Saturday, July 05, 2008
Fourth of July 2008 - A View from the Looking Glass
Like every other Fourth of July, there were BBQ's, fireworks, and baseball games. It seemed as though people were having a good time in the hot summer sun. However, even with all the traditional celebrating of our independence from Britain, there was an undercurrent of anxiety.
Right now, the economy is taking a spiraling downturn and it has created a stress in the air that could be felt by anyone. Vacations have been limited or canceled because of the soaring cost of fuel and food. It also didn't help that the Times ran an article titled, "Outlook Darker as Jobs are Lost and Wages Stall." We all know that the country that we were celebrating is in trouble. However, there were still patriotic bumper stickers and flags waving everywhere, demonstrating a hope of the fundamental basics that so many fought and died for, and continue to do so. Currently, we are fighting a debilitating war in Iraq without any idea of how to pay for it - or how to end it. No one has any idea how to cope with the crisis, or turn the economy around. Locks are being changed and homes are being foreclosed on across the country and working families who are lucky enough to meet their mortgage payments are watching their neigborhoods decline. We can build very expensive new football and baseball stadiums around the country, but we can't help the people in New Orleans or help reconstruct the World Trade Center site that was destroyed almost seven years ago.
Our executive branch is out of control as well. For example, George Washington prohibited the torture of captives in wartime, but the executive branch not only condones it, but it actively promotes it. This year, when we vote for a new president, we have the perfect opportunity to bring the truth into the sunlight. We'll have the opportunity to take a realistic look at all the trivia and sort out who will move us forward and actually plug up the drain that we're circling. The executive branch does not have a divine right to waste our resouces and our people's lives for their own personal gain.
Patriotism is great, but when you're waving a flag over a constitution that has been essentially been used as fuel to light a fire to hell, then we need to take a closer look at what's most important here. Who is running this show, anyway? I'll tell you who. It's big money, a paralyzed political process, a neglected infrastructure, a huge divide between the very wealthy and everyone else, and a catastrophic drop in the way the rest of the world views us.
Let the Fourth of July holiday remind us that we need to roll up our sleeves to better position ourselves and set the standard for the 21st century. The U.S. still has enormous economic and military power, but that privledge cannot be wasted indefinately. We all need to take an honest and firm stand with the state of the nation and be creative with ideas for moving forward. As Americans, our lives have gotten out of hand, but we can take it back by being vocal with our opinions and voting with our own best interests in mind.