Does the US deserve to survive?

The question arose as I wondered if America could do its part to win another war like WWII. Well, no. Then, we were lean and Depression hardened. Now, we’re waddling diabetics with telephone earrings. Then, we were physical laborers. Now, we’re clerks and service representatives. Then, we could convert heavy industry to making the weapons of war. Now, we have little heavy industry to convert. As the realization of our inadequacies came to me, the question changed from whether we could survive another such war to whether we would deserve to survive.

Americans commonly describe their nation as “number one,” “favored by God,” “leader of the free world,” and “greatest nation on earth.” All this is, of course, true. No nation comes close to us in conspicuous consumption, and no nation can match us in waste (many a Third World family would be the envy of their neighbors if they were allowed to clean out just one of our dormitory dumpsters at the end of the school year). We’re also the fattest nation on the face of the whole entire worldwide world—yay! What’s more, American ingenuity enables us to lead every other developed nation in poor health while also leading them in the cost of health care! Beat that, you smart alecky foreigners.

Then, of course, there is the matter of our moral authority. YES, we lead the world in that too. That’s why our secretary of state is constantly having to travel around the globe to chide other countries for their ethical shortcomings. Oh, I almost forgot bankruptcies caused by medical bills—yet again, we’re number one. Gratuitously violent films? “USA! USA!” Church attendance? But, of course, we’re the leaders, at least of the developed world. That’s where we get our moral authority, and that’s why we’re “favored by God,” and you’re not.

“Ah, ha,” you say. “How about torturing prisoners or at least locking them up without a trial and throwing away the key? You don’t lead the world in that.” Well, no, not if you compare us to the whole world, but our last president was making great strides in that direction until another guy took his job. However, we do lead the world in the percentage of our population that is behind bars—prison maintenance and construction stocks are major traders on Wall Street. And don’t forget that we’ve started two completely unnecessary wars in just eight years, and that George Bush even intimidated a few other countries into joining us with his post 9/11 threat: “…it’s going to be important for nations to know they will be held accountable for inactivity. You’re either with us or against us.”

Talk about leadership—what other world leader can compete with that? And if our presidents weren’t effective enough all on their own, our Congresscritters would fill the gap. Even though they are unwilling to provide government healthcare benefits to any but the poorest of their fellow Americans, they themselves enjoy premium benefits for life after serving a single two-year term.

We might very well lead the world in other ways too, but we don’t brag about them because we also lead the world in modesty. For instance, we spend tons of money on scientific research, and then tell everyone what we found out for free. And despite the fact that our educational standards drop lower every year, we still lead the world in the number of foreign students who attend our universities. And even if we don’t have the world’s highest standard of living for our average citizen, we still do pretty good; after all, thanks to government subsidized Big Macs, the poorest Americans are the fattest Americans. In fact, if every poor American were able to donate 20 pounds (9 kilograms) of his body fat to starving foreigners, there would be no starving foreigners, and most poor Americans could easily donate more than that, many of them 250 pounds (113 kilograms) more than that.

We also give a lot of money to you foreigners (although it’s rather oddly distributed, some might say), and it’s not money we actually have either; it’s money we borrow from China. We now owe so much to China, and they now own so much of us, that they don’t dare nuke us, so at least we don’t have to worry about that anymore. If we didn’t give so much to you guys, and if you didn’t force us into all these stupid wars, and if our government wasn’t bought and paid for by the super rich, we might be able to pay our medical bills, or at least fill our potholes.

So, would we deserve to triumph in another WWII? What do you think?


Footnote: When I wrote that Big Macs are government subsidized, I meant indirectly. Because my country’s minimum wage is not enough to live on, and because McDonalds—and many other companies—doesn’t provide health insurance to its rank and file workers, the government has to support these people. This enables such companies to sell their products far below the actual cost of producing them.

28 comments:

Ginx said...

We can only hope to receive a much deserved ass-whooping and end up like Germany or Japan post-WWII: humbled but productive. Here's hoping we don't end up like Germany post WWI: desperate. What's sad is, it won't be up to us, it will be up to whoever wins.

Natalie said...

Come to beautiful Australia!

I am not about to bag your country on a public blog, but I definitely see where you are coming from. :)

Bernie said...

