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THE CHATTER BOX

 
  
  
  The Chatter Box : Blathering On
  
  
  
 
The State of America by tucsonmike on 9 June 2006 1:25am
 
I thought of this because I was chatting with Lucy (Arty) about American and Iraq. The following link is from Tuesdays Montel Williams show. I turned it on while flipping channels. Let me know what y'all think.

http://www.montelshow.com/show/?showID=4892
 
Re: The State of America by pandab on 9 June 2006 2:53am
 
I generally avoid talk shows like Mr. Williams'. I find they are little better than the tabloid papers.

That said ... The language on the site's blurb about the show seemed slanted to me. Don't misunderstand. Heaven knows, my own views are rather slanted toward being liberal, and considering his guest list, I would likely agree with much that was said. I don't know much about Lou Dobbs' opinions, just a few of his CNN commentaries. Still, the blurb sounded like Mr. Williams wanted to declare a day of Bush-bashing, though I admit to enjoying that on occasion.

Where are we headed? Well, I don't think America is headed down the tubes. Call me overly naive, but I believe we are too resilient for that. Still, unless we change our leadership in a major way, I do think we are headed for some dark times. Well, darker times.

I worry sometimes about the police state we seem determined to create. I worry about conflicting messages we send to the rest of the world and ourselves. I worry we are sinking to the level of those we are fighting against. I worry about the hubris of our political leaders, Republican and Democrat, and the damage they have and still may do to our national image both at home and abroad.

Did we put people in harm's way during the WTC cleanup? Probably, but I'm not so sure we did it intentionally. I mean, I don't think there was a conspiracy. No, I'm afraid the reason was much worse. It is the same reason Iraq has gone so wrong and why so much else has happened.

We didn't think. We didn't stop to reflect on what we were doing. We barrelled right in supremely confident that things would somehow work out and everyone who was anyone in the world would natually be on our side. We acted like the international teenager I sometimes think we are.

In another forum on another web site, I once posed the question: At what point do we become our own enemy? That is what I worry about most of all, and that is what I see happening.

What is the solution? I have my own ideas, which I won't go into here. Suffice to say, I have always thought of America as an idealistic nation. Naive of me, I know, but I do. We need to live up to our ideals, and I don't believe those include setting aside civil liberties.

Well, you asked what we think. :)

Pandab
 
Re: The State of America by tucsonmike on 9 June 2006 6:05am
 
No, I am glad you responded Pandab. If I were not channel surfing because I was home I would never have seen it. You see, I kept it on the moment I saw Lou Dobbs sitting with him.

We need a leadership change badly. I wonder to what AND to whom. From our history, I am hopeful that we are resiliant enough to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps. It is time for everyday Americans to become involved in how our nation works.

You should put this on my Varietyviews blog. Haven't added to that in a while, because of the Moriarty stuff.
 
Re: The State of America by sighthound on 9 June 2006 7:30am
 
Very cogently put, Pandab. I concur with most of what you said but I am much more pessimistic than you. Bureaucracy being bureaucracy, all the abridgements of our civil rights are not going to disappear with a regime change. All those regs are there now and people's jobs depend on enforcing them so they are not going to go away without a major upheaval.

And the court system, from the Supreme Court on down, has been packed with idealogues whose priorities are not the Bill of Rights. That will have ramifications for decades.

All polls show that the vast majority of Americans now realize that the Bush Administration has failed spectacularly on, oh, so many levels. But, forgive me for being cynical, I don't think that will get them to analyze what they are presented with when they see the clever commercials designed to manipulate them when the next election comes around.

The problem is that the educational system, starting with the Reagan Administration, has been re-designed to eliminate critical thinking. Now teachers must "teach to the test" instead of really teaching and turning their students into aware individuals who are able to look beyond "face value". The "No Child Left Behind" regs that Bush instituted have handcuffed and gagged teachers.

The degradation of the media is a reflection of that educational trend. Democracy can only work with an informed electorate. We do not have that electorate.
 
Re: The State of America by pandab on 10 June 2006 2:26am
 
I abhor manipulation. I suppose that comes in part from growing up with a manipulative parent and grandparent. I also suppose it explains why I detest most sales and marketing people. :)

You see, having grown up with two mistresses of the art (and they really were GOOD at it), I could study how to manipulate at close hand. Sadly, in my younger adult days, I indulged in it often myself. I got quite good at it as well, but I discovered it had an very unfortunate side-effect that rebounded back on me and will rebound back on our political leaders. It is just a matter of time.

Manipulating others, no matter on how large or small a scale, makes the manipulator distrust any thing and any person they come in contact with. You get so tangled in your own web of hidden motives that you assume everyone else is the same. You can imagine what that does to relationships, romantic and otherwise.

It is a sad way to live. I know that, now. Fortunately, I unlearned my lessons, though it took several years. You don't drop the habits of a lifetime all at once.

So, now, when I hear politicans (of any persuation) spout their nonsense, I get angry because I hear the same lead-by-the-nose crap. What makes me angrier is when I see other people swallowing it. Makes me want to slap people silly sometimes. :)

I think people are beginning to wake up and smell the hubris. It is just a start, though, and I fear it may take quite a while yet before people get fired up enough to really DO something. Still, it will happen.

"What comes around, goes around," they say. I've seen it happen time and again. You just have to be patient. My only concern is just how long it may take ... and how much damage we'll have to undo.

Pandab
 
Re: The State of America by tucsonmike on 10 June 2006 7:32am
 
Oh yes, today was a day to think cynically. Oh yeah, right Al Zarqawi(sp) gets blasted out of his socks now. Where is Bin Laden, he asked. The FBI is having a tough time rounding up its ten most wanted list. Bin Laden is number one, Whitey Bulger number two. (Whiteys wanted poster is in seven languages for goodness sake).

I am not surprised the Gay marriage issue did not make it. (It was set to be passed around as a constitutional amendment. It needed 67 of the 100 Senators and that was not going to happen). This was just another bone thrown to some very conservative people to make sure they vote Republican in November.

It is not as though we have never had this. Throughout American history, most people did not vote. There is a difference this time. I can't quite quantify it, but it is there.

I also thought about the No Child Left Behind. On the surface, it would seem like a good thing. You want the kids to all be caught up. On the other hand, it is true. You are just teaching for the exam. I see this with the high school kids I see in Tucson. If my rent paying job could "create" an employee, it would be a kid who was on sports teams in high school, but not good enough to get college scholarships, then spent some time in the military. In other words, they are accustomed to a team structure and rules.

Your typical Tucson principal just wants them to pass the AIMS test and graduate. Unless he is the principal of University High School, he assumes his kids will not attend college. Or if they do, they will graduate Pima Community College, not a four year school. His job is to create a workforce. I can speak for Tucson and the culture plays a role here as well. Many of these kids sort of "float" through life. According to journalist Robert Kaplan, there was a statistic in 1998, that Tucson had the lowest rate of voting in the nation.

You see, if schools are really as bad as the media says, why aren't CEO's howling like banshees, because they can't get quality workers? I'm afraid, Pandab and Geraldine, you can fill in the blanks on this one.

We'll see...

 



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