Summary: Posts on the FM website almost always provide either bad news or painful recommendations. Today’s post describes one of the few bursts of sunlight through the clouds darkening America. Two journalists have stumbled upon the first step to reforming America. Should they be heard — should we take them seriously — great things might result. The ball rests in your hands Pass it one.
“Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it.”
—George Bernard Shaw, “Man and Superman” (1903)
- When does it become our fault?
- We should care. But we don’t, not really.
- For More Information
Taking responsibility for America
is the first step to reforming America.
(1) A good Leftist asks “When does it become our fault?”
Charles Pierce of Esquire asks “When does it become our fault?”
… Those people who voted against the UAW in Chattanooga did not do so under actual guns.
Nobody was waiting outside the building to beat them up or burn them in their tents. Hell, the damn company was on their side — or, at least, studiously (and honestly) neutral. And still they could get ginned up in their fear enough not to vote for their own economic self-interest, because they allowed people who they know — or ought to know — would sell their jobs to Vietnam for three cents on the dollar to convince them that the UAW was a threat to their livelihoods. At some point, blaming it all on the conjurings of political consultants isn’t a sufficient answer any more.
When does it become our fault?
I don’t work there. I don’t presume to speak for anyone who does, but what happened in Chattanooga is a nice microcosm of what happens in hundreds of other places, and in dozens of other elections. It’s time to stop using fear and ignorance and apathy as excuses for why things do not change. We do not have the worst Congress in the history of the republic by accident. Nobody smuggled them into the Capitol in the dead of night. We have the worst Congress in the history of the republic because too many Democratic voters were too lazy to stop it, and because too many Republicans believe too much crazy bullshit and, worse for us all, they act on it, which makes the Democratic lassitude even less forgivable.
When does it become our fault?
I’m sorry, but this was a bluff in Tennessee, albeit a powerful one. If the vote had gone the other way, does anyone really believe the legislature actually was going to knuckle VW? And, if the legislature did that, to the detriment of the Tennessee economy and the workers dependent thereon, wouldn’t that be a reason to vote those idiots out at the very next opportunity? Shouldn’t the nonsense peddled by Corker rebound against him in the next election? And, if the whole thing was about the specter of “Detroit” — with all the cultural freight that can be placed upon it by an experienced race-baiter like Corker — then the people who jump at shadows should be blamed for having done so.
I am tired of a country run on automatic pilot. Things happen in a democracy because we either make them happen, or because we allow them to happen. There is no third alternative. Ultimately, it is always our fault.
Yes, it is always our fault. In a Republic the citizens have the right of self-government, accompanied by responsibility for the results. That we so seldom hear these words shows the nature of our problem. It’s not on our national “to do” lists.
(2) A good conservative says that we don’t care
One of the annoying things about believing in free will and individual responsibility is the difficulty of finding somebody to blame your problems on. And when you do find somebody, it’s remarkable how often his picture turns up on your driver’s license.
— P J O’Rourke, Rolling Stone, 30 November 1989
“Waiting For Huey“, Rod Dreher (Senior Editor), The American Conservative, 19 February 2014 — Excerpt:
Peggy Noonan reads Kevin Roose’s undercover account (with audio) of the Wall Street lions having a blast. Excerpt from her review:
“All of this is supposed to be merry, high-jinksy, unpretentious, wickedly self-spoofing. But it seems more self-exposing, doesn’t it? And all of it feels so decadent.
“No one wants to be the earnest outsider now, no one wants to play the sober steward, no one wants to be the grind, the guy carrying around a cross of dignity. No one wants to be accused of being staid. No one wants to say, ”This isn’t good for the country, and it isn’t good for our profession.’
“And it is all about the behavior of our elites, our upper classes, which we define now in a practical sense as those who are successful, affluent and powerful. This group not only includes but is almost limited to our political class, Wall Street, and the media, from Hollywood to the news divisions.
“They’re all kind of running America. They all seem increasingly decadent. What are the implications of this, do you think?
“They’re making their videos, holding their parties and having a ball. OK. But imagine you’re a Citizen at Home just grinding through — trying to do it all, the job, the parenthood, the mowing the lawn and paying the taxes. No glamour, all responsibility and effort. And you see these little clips on the Net where the wealthy sing about how great taxpayer bailouts are and you feel like . . . they’re laughing at you.
“What happens to a nation whose elites laugh at its citizens? …”
That’s nice rhetoric; I ask the same questions. Unfortunately, the answer I get is: nothing much. We don’t care. Should we care? Of course we should care. But we don’t, not really.
