What will our America become? That is the question of our age and one that will likely present us with real choices in the debates leading up to the election next November.
There is already debate in Washington and on Main Street about whether or not we should pull back from our overseas commitments and turn our back from the ills of our planet to focus on our domestic problems instead, while ignoring the dragons and humanitarian disasters at our borders.
The same voices that are arguing that we should not, and indeed need not, care for our elderly, our young, our ill, or our unemployed at home, are also arguing that we should not care for the many challenges we face abroad.
Many Americans now buy into this doctrine of indifference and greed; it has been pounded on for so long by the conservative media and politicians–so now many believe it. It has become part of the doctrine of the Tea Party types and thus of the GOP.
They argue that the massive famine in the Horn of Africa is not our business — that it is just the way the world is. They argue that we should not care about the proliferation of nuclear weapons— that too is the way the world is. They care not a bit about and say they do not believe in climate change. The depletion of the seas’ fish and other species and its pollution bothers them not a bit, so long as they can still buy their swordfish steaks.
Nor does it bother them that poverty is widespread around the world, that children lack any kind of health care. Why should they care about children dying in Somalia since they want to deprive fellow Americans and children of affordable universal health care at home?
One argument that is being made is pure mendacity: we can’t afford to help our own and thus we can’t afford to help those in need abroad nor can we afford to address the national security threats to our nation emanating from around the world.
Some argue we only need a strong military, yet most of the world’s true dangers have no simple military solution. The head-in-the-sand approach to our needs at home and abroad is frankly both nonsense and pure deceit.
The reality is that we are an extraordinarily rich nation controlling some 40% of the world’s effective resources with the capacity to grow at rates of 4-5%, which can bring unemployment down to reasonable levels, fund our debt and growth in large part through higher taxes on those who have 6 homes around the world, private planes, and billions in income that the average taxpayer has help them build by cheap US government subsidies. All this can be accomplished without taking away our nation’s safety net, including Medicare, Medicaid, and social security and above all the provision of good education for our children.
The only thing that stops us is the overarching goal of the conservative Republicans to stop Obama and to control our nation’s government to benefit the very rich. What we need is a major stimulus package along the lines of the FDR recovery plan. We can’t grow our nation by a policy of depression as dictated by Rep. Cantor and crazies like Rand Paul. Such a grand policy would also give us a sense of purpose that would move us to engage again in global multilateral solutions to our international challenges.
America will be defined in history as either the nation that faced its challenges and overcame them or it will be seen like Rome, as a great civilization that by inner corruption and indifference to the forces forming beyond its borders, succumbed to decline and destruction…bringing most of Western civilization to the “Dark Ages.”
We welcome your comments.
By Harry C. Blaney III.