When President Franklin D. Roosevelt said; “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”... he lied. Roosevelt told America the lie we wanted to hear. He told Americans that everything was OK.
But America wasn't OK. It was the Great Depression. Many people were going hungry (including my grandparents). American style capitalism had failed us. American style representative democracy had failed us. And God had not come to rescue us. In fact, just the opposite; the Dust Bowl showed America that the environment could fail us too.
The consequences of years of corruption in government before the Great Depression were quite painful – especially for those who hadn't been corrupt.
For many, it felt like it was time for a change.
FDR tried many things to get America out of the Great Depression. But America's rich oligarchy weren't all that enthusiastic about helping their fellow man. Some of the changes FDR tried were very unpopular with the rich. (Those on top fear change – they might not stay on top.)
One of the things FDR tried was Keynesian economics. He figured he could stimulate America's economy back to life with government spending. FDR hired scores of the poor in huge jobs programs with Federal money. America's infrastructure was significantly improved because of these projects. And as one might expect, this was very popular among the poor (who had been going hungry). But nonetheless, many among the rich hated FDR. They weren't going hungry. And they would have been perfectly happy with a two tier society – with them on top and our tax money only being spent on them. (Here's a sign; it helps to be greedy to get rich. So, expect many among the rich to be greedy.)
As one might expect, America's rich oligarchy still had plenty of power in Washington. And those who didn't like FDR “wasting” their tax dollars on the poor still had plenty of influence with their (financially well off) appointed judges in the “Supreme” Court. True to their station in society, the “Supreme” Court struck down a number of FDR's jobs programs.
The irony of all this is that it was huge government spending for military programs in World War II that later pulled America out of the Great Depression. Keynesian economics worked. (And the “Supreme” Court didn't fight this jobs program because rich people were making big money selling weapons.) However, there were consequences. Simply put; you can't eat weapons. All one can do with weapons is stockpile them, or use them – neither option productive. The “Supreme” Court had curtailed all of our Keynesian jobs programs other than military spending. And once America was used to the stimulus, the economy would suffer if the government stopped providing it.
What WWII spending led to is the biggest (under the table) Keynesian jobs program in the history of the world. (This isn't some new concept. I remember back when I used to work for the military/industrial complex; when we used to jokingly refer to our paychecks as “Fedicare.”)
U.S. military spending has provided the stimulus to keep America's economy going “strong” for the past 60 years – sort of. Unfortunately, there were consequences to excessive military spending. Our economy didn't grow in the right direction. America has slowly slipped towards militarism. More important domestic issues have been neglected. Our government has been corrupted. But worst of all, all of that continual “stimulus” was like speed to a junkie's body – and eventually our economy and environment have been pushed to exhaustion.
Multi-trillion dollar deficit military spending has provided the temporary stimulus for America to ignore all of the lessons of the Great Depression for six decades. But the reality bill has come due again. And this time, with interest, it is huge.
We don't have a Dust Bowl this time. But we do have extreme drought in Texas and many parts of the West. And record tornadoes. And record snowfall in the East. And record flooding. And forecasts are for a big hurricane season this year. And if we have a dry summer again this year locally, we will likely see mega-fires... And the polar ice caps are the smallest they've been in history. And the world's mountain top glaciers are the smallest they've been in tens of thousands of years. And the oceans are the warmest they've been in thousands and most acidic they have been in millions of years.
By now, you might think all this is a sign. You should. In fact, you should have 30 years ago. We're way past the signs. (Of course, those who are raking in billions off of making things worse don't think so. But what would you expect them to think.)
The evidence keeps blowing in. Extreme climate change brought on by man-made global warming is already here. The “Eaarth” that Bill McKibben speaks of – the new climate that we all will just have to suffer with, may now just be the new norm. (...Oooh shhhit!!!)
Why am I afraid? Need I remind you that every economy from every civilization that has ever existed stands or collapses upon the shoulders of the environment. It is that important.