Those elites get away with it because we either don’t know what to do about them, or can’t muster the political focus and will to do anything at all about them. After the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, we couldn’t even get a proper Pecora Commission. Then again, Pecora got to be Pecora because the American public of the 1930s demanded it.
Us? Not so much.
For More Information
(a) Reference pages about American politics:
- Posts about politics in America
- How can we stop the quiet coup now in progress?
- Posts about reforming America
(b) Steps to fixing America:
- Fixing American: taking responsibility is the first step
- Five steps to fixing America
- A third try: The First Step to reforming America — Organizing
- The second step to reforming America — Building a big organization
- The third step to reforming America, with music
- How to recruit people to the cause of reforming America
- Swear allegiance to the truth as a step to reforming America, 24 November 2013
(c) Operational issues in the project to reform America:
- How to stage effective protests in the 21st century, 21 April 2009
- The bad news about reforming America: time is our enemy, 27 June 2013
- Why the 1% is winning, and we are not, 26 July 2013
- How can we arouse a passion to reform America in the hearts of our neighbors?, 20 December 2013
- Is grassroots organizing a snare or magic bullet for the reform of America?, 26 December 2013
- Should we risk using anger to arouse America?, 16 January 2014
(d) Other posts about reforming America:
- Fixing America: the choices are elections, revolt, or passivity, 18 August 2008
- The project to reform America: a matter for science or a matter of will?, 16 March 2010
- Can we reignite the spirit of America?, 14 September 2010
- Should we despair, giving up on America?, 5 May 2012
- We are alone in the defense of the Republic, 5 July 2012
- Thoreau reminds us about one of the few tools we have to control the government, 24 June 2013
- Understand our problem before you prescribe a cure for America. We’ve gone mad., 17 September 2013
- In “Network”, Howard Beale asks us to get mad and do something. He’s still waiting., 19 October 2013
- The missing but essential key to building a better America, 21 November 2013 — Clear sight about our condition
- Today you can take the first step to reforming America, 6 February 2014
(e) Posts about using music as a tool to revitalize America:
- A great artist died today. We can gain inspiration from his words., 26 June 2009 — About the Man in the Mirror
- The New America needs a new national anthem! Here’s my nomination., 24 November 2012
- Listen to hear the state of America (and its cure) explained in song, 8 February 2013
- The third step to reforming America, with music, 3 September 2013
12 thoughts on “Is this the dawn of a new age? Two journalists see the first step to reforming America.”
The USA has NEVER BEEN A REPUBLIC NOR A DEMOCRACY. When the “founders” wrote those now famous yet appallingly hypocritical lines which began with a “lie”—- “We hold these truths to be self evident”; they were not referring to ANYONE being “equal” to THEM; unless THEY chose them to be ‘EQUAL’—-THEY ESTABLISHED THE OLIGARCHY THAT HAS BEEN IN POWER EVER SINCE—-
I have written and have been quoted” If the USA were any other criminal nation the ‘Americans’ would invade the USA to keep the world safe; and they would be justified”.
As a Native American and an heir to the 1868 Medicine Lodge Creek Treaty, (which was abrogated in 1883 by the US Congress) I was born a Prisoner of War in 1952 ; who earned his right to “walk around in the Whiteman’s world” when I became a US Marine in 1972 (honorably discharged in 1978)—I do not vote in the mockery they call “Elections” in this country simply because the “Oligarchy” is in direct control of both Houses as well as the Presidential office—–and what the “Oligarchy” wants it gets.
Unless the USA makes the needed changes (real soon there folks—real soon) it will be remembered by history has a negative example and a terrible warning.
As for ‘my people’; we have been here in North America as far back as 15,300 years ago; the European-Christian/Judean invasion which began in 1492; and those “Ugly Americans” they gave birth to, are simply a “mark on the wall of our evolution”—-we will be here long after “they” are a terrible memory. Even with all of the misery they continue to inflict upon us, and NOW the rest of the world; they are simply a mockery of themselves and nothing more.
I think husbandofmoonlight makes some good points for thoughtful conversation and exploration.
“When the “founders” wrote those now famous yet appallingly hypocritical lines”
I think we must begin with understanding the founding fathers lived in a different time and the people of that time had much different understandings of the world and how it worked then we do today. Theirs was an evolutionary step forward; away from rule by blood and towards systems of governance that selected its leaders according to a system “They” spent time and thought creating.
