When I wrote this piece, the Tea Party was just starting to rise in opposition to Obama’s … well, it certainly wasn’t his being black that was an issue, so it must have been abuse of power or something like that. But the process that got us to where we are today was just starting. What was it like? It was remarkably predictable, sadly. Here we are, a bit lower than I ever hoped but really on the same path. Enjoy this trip back in time.
The situations have been coming on strong for years, but they seem to be peaking. Everywhere you visit on the internet, and sometimes even in public, we all run into someone who can take any subject and make it into a kind of right-wing rant:
“Sure is hot today!”
“That’s not evidence of global warming!”
It wasn’t long ago that characters and attitudes like this were the domain of the other side – those who were against The System, The Man, The Establishment, They. Has everything flipped, or is this all one big phenomenon?
The trade war is definitely on, no matter how Wall Street wants to deny it. Serious investors have downplayed recent events as part of a grand strategy, a negotiating tool that will all work out in the end. The reality, that there isn’t really a good strategy in place here but simply petty tactics, has not sunk in yet, at least in America. But the rest of the world knows better.
For the purposes of this discussion, the European Union will be diminished to Germany. After all, this is the economic engine that powers the continent right now, and Merkel’s leadership is critical. Where is Germany going? The long and short of it, the strategic and the tactical, is to the east. This response is proof enough that there is no US strategy which makes any sense.
This is a post from ten years ago, back when the United States was at a fork in the road. Where are we now? I think that an extreme example of what I was talking about here in 2008 may cause a new generation to rise and finally solve the problem. Let’s see.
George Washington was known primarily for being fearless. When his men had circled around and were accidentally firing on each other, he drew his sabre and rode between the line of rifles, fiercely cutting them down. When he needed a win badly, he risked freezing to death by crossing the Delaware to surprise the Hessians camped in New Jersey.
Sneering at “globalists” has become an instinct among many Trump supporters. It was globalism that ruined this nation, they argued, and the only way to make America great again is to cut off the rest of the world. On the other side, there is an almost equally instinctual support for immigration and trade as much out of tradition as it is the thinly held belief that the system in place obviously made the nation strong.
Where is the truth? Like most debates, somewhere in the middle – or just off to the side a little. America is wealthier and better as part of the world, but the expense of trying to run the planet and tell everyone what to do is killing us. More to the point, it’s falling on working people who are expected to support it as a vanity project and chant “U-S-A!” while the benefits accrue to those with a lot more money to start with.
It can be changed. It has to be changed. It will change – either by design or by collapse.
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
Whenever the United States fall into strife, quips and stories about the fall of Rome follow naturally. If Rome fell, why not the US? Indeed, it’s quite logical given that no empire in the history of the planet has ever been permanent. Nations with a long imperial heritage, particularly Egypt and China, were not only reconstituted from scratch several times they both have rejected imperial trappings today.
More to the point, the United States is not an Empire to start with.
There is a more interesting period of Roman history, however, which is when it transformed from a Republic to an Empire. It’s a topic shrouded in complex political machinations that become difficult to understand. But they are indeed worth knowing.
I have run this story for Independence Day many times. I feel that this year the message is even more important.
The misunderstandings and suspicions melted away, as they always do, after a few litres of liquid bread that the Germans call “Bier”. Harald was very honest in his German way, a kind of honesty that was spelled out in long, silent pauses as much as words. “With all of these different people and cultures, what is it that makes you Americans?”
I swallowed my beer to give me time, and the perfect answer came to me:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”