Talk about Stupendous Stupidity – when this old hound dog, Buster, that is, hears some danged fools talk about American exceptionalism, a dog could puke! The recent shooting of an unarmed teen in Ferguson caused a big ruckus and got a lot of press, but it will be forgotten as quickly as all the other atrocities carried out in our good old U.S.of A. Persons killed by local police departments have averaged about 400 per year for a few years now, and 33 police officers have died by gunfire so far in 2014. Also, we are number one in mass shootings, numbering 117 this year by early June. So, I suppose one could say that there is a certain degree of exceptionalism happening here, albeit in a rather unpleasant manner!
Please don’t misunderstand my comments; I love this old country and what it stands for. I have had a pretty darned sweet life here for my almost 10 years, and my old pappy says that he is the luckiest dude alive to have been born here and lived here for most of his 78 years. Pappy grew up in the 40’s and 50’s, and for a brief, shining moment, our good old U.S.of A. was indeed exceptional. We stopped and defeated Hitler’s massive war machine, and after the war, played a major role in rebuilding a devastated Europe and even rehabilitated Japan after the one and, so far, only nuclear attack. We of course didn’t defeat the Nazi’s single-handedly. The Brits held them off while we got our manufactures switched over to guns, and the Russians wore them down in the terrible siege of Leningrad. France and others also aided with underground resistance forces. The tremendous rebuilding after the war, though, was mainly the work of the U.S. and was an unprecedented treatment of the vanquished by a victor.
Coming back to our unscathed shores, returning GI’s, who incidentally had known exactly why they were “over there,” together with our awakened industrial potential and the GI Bill, ushered in a prolonged period of unparalleled prosperity and established for the first time in history a large, thriving “middle class” (those now unfortunate souls who are currently being promised lots of unspecified help in regaining their footing by all of our caring politicians). Then, the 60’s and 70’s were a wondrous time of two automobile families growing in the suburbs, women’s liberation, and general good times.
Missing out on most of this happiness, the black man stayed in the cities, worked menial jobs, and had kids who got mostly second rate, “separate but equal” educations. Of course, when other immigrants arrived, mostly at Ellis Island, seeking a better life, they were not greeted with bouquets of flowers either, and most of them had a hard way to go before eventually “melting” into the great pot of U.S. life. However, the black man was different. He came here in chains, not of his own free will, and was kept in enslaved servitude until the Civil War. Then, the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution abolished slavery, but former slaves and their descendants have remained in one form or another of economic deprivation ever since.
So, here we are in the 21st Century, and black people with few exceptions remain at the bottom of the economic ladder, still subjected to all manner of discrimination. Is it really that hard to understand why some black dudes (and other disaffected cats) get so discouraged they go off and join radical groups fighting in the middle east or Africa? When human beans become desperate, they don’t always make sensible decisions.
My old pappy recently read that 72% of “white” people in the U.S. think that the police do a good job of treating blacks and whites equally. Even 36% of “blacks” are reported to agree. Isn’t that amazing? Large numbers of people being so sadly uninformed has got to be due to lack of education and communication. Due to previous statutory and now de facto segregation, most white and black people in our good old U.S.of A. have not spent their public school years together learning about each other, and then there is television, which in the kindest assessment, has certainly not furthered our understanding of racial issues (or anything else, for that matter).
Compounding all of our problems, you have the gosh-awful ideological divide which has been promulgated by the two political parties – the Republicrats and the Demublicans – there being little difference in their vitriolic efforts to demonize each other. Both parties, in appealing mainly to their respective bases (I believe they refer to each other as either “left or right wing-nuts”), are forestalling any reasonable discussion of any number of issues dividing them. Racism, existing on all sides, isn’t even mentioned in their ongoing feud. All this political foolishness would be hilarious if the consequences were not so deadly serious!
We really need to get our act together, and admit that our black citizens, as well as a number of other groups on the low end of our economic scale, have been treated very poorly. If our grand old country is to truly return to a positive “exceptionalism,” we need to knock down the barriers between us and get to know our neighbors. My suggestion in our blog on the military envisions a national service reinstituted for rebuilding our tattered infrastructure as well as defending our country, which would serve the additional purpose of getting our young people to meet and know each other while working on our common purposes.
This old hound dog ain’t smart enough to know just how we get from here to there, but I’m wagering that if enough of us begin thinking about it, good old American ingenuity will kick in yet again!
Well, that’s far too much of my moralizing, and next week I promise to return to our substantial financial woes.
later, folks, buster.
PS: Can you believe that this simple minded computer dictionary gives as an example of reinstitute: “by reinstituting the draft they could alienate a new generation of American youth.” Can you see how public opinion can be inadvertently confused?