This American Angst
I suppose it began on September 11th. In fact, I know it did. It was the day I realized the whole world had changed, not just my own.
A sense of vulnerability never felt in my lifetime emerged, and hasn’t left since. As a baby boomer raised on American might and exceptional expectations, the realization we could be crippled by terror was a shock. I thought more than once of running off to the wilderness and solitude of someplace like Idaho.
I imagine I am not alone in the discontent when I came to the realization my own government is responsible for the anxiety and angst that has persisted since? The papers publish articles from both sides of the political spectrum. The talking heads on our televisions rage either the Republican or Democratic perspective. We have battled out two presidential election cycles since. We have been at war on two fronts for the same amount of time. Looking back, well now I see a few signs of how we should have known our government and politicians were inept.
Shortly after 9-11, the President at the time suggested we help one another and our country by going shopping. Was that to relieve our collective angst, or a hint he were going to bring the economy to the brink of the apocalypse soon?
We Americans are shell shocked now. Shortly after the attacks, we color coded our angst in heightened alerts, and lost most of our retirement savings and equity. But hell, that was just the beginning of our collective electoral representations inept governing and insistence to keep us in a state of angst. We invaded a sovereign country looking for fictitious weapons of mass destruction.
We were then rope a doped by Presidential campaign that scared the hell out of a country about our financial state, and the threat that Sarah Palin could have been a heartbeat away from her finger on the nuclear button. I forget how they color coded that at the airport, but we removed our shoes and submitted to full cavity searches. To think the government was alarmed about our five ounce bottles of shampoo. Our angst over that injustice introduced as the ‘Patriot Act.’ It’s still with us.
In fairness, we shared the angst with even the most well to do and elitists of our society, we elected a black man. Old white men in positions of power everywhere suddenly shared the angst of an uncertain future.
We bombed the hell out of Iraq and Afghanistan, rebuilt their infrastructure, stimulated their economies, bailed out the Banking and Financial industries here at home, and saved the American auto industry. All while giving everybody a continued 13 years of temporary tax cuts.
Then, in a cruel joke or to give a sign how inept we were as a functioning democracy, we killed the man responsible for the attacks of 9-11, With Two helicopters, and an elite group of Navy seals. All while the commander in chief was a black man. Heads nearly exploded.
Despite our earlier war angst and the Palin scare, we went to war with ourselves. Our political parties so dysfunctional and full of angst, they called each other horrible things under the guise of more politics. But we did so in the name of Patriotism, and to ‘Take our Country back.’
Suddenly the desire to rebuild economies through infrastructure investment no longer made sense. We manufactured our own crisis’s here at home. We found a huge deficit in our finances. Somehow one political party forgot all about the thirteen years of tax cuts, two wars and a massive give away for a prescription drug plan for our friends at the big pharmaceutical industries.
For awhile we hid our angst over this newly discovered Deficit by giving corporations free access to political representation in the electoral process, then standing by in shock as millions of gallons of oil spilled into our waters in the single largest ecological disaster known to mankind.
Despite having the data and a blue print from the recovery of the country during the ‘Great Depression’ Instead we focused on a four year debate about creating jobs by deregulating more industries and getting rid of their job killing regulations. A theory that coincided with the hocus pocus economic plan of the prior administration who destroyed the economy.
Our elected representatives then spent years in the House of Representatives furiously introducing laws to eliminate Planned Parenthood, challenge Roe versus Wade, shrinking our government waste by killing government jobs, and attempting to do away with collective bargaining and unions, all under the guise of ‘focusing on job creation.’
And that brings us to our current angst. We are now on our fifth manufactured budget crisis. It wasn’t enough to slow the economic recovery of the country, our elected representatives couldn’t agree on a lunch order, let alone an economic plan. So they kicked the can down the road for a few months. They devised a plan so heinous in the form of manufactured budget cuts so deep, no sane governing body would let them come to pass.
Here we sit on the precipice of the sequestration, having just survived a fiscal cliff standoff. Our full faith and credit have been downgraded once by their inept attempt at governing, next month another manufactured round of raise the debt ceiling awaits.
The collective mood of the country has gone to hell again. We have become so used to the turmoil, I barely pay attention anymore.
But like every American, I know it takes its collective toll on me and those I know. You can see the angst in their uncertain faces, their weary eyes and we all sit and wait.
Now when I think of running off to my own little Idaho, or any other refuge, I vow to be damn certain my next destination is not a Red State. I would stay where I am and make a stand, but I worry about the 47% of the people who continue to vote for this insanity, and voter apathy.
See you all at the Sequestration. I’m tired, exhausted with it all. How about you?