We have a president who seems unwilling to declare that we are the greatest nation on earth. We have a Senate run by the most spineless little weasel anyone could ever imagine. Our House of Representatives is reminiscent of the character from Mel Brooks’ “Blazing Saddles” who holds a gun to himself claiming he is held hostage to befuddle local dullards.
We have been told that we as a nation are borrowers, beggars and thieves. Every single day we are reminded that one race allegedly hates another. Plain terrorists wishing to wage their personal version of Islamic jihad are gingerly described as “persons of interest” or “mentally disturbed,” but rarely described, with only the facts borne for all to see, as what they truly are ... enemies of our nation. We spend our time pitting American against American. Whether it be their right to marry, right to work, or right to die, we fight and battle endlessly.
We watch the vapid Kardashians or the pitiful Honey Boo Boo and call it entertainment. We remember Watergate like it was yesterday but forget World War II and treat those who fought in and survived Vietnam as pitiful misfits who should be hidden in a backroom like the crazy uncle in a proud but clueless family.
In 1995, I was told that America had lost all civility and sense when Newt Gingrich and his fellow Republicans shut down the government. But in 1995 Newt Gingrich and Bill Clinton talked. They negotiated. Sure there were times when one or the other played the drama card. Newt allegedly stormed off Air Force One mad that he had been seated in the steerage section. The fact was that his seating arrangement had nothing to do with his show of anger over then-President Clinton’s decision not to discuss the status of the government en route back from a great man’s funeral.
But even that myth did not keep Clinton from ultimately negotiating. What ensued was an agreement to balance budgets and the first and only modern day consecutive run of such an accomplishment. Two leaders led.
We have become a nation that honors ignorance. We would prefer to see how the broke-as-hell, worthless, ignorant and flashy “Real Wives” of whatever live their lives versus learning how our economy works or taking a position on an issue that might truly matter to future generations.
Oh yes, we are great at moralizing and castigating. But when it comes to creating dreams, futures, and a united sense of worth, we are lost.
Our national news media sucks. They lead us around like little ducklings, feeding us the headlines they want, burying leads and posturing their own point of view. The day that Al Sharpton became an accepted daily part of the news media was the day they could finally put a fork in it as a profession.
Today we have the most liberal, most myopic and least qualified president in modern American history. And he faces a clownish collection of half-wits and losers who make up much of Congress. If you can’t cut it in real life, for goodness sakes run for office. It is the home now for every egotistical nitwit who could never earn a real living, or got tired of doing so, in America.
And then there are the voters. Most can’t name their congressmen, much less their local elected officials. The extreme right-wingers want to tear everything down and the extreme left-wingers want to hand everything out. And they all want to pass a law that regulates every part of our lives.
I recently viewed a likely-to-be-ignored new movie “Parkland,” which depicts the events surrounding John F. Kennedy’s assassination. I read reviews by critics panning the film. They had no clue what they were watching. With the exception of the occasional historical slip, the movie is a brilliant “in your face” and startling production.
It reminded me of a time when Americans, torn apart by issues of the day, still knew a tragedy when they saw it. Now we simply cry in our coffee over faux crises and find ways to divide ourselves.
Our history provides true moments of crises. There was a real Civil War in which real Republicans provided the leadership to free enslaved black men and women. There was a real World War in which the Nazi’s practiced not only terror, but took entire nations and ethnic groups as hostages and victims.
We’ve had real problems in the past, but little things like determination and a realization that we were the greatest nation in the history of modern civilization overcame them.
We need our leaders, our media, and our public to rise above the small stuff. We need to put the “United” back in the United States of America. And we need to do it quickly.
Matt Towery is author of the book “Paranoid Nation: The Real Story of the 2008 Fight for the Presidency.” He heads the polling and political information firm InsiderAdvantage.