Home ESSAY: MAKING AMERICA GREAT AGAIN

ESSAY: MAKING AMERICA GREAT AGAIN

05/08/2017                                                                                                                                                                              PassportPhoto2016                                                                                    Contemplating the fall of the USA and concomitant rise of Trumpites, one is reminded of the biblical lament, “How are the mighty fallen!”

President Trump, riding shotgun on “an armada” led by the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, roared and charged at N Korea, but, when he looked Kim Jung-Un in the eye, blinked and turned tail; now our president is proposing to talk with Kim, who has responded with studied silence. So our Trump turned to a smaller shrimp, inviting President Duterte of the Philippines to come to the USA; but Duterte said he was “too busy” to bother. How are the mighty fallen!

 

Our president wants to “make America great again.” We must support him if he demonstrates an awareness of what a herculean task it entails. First we must disabuse him of the illusion that it’s a mere matter of launching cruise missiles and carrier warships. Our befuddled president and his henchmen see small countries “dissing” the USA, and they think THAT it is the problem. They have no clue that the decline of the USA goes waaaay deeper than that, to really fundamental things. They see high-tech jobs flee to Asia and they have no idea why: It wasn’t Obama or NAFTA or a porous southern border! Here are two minor snippets.

  1. In the days of “Great America,” about 40% of the world’s scientists & engineers lived in the USA at one point, says RC Adkins (IBM Sen-VP). By 2012 it was down to 12%; and by all accounts, that decline has accelerated in recent years. What to do: replace them with Trump-heads?
  2. Today all states of the Jim-Crow Deep South fall in the bottom quartile ranking for educational attainment even within America’s benighted educational status.

{From “WHITE RAGE” Carol Anderson, Bloomsbury 2016}

America’s aspiration to greatness is severely hobbled by two self-inflicted handicaps. The first is that we have our priorities inverted. Our insane splurge on “defense” is wrong-headed. The latest figures available are for 2015, when, with a population of 325 million and a federal budget of $3.8 trillion, the USA spent $760 billion on military pursuits — providing employment for 2.5 million persons (1.4 million on active service and 1.1 million on reserve— but only $70 billion to educate 114 million citizens of school and college age. Thus, on a per capita basis of citizens served, the military gulped 500 times as much of our tax money as education. We are in danger of “defending” ourselves into oblivion!

The second handicap is our long and inglorious history of cutting our nose to spite our face: the energy and resources squandered in America’s reactionary war against the rights of blacks, a war led by the Deep South to be sure but supported and abetted by all levels of the federal bureaucracy. No sooner had three centuries of chattel slavery for blacks been ended by a shooting Civil War than it was effectively reimposed by the administrative equivalent of a new Civil War in the form of Jim Crow practices that lasted another century and half all across the USA—aimed at furiously swatting down every Court ruling that tried to open equal opportunities to all citizens. As they say, when you pin someone to the ground you are also holding yourself down with him.

Thus, while the Soviets made education free and compulsory following WW-II (and most of Europe wisely followed suit), the USA deemed it more important to enforce Jim Crow. Even when ‘Sputnik’ was launched in 1957, causing Americans to panic over an apparent “technology gap” evidenced by the launch of that satellite, the “gap” was not taken as a wake-up call for mass mobilization in our educational realm; instead, the system was kept stultified by the all-out war to exclude blacks from participation in the commonwealth. A people do get the government they deserve!

Finally, this oddity: Trump jumped to his presidency with a declaration of war on immigrants (by which he meant non-European people with “alien” beliefs) even as he and his cohorts rued the fall of America from greatness. They are blissfully unaware that America’s wealth was built on slave labor, and that the individual sparks which ignited and sustained the post-WWII grandeur of the USA was struck by immigrants, particularly those who fled Europe just ahead of or during WW-II to escape the sort of fatuous fascism that is now burgeoning in the USA. Electing an ignoramus as president is another manifestation of our constant propensity to spite our face by cutting our nose.

But it is worse than that. Trump and his ilk are a bunch of 20th-century bigots suddenly caught in a time warp. That is why in his electoral campaign he told his people “We’ll take our country back!” NOT FORWARD, mark you, but BACK. Theirs is a backward-looking ideology that is implacably fixated on racial, gender, and ethnic supremacy — a doctrine that looks set to keep corroding and sapping the spirit of America for a couple more centuries. The only way to make the USA great again is to really overcome and bury that ideology, to make sure troglodytes stay in the past.