Friday, November 16, 2007

What Are We Doing?

You may recall that, about a month ago, I linked to a story about Mountain Top Removal coal mining. Today, I came across a story written by a lady who lives in Wise County, Virginia, in the midst of this desolation. She tells her story plainly, yet its stark simplicity and understatement are powerfully eloquent.

Stories like this make me sick at heart. They make me weep for what the USA is becoming. In the past seven years, under the policies developed by the current federal government, the land of the free and the home of the brave has become the land of the destructive and the home of the morally bankrupt. We used to sing about purple mountains' majesty. Now we're leaving dust, rock and grime where awe-inspiring mountains once stood. We talk about being an honorable nation founded on Christian principles, yet we condone the torture of "enemy combatants," a term defined so broadly that it has included pre-pubescent boys. We brag about being the world's richest nation and allegedly having its highest standard of living, yet nearly 50 million of our people have no health insurance, and millions sink into poverty, homelessness and bankruptcy every year. The rich in the USA are very rich, obscenely so, and the poor in the USA are very poor, outrageously so. The American government caters to energy companies that despoil our habitat and to pharmaceutical companies that want us to believe that their pills are the answer to our every ailment. Perhaps most tragically, rather than leading Americans in developing more environmentally sound lifestyles, the government has enabled our wastefulness by instigating and prolonging an unjustified, immoral war against an oil-rich country that, contrary to the Administration's assertions, posed no threat to us.

Well, here's a news flash: the USA is less secure than it was four years ago. Iraq has become a breeding ground for terrorists. It wasn't such before the war, but it is now. We invaded and devastated a country that once had a sound infrastructure and a good education system. Is it any wonder that the USA is the most hated country in the world? Yet, too many of us ignorantly respond to that contempt with disdain, assuring ourselves that non-Americans are just jealous of our culture and freedoms, that we're always right and they're always wrong, and that God is certainly on our side rather than theirs. And, of course, we go right on squandering resources and blowing up mountains, and denying global warming, evolution and the value of stem cell research. Moreover, our president continues to require hundreds of billions of dollars for war expenditures, and vetoes bills that would allocate tens of billions of dollars for health care, education, scientific research and the development of alternative energy sources.

I guess I should be fair here. The USA's current circumstances are not solely the responsibility of our government, since its shenanigans are enabled by an apathetic populace. Too many Americans are more interested in American Idol and Deal or No Deal than in volunteering in their communities, or voting, or simply educating themselves about critical issues. According to Alexis de Tocqueville, in a democracy, the government that people get is the government they deserve. Heaven help us if that's true. What a damning indictment against the American people! The good thing is this: just because a situation exists now, that's not the way it has to be in the future. We can take action to change the course of events by advocating for insisting upon changes in our foreign, energy and environmental policies. In the USA, we, the people, must take action, or we will surely doom ourselves, and, quite possibly, the rest of the world with us.

1 comment:

Christian Camuti said...

This current administration has been terrible, and Bush 43 will go down in history as being one of the worst, if not the worst President in modern US history.

Things definitely need to change, but since the mid 90s our country has become so polarized, so divided on party lines that good, honest politicians are often black balled for abadoning their party because of what they feel in their heart to be right. I am referring to my own senator, Joe Lieberman. He is a man who votes with his heart not his party and was pretty much abandoned by the democrats.

When I look at the debates, none of the perspective administrations are promising anything different. Its the same rhetoric...nothing changes.

Well...I have left a much longer comment than I originally inteded to.