July 4th, 2017 – A low point for America. We have a president who the people didn’t choose, by the millions, who spends much of his time golfing at his own courses but that doesn’t matter. He colluded with a hostile foreign power to get himself elected but that doesn’t matter. He wants to throw himself a massive tax cut and throw millions off of healthcare but that doesn’t matter. He helped steal a supreme court seat but that doesn’t matter. He appointed people antithetical to the departments they are supposed to run and the damage is already being done but that doesn’t matter. He seems fixated on destroying the legacy of his predecessor to the detriment of the country but that doesn’t matter. Around 60% to 65% of the country and even more of the world at large do not support him but that doesn’t matter. He attacks the very institution of the press but that doesn’t matter. He brags about sexual assault but that doesn’t matter. He boasts that he could kill someone openly and not lose supporters but that doesn’t matter.
A significant percentage of Americans demonstrate that nothing matters. The Office of the President has become a place of personal enrichment and Twitter shitposts and nothing happens. Recent poll numbers clearly show more people support impeachment than his performance but that doesn’t matter. The electoral college’s appointee has generated some of the largest protests we’ve ever seen but it doesn’t matter. He just lies about his inauguration crowd, despite clear evidence to the contrary, and hands people maps of his victory. Because we live in a place that favors land over people, we’re in the situation at hand.
Even if the economy was better and people had the freedom to mass protest in D.C. (and Mar-A-Lago), I doubt it would matter. The minority’s choice would just dismiss it as fake news and congress would ignore it entirely. It wouldn’t matter. Do we really think: Ryan, Hatch, Cornyn, Cruz, McConnell, Pence, or Trump would be moved at all by mass protests? By the will of the people? No, nothing matters.
So being it’s the 4th of July, we look at our flag and wonder what does it stand for? As we ignore science, undo progress, isolate ourselves from the world, and march backwards what do we tell our children? I, increasingly, see comments that “America is no longer the leader of the free world.” (often, the second half of that is “Germany is.”) We can only bury our heads in the sand for so long before everyone else loses patience with us and moves on without us.
After WWII we became the global superpower. We were a manufacturing powerhouse and we weren’t decimated by the war. We can grow a wealth of food and we have little threat on our own continent. The conditions were ripe for us. What did we do with it? In the 60s there was a fight for progress, followed by an immense backlash. Since then progress has been fought tooth-and-nail. We don’t want to treat people equally. We don’t want to educate. We don’t want a healthy populace. We don’t want to be on the cutting edge anymore. All those things, like everything else, doesn’t matter.
So what does matter? Being able to cling to outdated ideas. The single-issue voter, not caring about anything else but making sure LGBTQ people don’t get rights, or that women can’t make their own choices. The rest of the giant world doesn’t matter as long as that little sliver of the pie they get to make sure they can control, even if erroneously. We have serious issues coming: climate change, and a global automated economy just to name two very big ones. We’re letting other people lead now.
We used to want to lead. I’ll say that again, we used to WANT to lead. Now we’re too corrupt and apathetic to even get leaders. Nothing matters to enough people. So what does our flag mean? Not enough, to enough people. Our flag, our country, our system, has too often devolved into a team sport where all that matters is ‘our team is winning.’ Look where that is getting us. One side is control of the house, senate, and the presidency is leading us down a dark path despite a very loud majority disapproval and the other side will gleefully get on facebook and twitter and give everyone the middle finger.
Rearranging deck chairs on the titanic may make you good about yourself, but the rest of us know better. Things should matter, our flag should mean something. Our country is more than a team sport. The president should be held accountable, as should congress. We shouldn’t just give things a free pass and be more involved. When we do get involved, our representatives should be responsive. We have a great capacity to be a part of the world, and lead in many areas and we should take up that mantle again – instead of not only being left behind but running the other way.
We are the United States of America, and there are many things great about us. We are, however, at a low point.