The United States of America is a great place that’s managed to whip itself into a frenzy of delusional dissatisfaction and rage. The United States is that great place where too many folks with too little to do have found too many reasons for too much grievance. And to many USA leaders have found that great grievance, properly promoted, creates great celebrity and potential for profit.
Promoting grievance for profit is also an extremely selfish and stupid way to earn a buck. But all over the far right, and to a lesser extent the far left, armies of talking heads bemoan mostly imaginary existential threats to the so-called “American way of life” and our “values.”
Taking a 30,000-foot view downward, it’s comical to witness Americans in such a state of fuss and despair. Turn on the TV and witness the Proud Boys or 3%ers or whatever the Aggrieved White Man Support Paramilitary Groups du jour marching and screaming of their pending insurrections against the entire federal apparatus.
Media report Republican elected officials officially denouncing the Department of Justice. Defunding the FBI. Some even advocate violence against FBI and police officers who protect the very country they are blessed to live in. Imagine – calling to shut down the Justice Department, which keeps their country safe…
We’ve got book boycotts in schools. Anti-virus protests. Polio, making a comeback from jackass anti-vaxers. What do we want? A nation of sick, stupid kids to take over our helm? And we’ve got a super fake tanned, world’s worst loser, ginning up the whole thing, threatening democracy itself, blaming an imaginary “deep state” for all our woes.
All our woes. As though we have it so bad. And yet millions clamor to get in.
Let me tell you something — all these people with their hair on fire with their militarized, sensationalized bitching and moaning — all of them have far too much time on their hands with far too little to do. They are ingrates. Selfish. Deceived. Likely bored. And need a real hobby.
Don’t these folks have real jobs? Don’t they have to go to work? Or do all these old white folk vacationing on their Social Security and Medicare simply have too much time on their hands and need a good book instead of tuning into their hate-filled media of choice?
Meanwhile, their politicians, living cushy government lives paid for by the very government they seek to overthrow, scream lies to keep the outrage amped up and primary voters itching to punch the ballot for the most extreme huckster on the docket.
Everyone should just take up a good hobby and forget about politics for a while. Knitting. Model trains. Radio-controlled planes. Painting in bathtubs, like George Bush. Calm down, folks, because you don’t know just how good you have it.
My friend from Irpin, Ukraine, must rebuild his mother’s home from rubble. His house was ransacked by the invading Russians.
Another friend from Donetsk, Ukraine. A grandfather killed. A son’s friend beheaded by shrapnel. Mass graves down their street.
A friend in Uganda. Under constant real threat of life by marauding government “soldiers” taking whatever they want, including life, limb, rape, money, means. Hunger as a norm.
Entire towns in Mexico, so overrun by drug lords, have moved out and people cower in real fear for life.
And here in the USA, we have 30% of our population bent out of shape to “prove” a lie. So much effort over just vapor. Over one man’s ego…
Here in the USA, we suffer 250,000 homeless. We suffer millions of kids underfed and undereducated. We’re all worked up over vapor, while we have real and solvable opportunities as these. Instead of productive advancements, we’re worked up over… vapor.
Our political class has made a mission of manipulating our fringes for political swing and primary victories. The process has turned us to a nation of bickering babies, unable to value and appreciate the blessings that are ours in abundance. We’re made to fight among ourselves while ignoring the real solvable opportunities to indeed make America greater.
Friends, we could have been born anywhere else and statistically, we’d be screwed. Yeah, there are other nice spots in the world… But the odds were seriously in your favor when your soul landed someplace in the USA.
Our nation of bickerers should, by contrast, be united in humble appreciation and united in commitment to use our resources to build better futures for our kids and grandkids. We should be committed to fair, equal and accessible education for all. Economic opportunity for all. Rule of law for all. (Including all our politicians). Building an ever better USA.
Anyone with a brain from outside the USA looking in can see all the goodness surrounding us. They also see us squandering our potential and even our future viability in frivolous political sectarian battles.
It’s said that nations eventually fall from within. Let’s hope that’s not our fate, because our fall would be from for-profit-grievance power players and fear-promoting politicians rather than from real, actual problems.
Better than fighting, let’s decide to value what we have and get along to make it even better.
That couldn’t be so hard, could it? It’s just a matter of thinking for ourselves and spending our time working for our common good.
Gary Horton’s “Full Speed to Port!” has appeared in The Signal since 2006. The opinions expressed in his column do not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Signal or its editorial board.