I finally decided that I needed to share my thoughts with my fellow citizens and hopefully get some feedback to help my understand what others are thinking and more importantly why they think that way. Not to mention that my wife is getting irritated by my constant opining so I had to find another forum, lest she think I am just becoming a grumpy middle-aged man.
What drove me to this, you might ask. To be honest, I was mostly ignorant of the world for a long time. In high school I was rather unsophisticated. In college I was too busy with engineering school. The first few years after college were used as a period of decompression from long hours spent studying engineering. Then I started thinking about the world and my role in it. I started paying more attention to news, politics, world affairs, and religion. Every now and then I have a need to write my thoughts on certain subjects – “a mind dump onto paper”. As an introduction to KCThinker, I will share one of those recent sessions with you.
24 June 2005
Daily we see the news reports about the death toll of Americans in Iraq. Daily we hear the cries for our withdrawal from Iraq. Daily we hear lawmakers lament on the loss of American lives in Iraq and the cost of war. We do not hear anything about withdrawal from Afghanistan. Have we become so jaded after Vietnam that 30 years after that war it still guides our national psyche and policies?
I would postulate that the constant barrage of negative attitude by our lawmakers and national press corps has jaded us on this war and sticking it out. Although if you really listen to the results: schools, hospitals, jobs, water treatment in Iraq at levels better than during Saddam’s reign, you have a different impression. Alas, only the daily dose of suicide bombings makes the news. The soldiers returning cannot believe what they hear in the news when they return home. They have seen positive results. All we hear are the negative. We created the mess and therefore we must se it through; however misguided, misinformed, misled, and ill-prepared we may think the United States was in going into Iraq. Are we to be known as the nation which makes messes but are too lazy to clean them up because it costs too much in lives and dollars. Each time we start something and do not finish it we lose face in the world. It projects weakness, not power.
We have lost our stomach for war ever since TV began beaming daily reports from the “frontlines” into out living rooms. Mind you, hating war is not a bad thing. But I do not think that being divisive and crying out against it at the first sign of difficulty or because it is causing us to reach too deep into our pocket books is a reason to high tail it out of there. I would bet that if the same negative attitudes were being projected during World War II, the United States might not have stuck it out. If the true loss of American lives on French soil on D-day would have been front page news, America may not have seen the war through.
We certainly do not have this attitude when it comes to the environment. Cleanup the toxic waste dumps at all costs. Save the spotted owl no matter the cost (in dollars and jobs). Reduce carbon dioxide emissions even if that means the economy will falter and people will lose jobs (not to mention that signing Kyoto will do little if anything anyway). Start a war, overthrow a government, destabilize a country, but if things start going south get the hell out. I guess the war on AIDS in Africa is a winless situation, let’s not dump any more money into AIDS research and fighting the spread of AIDS anymore, it costs the United States too much money. We need to adopt a new attitude of “if we cannot win, why even try in the first place.”
I think we are witnessing a major attitude shift in the public. The public is not willing to be a world power if that means getting into a quagmire ala Vietnam. I think it is time that the United States be honest with itself and take its place at the side of the former great European nations. Just a minor player, criticize the hell out of everyone, vote no to everything on the United Nations Security Council, and project little if any power. The time has come for the United States to hang up its world power belt. It was a nice run, let the Chinese be the world police. Let North Korea run unchecked. Let fascism reign. Let the people elect religious zealots to run their countries. Let’s rip up our constitution, because the Supreme Court is already doing that anyway. Let’s raise taxes, scrap the military, grow hemp, and spend wantonly on social programs like welfare. Let’s work 32 hours a week and get paid for 40. Let’s grow fat and lazy and embrace our dilettante European cousins. Let’s open our borders and become North Mexico. At least the ATMs will not need to be reprogrammed."
Some of what I wrote above is obviously tongue-in-cheek. But it reflects my growing unease at what America is becoming. I think America is becoming decadent. We are becoming stupid and lazy. My unease is reflected in less American students going into science and engineering. My unease is reflected in a dumbing-down of our society. My unease is reflected in a growing national and public debt level. My unease is reflected in the do-nothing, talking heads in Washington D.C. (both on the Democratic and Republican sides). My unease is reflected in the unwillingness of the American public to realize that the world is changing; the playing field is being leveled, and Americans damn sure need to adapt or we run the risk of becoming a footnote in history.
That is the way I see it. I will try to expand on my thoughts in the future, as time permits, and post some of my earlier writings. I welcome your honest reaction and thought-provoking rebuttals as well. Tell my why I am wrong to think the way I do.