The Muck Starts Here: Oh, wither America’s manifest destiny?

By Barry Larry HampHastings

Results of our (ever-so-slowly-ending) business in Afghanistan, and badly-ended fool’s errand in Iraq, are not going to be pretty — not even cosmetically tolerable.

We took action in two failing states; pushed one over the edge (and into the arms of our enemies), and have little to show for our efforts in the other. Afghanistan remains the riddle it’s been to westerners since Alexander the Great poked around there for a bit… and very wisely retired.

We’re well over a decade into a bloody, testing, (and likely) hundred-year war. It’s complicated by the same religious/social/economic/strategic problems of mankind’s known (and unknown) foreign and domestic past, and by the usual fog/friction of every war. Our government is being something less than forthcoming about what the nation faces; in the near future — and for a great many years to come.

The struggle against a hostile world in arms is a battle for survival of the modern, against a growing tide of dark-age chaos. It’s been complicated (for us), by louts, fools, poltroons, anti-intellectuals, self-serving politicians, and religious fundamentalists, throwing the weight of their ignorance around in every part and parcel of our personal, national, and international lives. (Believe me, ignorance ever carries the most weight in this deeply troubled nation.)

We’re also (not deeply enough) involved in the battle to save the earth we must all live aboard — hindered, as ever, by the usual nay-sayers. Already it has become (as the Duke of Wellington observed after (narrowly) defeating Napoleon at Waterloo), “A damned near-run thing.” Right now, we’re not doing well. Actually, we’re losing.

The usual nay-sayers? Producers, users, purveyors of carbon energy, big capital (banks, insurance companies, giant corporations with big $$ to burn), and anyone, everyone, they can buy, “con” or coerce into the effort. From all the “Citizens For…” ads flooding the tube, there are many.

I’m pretty much dissatisfied with modern America. It’s become a place where the “aim” of our rulers is to keep people so desperately poor (scrambling to survive), both parents working at crappy, demeaning, low-paid work, they have neither time nor energy to closely follow events. Many (more each year) legislatures in states and commonwealths across the nation, work diligently daily to make voting more difficult for those who have the hardest time turning out — the old, infirm, poor, black, Hispanic. It’s not a pretty picture to contemplate for humanists, progressives, naturalists.

Ever so slowly, the Supreme Court is erasing the work of every progressive manifestation of the people, and the leaders they’ve elected, supported, believed in. Not to speak of the Constitution, itself. They’ve overturned very nearly the entire work of the early, active, successful progressive Theodore Roosevelt.

The agonies of Abraham Lincoln, half-a-million killed and wounded Yankee soldiers and sailors, and the American people, were being mocked (and reviled) by members of his own party before he was decently planted in Illinois.

Much of the work of FDR has been (purposely) eroded. As for the work of Kennedy/LBJ for civil rights? If you seek an unpleasant peninsula, look about you. (And in 49 other states and commonwealths.)

The Supreme Court, in too many recent rulings, has made the conservative majority’s scorn for the unwashed masses, all too apparent. A trend toward the (far) right there, in matters economic, has been masked by a long, more widely disseminated, much noisier, battle for equal rights in the lesser federal court system. Now the matter is going “upstairs.” We’ll see what “equal rights” is. Those tens of millions of our fellow citizens — when they think about it… should be worried, noisy, peaceful. As I’m sure they will be.

The condition of black people never changed down south (and didn’t improve much up here, either). It’s heartbreaking stuff to see for a 76 year old patriot who (until the horrors of ‘Nam began unraveling), believed this really was the “shining city on a Hill”. Oh, I was well aware of the blights, blemishes, misadventures. But many examples of selflessness, and real sacrifice, on the part of our founders, the American people, through two + centuries, was a powerful pull for one who wanted to believe.

I believe the effort to survive the big depression (brought on by the usual criminals), then physically feed, arm, and save the free world 1940-89, exhausted the nation. The only thing needed to complete the long slide was an alternative world. The scientific revolution over the next 50 years (which began of desperate necessity early in the build-up to World War II), provided a whole, Brave New World.

Many millions of people are actually living in that new world today. Far too many have lost touch with the hard reality of this world; drowning it in ether, coke, smack, pixels, fiber-optics, and twitter — while western culture is in a fiMuckrakerght for survival.

The (as yet not fully developed with clarity) horrors you can almost feel building in the world today, are what the “greatest generation” felt 1933 to December 7, ’41. I don’t really believe the American people are in any way, shape, sense, or means ready for the dangerous threat(s) we’re going to have to overcome — soon. If western culture is destined for survival.

Leave a Comment