on keeping up with the Joneses and maintaining the status quo, while ignoring systemic problems with our version of capitalism. We also failed to see how unsustainable our ways were.
This is where the government of the USA dropped the ball and gave in to corporate interests. The period after 1976 to today is where the worst failures of governing undermined democracy and turned away from our constitution, resulting in a catastrophic failure of America.
As corporations jockeyed for power and influence, most people settled into the notion of careers, 401ks, new cars, condos, fast food, and technology. The people ignored politics in general, and corporations took advantage of our collective ignorance.
A lot of people might look back at this period and blame ‘the other party’ but if you examine the presidents we’ve had from 1977 to 2017 you will find that both Republicans and Democrats had Presidents in office for twenty years. Congress has done a lot of teetering back and forth in power as well.
1977–1981 Carter (D) 4-years
1981–1989 Reagan (R) 8-years
1989–1993 H Bush (R) 4-years
1993–2001 Clinton (D) 8-years
2001–2009 W Bush (R) 8-years
2009–2017 Obama (D) 8-years
The one thing that most people seem to miss is that 100% of the presidents and 99.99875% of all members of congress from 1977 to today have been members of the two-party system. Corporate interests have diligently made sure of that.
The enemy of the people is hiding in plain sight
The most logical conclusion is that our historic failure was caused by a conspiracy between a collective of corporate interests (Wall Street) and a cooperative two-party system that fed congress with representatives that represented corporate interests over the people.
The two-party system pretended to be representative of the people and circumvented our elections by creating a system that they could control who was selected for the people to vote on. That system selects candidates through a process of ‘political arbitrage’ and pushes them upon the people via corporate-controlled media.
Then they culturally conditioned the people to accept “the lesser of two evils” which led to vote-shaming and divisive blaming among most low-information voters who zealously advocate for their party.
Make no mistake, our failures stem from becoming too prosperous too fast, coupled with a strong, well-funded effort by corporations to silently buy influence in our democracy over time.
It didn’t take long for corporate interests to take over because most Americans were too busy trying to make a living and better themselves and their perceived positions in society.
This history of failure in America is mired by many possible failures in Congress to adhere to the Constitution that have never been addressed in the Supreme Court.
Nothing in the history of the United States from 1977 till today, has made significant progress towards unity, justice, domestic tranquility, to promote the general welfare, nor our posterity.
2. Current Quandary
Today, our own greed-based capitalist economy has evolved into a system that undermines democracy and the will of the people through cultural conditioning, propaganda, and disinformation.
Widespread unfettered capitalism is ruining the country and it’s no secret anymore.
We’re living in a horror story of epic proportions and we’re in denial about the whole thing. Yes, it’s a dystopian saga that doesn’t appear to end well for us.
Here is a non-exhaustive list of current or recent situations where the US government is avoiding accountability and refuses to fix the problem:
- Republicans storming into SCIF hearing — sharing their social media feeds Live to audiences worldwide in violation of Federal Law, Title 18, section 1505 (and other felonies). No legal action. Nada.
- Mitch McConnell blocking any and all attempts to bring about progress in the Senate.
- Russian influence in elections.
- The wealthy pay a smaller percentage of tax than the middle class.
- President and his administration refuse to adhere to Congressional subpoenas.
- People are still in cages at the border and the government lost track of where they sent the children they forcibly separated from their parents.
- Trump has made more than 13,000 incorrect statements with zero repercussions.
- Trump orders troops out of Syria abandoning our Kurdish allies.
- Ed Snowden revealed massive wrongdoing by the US government but nobody was held accountable. Nothing happened.
- Wikileaks revealed that the primary and elections in 2016 were rigged by the DNC and manipulated by foreign powers. Nobody has been held accountable.
- Enron fiasco happened. No accountability.
- The 2008 housing crash happened without a single CEO being held accountable.
- There were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
- In 2016, more than 26,000 bombs were dropped by the US in Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.
- Citizen’s United.
- The Panama Papers. Nobody is being held accountable.
- Reporters and journalists are being killed but nobody is being held accountable.
- Whistleblowers are being arrested, put in jail, or killed.
- The CIA confirmed that Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia ordered the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. No one is being held accountable.
- Wealth Inequality.
- Healthcare is too expensive.
- ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) is still writing bills that congress doesn’t read before they sign them into law.
- Lobbyists are still buying members of congress and buying elections.
- Pharmaceutical companies are still overcharging consumers.
- White Nationalists are growing and dangerous.
- Freedom of speech zones are created to limit freedom of speech.
- In some states, it’s illegal to collect rainwater and grow your own food in your yards.
- The government has figured out how to thwart protests.
- Police killing unarmed black people without any valid reason.
- Banks, car and insurance industries were bailed out, but the people need are suffering without any help from the government.
- Ballot machines are easily hacked and yet Congress refuses to fix the problem.
- There are 8 million empty homes due to the housing crisis, but 1.8 million people are still homeless.
