It’s getting to be increasingly difficult to live in this country as just an ordinary Joe. We’re 77 and 78 respectively, so moving is not such a hot option. My grandparents on both sides moved to America when they were about 30, arriving here in the late1890’s. Were we 30-somethings now, I’m pretty sure we would be planning to emigrate. It is by no means clear to which country we would migrate, but Canada, Australia and New Zealand would doubtless be high on the list. Scandinavia would also be high among the candidate countries, although I’m uncertain how much of a barrier language might be .
Mainly, I think about emigration because we seem no longer to be a serious country, and we appear to be headed back to somewhere in the 19th century. The opposition party—the one that used to be our conservative wing—is now populated with folks who seem either crazy, or simply terminally ignorant. It’s really hard to pigeon-hole them. They don’t quite fit into the “fascist” category, although they are perhaps at least as far to the right and probably farther to the right than were the fascists in the 1930s. I haven’t heard any of them arguing that we should round up the liberals and move them into camps, so that‘s a good thing I guess. But they seem not to be interested in governing, despite the fact that they are the majority power in one of our legislative houses, and mostly control our Supreme Court. One might imagine that would nudge them in the direction of governance, but the opposite seems to have occurred. The closer they get to full control, the greater is their level of irresponsibility. Thus, the notion that we seem no longer to be a serious nation.
Plus, it is increasingly clear that actually nobody is in charge of this non-governing party. Oh, they have their purported leaders, Mr. Boehner for example, but those leaders seem to hold no sway over this angry mob scene formerly known as the republican party. One would imagine that their owners, the Koch’s for example, would be writing the scripts and telling the troops what to do. But the owners seem vaguely anarchic, much the way we view Afghan warlords. They want little to do with running an efficient or effective Federal government. In fact, the opposite seems more likely—they want a weak, dysfunctional Federal government, one which provides no interference with their daily activities. So, the mindless mobs scene continues to churn away with much noise, but little intelligence and no consistent direction. I suppose no direction is a direction of sorts—it heads towards anarchy, the path on which we now seem to be wandering.
If I could see that this anarchic group was headed towards oblivion, a collective organizational suicide, I would feel more comforted. But I see few signs of that. Living in North Carolina, the opposite seems to be happening—we have shifted from a reasonably progressive state to one that is now moving rapidly back to the 1800’s socially and economically. Instead of that old saw “back to the future”, we are headed forward into a darker past. I understand that the Northeast is probably experiencing something different, but they seem not to be capable of slowing this national drift back into that darker past. Thus my rather dark view of the future of our country. I simply cannot see the means by which we will recover our greatness as the Land of Opportunity and Equality for All.
What is even more puzzling is exactly how we have transitioned so relatively quickly from a great nation to a dangerous and unstable one. It’s tempting to date the change to 2000 and to label Shrub as its author, but he seems to have always been totally clueless, so he seems an unlikely agent-provocateur. Granted, he had some pretty bad characters surrounding him—Cheney, Rove, Rumsfeld, et al. But I think the driving forces are more likely to be people like the Koch’s—the very rich who believe themselves to be invulnerable (warlords??) and who wish to tear down the government, just because it is inconvenient to the achievement of their ends (greater wealth??). The Koch’s get a lot of the negative commentary, but one suspects they are just the tip of the 1% iceberg in America.
Maybe what the country needs now is some kind of advisory group that can work with the educated young, helping them to emigrate to places that are more likely to use their intellect and their talents to better effect than here. The group would need a snappy name—I know--how about LEAVE (Let’s Emigrate And Value Enlightenment).
A start . . .