The United States of America, the greatest country the world has ever known.
I heard that alot growing up.
Accolades for American greatness came from politicians, foreign statesmen, artists and writers, journalists, Hollywood, my teachers. It could be heard in the crashing of generational waves of immigrants onto our shores, all wanting to become Americans. Hell, even my own kin folk broke down in sentiment on a 4th of July or two.
America's secret to greatness was no secret: we were the land of the free. We were free and we celebrated and touted it, exported it and, we told ourselves and the rest of the world: this freedom is enduring.
Freedom defined who we were and it justified how we lived... the big ideas, the free markets, the hippies and Hollywood, helping our neighbors worldwide in times of crisis... we were great, rich, and generous.
In remembrance of our freedom and its stamp on the the American character, I give you two great Americans, Franklin Roosevelt and Norman Rockwell ...
The first is freedom of speech and expression --
everywhere in the world.
The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way -- everywhere in the world.
The third is freedom from want, which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants -- everywhere in the world.
The fourth is freedom from fear, which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor -- anywhere in the world.
That is no vision of a distant millennium. It is a definite basis for a kind of world attainable in our own time and generation. That kind of world is the very antithesis of the so-called "new order" of tyranny which the dictators seek to create with the crash of a bomb.
As it turns out, freedom from fear may be the most compelling of the four. It is a mature idea, well beyond a doctrine of safety. In my analysis, it is the courage to put ones self in harms way, whether on a battlefield or in a protest march. It is a freedom from fear that enables us to stand against systems threatening our freedom, culture, home, and country.
Strikingly ironic then that our politicians are bloody brilliant in usurping our freedom with fear. Despite the fact that most of our political hacks haven't a clue about economics, they tend to be expert at portraying hallmarks of our free society, like due process or privacy, as stumbling blocks to safety and convincing us, instead, that FISA,the Military Commissions Act, and expansion of executive power will inDEED keep us free safe.
Yep. Promising to keep us safe somehow softens the slaughter of our freedom.
But hey: We have free markets and free trade and bigger houses and tons of technology. So what if we've imprisoned our social nature and made ideals, like truth, seem irrelevant and useless.
Is it that we humans are not equipped biologically to manage the level of complexity we've designed in our lives? Surely, we're all drowning in ill conceived layers of tangled and completely mangled global networks.
Not to mention: most of us just don't do consequences.
Yet... as Carl Sagan said... we are the stuff of which stars are made... so perhaps the violence and beauty in the ever-moving universe is what we mimic.
Yes. We are violent, horrible, random, brilliant, beautiful and, I believe, unaware of ourselves as a continuum of a chaotic cosmic process.
We have tumbled out of the universe onto this little itty bitty planet, creating ourselves as we go. The question to unravel, I suppose is who are "we" now and what the fuck are "we" going to do... now...
Economic power seems fundamental to mediating and moderating forces... thus it would seem logical to revive regional economies and small business as first steps to help restore equilibrium.
Downsize our ideas about what an economy should do: like ever-expanding growth on in a finite environment just won't work.
School boards, town boards, zoning boards... that's where I think the real work and rewards are. Establishing local and regional platforms of power and influence to push back against the insanity of the few who have lost touch with, well, the bigger picture.
You are in your jet-you don't have a grip on reality. We can lose touch with reality quite easily.
We've got people in charge of this tiny globe who've lost touch with reality. Writing to them, e-mailing them, calling them in Washington or elsewhere isn't gonna suddenly wake them up.
Changing our lifestyles, buying habits, living leaner & smaller won't wake up those out-of-touch either... but maybe we'll wake up to something more sustainable, sane, and stable that we ordinary folk can negotiate around the globe.