- 10,000 border patrol officers were members of a private Facebook group that was espousing and threatening violence. Nothing happened to any of them.
- US Veterans that served in Iraq are being deported to countries they haven’t been since they were toddlers where they don’t speak the language.
- Roads, highways, railways, and bridges are falling apart. Nothing is being done.
- Most Americans don’t trust the government or the police.
- The electoral college doesn’t work.
- We still don’t have professional juries.
- There’s still a huge gender gap.
- Wages don’t come close to the cost of living.
- Housing costs are completely out of control.
- The rich have too much influence.
- Climate change. Tabled for the next generation to deal with.
The “We Can’t Afford” to do the right thing mantra
We used to think in terms of how we can increase prosperity, better our community, increase our friends worldwide, and “make America greater than it was” but instead, we’re hyper-focused on unsustainable practices for the sake of profits and the apparent lack of affordability of alternatives.
The idea that we can’t afford to ‘do the right thing’ is nonsense of course, but we continue to kick the can down the road nevertheless. Our so-called government and leadership haven’t been doing all the things most Americans want them to do, and that’s been taking a toll on us all.
In recent years, most Americans are feeling the pain and frustration more personally. The prosperity of the 80s and 90s are all gone now.
Whenever you hear the argument, “but how are we going to pay for that” you know that’s the defeatist mantra of the opposition to change and progress.
Wages have been stagnant since the 70s and the cost of living has gone completely off the charts. The situation most Americans are currently living in is hauntingly similar to the worst pages in a Charles Dickens novel. Yet many deny this and claim that rugged individualism builds character and the strong survive — harkening back to the Ayn Randian and Darwinian dark ages.
In other words, they’d rather live in a bubble, turn their backs on the suffering of others, and support a system that ultimately intent on enslaving them, sucking the life out of them, and killing them when they are no longer useful.
The default argument of those in opposition to progress in America is that those who are suffering are just not “fit” to be Americans. They believe in the “survival of the fittest” population rather than “domestic tranquility” and “promoting the general welfare” of the “we the people”.
The world is protesting more now than ever. And those protests are getting more violent and more people are involved than at any other time in history.
Of course, the media does its best to hide the truth, but the word is getting out anyway because we’re all fed up and at wits end with the bullshit. So we find a way to communicate that message.
The epic abdication of responsibility on the part of our government, the lack of accountability, and the absence of sensibility and morality are pervasive in the US today precisely due to our history of failure to hold our own government accountable.
This has permitted economic slavery to permeate the country and corral the public into endless cycles of poverty.
Whether we openly admit this we are all experiencing it on some level. Even the folks that don’t accept our reality can feel something is wrong and it’s bothering them although they don’t know what it is.
Two words describe our current system and every person that can’t afford to live outside of our economy: economic slavery. And that’s our reality whether we admit it or not. If you don’t agree, try quitting all your sources of income for a year and see what happens.
Meanwhile, the US Government is still in the business of imperialism across the globe. US Foreign Policy can be summed up as follows:
“We don’t even wait. And when you’re a superpower, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by their vulnerabilities: inject propaganda, disrupt banking, interfere with elections, cut off trade, threaten the need for regime change, park aircraft carriers off their coast, and lob cruise missles at them. You can do anything.” — USA
The current state of international affairs is clear: the US is one of the biggest purveyors Weapons of War, and they tend to benefit the most from causing wars. Every time we think the country is finally addressing domestic issues, the CIA and the Administration find another place to have a war.
That distraction takes over the news cycle and we’re once again, putting domestic issues on the back burner.
If you ask most Americans, you’ll find they are uneasy about unprovoked military action or threats. But the CIA has a long history of fooling the public into believing “we” have good reason to attack and invade.
The process goes something like this: 1) distract the public from domestic issues with propaganda and claims of immoral acts, 2) begin military operations, 3) put boots on the ground, 4) regime change, 5) install western banking, 6) nation-build, and finally, 7) drain the country of all resources.
And Americans are led to believe the process is honorable and in the best interests of the people.
One example is easy to illustrate: Decades of US involvement in Central America created generations of desperate people in those countries who eventually flee those troubled countries because of what the US has done there. Remember the caravan coming to the US border across Central America? That was a symptom of US imperialism.
Today we are inundated with information overload and misinformation. We can’t trust the media. We don’t trust the government. We don’t trust the food we buy in stores. We are uneasy about our government’s relationship with Wall Street. We are upset about Citizen’s United and the idea that money can be used to buy laws and elections. We don’t trust elections.
We’re broke, broken, depressed, wary of incoming calls, skeptical about government studies, alarmed by climate change, defensive, sick, overworked, underpaid, and overwhelmed. The government isn’t doing a damn thing to correct the problems they’ve caused, and they’re not working on solutions for today’s many societal dilemmas. In fact, the government is making nearly everything worse with each new congress.
Our current efforts to make significant progress towards unity, justice, domestic tranquility, to promote the general welfare, AND our posterity are still being fought against by corporate interests and their minions.
