Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Straw and the Camel called America

   Things haven't been the same since......?
   Fill in the blank.
   Wave your generation's tattered old flag. Choose the poison you think everyone's been taking since.....?
   What's made us weak, us Americans?
   "Britain!!' said the founding fathers. "Banks!!" said the Jacksonians, "Disunity"said Lincoln,  to which the Rad Republicans replied "The South!!', the Gilded age barons said "The Weak", The Edwardians said, "Income Tax!!" , the Warriors to End all Wars quoted Washington, "Foreign Quarrels!!", the Greatest generation was about to say something profound and quite possibly change this country forever but then they all got drafted and for decades afterwards said "Reinstate the draft!", the Baby Boomers said "Everything!!" was wrong about America  ....and then they voted in Reagan who proved there's an exception to every rule even a Greatest one.
   I'd pretty much meld the teens and twenty somethings of the next three decades - 70's punks, 80's nihilists, and the 90s underground because all of them were caught by the first tsunami of mega capitalism and simply because they were the last kids to live when there WAS an underground, when the eyes and teeth of the internet couldn't find out your every inkling toward rebellion and make it pay.
   Taking a website page from Moore's law, or copying and pasting it ...or, even worse, should we say 'internalizing it".... there seems now to be a new generation every two years, a movement in every other county.....kind of like how there's a new grey and a new black at the Gap every other season. Yeah, I just dated myself there.....let's say kind of like how there's a new "custom made' sneaker every 4 months at....whatever the local pop up shop around you is called.
  Kind of like how you keep kids from crying. Give them new stuff. All the time. Don't worry, the dam of tears won't break and do anyone any harm until after they've moved out of the house and call themselves adults. "Hey, we're not liable..."
  That could be what makes America weak.
  I scaled this question back to the revolution because I want to posit that the fault - what makes America weak- is not in our stars but in us and has always been so.
  But before I try and prove that that can of worms has always been open I'll say this - What makes us weak is that we think escalators are elevators.
  We get on them and we stand as if we've just rented a cabin by the sea and we're gonna park there till the lease is up.
   Possessed by the idea that possession is 9/10ths of some law, damned if we'd imagine someone behind us might be late for work or late to catch a plane or late to get to their mom dying in a hospital, we occupy the escalator.
  What's happened here? When did egalitarian America decide not to make room? Not to give someone else a chance? Not to take more than your share?
  Stand to the fucking right and let people go by.
  Escalators are not Orange County. They are not your golf tee. They are not the four top in a Starbucks you've just colonized with your homework.
   Escalators are still stairs, the just move a little.
  They're like the highway: there's a fast lane and there's a slow lane. If you want not only to go slow but to stop entirely, stand to the right please......excuse me, could I slide by here?......pardon me, could you take the headphones off for a sec,...... sir could you just shift that bag a couple inches?.....HEY, GET THE FUCK OUT OF THE WAY.
   thank you.
   Now back to the core problem in American history.
   It's easy.
   Money and Jesus had a baby and that little demon's been torturing this country since the Dutch landed.
  oh....wait a minute, gotta get this text.....


  1. Some valid points. I enjoy your writing a lot; please keep doing it.

    Personally, I think the problem is that now with 24/7 Internet and media, we live in a comparison society. Daily feeds of our supposed victimization. We are not content to be our best selves anymore – we want what “they” have, but that has been combined that with fast food, micro-wave cooking mentality of instant gratification combined with entitlement.

    Not for better but sadly it turns out for worse, each generation from the start of this country wanted to make it easier for their kids. John Adams : “I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy.” Unfortunately, a dozen generations later we are soft with luxuries and participation trophies and programmed to be stupid not only for purposes of control but most prefer it that way. Now, we the people … “anxiously hopes for just two things: bread and circuses.”

  2. Just wondering...
    Are you more interested in comments on the topic (and your approach of it) of each of your post or on the form?

    Loved the : "Money and Jesus had a baby and that little demon's been torturing this country since the Dutch landed."
    Well-chosen! Had me smile :-)
    Can we say: "what a coinage!"?
    Thank you for helping me improving!

  3. Years ago I went to school in the UK and I was shocked over and over again about one thing. During conversations about our futures (often over many pints) my classmates would share their dreams and goals about what they wanted to do after the course. For many, but not all, they would shoot down their own big dreams just after they had launched it into the air. There wasn't even time for it to take flight. Gone. Not possible. I would challenge them and ask why. These were intelligent, educated, creative and caring people. The short answer was, "Just because." They felt they didn't have the right to dream big and create even bigger.
    I think one of the greatest things about America is also our most tremendous vulnerability. We believe we have the right to do what we want. But when that feeling is coupled with technology and culture that is catering to the lowest common denominator of human instincts, instead of reaching towards the higher (and just as innate) needs of all humans, it is a dangerous cocktail. When you have a nation that overall feels it has the right to do what it wants but has the simultaneous feeling of being disempowered a futility arises that leads most of us towards self-absorption and self-preservation.
    Living in America we believe we deserve to have or at least try to get what we want. But as wonderful as the 24/7 access can be it is a seductress and has slowly left us disempowered. We have left our values and common decency (of moving over when someone wants to pass us) for that momentary Pavlovian hit of feeling important when we get a FB like or a text. Why? Because our innate need to be relevant, and matter, and belong has gotten high jacked and distorted and used to sell us stuff, to sell out, and to forget that what we really want is human connection.
    When we realize that noticing someone who wants to pass us on the escalator is actually more important that who liked our FB post we might begin to return to reality. And there might be hope again that this country - which was founded on great ideals - can empower itself in the way it was intended: through the individuals that collectively need to be brave enough to look in the mirror and take responsibility for their lives. They wont make a reality TV show about this. It is a daily practice. Maybe we can start a FB page and see how many people like it...Free the escalator movement