But have you noticed; the mass media “news” doesn't report on global warming any more. They're more or less silent about it. Even with all these environmental disasters, climate change rarely gets mentioned (and usually not without some fossil fuel industry funded “expert” to cast doubt about it.) ...This too, is a sign. Every one of the mass media news reporters is afraid. That's right; every one of them, afraid. They are afraid to tell truth to power, because they know that if they did, they would never be promoted again – if they're lucky. Though you may not remember, they remember what happened to Dan Rather when he exposed Bush Jr. as skating past his draft and deserting the National Guard. [Dan Rather was once the most powerful reporter on television news. I saw that 60 minutes episode on Bush's questionable history. Dan Rather should have received an award. Bush Jr. should have been investigated. But like a pack of angry attack dogs, the mass media press turned on Dan Rather. Not one of the other reporters in all of mass media I watched ever even mentioned one of the many points made in that report... But those gutless reporters did however report the Swift Boat Veterans' lies about (Bush Jr.'s opponent) John Kerry quite extensively.] Every mass media reporter knows that Dan Rather was essentially banned from television news for telling truth to power. And they know that their reporter comrades will lie about them to save their own skins. They are all afraid.
The reporters' bosses are even more afraid. They are dependent upon advertisers dollars to stay in business. Let's face it, the for-profit news companies do what they're told. In fact, they're so subservient, they don't even have to be told. Even the best of them promote by agenda. And the agenda is to make money – even if their reporters have to lie by omission (or worse).
Hey, wait a minute. We didn't elect these people to be our public information systems. And in the most gut-wrenching of dirty tricks, we certainly didn't spend our money in good faith expecting these corrupt “advertisers” to manipulate our news.
The money advertisers use to pay the mass media is our money. These advertisers wouldn't have a dime of it if we hadn't given it to them. They are using our own money to sucker us in – to take even more of our money. We don't have to put up with that.
And we don't have to put up with failed-state politics either. Pure representative democracy has failed us – again. Corruption is rampant. Waste is rampant. Destruction of the commons (our environment) is rampant. And our economy is faltering. Why would we want to put up with politicians making all the (wrong) decisions when we-the-people have the capacity to hold yearly elections on long-term policy decisions? I strongly believe that if we were more honestly informed, we-the-people couldn't possibly do any worse (for everyone) than this hopelessly corrupt system we are stuck with now.
Our politicians have been forced to legislate by the “free market.” Bribes are required – in the form of campaign contributions. Laws are being written, and subsidies being given to those who can afford to buy them. This is no way to run a country. This is how to run a country into the ground.
And the massive social cuts we are experiencing now aren't going to make our lives any better or our country any more solvent, they're just going to allow the banks and the military/industrial complex to get more.
“Defense” has become more important than common sense. Profits have become more important than happiness. “Truthiness” has become more important than the truth. And America has been turned from a democratic republic into merely a flag – a flag that supposedly represents freedom. (But what kind of freedom? Freedom to oppress? The recently renewed Patriot Act doesn't give us freedom. In the past 30 years we've only lost personal freedoms. The only new “freedoms” we have seen, in the guise of “free” trade, look far more like corporate anarchy. Just look around. Every industry in America has been monopolized. In the real world, you don't have the freedom to start a small business of your own any more.)
I expect to be labeled unpatriotic for bringing up these points. We've been trained since birth that our American political/economic system is as good as it gets. Somehow, in spite of all our system's flaws (and our nation's teetering on the edge of collapse in 2008); we have been convinced that America is the epitome of human development. Essentially, we've been led to believe that we can't even consider the possibility... of considering our possibilities.
All I ask is that we fix things.
All I suggest is that we first make America more of a democracy.
And all I insist on is that we don't kill the goose that lays the golden eggs (the Environment.)
But don't expect our present government to actually fix anything on their own. We have a few champions. But not enough. And they won't achieve a thing without our help. Those in power don't like change – surprisingly, even if it's change that may save everyone's lives in the long run.
