September 2008

Are we a great nation, or what?

By Galen Larson

Are we a great nation, or what?

In the present circumstances, I would answer, “Or what.”

It’s hard to believe that a single administration could bring this great country to its knees in eight short years. We elected a group who in their haste to show their ignorance of the Middle East attacked the wrong country. Here now after we have seen 4,000-plus soldiers killed and 20,000-plus wounded mentally and physically we have finally found Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, we the people have turned a Communist country into a superpower. Thank you, Sam Walton, China should erect a statue of you in Tiananmen Square. But of course you couldn’t do it alone, you needed the greedy, self-serving American consumer. We want it cheap and we want it now.

But we are about to pay the piper. We are still mired in a war perpetrated on people we don’t know anything about, except that we fear them because of their religious zealotry. As if we were the only righteous ones, forgetting our demonic history on our path to everlasting life. The yoke is on us — not the joke, but the yoke, as most religions are based on fear and suppression and a good dose of hate.

Selfish, greedy, self-centered, intolerant, proud of our ignorance of other people, maintaining our lifestyle by subjugating the economies of other nations — that’s us.

The truth hurts. Being a Democrat, I find it hard to give Republicans any credit, but sometimes they accidentally speak the truth. One of McCain’s former campaign managers, Phil Gramm, said we have become a nation of whiners. And he was right.

Now that the economic cinch is tightening we have forgotten our young in Iraq and think only about the cost of our food and gas. My goodness, I can’t afford to drive my Hummer, pay my credit-card debit, keep my 5,000-square-foot-home, and take my vacation to Aruba! But what do we need energy for? With our heads so full of air, we ought to be able to just jump in the air and float to wherever we want.

Everything is all about me. Only seven kids know the meaning of the Fourth of July. How could they, when it’s all about mattress sales and furniture sales, barbecues and fireworks made for us in Communist China? God bless America. Three out of 10 of our young are not fit for military service due to criminal records, lack of education or being out of shape. after going to schools where the hall and cafeterias are stocked with fast food and soft drinks. Are we a great nation or what?

We pay rapt attention when our news media revel in the sexual escapades of celebrities or elected officials, but we ignore information that might truly affect our lives, like the rape of the planet by corporate conglomerates.

Newspapers are dying but TV and the Internet are flourishing. The main use of the Internet is still for porn. TV is no better. The FCC is supposed to keep the “trash” off the air by not letting us see any women’s breasts. Instead we are inundated with nonsensical programs that are an insult to the mind of a 2-year-old. And violence — oh, boy, we can’t get enough of that. Grim, gruesome crime shows with ever-more-hideous murders to jar our jaded senses. All this helps keep the gun issue alive, by convincing us that murderers are around every corner and only bigger and better guns can save us.

And these TV shows must make the car manufacturers happy, with all those car crashes! Not to mention the ads showing people speeding around hairpin turns, splashing through muddy mountain roads in four-wheelers and blasting over pristine hillsides in pickups. Zero to 60 in four seconds flat, the new Caddy ad proclaims! Wonder why so many of our young get killed in stupid accidents.

Yet we still cling to the idea that we are the world’s leaders, a nation of push-your-chest-out, pull-yourself-upby- the-bootstraps independent thinkers. Truth is, we can no longer push our chests out because our bellies get in the way. And we can’t pull up our bootstraps — everyone is wearing Nikes made by slave labor in foreign countries. Need a laugh? The news recently showed a group of union members marching to protest losing their jobs to overseas workers. The leader of the group was wearing a Nike ballcap. Don’t laugh too hard — our American Legion is selling a nice ballcap with the American eagle emblem, made in Sri Lanka.

Should we care? You bet. Or our great country that we are all so proud of could at breakneck speed become a Third World country, while China takes over as world leader without firing a shot.

Galen Larson writes from rural Montezuma County, Colo.