Saturday, September 27, 2008

"You've really gotten us into a mess this time, Ollie!"

Comparing Laurel and Hardy to McCain/Palin is a stretch, but if the financial mess we're in now doesn't focus the country's attention on the sorry state of affairs from eight years of insanity, then we deserve to crash.

The presidential campaign of '52 was the first I was old enough to remember, and it seemed so exciting and patriotic back then. We'd just come out of the war, the country was booming, and yes, there were problems, though they seem elementary compared to now. After listening to Stevenson and Eisenhower speak, I expected that the academic would easily beat out the old war horse. That was my first lesson in the short-sightedness of the American public. When I questioned my parents why Stevenson lost, my mom said, "He was too smart for the average American to understand." It didn't make much sense at the time. Unfortunately, she was right.

What does it take for your average American citizen to wake up to the fact that we've shot ourselves in both feet, at home and abroad? I traveled in Central Europe this summer, and was impressed by the sight of wind turbines twirling in swirling wheat fields. We are so terribly out of touch with what's going on in the rest of the world--all we see through the MSM lens is strictly US-centric. We've been salted down, wrapped in cotton wool, and isolated from reality.

Same thing when I lived in Australia for two years. There's so much more going on out there than Americans know. It was a relief to live a life in which American doom and gloom and rotten capitalism was reduced to an 11:30-midnight slot every night, and to have the choice to simply not watch. I learned about countries I'd never heard of before. Saw island nations strip mined by American megacorporations, the population decimated when the silt from runoff ruined the fishing economy. Watched the New Zealand Navy surround the French islands where Chirac conducted an underwater nuclear bomb test. Did this news ever make it to the US media? My guess is the O.J. fiasco pre-empted news of any value.

For all our bluster and misplaced pride, the US has slipped into a Third World existence where we have higher infant mortality than a couple of dozen countries. Our education system is abysmal. Le Monde and other overseas newspapers were solidly behind Obama this summer, and doubtless still are. Even the old standby, American Express Travelers Checks, were in bad odor. If Europeans would accept them, they charged an exhorbitant fee, telling us that by the time they got their money back from AmEx, the dollar would have devalued enough to justify the up to 50% fee.

I learned the hard way that when you finally leave an abuser for good, that's when they deliver the coup de gras. For the unpardonable offense of extricating yourself from a toxic relationship, the abuser seeks to get their last, hardest licks in. That's the one thing I fear for America. That the "October Surprise" will result in either martial law, another stolen election, or both.

It is so frustrating to see the rest of the world taking steps to strengthen their populace and economies, while our particular brand of capitalism only leads to an acute concentration of wealth in the hands of sociopaths, and the common wo/man is crushed beneath the wheel of greed.

OK, decomissioning the soapbox for a while. Please go vote. Hopefully for Obama, but if not, be prepared for a messy backlash.


kimrennin said...

One obvious time you can hear the line “another fine mess” is when Beverly and Bettymae Crane step in front of the camera in their dazzling pageboy costumes and introduce the film Another Fine Mess. In order to do that, they must speak the line on camera. . . and thus the phrase “another fine mess” has actually been spoken in a Laurel and Hardy film.
opinion leader

Kay Dennison said...

Well said, my friend. I've tried to talk to people about a lot of this and we are mostly deaf, dumb and blind to the world around us. The collective intelligence in this country has dropped like a brick. Or is it just apathy?

Darlene said...

A very good post. We are behind other nations in so many ways, but we smugly think we are still the best. If you dare to point out the statistics the belie this belief, then you are called unpatriotic.

Intelligence is a shunned virtue and is falsely labeled 'elitist.'

Anonymous said...

Well said. As much as I hated to, I finally signed up for a paid radio broadcast service. Why? Because now we can listen to the news around the world and largely ignore the O.J. Simpson feed. I remember as a child when we all (Americans) watched one news show. Remember Douglas Edwards? Then Walter Cronkite. Both informative without supporting one side or the other. Now most of us just choose to watch whatever network provides us the news in the slant we already want believe. No wonder the country is so divided.

kokopelliwoman said...

Hi, kimrennin, I rarely see any of these old comedies any more, too bad they're not readily available. It's interesting to note how many phrases have crept into our language that come from film.

kokopelliwoman said...

Kay, good question! IMHO, I think the collective intelligence has dropped more as a consequence of misplaced American priorities. Our education system has gotten short shrift over the last 3 decades or so, and continues to deteriorate. I also think that apathy has played a part in past elections, but this one is by far the most critical decision this collective intelligence has faced since the 40's. Let's hope that the desire to participate in this historical election outweighs apathy!

kokopelliwoman said...

Darlene, this is by far the nastiest tactic yet--challenging someone's patriotism for simply exercising a right that serves as a healthy check on autocracy. We need at least one, if not numerous, choices to make intelligent, informed, SAFER decisions. Thanks for commenting!

kokopelliwoman said...

Hi, wintersong! Yes, I remember when broadcast journalists were revered for investigative reporting that afforded more intelligent decisions. The buy-out of independent thinking on our air-waves was a calculated move to keep the nation uninformed and malleable. Truly one of the more egregious attacks on democracy our country has seen.