3. Failure to Change
We can feel that there’s a serious lack of focus on fixing things.
We’re not doing what needs to be done to repair the damage done in the past.
We’re not exploring solutions for today’s significant problems.
We’re not looking at how to mitigate future problems we know are already starting to affect us all.
And we can feel this on a personal level (at least most of us can).
We’ve failed to address the future and we know it.
Every single time someone suggests a possible path to address our current problems or to mitigate problems we think might happen in the future, opponents cry out, “but but but we can’t afford that!”
So nothing gets done. There’s no accountability and no significant effort to correct shortcomings either.
We’ve known about what’s coming, and we know how we got here, but we’re not dealing with anything. Our government is playing a political game and we’re not allowed to change anything without the government’s permission.
Where do we go from here?
After reading this far many people will be at the “what the fuck do we do” stage. I hear you loud and clear. But the answers to the question of what to do are not going to go over well because the solutions aren’t easy.
Maybe it’s time to just say, “we’re fucked” and start over? We could be at that moment of clarity where we collectively decide to force an unexpected reboot!
Here’s a list of a few ways we can mitigate the damage, get on track to fix the country, and find ways of doing the right thing from now on:
- Get rid of lobbying and corporate influence in government and elections. Make it illegal, and hold people accountable, especially politicians.
- Make it a crime for corporations, lawmakers, and lawyers to take advantage of loopholes that harm the environment, the country, or reduce a company’s responsibilities to participate in our democracy fairly. And prosecute every case.
- Terminate Citizen’s United.
- Create a progressive tax for businesses that gross more than 10 million dollars per year that eliminates most deductions and ensures a minimum tax of 20% regardless of deductions.
- Make it impossible to add unrelated pork or earmarks to any bill under penalty of serious legal action. All laws should be succinct, clear, and transparent. Stuffing bills with unrelated fluff has to end.
- Make a 3-strikes law that holds the media accountable for sharing Fake News to audiences larger than 20,000 people. Upon a third violation, the FCC license is revoked for 30-days. For each additional violation the duration increases.
- Remove the tax-free status of all Churches and Non-Profits, introduce a minimum tax, and a limited list of tax deductions (no private jets, yachts, etc).
- Create a National Task Force to enforce the Federal Codes, Title 18, sections 241 and 241 with specific targeting of Law Enforcement agencies in all city, state, county, and federal jurisdictions. This agency can bypass the grand jury process and place suspect officers into criminal court and police departments into civil court stripping them of special protections if the case merits such expediency.
- Create a National Cost of Living Index (COLI)that accurately tracks and records monthly costs for all the needs of the people to thrive in America including housing, energy, communications, transportation, education, childcare, healthcare, hearing, dental, vision, food, and water.
- Create a Universal Basic Income that adjusts to the COLI monthly based on regional data. That UBI amounts to 90% of the basic COLI. For example, if the COLI of a city is $30,000 per year, the UBI would be $27,000 divided into 12 monthly payments.
- Using the COLI, create a minimum income that is used to determine if someone should not be taxed and instead receive a UBI. For example, if a person earned $25, 000 per year, they would receive $2,000 of UBI and not pay taxes that year. If they earned $40,000, they would pay a flat tax on the balance over $30,000 and not receive any UBI.
- Using the COLI, create a maximum income that is used to determine if someone should be taxed more and not receive a UBI. The maximum income should be no more than 300 times the COLI. If a person exceeds that amount, they pay 90% tax on the amount that exceeds 300 times the COLI. Example, a person makes $10,000,000 in a year in a $30,000 COLI city, they pay a progressive tax from say $150,000 to $1,000,000 of 30%, and 40% from 1 to 5 million, and 50% from 6 to 9 million. For those earning more than 9 million, they pay 90% of the excess of 9 million in taxes.
- Create a maximum debt interest of 7% for any and all credit, loans, mortgages, or any type of debt.
- Make it illegal for corporations to donate to campaigns, and make it a crime for corporations to buy media spots for candidates, and to run ads to promote or attack candidates.
- Every position of power in our government needs to have term limits. Including Supreme Court Justices. Period.
- Wall Street and other ‘market influencers’ should be required to pay taxes on all transactions and transfers.
- Any use of automation or robotic methodology deployed that reduces the need for human labor should have a tax associated with it that is earmarked for the Universal Basic Income fund.
- The only place where freedom of speech and freedom of assembly during peaceful protests should be controlled is when they interfere with public transportation, public use of roads and highways, inside public buildings. Protests should not be permitted at or near private homes or inside private businesses. No one should be in jail for peaceful protest.
- Whistleblowers should never face jail time for revealing the wrongdoing of the government or a corporation.
- Dissolve the two-party system over time. The sooner the better.
Those are just a few of what needs to be done to correct the direction the country is going.
I am sure I missed a few hundred things that are wrong with this country, and I am certain the list of things we can do to make it better is much longer than I alluded to herein. In the comments below, share what you feel needs to be fixed, changed or made better, and how we should do that.