Why do we Americans accept failure and decline?

For the past 40 years or so, the USA has been in economic decline.  The proportion of Americans who can’t pay their bills has grown, the industrial base has been hollowed out, wealth has been concentrated at the top, drug addiction and suicide have increased.

Public opinion polls indicate that most Americans understand this, and want something done about it.  But each successive administration—Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, Donald Trump and now Joe Biden—has been devoted to propping up the status quo.

Our governmental system is a mess.  We can’t do simple things like keep our roads, bridges and electric power grid in repair, provide basic medical care for all Americans or ensure that all school children are literate and numerate.

Again, most Americans are aware of this and would like something better, but nothing happens.

For the past quarter century, the USA has waged a series of wars without a clear goal and without clear results, except to keep the military-industrial complex in existence and the world in chaos.

I think Americans are beginning to wake up to the extent to which their patriotism has been abused and to the need to rebuild at home, but the bipartisan consensus for war continues.

Back in the 1960s, there were leaders who sought to unite Americans for economic justice and for peace.  But Robert F. Kennedy snf the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X were assassinated and Walter Reuther, the great labor leader, died.  Malcolm X, the Black Muslim, and Fred Hampton, the black power advocate, who had begun to turn to a more universalist message, also were killed.

Since then there have been policies from above whose effect has been to keep the peace, labor and civil rights movements apart.  The AFL-CIO was split off from the peace movement by funding by the Central Intelligence Agency to support of anti-Communist labor unions abroad.   The civil rights movement was split off from the labor movement by Ford Foundation grants to encourage separate black development; the Ford Foundation also is a major funder of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Today the majority of college-educated white liberals have given up on equal rights for all, and instead concentrate on affirmative action for more narrowly defined racial, ethnic and sexual minorities.  Not that there’s anything wrong, in and of itself, with being anti-Communist, black self-determination or any of these other causes.  What’s wrong is the rejection of solidarity by the advocates of these causes.

I think things may change when people high up in the power structure realize that the lack of national unity endangers their own lives and fortunes.  They are threatened by COVID-19.  They are threatened by global climate catastrophe.  They would suffer if the U.S. blunders into war with Russia.

But maybe not.  Maybe they’ve come to believe their own propaganda.  Then it will be up to we the people to rise above our differences and do what’s needed.

LINKS

The Double Bind of Maintaining The Schismogenesis: A Theory of Wokeness by Howie Klein for Down With Tyranny!  Very clear (despite the fancy title) and important.

What Is a Rolling Civil War? by Thomas Neuburger for Down With Tyranny!

How the Meltdown Became an Insurrection by David Sirota for The Daily Poster.  [Hat tip to Bill Harvey]

 

 

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3 Responses to “Why do we Americans accept failure and decline?”

  1. Fred (Au Natural) Says:

    If I were Biden I’d try to offer Russia membership in NATO. It would be a fine trick if we could get the other members of NATO to go along with it.

    Russia is clearly in much worse shape than the West. Their birth rate plummeted below replacement and they don’t have a large population to begin with. Their economy is already a mess.

    They have a “near-peer” military compared to the US and China but that costs a LOT of money. Maintaining it is a very big reason why their economy is stuck in the doldrums. NATO is no threat. Only someone who is delusional could imagine western Europe pouring over the border. There is neither the will nor the military force to do it. He could drastically reduce his military and drastically improve his country.

    There only reason there are large armies in Europe at all is that Russia is still thought a threat. (The current “war plan” is to play rope-a-dope until the Brits and the French get their act together and the Americans start showing up in force.) All kinds of wonderful arms reduction agreements would be possible. Economic agreements would follow the military ones.

    I’m not holding my breath. Too much chest-beating going on. And the Czar of Russia refuses to admit to himelf that Russia isn’t a superpower anymore.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. philebersole Says:

    In 1990, Mikhail Gorbachev asked to join NATO. He said that if the Cold War was over, there was no longer a reason for an anti-Russian alliance. In 1991, Boris Yeltsin made the same request, and was turned down.

    Instead, Russia was invited to join the Partnership for Peace, a structure for cooperation between Russia, the NATO countries and other European countries.

    Vladimir Putin renewed the request in 2001. He said that NATO should either accept Russia, be dissolved or be replaced by a larger security organization open to all European countries, including Russia.

    Liked by 2 people

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