America, a once-great nation founded on a notion of freedom, has lost its way.
America is a country without a soul, controlled by leaders without conscience, fueled by political agendas without honesty and dominated by issues without purpose.
Some say the loss of soul began in 2003 when we invaded a sovereign nation without reason, using rationalizations based on lies, promoting a fear based on political expediency.
But America has been losing its grip on reality for many, many years. America is a victim of its own paranoia, driven by an outdated belief in a superiority that doesn’t exist. That egotistical belief that our way of life is the only cure for the world’s ills has led us to become a nation that attempts to export a vision of democracy that no longer exists within our own borders, to believe that our own narrow view of the world must control others peoples and other governments and that we, and only we, can develop, own and use weapons that can destroy the planet.
We decry terrorism yet we export terrorism to other countries. Our soldiers maim, kill and torture. When we run out of soldiers, our government hires mercenaries to continue our dirty work and claim all this mayhem is necessary in the name of freedom.
Whose freedom? Our own? We began losing our freedoms years ago and that loss accelerated as the smoke swirled around the remains of the World Trade Center and the gaping hole in the side of the Pentagon.
While we attached Chinese-made American flags to our car windows, our leaders deposited the Constitution into a shredder. U.S. goon squads, operating under the Germanic-sounding name of the “Homeland Security” rounded up Americans and shipped them off to foreign countries to be tortured and denied the rights that once belonged to each and every citizen of this country.
A mentally-unstable President used paranoia and fear to gain unprecedented power and bring this nation to the brink of a dictatorship. An effort by voters to restore some checks and balances to the system fell short when Democrats reneged on their promises and put political expediency above the will of the American people.
The billions upon billions spent in Iraq devastated the economy back home and we face an increasingly uncertain future.
As we head into the 2008 Presidential election season, both political parties appear destined to nominate candidates who support the status quo and offer no real return to a our forefathers’ dream of a government of, by or for the people.
Historians argue that America’s democratic republic was always more theory than reality. Those who founded this nation did so with the premise that only white, male landowners could truly be free. Blacks were slaves and women existed only to serve men.
From the beginning, our elected officials came from the ranks of the wealthy and privileged. They thought elected office should be “public service,” not a career. Today, those who aren’t rich when they come to Washington usually find wealth either in office or by cashing in when they finish their “public service.” They answer not to the people but to special interest groups with large political action committees.
So what’s the answer? I don’t have one. I wish I did. I’ve worked around the American governmental system for more than 40 years. I’ve covered it as a journalist and worked within the political system for nearly a decade. I’ve served my country. As a young reporter writing about the fall of Richard Nixon I thought America had sunk as low as it could go.
I was wrong. The sink hole deepens and more simple American values disappeared into it long ago. Too many Americans gave up too long ago on demanding honesty, accountability or solid performances from our leaders. We judge them not individually but in relation to other leaders and we forgive their failings if the other side is worse and the other side is always worse in a partisan political system.
We cannot reverse the downward slide of America through partisan politics. Both parties, in my opinion, are corrupt. Neither represents the interests of the American people nor gives a rat’s ass about the nation they claim to serve. Independent voices on both sides of the political divide can’t succeed because party leaders insist on lockstep compliance with pre-determined issues driven by special interest money and political agendas.
It may be time to start over, to rethink this grand, but failed, experiment called America.
“Democracy,” Winston Churchill once said, “is the worst form of government imaginable…except for all other forms.”
Churchill may have been right. It would be easier to judge if democracy actually existed in a place called the United States of America.