The War Is Not Abroad
For anyone under the age of 20, let me address a pile of crap you have been brainwashed into believing; fighting wars half way around the world is vital to our survival. Since the attacks of 9/11, our government has been brainwashing us into thinking we are under attack by terrorists who want to destroy America. They froth at the mouth every time there is an isolated incident involving a Muslim killing U.S. citizens, whether it be in San Bernardino or Boston. This is pure crap they sell and there is an underlying goal of profiting off of our fear that should really concern us.
Since September 11, 2001 we have been a nation at war with an enemy we cannot eradicate primarily because we can’t identify the enemy. Is he located in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Saudi Arabia, or Iran? This is not to say terrorists are not out there and that we should not be tracking them, but if recent history has taught us anything, you do not win a war against an enemy you can’t find. We failed in Vietnam. The Russian failed in Afghanistan. We’re failing today despite the billions of dollars we spend to wage war.
The real wars we should be fighting are at home, however, they go unaddressed by elected officials who do not want to be labeled as being weak on terror. It takes strength to stand up and tell the public we have more important battles to address at home.
Healthcare: The left wants it at the very least made affordable for all Americans and free if possible. The right says otherwise. Why can’t they compromise? The answer is money. Lets face it, there is just so much money to go around and there becomes a tipping point in which Americans reject elected officials for taxing them too much (We have a long history of hating taxes). How do you fund a bloated military and provide real and affordable healthcare to everyone? You can’t.
Without saying so, the right prefers eliminating the funding for enemies of the state like Planned Parenthood, the poor who can’t get a break in life, or the elderly who have paid enough taxes over the course of their lives. Creating cultural splits over who and how to fund health care results in no real health care.
Maybe I have been sleeping, but I do not recall being asked what Americans want more, a war on terror or affordable health care.
Violence: The real violence we have to worry about comes from within our borders and is at the hands of our loved ones, neighbors, friends, classmates, or that element of society that has nothing to live for that we refer to as thugs, gang bangers, or mentally ill. We want to be able to walk the streets of our communities without having to fear for our safety or feel like we need to arm ourselves.
Instead of rounding up 1,300 gang members who are not citizens, we should want to see fewer of our own youth joining gangs because they have decided at the ripe old age of 12 they have nothing else to live for.
This won’t happen without a major sacrifice by all of us because we have become a culture that embraces violence in countless forms for our entertainment. We have to do more than just stop purchasing violent video games to push on impressionable minds, but rather we have to stop profiting off of violence in the form of our favorite sports we watch, lyrics we listen to, and most of all, solutions we use to solve our problems.
Guns: The paranoid will not think the government is coming after your guns and wanting to destroy the Second Amendment if we can wrap our brains around the idea the average sane individual does not need to own an AK-47 or 17 hand guns. Gun ownership is increasing at a much faster rate than the number of people who call themselves hunters or sportsmen. Gun ranges are not popping up at an all time high but we are buying guns at record rates as we ready ourselves for an attack that is never going to come.
We are nine times more likely to see the guns we own used on a loved one than we are on an enemy. Even cops are more likely to use their gun to take their own life than they are the life of another person.
What is increasing inside this nation is the number of mass shootings by U.S. citizens who have too much access to too many types of weapons. The data is out there. It is easier to limit the guns available to humans than it is to identify the mentally ill, in part, because a certain segment of gun supported legislators have cut back on the funding for the mentally ill while continuing to support the rights and access to guns.
Education: We have watered down our schools into canned approaches where one size of learning is supposed to reach everyone. In the process, we are seeing an increase in children falling through the cracks, and worse, we are seeing them fall through at an earlier age.
In California, we have a far left legislature that has made it darn near impossible to have anything that resembles a decent level of school-wide discipline because they feel our youth have the right to freely express themselves by telling teachers to “fuck off” without fearing any consequence. This results in our public schools graduating foul-mouthed brats who think they can do whatever they want in the real world. Worse, they end up having kids and raising them to believe the same, which just exacerbates the problem.
