OK LET ME MAKE THIS EMPHATICALLY CLEAR AS MOST OF THE COMMENTERS DIDN'T GET IT AFTER READING THE BELOW DISCLAIMER/WARNING/STATEMENT OF THEME/PURPOSE. THIS IS NOT A NOSTALGIA PIECE FOR THE GOOD OLD DAYS. I DO NOT THINK IT WAS AN IDEAL COUNTRY BACK THEN AND I STATE SO CLEARLY. TRY TO GET THE THEME INTO YOUR BRAIN BEFORE YOU COMMENT. ITS NOTED BELOW IN THE STUDY NOTES LIKE THIS IN ALL CAPS. OK?
I hope the Kos community will allow me the indulgence of this long memory/rant/whine/vision. It is simply a long stream of consciousness release of ideas, thoughts, feelings and memories that fill my mind and possess me these days and nights as I attempt to see clearly the reality I find myself in now in America. (WHAT IT IS NOT) It is not meant as a definitive summary of our history together nor the problems we face, nor the solutions we must find. It is meant as an expression of my thoughts and feelings and dreams and reactions only. However, (THE PURPOSE OF THE PIECE) I hope it will energize us all to fight all the harder in the coming year to turn things around and join together to create the world we dream of and wish to live in.
I remember America before Conservatism.
It wasn't perfect.
(NOTE THIS STATEMENT BEFORE YOU COMMENT THAT I'M SAYING THAT IT WAS)
But it was still the greatest country in the world.
The other night I couldn't sleep and in my mind I created this variation of the great song Imagine by John Lennon (and then I got up and wrote the first draft of this diary):
Imagine there’s no Fox
No Limbaugh, Hannity, or O’Reilly
No one to lie about and hate you.
Imagine there’s no Reagan, Bush or Cheney
No one to feed the rich and starve you.
with apologies to and in remembrance of the great John Lennon, true man of peace
We didn't have any billionaires, we didn't have 50 million in poverty even with most of them working either.
Banks didn't get bailed out and then pay billions in bonuses to the bankers who committed the fraud that crashed them, and the mentally ill and veterans didn't live on the streets because no one wanted to bail them out. We punished one, and helped the other, back then.
The rich paid higher taxes but were still rich and we had entrepreneurs creating businesses and expanding technology, and full time workers could pay rent and still feed their families, even pay college tuition for their kids. We had strong unions and strong corporations at the same time. Imagine that! We had vital small towns and family farms and ‘mom and pop’ stores and good schools and something called ‘upward mobility’ was possible and we were even getting closer to something called ‘equal opportunity’ for all regardless of race, creed, or gender.
Our president then spoke of a “Great Society” and it seemed real and possible to become even better.
That’s all called Socialism and anti-American now.
We were the envy and the light of the world.
We weren't perfect.
(NOTE THIS ADDITIONAL STATEMENT BEFORE YOU COMMENT THAT I'M SAYING THAT IT WAS AND THE NEXT 3 PARAGRAPHS TOO. ADDED SPECIFICALLY SO YOU COULD SEE THAT. YOU WILL GET AN AUTOMATIC F IF YOU STILL COMMENT ABOUT THE PAST PROBLEMS AND CURRENT PROBLEMS WE FACE AS A NATION)
Far from it. Very far. We had lots of problems, lots of people were angry about lots of things.
There was the Cold War, there was Mutually Assured Destruction. There was Selma and Viet Nam and Kent State. There was the Oil Embargo and Stagflation. There was Nixon and Watergate. On and on. But we were trying to change things for the better. Slowly but surely.
Sometimes it got violent, and ugly, sometimes we made progress. Jack and Bobby and Martin were murdered. They were our heroes and we were stunned, shocked and we mourned. But change kept coming, laws were changed, rights granted and enshrined in law, the war ended, eventually, and others came forward to organize and work for their rights too and try to change things they thought weren't right or fair or equitable. Women, Gay Men and Women and others.
(NOTE THIS STATEMENT AND THE FOLLOWING ONE. IT CONTAINS THE BASIC THEMES THAT I AM TRYING TO GET THROUGH
YOUR TO THOSE WITH STUPID THICK HEADS.)
Change happened. Change was constant and inevitable and it was generally accepted that it would continue forward—progressing—and that was good. Good for all of us. We were a progressive nation and people. It seemed to me. At that time. And in my memory of it now.
America and the American experiment in "Democracy," the American "Dream" itself, was still possible. Anything and everything still seemed possible.
(NOW I'M GOING TO TELL YOU WHO FUCKED IT ALL UP, WHICH IS THE SECOND POINT TO MY DIARY. REMEMBER ITS NOT ABOUT HOW PERFECT IT USED TO BE! THIS WILL BE ON THE EXAM! ITS MOSTLY A RANT FROM HERE ON BUT GOOD WRITING. ITS RED MEAT FOR DKOS. ENJOY.)
