Monthly Archives: July 2013

America Your America, Part 5

Certainly, the twisted knots into which the United States Supreme Court and the Florida electorate tied themselves in order to certify the 2000 election of George W. Bush were an important crossroads in the accelerating decay of America’s governing class. But even that was merely an inflection point in a process that has been unfolding for at least the last fifty years.
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America Your America, Part 4

As I noted before, it is a daunting task indeed to find commonality in a nation of over 300 million souls. After all, the northern, southern, eastern, and western regions all have their distinctive characteristics, and, beneath all that, the rich and the poor. For what can someone who earns $25,000 per year in Louisiana have in common with someone in New York making that sum in an hour? And yet, especially in times of national triumph and tragedy: E pluribus unum – out of many, one.
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America Your America, Part 3

All societies are defined by the two social orders under which their members live, and in this America is no different. One involves the culture, cravings, conspicuous consumption, and civic responsibility of the moneyed class. The other involves the daily trials, tribulations, triumphs, and tragedies of the common people – defined as those not fortunate to have been born into perpetual wealth.
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All right we are two nations

The ever poignant Charles Pierce writes of the verdict of the Trayvon Martin shooting, in words I could never match. But in this I disagree: the verdict was indeed about race, because everything in this country is about race when you are not a member of the one race that is, at least in the state of Florida, licensed to kill.

This was never about guns. This was never about the tragic death of a teenager walking home from the store. This was never about hoodies, or stalking, or gated communities. This was never about the law and justice. Because those not of that favored race know very well, every hour of every day, what the words “law” and “justice” really mean in this country.

This case was about fear: fear of losing power; fear of irrelevance; fear of losing the privileged status endowed by membership in that one race; fear that those gates can no longer keep those others out; fear of living in a world of true equality, where all bets are off.

For that is what race is about in this country: not the color of one’s skin, but the color of one’s fear. And what we now know, as if we really needed another lesson, is that the fear of that one, still privileged race is still more important than any concept of “law” and “justice.”

We are indeed two nations, two races. One race living in angst. All others living in perpetual fear of finding themselves on the business end of that angst, at any time, at any place, even as a carefree youth walking home from the store.

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America Your America, Part 2

It is not easy to put one’s finger on the unique characteristics of a nation, especially one as large and diverse as America. It is, after all, the sum total of fifty officially “united states,” plus various territories, possessions, commonwealths, protectorates, influenced areas, and other classifications, covering the majority of races, creeds, and organized theologies on this tiny planet. And, yet, I believe there are a few generalizations that apply to what some would term to be distinctively “American.”
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America Your America, Part 1

As I write, profoundly inspired by these words written over seventy years ago, highly civilized human beings may be scanning my phone records, tracking the location of my cell phone, examining my credit card purchases, observing my movements via video and robot drone, and making record of these very words, all in the name of defending a free and open society.
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1984? Who cares? That’s the point.

George Orwell’s famous novel 1984 is invariably invoked when discussing misuse of government power. As a primer for the horrors of totalitarianism, the novel excels, and is enduring. But the surface horror it describes is only skin deep. The deeper horror, for me, is this: what if we lived in a totalitarian state and nobody cared?
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