The day has arrived for us to take a serious look at our Nation, and where it has been headed. Although we still pretend to be a Country where “all men are created equal” it now costs a million to be “elected” to Congress and a few billion to buy the presidency. I’ve asked the question before about if we’d become a third world country (this site tops Google for it sometimes), and now, a friend sends me this amazing opinion piece from Vanity Fair by Christopher Hitchens that full out questions if we’re a banana republic, it is online now- but, sometimes VF takes things down, so don’t delay in reading the whole thing. Here is a taste:
“socialism for the rich and free enterprise for the rest.”
I have heard arguments about whether it was Milton Friedman or Gore Vidal who first came up with this apt summary of a collusion between the overweening state and certain favored monopolistic concerns, whereby the profits can be privatized and the debts conveniently socialized, but another term for the same system would be “banana republic.”
What are the main principles of a banana republic? A very salient one might be that it has a paper currency which is an international laughingstock: a definition that would immediately qualify today’s United States of America. We may snicker at the thriller from Wasilla, who got her first passport only last year, yet millions of once well-traveled Americans are now forced to ask if they can afford even the simplest overseas trip when their folding money is apparently issued by the Boardwalk press of Atlantic City. But still, the chief principle of banana-ism is that of kleptocracy, whereby those in positions of influence use their time in office to maximize their own gains, always ensuring that any shortfall is made up by those unfortunates whose daily life involves earning money rather than making it.
If we didn’t have nuclear weapons and the most advanced military in the world, to go along with our shameless consumption, by every other industrialized nation we fail to represent and respect our people.
In the battles of education, health care, and for a future that looks rosier than today- that have all been lost in a few short weeks, we still have people thinking we are the greatest country in the world to live in. Which goes to show, a good line of propaganda from 1776 can still work, even after its idyllic concepts have all been thrown by the wayside while we danced on the deck of the Titan(ic).
Americans pursuit of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness disappeared thanks to our unregulated greed and “me first” based “independence.” The reality is, we are all in this together, interconnected and inter-reliant. When was the last time you’ve heard two candidates latch onto the same tagline to say they’re different? And the sad part is, how so many people can believe that a failed scholar, from an elitist family, who is well past retirement age, should be the new lifeblood that is supposed to bring us back.
When you’ve got nothing to left to loose, people should look at the last eight years and realize that other than his age, the background of George W. Bush is exactly the same as that of John McCain, except his family was political and McCain’s was military.
If we want to see change, it will be difficult. It will be uncomfortable, but there is only one candidate that can offer us that option: Barack Obama. He is the embodiment of that promise to America, that all men are created equal, and have a real shot at rising above the conditions of our birth. As everything is falling apart, only those that cling to God, Guns and Country with racist undertones would think any different.
America has become a third world country, it’s up to us, to hoist it back up. After all, we just accepted the bill for it.