We are a country in crisis. Besides an economic crisis, an energy crisis, a health care crisis, and any other crisis du jour, there is an actual crisis that supersedes all the other crises.
The Crazy, Insane, Dysfunctional: The United States of America
It’s The Crazy, The Insane, and The Dysfunctional. It’s a crisis that isn’t economic or political. It isn’t a foreign nation. It’s a crisis brought upon ourselves. It’s a crisis that we created and have no intention of stopping. It’s a crisis of stupidity.
The crazy defines our media, TV, print, radio. Quick, what’s the biggest story out there, nationally? The Ground Zero Mosque, right? And in my mind, there is no debate. If people want to build a mosque a few blocks away from Ground Zero, build a mosque. It doesn’t affect me. Islam did not knock down the Twin Towers. It was Al-Qaeda, a radical, extremist form of Islam. Any indication to the contrary is wrong, insulting to the Muslim community and an affront to the so called religious freedom we have in the country. There is no debate. The only debate is whether they can comply with local ordinances and pass building inspections. And, in reality, that’s not a debate.
CrazyBut instead of applauding the people responsible for bringing a Mosque near Ground Zero, the debate focuses on the “wisdom” of putting a Mosque near Ground Zero. Ground Zero may be hollowed ground, but it doesn’t include the surrounding areas. You know what’s near Ground Zero? A gentleman’s club, an OTB, a McDonald’s, and a bunch of other crap. If we are to believe in the words we preach, believe that religious freedom and tolerance is not just words on paper, then we build the mosque, and we don’t look back. We build it, we celebrate it. And we move on. We, as a nation, say we can practice whatever we religion we want.
We say that we will be accepting. But, debating the merits of a Mosque near Ground Zero is not tolerant. It’s not practicing religious freedom. Who cares if there is a Mosque near Ground Zero? There is nothing wrong with the Muslim people or the Islam religion. Al-Qaeda is a horrible faction of Islam. But, it’s not Islam. It’s batshit crazy. It’s terrorism. We’re not building a Mosque that supports Al-Qaeda beliefs. We’re building a Mosque. And we should be proud of it.
But don’t worry. Whatever your opinion is, it will all be over in a few days. The thing with the news cycle is that it’s just that: A cycle. News circulates for awhile, and then it goes away. Anyone know what’s going on in Haiti? How about the Chile earthquakes? What about the Gulf of Mexico? They’ve recovered? Oh, okay. If that’s what you say, media.
We get our news from a few places. MSNBC, a liberal station. CNN, a centrist station, but it’s so terrible that it doesn’t make a difference. And Fox News, a right wing station. It would be nice if CNN would actually deliver news. But watch a few minutes of Rick’s List and try to keep it on. You can’t.
It used to be noble to be a journalist. Now, you’re smeared for everything you write. What’s the real big story in our country? It’s probably the near 10% unemployment. Or the fact that our dependence on oil is worse than ever, and we need to start developing alternative sources of energy. Or maybe it’s the fact that the Gulf of Mexico was devastated by the BP oil spill. Maybe it’s a war in Afghanistan we’re fighting. Maybe it should be the fact that states are going bankrupt. Or the fact we have a $13 trillion dollar deficit. Or the fact our infrastructure is crumbling and our education system is failing our children. But no way in hell should it be the Ground Zero Mosque. It shouldn’t be Michele Obama going to Spain for a fucking vacation. It shouldn’t be Obama going on The View.
There are serious, complex issues facing our nation. Issues that will define us as a generation. Issues that will either point us in the direction of long term stability and prosperity or in the direction of debt and despair. But, yeah, let’s focus on the Mosque that people will forget about in a few days. It’s not like our nation’s future is depending on it.
We have two countries. Red. And Blue. Red has a very different belief system than Blue. Which is fine. Having different beliefs is what makes a country go. But, there’s having different beliefs and respecting that fact and there’s having different beliefs and not giving a crap about the other. In fact, Red and Blue don’t communicate. They criticize. They ridicule. They mock. In Red’s mind, anything that Blue does is crazy and vice versa. In Blue’s mind, Red is never right and vice versa. Red is the enemy of Blue, Blue the enemy of Red. We are not a country that believes in United We Stand, Divided We Fall, but, rather, United We Fall, Divided We Stand. It’s better for one country to gain the upper hand, both in government and in population.