They…? I hear this often, who are the “they” that seem to be driving the system towards a steep cliff? One can look into the history of powerful families in America and come up with names like Rothschild, Astor, Kennedy, Rockefeller; the Big Four Stanford, Huntington, Hopkins and Crocker and then there is the Walton’s and the Koch’s. Probably all pretty big players in the puppet show going on in politics today. But, there are other players as well; 317 million of them all watching reality T.V, and complaining that “They” are ruining the country when in fact it has been allowed to be poorly managed.
It would seem that we have reached a point in our history where those standing at the top of the pyramid have begun to stutter. Instead of viewing themselves as a body whose wealth has landed them with the responsibility of governing the people efficiently, they are in a state of egocentric thinking “I got rich and obtained power now I have to use my power to make money to stay in power to make money to stay in power to make money….” and on and on it goes. Many people call for these individuals to be over thrown and replaced. Others argue that, no the answer lies in creating a third party, lets add to the confusion. But most people do nothing, say nothing, see nothing, hear nothing.
“They” are locked in some hyper dimensional state of paranoia; and We, being mostly comfortable, mostly happy don’t feel motivated to slap them around and wake them up to their responsibilities.
So here we are living in a nation much of the rest of the world views as having lost its mind. And maybe the rest of the world is right.
All interesting thoughts; thanks for posting.
““They” are locked in some hyper dimensional state of paranoia; and We, being mostly comfortable, mostly happy don’t feel motivated to slap them around and wake them up to their responsibilities.”
The 1% are consolidating their control over America — increasing their political power, wealth, and income. Part of that is defensive, to contain and resist any blowback. They are smart. They are winning.
“So here we are living in a nation much of the rest of the world views as having lost its mind. And maybe the rest of the world is right.”
“They are smart. They are winning.”
Perhaps the win is in the bag , but is it a long time win or are we still only seeing the world in quarters. The above mentioned stutter, is locking those in control into a state of shortsightedness. We must occasionally look beyond the next quarter and into that which is being created of our actions. We are a species who’s history is riddled with the rise and fall a great nations, empires, kingdoms etc. “Think not what you destroy but that which you are allowing to survive.” It is a theme that echoes throughout our past; the wealthy survived Titanic (many with grandma’s spoons sitting in the seat next to them) but their blindness didn’t show them the crash that occurred later and sank many of them in another way.
The wealthy arrived in their positions through a little ambition a little work and a lot of being in the right place at the right time. If world leaders were placed into power because they had the skill, training and foresight to guide the whole ship forward rather then simply sit in the lap of luxury while ignoring the responsibility that has been placed on them because of their vantage point. “Beware the wolves who stand in the troughs of knowledge neither eating there of nor allowing the flocks to approach”. It is a sticky situation being elevated to positions which endow one with vantage points that most others are blind too.
We currently live in a world where many of our systems of control are breaking down and we may some day arrive at a point when those systems are gone and new ones will be put in place. My question is…will those who are aligning themselves to be in power if and when said systems are replaced…be up for the challenge? Or will we simply see another poorly planned system rise then quickly fall?
Who knows the answers but its sure to be one great show.
Thank you for your valuable comment. Winning is not victory, and the game is never over.
“Winning is not victory, and the game is never over.”
You are correct, the board always exists the pieces are simply moved or replaced and the games continue on. We are all chasing eternity, and often it is said that we “must keep the ball rolling”. I say the ball has never stopped rolling and in a sense is eternity always just ahead of us. The question being, how far ahead is the ball…can it still be seen?
I say for the U.S. no. We have, on a whole lost a function a purpose; we no longer see the ball because we no longer know what to look for. Most once turned to a mystical, bearded man soaring omnisciently on a throne of clouds creating life with dirt and divine breath. Science has presented to us a much broader view of our reality and perhaps called us to design a purpose to fit the expansion of our knowledge. I believe it is here that we see a break down of our system in allowing faith to stand in place of logic. And while reds fight blues nothing gets done. Perhaps the founders of this country were using great insight when creating a system separate from the church but, failed in their ability to create a long term purpose which motivated people to keep marching on. Theirs was the promise of arriving at the top of a ladder that goes nowhere. To be able to clime and stand where only the “noble” had in their time been allowed; and perhaps forgotten the purpose of being in power the reason for having established systems of governance.
In our past we grouped together for protection then arrived at increasing our groups to “include” others (and of course their land and resources). So then what is the purpose of government in a country who’s only real threat is coming from a government that is failing at its purpose. And is it failing because 99% of it’s people can’t agree on what that purpose should be. In the absence of fairy tales that provide hope and fear, people become listless. I say he/she who creates the next great (and believable) mythos will be powerful indeed. This has always been the game not all are ready to wake up and rally to the polls on election day. We are in fact sleepy sheep who are most content with a Sheppard
“We have, on a whole lost a function a purpose; we no longer see the ball because we no longer know what to look for.”
