The other day I saw a commercial for Larry the Cable Guy’s reality show. In it he calls the “US the Greatest Nation on Earth.” It is such an empty platitude repeated so many times that people who watch all the right shows and listen to all the right radio talking heads, and read the right literature repeat, endlessly. If you dare say that this isn’t the greatest country – ever, then you are an unpatriotic, socialistic, lout who doesn’t deserve to live here. Nothing can be farther from the truth. If you truly care about something, you should be able to step back and look at things, critically, and see where things can be improved.
There is nothing wrong with brutal honesty. Intellectually honest people are praised for the capacity of being brutally honest with themselves and personal assessments. We should be this way with our country, examining what is good and what is bad. The same person who looks in the mirror and admits they should lose more than a few pounds, when looking at the problems of the country, becomes enraged when the same sort of thing is mentioned about the problems we have.
Perhaps the greatest disservice our Founding Fathers did for future generations was doing away with traditional European titles of nobility. Instead, we were all to be totally and completely equal. They were almost socialistic in their demands of equality, as long as one was white and male. Unfortunately, in the minds of many, especially those who consider the US the greatest nation, ever, that sentiment continues to prevail.
By denying any sort of title for nobility, they unwittingly created a form of nobility far more dangerous than the very entities they detested most. In the US, in order to be considered nobility, one must be wealthy. You see, the greatest nation on earth worships only one thing, the wealthy. We don’t worship money. We don’t worship wealth. We certainly don’t worship education. What we now worship are the wealthy. They are sacred, sacrosanct, their actions considered laudable, no matter what they are. The wealthier a person is, the more they are to be worshiped, adored, admired and cherished. The poorer a person is, the more they are to be degraded, ignored, and denigrated. To be wealthy is to be of ultimate import. To be poor is to be the lowest of the low, of no use, what-so-ever.
Once upon a time in this nation, those who were ultra wealthy were looked upon with suspicion. It was always assumed in order for them to achieve their great wealthy, they had to lie, cheat, steal, and fight their way to the top, literally choking those beneath them to achieve their great wealthy. No, this was not the socialist view. It was the view of the ‘average’ American. The only way the ultra wealthy in this nation even began to rehabilitate the way they were viewed was to embark on such a wave of philanthropy, that they were almost expected to give away huge chunks of their fortunes. Society still did not look well upon them. They became the objects of ridicule, curiosity, and derision – ergo the modern tabloid gossip industry was created.
To be middle class was to be celebrated. It implied hard work, a false sense of morality, and a moral sense of superiority. Stalwart, steady, honorable, the small business person, the man who worked hard, struggling to provide for his family was celebrated. He was the real America. There was virtue in hard work, struggle, and not being wealthy. There was no virtue in wealth, almost no honor in wealth. The struggle to become comfortable was what was implied to provide virtue. The stalwart middle class man and woman, had a tendency to make fun of those with great wealth. Sure, they would wish to achieve such wealthy, but, when cornered, few truly wanted it.
And, no, these stalwarts, the very men and women who made this nation great, did not consider this nation the greatest place on earth, the greatest nation on the planet. The concept, in many ways, did not exist. It was not part of their world-view. They were neither that ill educated, arrogant, or delusional. Most Americans did not even think of other countries, aside from perhaps Canada, Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, and maybe Russia. That was basically it. Great Britain was considered the ‘home’ of our culture. It was viewed strangely, but always imitated. If anything the average American might consider England the greatest nation on Earth, simply because of their origins. The United States had yet to achieve such status and power.
Strangely enough, the concept of the greatest nation on earth is very much an antidote to the Sixties, when an entire generation grew up, realizing that the world of their parents no longer existed. The first generation to grasp the fact that it was a small world, they saw the good and the bad about us, and started complaining about the very bad things such as racism and the lack of equality for women. If we were the greatest nation on earth, we were perfect, ergo we did not really need civil rights and equality for women.
And so, it began…almost an Nixonian antidote to the growing generational disparity. In order to assure the Silent Majority that things were just fine, the United States morphed into the Greatest Nation on Earth.
It is a myth, almost a canard, perpetrated by the far right propaganda machine. If you believe we live in the greatest nation in the world, then you cannot ask questions. If you ask questions, then is it the greatest nation? Oh, wait, you can ask questions about liberals, disparage them, call them socialists, baby killers, traitors, and all around bad eggs, but never ever ever question the right. Never question Rand Paul, Eric Cruz, Jim DeMint, ALEC, Americans for Prosperity, and the far right. Just listen to their religious message. We are blessed as a nation, as long as we keep women in their place and understand that evil homosexuality will bring down the country the way it did what’s it’s name.
A nation where its inhabitants are so sure of how perfect they are, the nation is, don’t dare ask questions. Asking questions would prove that they aren’t patriotic. We don’t dare appear unpatriotic – dare we? As long as we are patriotic we can’t ask the following:
- Why is the middle class falling behind?
- Why are gas prices still so high?
- Why are we paying more for things than ever before?
- Why are we paying more for health care than any other leading nation?
- Why are our workers paid less?
- Why is our freedom eroding?
- Why is the SCOTUS constantly upholding laws in favor of big business?
- Why is big business paying so little in taxes?
- Why is education so expensive here, and under attack?
- Why isn’t austerity working?
- What about increasing poverty rates?
- What about the fact that a quarter of the children in this nation are living in poverty?
If a quarter of the children in this nation are living in poverty, and 75% of people are living paycheck to paycheck this is no longer the greatest nation on earth.
But, we’re told it is, so that’s all that matters, right?
Get out those flags, and turn of FOX. Thank heavens each and every day for Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Charles & David Koch, and those blessed Tea Parties. Just quit thinking about things. Quit feeling, and praise the new god, Ayn Rand.
- Starving kids are getting what they deserve.
- If a senior can’t pay for their meds, let ’em die.
- Corporations are the Makers, they are the gods.
- Women should be neither seen nor heard.
- A woman is asking for rape.
- Women tempt men into raping them.
- Boys will be boys.
- Just make sure everyone is armed.
- The poor deserve everything they get.
- Food Stamps are evil.
- There should be no food banks.
- If a senior can’t cook for him/herself, let ’em die, cut Meals on Wheels.
- Don’t make the ultra wealthy pay more in taxes.
Yea right, the greatest nation in the world – if you are willing to turn your back on history and realize what is being taken from us by the fake patriotism of the extremes.
We live in an country of great beauty, with amazing people. Americans are some of the most compassionate people on earth. We the little people are. The ultra wealthy don’t give a damn about helping anyone. The more important they become, the less important the nation becomes. What wonderful greatness we once had is being is being destroyed by men and women who have literally been brainwashed into believing that the very process of questioning what is wrong with this nation is evil.
That – is how nations eventually die. The bitter irony is the fact that we are seeing the very individuals, the very men and women who claim to worship freedom and the Constitution destroying it.
One can only pray that their eyes will be open before it is too late.
There is a difference between patriotism and blindness.