This bumper sticker slogan was popular back in the 1960's and 70's with conservative Democrats and Republicans. I cannot stand this slogan. I prefer America - Fix It So We Can Love It More.
As someone who follows news and politics closely and as someone who just re-read the book by the great Howard Zinn entitled "A People's History of the United States," I must say that I am quite pessimistic and discouraged about the future of this country.
First I want to say that I am totally supportive of President Obama and will do everything humanly possible in my little corner of the world, to help him win. However, I believe our entire system must be changed and I'm not sure it can be done.
President Eisenhower said the following back in 1960. "Until the latest of our world conflicts, The United States had no armaments industry. This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist." Boy, little did he know.
Currently the military industrial complex; along with the big corporations, big banks, Wall Street, big oil, health care insurance companies and many others completely run this country. How is it possible to change this?
Right now, according to the Speth, James Gustave think tank, this country has the greatest income inequality in the world. From 1978 to 2011, the income of a CEO has gone up an average of 725%, while the income of American workers has gone up 5.7%. In addition to the income inequality, the U.S. also has the highest poverty rate and the greatest number of children in poverty in the industrialized world. We also seem to have debtor's prisons making a comeback. Obviously law enforcement protects the wealthy. Look at the way the police treat OWS compared to how they treat people at a Tea Party rally.
We also have the distinction of having the highest health care costs, most people with no health care, highest infant mortality rate, highest obesity rate, highest anti-depressant use and shortest life-expectancy at birth.
We also have the highest carbon emissions, worst gender inequality, highest military spending, most arms sales, highest incarceration rate and highest murder rate. In the years since 1776, we have been at war 214 calendar years and at peace 21 calendar years.
So how do we change all of this? Is it possible? In reading Zinn's book, it is quite evident that the rich have controlled the country since its' beginning. They used to bribe elected officials, now they just use super PACs. I don't believe this system can be changed, unless it's very gradually over many decades or through a total revolution.
I think for positive change to occur the following must happen: all money must be taken out of politics and elections must be publicly funded, Citizens United must be overturned, corporations must pay their fair share, taxes must be raised for the top 5%, the military budget must return to pre 911 levels, capitalism cannot run amock. It must be heavily regulated.
These things are not going to happen unless we have someone like Bernie Sanders as President and a heavy majority in both houses that think like he does. Obviously that is not going to happen. OWS can be a huge help; but it must appeal to a very large percentage of our citizens. The turn outs on May Day were great, but too many workers are afraid of losing their jobs if they participate. Employers have workers right where they want them, scared of losing their job and not finding another.
Re-electing President Obama will help (the alternative is truly scary), but changes will be fairly minor compared to what must happen. I believe there must be a tipping point where enough people say they are mad as hell and not going to take it anymore. It will take a revolution to change the system; and I doubt that will ever happen.
America could be such a force for so much good, both for it's citizens and the entire world. We have the resources to do great things; but our priorities are, in my opinion, virtually upside down. As I said, I am not optimistic about our future. Can anyone talk me down on this?