The land of the Free and the Brave, now the Land of the Fearful

If FDR was correct and “we have nothing to fear but fear itself,”
then America is truly in deep shit. Since 9-11 (and perhaps well before), we
have embraced every petty fear and made it our own, rather than wade in and
change what needs to be changed. What the hell has become of the nation we were
so recently in our proud history? The evidence is overwhelming.


60 million American families are a health event or job
loss away from bankruptcy. Those with good jobs are scared to death their
employer will be merged with another company and either moved or closed down.
Kids just out of college owe more Student loans than America’s total
credit-card debt and auto loans combined.
Ebola is going to kill us all. Terrorists are everywhere and not a day seems to
go by without a school-shooting or police over-reaction. Our national
government is all but shut down and we can’t even talk among ourselves about it
because we’re polarized into silence. It’s a news-cycle where Jon Stewart and
Fox News exist to satisfy both wild-eyed sides of the uproar, but Game 3 of the
World Series is all but off the horizon.
We Tweet and Game and Facebook rather than get
together with the neighbors, mostly because life is too intense to discuss
face-to-face. Does anyone play cards anymore or go out with one’s spouse to a
quiet dinner and then drive the babysitter home?
We’re in the midst of a new era and its
name isn’t the Internet or Knowledge-based Society, it’s Deep Shit.
If global warming doesn’t drive us off
the face of the earth, Bank of America® will. Just last week I saw a YouTube
presentation by a major American CEO, urging his employees to ‘write to their
congressmen’ about the state of the national debt. He’s alarmed. Well, aren’t
we all?
This dude was a member of the Bowles-Simpson
Commission put together by the President Obama to shake us by the neck and
pound some common-sense into the nation. Congress was unable to quiet their
bickering long enough to do something about it themselves—which is their duty
under the Constitution. Anyway, it shook him up, as well it should have, but ‘write
their congressmen?’ I simmered as I watched this Norman Rockwellian approach to
what was a sort of corporate town-hall meeting.
Here he was, appealing to his employees
(who are all terrified of losing their jobs) to contact their Senators and
Representatives. If he actually wanted to do something, he’d have sat down with
other CEOs and demanded they call
Congress. They’re the ones paying for
their votes, we only get a momentary shot at them every two or four years and
it doesn’t matter who we choose,
Democrats and Republicans are both owned
by business. Jimmy Stewart (as Mr. Smith) no longer goes to Washington and hasn’t since 1939.
But it’s still all theater, folks—a vision
of a once great country, captured, bound and gagged by FDR’s fear itself. Even the CEO who played the
Norman Rockwell role is afraid—of his stockholders, his golf handicap, his
quarterly earnings and the day when we all come for him with pitchforks, as
this TED
Talk
suggests.

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