That way, that country can can assert it’s dominance. We The People are not We anymore. We’re Them. We’re alone in our own world. A Blue Country resident who lives in Red is an outcast. Plop a red-stater in Blue, and they will stand out more than Lady Gaga. We are no longer defined by our nation, but rather, our political beliefs. I’m a Democrat. I’m Blue. Therefore, according to Red, I want to pull the plug on Grandma, raise taxes, increase spending, start spreading socialism and stop protecting our troops. In reality, I do want to raise taxes, but I want to decrease spending. I don’t want to spread socialism. I want to protect and help our troops as much as possible. But, since all Blues are made alike, my individual beliefs will never be heard.
Individualism. The ability to say and do what you want. To not feel beholden by a standard you didn’t create. That’s one of the cornerstones of this country. But, if I tell a Red I’m a Blue, my individualism is immediately corrupted. I’m no longer Me. I’m one of Them.
We used have to debate. We used to have a dialogue. Yeah, Red disagreed with Blue, but it was always with respect, and there was always a compromise to be made. But then you have this shit, and it’s impossible to compromise:
If that’s the level of discourse, then fuck it. Because what’s the point of standing and trying to have an honest discussion about the issues of our time when someone is focused on a fucking birth certificate? There is no point. That is our discourse. That is our discussion. There is no compromise there. There are no solutions to be found. There is only anger. There is only an argument. There is only a nation of yellers, not of thinkers.
We can sit and pretend we have some unity, but let’s face it, the only time there is unity in this country is during the Olympics and after a National tragedy. The Olympics are every two years. And National tragedies only last in our minds for a little bit. So no, we don’t have unity. We are not the United States of America. We are Red. And We are Blue. If you’re somewhere in the middle, you’re fucked.
Quick, name your two senators. Mine are Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand. Now, quick, name their positions on key issues. Well, since my Senators are both Democrats, their “position” is the Democratic position: More Stimulus, health care for all, etc, etc. The United States Senate and House of Representatives used to be one of the most respected institutions in the world. These were noble men and women.
But, now, instead of being beholden to the people, to their constituents, they are beholden to their party, to whoever gives them enough money. The US government has seemingly lost track of what’s important.
They’re more tied up in short term things, sound bites to help in their re-election campaigns. No one dare touches the issue of taxation and spending. All taxes have to be lowered, they say. The sad truth is, the more taxes are lowered, the more we’re in a shit hole. All spending must be cut, but the military must never be touched. And while spending needs to be cut, there are plenty of places in the Defense budget that can be cut. We can’t talk about increasing taxes a bit to pay for a clean energy economy–one that will, by the way, bring millions of millions of jobs and release us from the chokeholds of Middle Eastern countries–because it’s seen as a government takeover. My definition of government is this: Do for the people what they can’t do for themselves. The people haven’t been able to create a clean energy economy–the government must.
But because everything requires 60 votes in the Senate, and all bills passed in the majority rules House of Representatives must be passed in the Senate, and then reconciled between the two and voted on again, nothing gets done. Republicans will filibuster all bills. Democrats will do the same when Republicans are in power. So, while the issues of are time are real, the minority will never help the majority, God forbid they anger their base or be seen standing with the other party. I mean, for God’s sake, Florida Governor Charlie Crist was vilified for hugging the President of the United States. The Fucking President of the United States. The President wants to hug you, and you hug back. But Crist will probably lose his Senate bid because he was seen as siding with Obama. He gave the guy a fucking hug. If you can’t hug someone, for fear of losing your base, what kind of base is that?
But, that’s the game we have. Who gives a fuck about policy? Because policy, the things that will actually get us out of our shit hole, doesn’t satisfy the crazy. Having a real debate about real issues isn’t sexy. So, we yell and scream, and Senators lie and accuse each other of shit that doesn’t even matter. It’s not politics. It’s war.
We The People, The Crazy, The Insane, The Dysfunctional. We are in a spiral of despair. And unless the curlicue whimsy of fate is on our side, nothing will stop it. Unless, that is, we, the people, decide to say enough is enough and make a change. Rise up and demand accountability from our media. Rise up and demand real solutions from our government. Eliminate the R or D next to someone’s name. Forget about Blue and Red and realize our shared power is better than it is separated. We, The People, must understand that if we let this silly game we call our society continue, that we will look back on our lives as a failure. This is our generation’s greatest task. We must bring a country back from the dead.
And while I may be an optimist, I’m not stupid. Solving the issues of our time will requires a mass cultural change. A change in what we believe , in what we think, in how we think. A change in our actions. A change in our mindset. This cannot be the work of one person. Can’t be the work of a few hundred. Everyone must pitch in. Everyone must put on their hard hat and get to work. We are a country that is dying. And we’re worried about a Mosque. Sure, that’s the appropriate response. No. Fuck it. Let’s get to fucking work. Because we have no choice. We have no fucking choice.