Think about it. You know that every time you're filling up your gas tank, and you smell a whiff of gas, your chances of getting cancer just went up a little. You know this. You know that air pollution in the cities sickens and prematurely kills tens of thousands of Americans. You know that pollution is dangerous. A recent study has concluded that 40 percent of deaths worldwide are caused by pollution! You know that multinational fossil fuel companies have taken control of our government and our economy (and with that power, they have utilized multi-billion dollar subsidies to themselves to suppress cleaner, safer, and more reliable alternatives for 50 years). And you know that if they're drilling miles into the ocean, that the planet is running out of economically available oil.
Moreover, what the petro/agro industry has promoted as the “green revolution” has been the most Orwellian opposite. Our food production systems (factory farms) are now the most petrochemically dependent they have ever been. Just the act of growing our food now alters our climate to make future food production even more difficult. And of course, even as dangerous as using all those chemicals is;we have become heavily dependent upon a resource that has already reached its peak in world “production.”
The time for a change was back in the 1930's. Do we have to wait a hundred years to be convinced? Does it all have to collapse before we are willing to start anew?
We're all frustrated and angry right now. Some might even be tempted to let America collapse and start over. But we don't want that. We don't want to lose the Bill of Rights. We don't want to lose what elections we do have. The American people actually do have some power in this country. We don't want to lose that. But if we don't do anything about it, it's very likely we will lose it all – very soon.
We are a nation motivated by fear. But we fear not having a paycheck or losing our profits even more than we fear not having a viable future.
Our economy has been running on borrowed time since WWII.
Our government has been running on borrowed time since the growth of big business.
Our mental health has been running on borrowed time since the invention of money.
And our culture has been running on borrowed time since the acceptance of “leaders” making all our decisions for us.
Our time has run out.
The world needs to make substantial changes.
We need to make fundamental changes in how we think.
But this is not all that complicated. Think of it like this:
When you are crossing a stream, and the rock you've stepped on starts to sink into the mud, take the next step.
It's time for us to take the next step.
And if it means amending our constitution, let's get started. NOW!
We need to fully financially support independent public broadcasting again – including some Internet broadcasters.
We need to require mass media news to tell the whole truth. And it is a misinterpretation by the courts that freedom of the press permits them to lie. (All it takes is a little common sense to figure that one out.)
We need to get big money out of politics – especially big money from multinational corporations and foreign entities (they don't care about America).
We need more direct democracy. Our representatives have failed us. The American people wouldn't vote for half the boondoggles we are now forced to pay for. American representative democracy has become a tool to subvert actual democracy. Individual representatives can be corrupted, threatened, blackmailed, or fooled. Individual “representatives” are the weak link in our democracy. Our representatives should not be our kings while in office. They should be carrying out our demands. And if our demands aren't clear enough now, we need policy elections to let them know exactly what we want – and rule of law to enforce true democracy. I have real hope for a system like this. It would be far more difficult to corrupt. In fact, I believe that we-the-people would be responsible enough to vote for long-term policies which our (big money manipulated) representative democracy should have implemented 70 years ago.
We need a popular vote option to amend the U.S. Constitution. When the “Supreme” Court does a lousy job of interpreting the Constitution, and Congress won't do anything about it; the people of America need a method to fix things. Obviously, changing the U.S. Constitution shouldn't be an easy thing to do. But if say, two thirds of the eligible American voting public want to change the Constitution, and come out to vote for it, we should be able to change the Constitution.
For example; America's military/industrial complex has slowly digressed into a flag waving proto-fascist arms dealer to the world that presses our nation to go to war for the slightest of offenses. If the American people could have voted to change the Constitution to allow public works programs to continue back during the Great Depression, the American economy might have grown into something extraordinary by now. I am convinced we can still do it. But we can't expect the plutocracy to do this for us. We have no choice but to reduce their illicit power back to one citizen/one vote. That's what a true democracy looks like.
If you have a suggestion, please leave a comment. Thank you.