It is better to be an outcast, a stranger in one’s own country, than an outcast from one’s self. It is better to see what is about to befall us and to resist than to retreat into the fantasies embraced by a nation of the blind.
Chris Hedges

Friday, July 25, 2008

A Watershed Moment

Although I am safe enough here in New Zealand, I feel a vertigo over happenings throughout the world. It is easy to criticize America for the war, neo-conservatism, and their refusal to combat climate change, but the truth is that all of our freedoms worldwide are dependent on a strong, secure, and just America.
America's refusal to heed global warming is not because they don't believe the scientists, it is simply because there is no political will or profit in it. And yet Congress and Senate voted a $300 billion Housing Bill to stop the erosion of the middle-class. A further $300, or so billion was recently allocated to subsidize farmers. The ripples of the current economic crisis will touch everyone. A fiscal meltdown seems all but inevitable; as living costs skyrocket and the value of US currency plummets.
Material wealth is important, but I'm more concerned about the erosion of a legal system that made individual rights and freedoms the cornerstone of what America represented. In the face of institutions like Abu Ghraib and legislation like the Patriot Act a great society seems to have lost its moral compass. Future historians may look back at the Supreme Court's decision to give the presidential election to George Bush, 8 years ago, as a defining moment in America's fall. In truth George Bush should never have gotten that close to begin with. Clinton had just quarterbacked an economic miracle where americans had a balanced budget and zero deficit within their grasp. That should have been the legacy that Al Gore campaigned on. But when Clinton chose to have relations with 'that woman', he took himself out as an effective campaigner in 2000 and put enough of a blemish on Al Gore's campaign to have made the difference. Indeed, his residue probably cost Hilary her shot at the presidency.
Obama may have the star power to pull America back from the abyss, but I don't think it matters anymore whether Barak Obama or John McCain are elected on the second Tuesday this November. It seems the only path left for a cornered America is to expand militarization to some kind of end-game. Hitler used war to get out from under the weight of the Versailles Treaty. Saddam Hussein chose to invade Kuwait, rather than pay them back for financing the Iran/Iraq conflict. I fear that today's America will pay any price to keep what they have. The United States of America stands at a watershed today, and I pray she finds the strength to weather the coming storm.

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