The Fits and Screams of a Dying Nation

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It isn’t difficult to find deafening vitriol in American politics today.  Comment sections of political, social, and religious websites are littered with poisonous diatribes, insults, and threats. Even news sites are riddled with the bullet holes of seething, scathing, demonizing hatred and rhetoric. The 2016 presidential election has become the monster it was always meant to be. It is the beast that will devour a nation.

Can you hear the fits and screams of a dying nation?  If you don’t, chances are you are willfully feeding the beast.  If you do, then you’ll understand what I’m about to say.

Read some of the comment sections of the websites I mentioned earlier and you will inevitably come across some of the sharper, more vitriolic, diatribes from “patriots”. The meaning of the word, in the minds of these commenters, is far from what I’ve understood it to be.  As I understood it, the word “patriot” had a universal meaning in America.  It represented a commitment to freedom for all people in the United States of America.  To that end, wars were fought to preserve that freedom and compromise was the foundation of its governance. Differences of opinion were just that.  Differences.  When push came to shove, we always found a way to work through it all. Now, take a look at the national motto E Pluribus Unum (Out of Many One). Isn’t that the arrow that pointed to freedom for millions of people from all over the world?  Isn’t America supposed to be a melting pot masterfully designed by the nation’s forefathers, and held up as an example of what was possible?

When I hear the word “patriot” today, I cringe.  In most cases it’s being used as a declaratory barrier of self-righteousness, tribalism, and condemnation.  Who is, and is not, a “patriot” is no longer determined by a commitment to freedom and its foundation of compromise.  It’s determined by party affiliation, religion, race, culture… just about anything people want it to be other than what it truly is. Today, the question, “Are you a patriot?” has become an assessment of one’s indoctrination and conditioning for admission into the club of authoritarianism. The word has been parlayed into a call to arms, a referendum against anyone who doesn’t share the same political, religious or social values.  It’s an inducement for uncivil discourse. It’s an indictment of diversity.  It’s the judge, jury, and executioner, for anyone who will not submit.

“Patriot” used to be a word that felt visceral, tangible, normal.  It held a certain romance of fortune, knowing how lucky it is to be a part of a free nation.  Now, it embodies the fits and screams of a dying nation turning against itself, destroying compromise and devouring the freedom it once stood for.

Blind Trust, Faith = Fail

At the age of 13, my parents removed the white veil from their marriage to reveal darkness and extremely well hidden truth:  My father didn’t want to be married to my mother, and my mother reacted to it by projecting my father’s transgressions, and her hatred for him and men in general, on me after their divorce.  My reaction? I rebelled against all authority. My lower-middle-class storybook family life was a lie. My trust and faith in the only thing that had really mattered to me for 13 years was destroyed.

One of the hardest lessons for anyone to learn in life is that blind trust and faith always equals fail.  Skepticism, wariness, doubt… These are the tools with which an individual can mitigate the potential destructive forces that dot the landscape of life.  Questioning everything, and giving no quarter to blind trust in anything or anyone, is what has kept me alive from the age of 13 until today.  Now, at the age of 55, and with 42 years of life experiences -many of which I would never wish upon anyone- I’m extremely jaded and distrustful of everyone and everything.  It’s my distrust that keeps me alive.

Consider reality…

I learned a long time ago that evidence and facts are the cornerstone of logical and reasoned thinking.  No evidence?  No facts?  No trust.  Period.  And even if evidence and facts exist in support of, or against any particular person, idea, or thing… The wisest course of action is to be cautious and willing to adapt to new evidence and facts, if and when they become evident.  It is with this in mind that I offer you the worldwide social, political and religious events of the last 75 years to consider.  The results of these events, in my humble opinion, have led the world to the very real possibility of human extinction within, what may be left of, my lifetime.  Consider the evidence and facts that I think support my current opinion… Religious and political terrorism, the world wide rise of populist fascistic nationalism, political demagogues, corporate monopolies, bigotry, racism, tribalism, income inequality, the assault on women’s reproductive rights… Add to this ever-growing-list of human societal ills, the very real and indisputable fact of global climate change.  Now… Take a moment to consider this… There are eight sovereign nation states that, combined, possess 10,300 nuclear warheads capable of destruction on a scale never seen in human history. And every one of these eight sovereign nation states have harbored, or currently harbor, some form of ill will toward one another. (The mere existence of these weapons of mass destruction is the result of their development and use in WWII against Japan. Now add the biases and fears and any one of these eight nation states might deploy them at any time. Preemptively or defensively)

Trust?  Faith?  Fail.

Blind Trust, Faith = Demagogue = Human Extinction

In the United States, 26% of eligible voters voted for Donald Trump in the November 2016 presidential election.  48% of eligible voters didn’t vote for either presidential candidate.  In effect, a minority 26% of eligible voters were empowered by a majority 48% of eligible voters to gleefully hand over the keys of the U.S. nuclear arsenal to a man who many (including those of his own party) feel is woefully unfit to hold the presidency.  Never mind the ridiculous number of outright lies, misinformation, re-directs, projection, and chicanery perpetrated by Trump and his campaign team.  As horrific as they are, few people have addressed his competence to be the leader of the free world, or for that matter, arguably the most powerful leader in the world.  Although there are a few psychiatrists who have undertaken distant evaluation and diagnosis of Trump, the mainstream media has yet to seriously question his mental stability… Even after 50 members of Trump’s own party (GOP) questioned his temperament.

Blind Trust, Faith… 48% of eligible voters either didn’t care or couldn’t make up their mind, giving 26% of eligible voters license to essentially rule the world by leveling the muzzle of the U.S. nuclear arsenal into the face of the world. 59,705,000 U.S. citizens -a portion of which hold serious xenophobic, racist, bigoted, fascist, fundamentalist and dominionist christian beliefs- have given the most lethal form of weaponry man has ever devised to a man who can only recite “I’ll be great for _______” and who is so easily slighted by any form of criticism that he feels the need to broadcast his mentally unstable anguish in 140 character bursts of extreme childish insecurity. 26% of eligible voters believed 100% of the lies. Now the world will pay for it.

Blind Trust, Faith = Fail

Blind Trust, Faith = Demagogue = Human Extinction