Okay first things first, I love it when you turn away from your chronic pain and look at what is happening around you. Your words are strong and knowledgeable and only you could use sarcasm to get your point across....I am so pleased that you have put your talent to such good use. Perhaps your words will help others see "the light" and help to calm down the rhetoric so that no one is harmed, which is a worry I have. I pray for my dear friends to the South, my prayer is that all people have access to health care and that those who incite violence and riots will have a moment in their own lives to understand that the hate language is just wrong. People can make their feelings known at the voting poll, it is not necessary to carry guns to a ralley that is suppose to be informative. I pray that all will work out for such a wonderful country led by a man who truly cares about everyone who he is working so hard to protect. I feel no matter what he does there are those who will "pee" on his parade for a couple of different reasons which I find so very sad.
Stay well my friend and stay involved in this so important cause, I am proud to call you my friend.......:-) Hugs

ellen abbott said...

Our moral authority ran off long ago only most of us haven't noticed it yet.

Strayer said...

Well, at least many of the angry militiamen, some of whom apparently want to start their own countries within America, will likely be hampered in their revolutionary desires by being tethered to diabetic blood sugar checkers and insulin. Will slow down their revolution considerably, I think.

My neighbor is racist, anti government/America and subsists on medicare and SS. Go figure.

On the other hand, if we can do nothing but waddle off to war, wars will be less likely to begin and much much slower paced.

The-Fire-Olympus said...

I hate to say this, but sometimes I think it would be best for the U.S to fall from glory and pride.

We need to start looking inward to better our health, education and to become more worldly and understand how other countries work instead of just listening to the media.

We need to think more and explore. I think the only way for that to happen is for us to be humbled. I rather it be easier, but I see no other way.

Most empires gave the world wonderful inventions and art, but the U.S.A only did those things before it become a world power. When it did rise we spent most of our energy invading other and trying to dominate and very little good or advancment.

I have heard many LEGAL immigrants saying they wish they never came here

CreekHiker said...

Lots to think about... sad but true!

kylie said...

actually, australia leads in the obesity stakes. i know, i was appalled when we overtook the stupid yanks

Snowbrush said...

I do a very poor job of predicting how my posts will strike people. While I never post TO offend anyone, I am always aware that some of the issues I raise, and some of my beliefs about those issues, might very well offend lot of people. Most often though, most people are either not offended, or the ones who are offended don't respond.

Kylie wrote: "australia leads in the obesity stakes"

I went to several sites after you wrote, and the data is all over the place. Here in the US, we are frequently told that we're the fattest and that the part of the country I spent over half my life in, Mississippi, is the fattest of the fattest.

The World Health Organization (in late 2009) listed American Samoa as the fattest place in the world with a 93.5 of the people being overweight; Karibati was next with an 81.5; the US behind it with a 66.7; and, to my surprise, Germany next with a 66.5....Maybe part of the difference in who's fattest depends upon whether the comparison concerns obesity specifically or overweight in general. It could also be that the countries included vary, with the small ones that few of us have even heard of--like Karibati--being left out.

the walking man said...

Do we deserve to win a war? Do we deserve to lose a war? Can we even marshal the resources beyond blood and bone to throw into a war?

No one deserves to win a war. No war deserves to be fought but some must be. The two we are in now didn't need to happen especially Iraq. In Afghanistan on Christmas day of 2001 we could have delivered a nuclear present to the mountain region of that country and that would have been the end of that war.

If there is another world wide war we will fight it with technology not troops.

Yet the whole purpose of the decimation of the middle and the consolidation of wealth into the upper classes is specifically to prevent violent war between nations.

I am not so much concerned with the war between counties as i am what is going to happen when the war between the Americans starts. Both sides are armed, one side controls the urban warfare trained troops and the other side is not going to sit still much longer.

Maybe American obesity is the only thing stopping a civil war right now.

rhymeswithplague said...

Well, I'd better respond right now to show I'm not offended. Truth is, I just found your new post five minutes ago (I simply cannot monitor you constantly).

If we all get fat enough, maybe we can just sit on our enemies until they cry "Uncle!"....or perhaps three hundred million plus of us aren't nearly enough.

The Blog Fodder said...

You certainly wrote it like it is.

julie mitchell said...