Change, even redemption, is an inherent potential of every human being. Sometimes happens when we least expect it.
“When you blame others you give up your power to grow (cooperate)”
This is what i have been trying to point out to readers in Croatia, where i was born. To people i meet in waiting rooms, my family and friends. Eu is much more consumed with blame then the USA. Europe has a tradition of blaming, as USA is having it reapear after a pause of blame instead of cooperation. Even tough EU was formed on the idea of cooperation after Merkel anounced “Multiculturalism is over” and “There is a need for national responsibility (debt)” it turned to blame instead of cooperation.
Now the question is; is the blame the result of economic crisis or the crisis is the result of blame (lack of cooperation)?
I see a feedback loop in there. What i found is that virtous loop of cooperation turns vicious once the party in power looses the institutional power but feels as the only party with enough honor and credibility to lead. It feels righteous, and starts to blame “others” (usually smaller groups with litle power of decision on a national scale) in order to deflect from their own corruption that took them of the trone. This looser start to inflict doubts in population of the effectivness of the state to govern, which over time weakens the consent of the governed and trust that is needed for cooperation disipate. This lack of cooperation produces economic dificulties and blame is reinforced by even more mistrust between groups. this creates further lack of cooperation and more economic hardship.
There are feedback loops in every complex system. Is it virtous or vicious, depends on trust of agents. A blame of “others” that usualy conservative groups try to use to deflect from their corruption turns it into a vicious loop.
This happened before war in Yugoslavia, it is hapening for decades from GOP in USA and it is increasing in EU right now. It seems to me that the speed of acceleration is the cause of war, more then anything else. Lately i hear and read much less of blame against groups defined by nationality but much more against wealthy. People are learning, and i guess that is where the real blame should be directed to.
Ask local elected officials questions like: what does it mean that we have an independent ‘Business Development Authority’ that is not as accountable to the voters as the county chairpersons are? we hear about Meth all the time but what are we doing to deal with it aside from incarceration? (Incarceration sometimes is needed but should not be the only tool in local government’s toolbox)
Show up for every election; every off year election, every primary, every midterm (and ‘off year’) election.
I am wondering what it would take for a new or existing third party (that does not have the word Tea in it) to really be a voice for structuring a more equal society, where the human spirit can thrive? How do we make it work? How could they get a voice on the national stage (broadcast network debates)?
Most folks now are so complacent that all you have to do is assert something and others start nodding in agreement (a simple insight that nay-sayers and fear mongers have known since time eternal). Learn the basic rules of spotting logical fallacies in arguments and start calling people out on it…
All good points.
See the posts listed in the for more information section for details about these vital operational questions. Pass them on.
I strongly agree with your last paragraph; in regards to your statement that:
“we hear about Meth all the time but what are we doing to deal with it aside from incarceration? (Incarceration sometimes is needed but should not be the only tool in local government’s toolbox)”
I have some comments and a question. The question first, then: When, in your view, is incarceration needed for drug offenses? I would agree that if someone robs or kills and drugs are involved then there should be criminal sanctions, but then robbery and murder are illegal anyhow.
Mostly because I am tired and disgusted by being bombarded by the heroin so-called ‘epidemic’ in both local and national media, I would like to point out that mostly the talk has been about heroin and how prescription pain killers frequently lead to patients and others seeking out heroin. This appears to me to be an effort on the part of the DEA to justify their existence by exploiting the deaths caused by fentanyl spiked heroin in Pennsylvania as well as the overdose death of Philip Seymour Hoffman. It seems calculated to have a chilling effect on doctors prescribing pain killers to people who need them.
One of the things that is frustrating about the situation is the lack of discussion about how this may cause more people to suffer, both through medical illnesses and prison. The media coverage seems utterly orchestrated and devoid of any subtly or nuance of thought. God forbid that family members of DEA agents, addiction specialists on the media circuit, or mainstream news reporters find themselves in need of palliative care.
Finally, every time I hear how there are drug ‘epidemics’ I think of how herd-like people are. It’s a misuse of the term, but illustrative of how addicts are portrayed as carriers of a contagion, like the plague, and how supposed heretics and witches were once treated.
Like the links about music. Reading some of them made me start thinking about an album that came out in over 10 years ago – The Last DJ by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.
My 2cents (for whatever it is worth) is that on that album is the lament over the loss of the old America (Last DJ title track) and also the anthem for a new day: Can’t Stop the Sun