This post is devoted to a snapshot of my week in the empire called America. I say a snapshot because these are the things that have stuck out in my mind this past week.
How I would love to read the same type of post from a citizen of Rome. Just one little snippet of what life was like back then and what a relatively normal citizen thought about. Well, I write this post for the future inhabitants of planet Earth. May this post survive 1000 years so they may see what a certain international citizen is currently thinking about on 1.1.2012.
1. The Right
I sometimes like to turn on AM radio and listen to the Right screech. I never really know who is screeching since I do not pay that much attention unless they are a major radio personality. This week I turned on an AM station in the 600s in San Francisco.
There are two personalities on this station and one became upset that the listeners became concerned he was not supporting a certain few Republican candidates enough. His position was that he “didn’t give a crap” about who he was hurting or not. He clarified later that he was talking politically but I cannot help but conclude that he meant people in general. He became all excited and told his own listeners “F*ya.” His colleague was quite shocked and asked him to tone it down. This only made him more excited and he continued to rant and rave. It was at this point that the producer chimed in and informed him that he really should not tell his own customers to “F*off.”
So, it has come to this. The radio personalities on the right become so angry and excited that they tell their own customers to F*off.”
What can I tell you, future inhabitants, other than we are currently living in a circus culture. On the Right, the purpose is to be so outraged, so angry and it must be continued every single day. The theme is daily outrage and anger.
People that run radio shows like this, it is their duty to be upset every single day and they can never deviate from this. Their popularity is based on rage and this rage must be continued. It creates an expectation and to continue and please their listeners they can never cede once single inch to the other side.
I then tuned in again to Sean Hannity and was very surprised that he had a well known liberal on his show. No need to go into details but the liberal made a very good point that Obama had walked in to a mess. Hannity did not cede an inch but did treat the caller with respect. I could not help but wonder what Hannity in all his experience thinks personally. Of course he cannot say so as his popularity is not derived from the truth but instead on the simple narrative of Obama hate.
Even if Obama had done great things: Implemented healthcare, got out of Iraq, eliminated Osama, contained Iran, the radio personalities on the right simply cannot give him any credit. To do so would weaken their own livelihoods.
2. The Grouping of the population
Just like the Japanese, Americans also like to be associated with groups. It becomes part of their character. If it were the NFL, some like the Packers, some like the Broncos. Some are Republicans, some are Democrats. Just as with their NFL affiliation, no matter what good the other side does it can never be credited if one belongs to the other side. It has become as simple as that.
I like the Broncos ergo, the Packers suck.
I am a Republican ergo, the Democrats suck.
Intelligent people transcend such silly boundaries but it has infected the political culture as well. There is no concern about the well being of the nation so long as the other side is in control. It has in effect, become a zero sum game. If one side does well, it diminishes the other in the minds of most citizens.
3. We are Rome.
The citizenry is concerned with entertainment. If you turn on the TV the citizens are wondering who sung the best, who danced the best, who got the bachelor and yes who won the NH primary. Politics in this country has become the equivalent of a puppet show. On the Right, war has also become entertainment.
In the past, such as with WW11 war was something that the entire nation was involved in and was necessary. Now, it is which country we can dominate today and which humans a drone has destroyed today.
The citizens have no idea what it would be like to be fearful of a drone attack by a foreign land. Americans have come to seen it as normal to have their own drones attacking other human beings. Can you imagine what it would be like to have drones from China circling overhead in the USA?
The point is that Americans have come to see domination as simply a fact of life. America dominates other countries and it can never be the other way. A drone attack barely makes the headlines anymore. Yet should the reverse be true you can bet that it would never leave the headlines and the psychology would forever be changed.
Just like the Romans who became accustomed to being the dominate force, always on a war footing so have the Americans become. Yet, one day the barbarians came and took over Rome and the citizens were not prepared.
American remains a great country and has done much so much better than most great superpowers in history. My point with this post is that there are internal forces pulling America this way and that. To remain great, we really should have debates on our interventions in other countries and just how much we should seek to dominate the world.
The only politician to raise such issues is Ron Paul yet he is derided by his own party and told to “go back to the mother ship.”
As we can see in the Republican primary, the candidates are pandering to their base and advocating war!
Therefore, I can only conclude that a majority of Republicans wish for war, they wish for death, so long as it occurs in a country far away and no sacrifice is necessary.
They tune in for a moment to advocate death and then return to their armchairs so they can watch the latest program to see who sings and/or dances the best.
America has become Rome. It is an entertainment culture. There is no room for philosophy, there is no room for an honest discussion. It has become one for entertainment and entertainment for all.
I for one am very disheartened by the state of the Nation and although this country has done better than most in a historical regard I cannot help but wonder if it will burn itself out quickly.
Will the USA sputter and die over hundreds of years just as Rome or will it find the strength within itself to persevere and become strong again. To the Right that means electing a Republican overlord to advocate war, suppress the world and create a free for all for the citizens. To the left it also means suppressing the world yet taking care of those that have not succeeded. There are very few who advocate a non-interventionist stance except for Ron Paul.
In this democracy you have to pander to the base, and the base is busy watching a stupid T.V, program.
Welcome to America.