Then a man was elected who declared “It’s morning in America” and he began the movement to undo all of that as the America I remember rapidly vanished into the descending darkness. Things changed. The American Dream became a nightmare.
People began to believe that helping the poor was causing them to be dependent, rather than become independent. So we cut them off.
People began to believe that we needed to let the rich become even richer and then their wealth would ‘trickle down’ on all of us. So we let them take all the money and not give much back.
As more and more people became poor because jobs vanished, they were called lazy and useless and help was refused.
“Let them die!” people say now. “Moochers!”
More and more people lost jobs and the opportunity to find jobs because the jobs were gone.
Yet still people believe that the rich will share their wealth, if we don’t ‘punish success’ with taxes, which are now ‘theft’ instead of the ‘price of civilization,’ the cost of creating the America I remember. So now the already unimaginably wealthy steal more and more and more from our common economy and more and more become poor and hopeless and homeless.
And as crazy as it sounds, people still want desperately to believe the new 'dream' of trickling down wealth and so fight and demonize and shout down those who say ‘Wake up! you've been lied to!’
And so now “Real Americans” fight like hell against anyone who even suggests we go back to doing things the way we used to.
Those people are ‘traitors’ they scream! They—we—are called “Liberals” now, a label of utter contempt, a name which once meant “real mainstream American values” in the America I remember. Then, the way I remember it, they were known and respected as the people who made “the American Dream” actually come true. But now it’s said that they want to ‘destroy America.’
And people believe it and talk about hunting them down and actually killing them, even going so far as to make “liberal hunting licenses’ and sell them on the internet, and some have already been hunted down and killed.
And no one seems to care, instead they complain that the one’s doing the shooting are the persecuted ones. Today. In today’s America.
Our president is called a Marxist and people threaten to kill him simply because they think, they just imagine, that he wants to take us back to that America. The one that I remember.
And now, at Christmas, congress cuts veteran’s pensions—their pensions! soldiers who served in our wars, imagine that!—and cut food stamps again, and refuses to extend unemployment to millions out of work with no hope of a job, while the Tea Party still screams about their taxes supporting lazy moochers as billions more are spent on death machines, trillions committed to high tech aircraft, ships and tanks, and unmanned drones slaughter wedding parties by remote control in a foreign country 1000s of miles away on the other side of the earth.
We are in a ‘War Against Terror’ you see. Against it. Against a feeling, against fear, and so it will be an endless war of course.
Today our poor homeless children go hungry in rat infested abandoned buildings, and our old folks freeze because heating subsidies are cut, and they want to go after the social security and medicare they paid for all their lives next because ‘we can’t afford it!’
Today oil corporations make billions in profits every year, and speculators reap still more profits running the cost of that heating oil to levels above the fixed budgets of our retired workers, and the oil companies get tax breaks in the billions and sometimes actually get refunds from the government, our government, our money, instead of paying taxes, any taxes.
Running for president, Mitt Romney whips up the hate against the 47% who don’t pay income tax because they can’t, because they simply don’t have enough income—they’re on social security or veteran’s pensions—or have any income at all because of his own stated policies and the way he made his own millions for years destroying American businesses and jobs.
And the ‘conservative’ ‘patriots’ take to the internet to complain in every comment thread how they have to pay for those ‘takers’ and its not fair, and it’s the ‘Liberals’ fault, and how its going to ‘destroy’ the country with debt, while ignoring simple math.
Today someone punches a salvation army volunteer for wishing her a cheerful ‘Happy Holidays!’ because that’s just not the right thing to say and that’s what’s really important nowadays—everyone worshiping the ‘right’ god, having the ‘right’ beliefs—and loudly saying so despite his supposed son, the one they claim to worship as their ‘savior,’ admonishing them not to pray in public or make a public show of devotion to that god.
It’s now become nearly unimaginable that we could ever restore that country which once was real. That world we once lived in, and grew up in and prospered in and believed in. That world we don’t need to imagine, if only we remember it.
But still I imagine.
And I imagine John Lennon singing ‘Imagine.’
(NOW GO WATCH THE VIDEO AND TRY TO UNDERSTAND MY INSPIRATION FOR THE PIECE. THIS WILL BE AN ESSAY QUESTION ON THE FINAL)
I want my country back.
Sat Dec 28, 2013 at 6:03 AM PT: NOW WITH ADDED STUDY NOTES! BE SURE TO READ AND COMPREHEND THEM BEFORE COMMENTING.
YOU WILL BE GRADED DOWN A FULL GRADE FOR FAILURE TO DO SO!
Good luck and thanks for attending.