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