A very sad picture you paint here...but so true.
You, and another blogger I follow, have both asked similar questions this week...do we deserve to survive...maybe we don't simply because we have become such sheepeople. We do what they tell us to do, and feel what they tell us to feel via tv programing. It feels like an act of courage to suggest we get out of the war business...business of war.....we have troops in over 150 countries. We are an empire...let that settle in for a moment.
We worship at banks and believe that God is guiding our war machine.
We make not a peep when the Supreme Court gives corporations, including foreign ones, the right to contribute as much money as they want to the candidate that they want to buy. It's insanity...consider this... "Fascism should rightly be called Corporatism, as it is the merger of corporate and government power."
Benito Mussolini
Not only do we have the sickest of people and the highest cost of health care, we also lock children up in grownup prisons..I think 12 is the youngest and he's white. We as a society have dropped the ball in regards to caring for our children. We give them a rotten education, feed them foods that make them fat and scramble their brains, we drug them because we are a nation of drug takers, many of which leave us flat and dumb...they are angry and showing it in ever growing numbers by nearly beating each other to death with an audience...and heaven help the child that gets caught up in the Child Welfare system which is overworked and out of touch...Where is the moral authority here...?
If I appear angry it's because I think we are better then this...but we need to snap out of our mass hypnosis..There our a lot of good people here in the good old USA but we aren't speaking out loud enough to be heard over the hum of the Corporate takeover.
Thanks for the topic Snow..I always feel better after I get to vent.
Hope you're feeling better...guess you didn't like my joke? :) hug, hug

Snowbrush said...

Again, I am surprised that everyone who has written shares somewhat of a similar feeling. It helps me to feel personally supported, but I also wonder what IS going to happen when so many feel so alienated.

I too am concerned about the anger within the country. I hear it more from conservatives--liberals seem more discouraged than angry. So much hope was penned on Obama and a Democratic Congress!

I agree with those who say that it appears that the only short-term goal of Republicans is to block any and everything the Democrats try to accomplish. I learned just this week that confirmation of 75 Obama appointees is in jeopardy compared to only five Bush appointees after the same amount of time in office. Furthermore, it isn't ideology that's the issue; it's Republican eagerness to do everything possible to make Obama's presidency unsuccessful. By making him look bad, they hope to look good.

Julie, I too was dismayed by the Supreme Court decision to allow corporations to spend any amount of money on political issues. The concept of free speech becomes a bit of a joke when only corporations can afford to be heard.

My faith in the country seriously plummeted a few years ago after another Supreme Court decision, namely that local governments could take private property from one person and give it to a wealthier person in the interest of more tax revenues. I don't actually feel that I have a country any longer. I was always ambivalent on the subject, but now, I'm just wondering what the odds are that I'll be dead before things go completely to hell.

Strayer said...

I always thought of government's place as the entity that clears the road so the citizens can travel along it with ease. I never thought government should be tossing big boulders into the road or washing it out, if it so desires, or charging massive fees to pass.

I came to believe a few years ago, that special interests, those who contribute huge amounts to elections, and the lobbiests, control the country now and that politicians cannot be re-elected without brown nosing to the big money machines. The little citizen is just a by product, not even in the picture really, anymore, oft an annoyance. When you get a gift, you feel obligated to the gift giver, so there you have it. Corruption by money. But big money is needed to be elected in this country. The Supreme Court decision will only make it easier to buy elections.

julie mitchell said...

I'm also worried that the anger people are feeling is going to spur some crazy to do something horrific. And people up here in our little area are arming themselves for the rioting in the cities they feel certain will lead to Martial Law. The expectations are as the long hot summer unfolds and more people lose homes, jobs, benefits, etc.violence will break out, like in the 60's. Have you heard of the Oath Keepers?...they have a blog and there is a feature article on them in Mother Jones online magazine. They leave me with mixed emotions. I think both you and I will see things get crazier unless the economy turns around pretty quickly.

Snowbrush said...

Strayer, the only people who I've heard defend the Supreme Court decision were conservatives who seem to believe that the interests of big business and the interests of the people go hand-in-hand--the old "If it's good for GM, it's good for America," kind of thinking.

Julie, I hadn't heard of the Oath Keepers--thank you. I've been listening to audio books lately rather than NPR, so I'm out of the news loop. I assume the group was created out of the fear that Obama is trying to take over the country and only the military can stop him. I'm incredulous that anyone seriously believes that he's going to have foreign troops corral the American people, etc.

Marion said...

Hey, Snow! It's good to see you posting. I hope you're feeling much better, my friend. I'll confess you lost me until I got to the postscript. I could get on my soapbox for hours regarding American companies who keep their employees' work time below a certain number of hours so they won't have to give them health benefits...Wal-Mart comes to mind. I'm thoroughly depressed about the way our country is headed. It's beyond sad. It's an Obamanation, for sure.

;-) Blessings!!

JOE TODD said...

The Military-Industrial///Health Care Industry is watching.. so you had better order at least 2 BigMacs and if you even think about shooting the Easter Bunny HallMark will have You for lunch LOL

Nora Johnson said...