We have shoved concepts that are far more difficult to master than anything we were required to know back in the day while telling students they can’t make it in this world unless they graduate from college. A four-year degree from any college today is now considered no better than a high school diploma was when I graduated from high school 40 years ago. The only difference is, when I graduated from high school, I was not $60,000.00 in debt.
We have decided we no longer need to know our own history let alone learn about the history and cultures of other nations because we have too many parents and groups who believe their children should remain ignorant to the world, its religions, its philosophies, and its way of life. This ignorance is a big reason we have leaders who are so good at making us fear an enemy we cannot see because we know only what they tell us about them. Our kids’ ignorance is bliss to our hawks.
Leadership: There really isn’t any leadership in this nation, just schools of thought and the two primary schools, the GOP and the Democratic Party, have no desire to work with one another to accomplish anything. They are waging an all out war on each other with the sole intent of destroying their enemy just so they can have all the riches. In that sense, they are no different than what we see take place at the corporate level. Instead of more competition, we are in the midst of wiping out any and all competition.
There is no desire for real inclusion in our nation. Politicians speak of ridding our nation of its ills, which only creates a war for survival that pits religious, racial, gender, age, or philosophical groups against one another. Elections are won and lost, but post election cultural wars have replaced any attempts to bridge our difference into national unity. We seem to only come together for a good war abroad.
This failure resulted in a national presidential election that pitted the two most unpopular candidates in this nation’s history against one another. There was no real choice for any that offered us hope because both Trump and Clinton played more to our fears.
Our two political parties have such a grip on all the money available for candidates that it is now nearly impossible for a third party to rise up to challenge them. An outsider who wants to drain the swamp has merely filled it with a new stench and anyone of sound mind and decency is unable to be heard over the shouting, finger pointing, and image creating that now goes into getting elected. Perhaps this is why we are at a point where Americans really believe The Rock (Dwayne Johnson) would make a great presidential candidate in 2020.
Infrastructure: This sums us up best because we are literally crumbling from within. We have ignored our own house for far too long. This great bastion of democracy has an aging electric grid, an archaic public transportation system, an over reliance on outdated and horrifyingly destructive methods for energy, as well as dams, bridges, highways, and entire cities falling apart, all because we refuse to take care of ourselves.
We have become that aging loved one who refuses to believe they need help while they live in squalor. We believe the answer is to wall ourselves off from the outside world that has passed us by with their newer and more efficient cities and their willingness to embrace the future rather than try and maintain the status quo. We have become guided by a fear of an nearly unidentifiable enemy that does indeed want to destroy us and is enjoying watching it happen without hardly having to lift a finger.
Our enemy is us, not whoever you may think “them” is. It is in our narrow mindedness that has caused us to become imprisoned only to eventually turn on ourselves. We are becoming an isolated nation whose paranoia is causing us to forget most of us just want to enjoy our lives on a day-to-day basis without having to fear what we actually have control over.
We cannot control what others thousands of miles away may or may not believe, but we damn well can control what we do here. The more of that control we hand over to people who disguise themselves as leaders, but who really are just seeking to profit off our ignorance, the more unhappiness we can expect.
The ball really is in our hands and we can choose to pass it off and be done with it because it may be easier to do at the moment, or we can work together to regain control over what we are in danger of losing. The clock is ticking, what are you going to do?
Top photo of Detroit from the rooftop of the old Michigan Central Train Station by Abdul Rahimov
Jim is a life long resident of California and retired school teacher with 30 years in public education. Jim earned his BA in History from CSU Chico in 1981 and his MA in Education from Azusa Pacific University in 1994. He is also the author of Teaching The Teacher: Lessons Learned From Teaching. Jim considers himself an equal opportunity pain in the ass to any political party, group, or individual who looks to profit off of hypocrisy. When he is not pointing out the conflicting words and actions of our leaders, the NFL commissioner, or humans in general, he can be found riding his bike for hours on end while pondering his next article. Jim recently moved to Camarillo, CA after being convinced to join the witness protection program.