"Obviously, it's because men are more spiritual and less materialistic."

And yet it seems you've removed yourself as a follower! Is this a form of netiquette gun boat diplomacy calling for the tit-for-tat removal of my ambassador too?

Lola

PS Hope this comment doesn't fall into that delete box...

Snowbrush said...

Nora wrote: ""And yet it seems you've removed yourself as a follower!"

Nora, a couple of thoughts come to mind.

My main problem by far is the music. Music makes your blog take longer to open. Also, I often have my own music playing; or my wife's asleep; or I don't like you selection. It takes me thirty seconds to a minute to turn the sound off (I suppose it takes so long because your blog is still loading), and then I have to remember to turn it back on when I leave. All this makes my visits burdensome, yet I enjoy your postings. I have gradually stopped following other musical blogs as well. I can only think of two that I still follow, and I tend to visit infrequently, read fast, write fast, and get out fast.

Of lesser importance is that when you visit my blog, it's usually--if not always (I haven't gone back through months of posts to verify this)--to leave a comment about what I wrote on your blog. I'm unaware that you even read my posts. I could be in error about this, but I only have your silence to go by.

I don't stop following blogs without a lot of thought. The final straw for me was the man who is now singing on your blog. I loathe the song, and it's completely unrelated to the visual content. The feeling I get from it is rather like being in a bar and trying to hear someone talk over the music. It's a strain

Becky said...

Snowbrush,
I really enjoyed reading your blog today... found myself laughing at the wit and humor you used to write about something so sad but true. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts with us in your unique style! Always a pleasure to read, and you always leave me thinking.
Love & Light~
OM girl

dana said...

I try NOT to think of my country any more than necessary. We're no longer a "Country", but a division within itself, monitored and told how it should be by powerful (re RICH) men who have no ideas of their own and only load their minds with the ideas of whichever company is filling their pockets.

Work ethics? gone. Honor? fled. Intelligence? died in solitary confinement. Common sense? uncommon.

Our hatred of ALL THINGS feeds upon itself and will cause it's self destruction.

C Woods said...

Snowbrush ---You are so right. It is so sad ---yet, you made me smile.

I am embarrassed to admit I am an American, whereas I used to be so proud.

I appreciate the opportunities I have had as an American ---as a woman I would probably have been stoned to death long ago in many other countries ---but living abroad, I have also seen this country's flaws from a global point of view. The picture is not always pretty.

The moment I heard that we were torturing prisoners, I knew we were doomed. I had thought we were better than that. Apparently not. I am so disappointed in the direction this country has taken (especially since 2000) in many of the ways you have listed in this post. Of course, torture only put the nail into a coffin that was already under construction.

I had hoped the new administration would turn things around, but it seems that half the country is a bunch of sore losers. Apparently it's better to make the president look bad than to do what's best for 300 million citizens.

I want to know where the teabaggers were when Bush 2 was cranking up the national debt, lying to involve us in 2 wars, and when the loan sharks were selling their mortgage scams. It didn't seem to bother them then. Maybe I have turned cynical, but I am convinced teabaggers are just racists in disguise ---not a very good disguise, etiher.

Dana ---loved your comment.

julie mitchell said...

Wow, Dana said what I wanted to say in regards to why so many were mum when Bush 2 was King? Bow it's an Obamanation!
I am very worried that something very bad is going to happen to Obama, there is so much hate, it's breath taking...no matter how people feel about him...it would be a very bad thing...for everyone.
Yes, the Oath Keepers are going to protect the people from the Federal Government....keep in mind that we have had foreign troops here to do war games and that their is a military installation in the north east, I've forgotten the state, where returning troops are being trained in urban warfare in the US. So I suppose it's not a big leap to think using the military here might be a possibility. What do you think? I'm not a big fan of NPR...but love FSR.
hug, hug

julie mitchell said...

You might find this interesting...
- http://www.marketoracle.co.uk/Article18450.html
hug, hug...hope you are having a good day!!

lyptis said...

Fuck, love ur blog!:)

I know US politics are shit, but trust me it aint much better in the rest of the world. Its quite depressing me actually.

lyptis said...

Hey yo, i was thinking about ur post again and i decided u Americans got not much to worry about. U might have a crap load of obese people and no (heavy) industry at all anymore, but ur government has put SO MUCH money into its warfare arsenal over the years, that they'd just nuke a couple of countries and that wud be it.

Hope that doesnt happen tho, some people in the government always seem to be a bit twitchy!

U may wanna read my last post, just to show u that its not that much better were i live.