Cornel West says – and it’s hard to disagree with the good professor -- that this is the age of cowardice and cupidity in America. Think of what we have become in the years since Ronnie Reagan announced that it was morning in America.
We wage war on the poor and less fortunate, engage in wars abroad without congressional approval, spy on our own citizens, torture, allow white men to murder black men with impunity, and defile the environment in the name of profit.
The monstrous Keystone XL pipeline will be built, eventually, and it will carry some of the dirtiest oil known to man across the heart of America and down to the Gulf, and sooner or later the pipeline will spring a leak and create a disaster. By that time, the politicians who voted in favor of Keystone will be long gone, retired in luxury, with a pension and health care guaranteed by taxpayers, or sitting fat and happy in a corporate suite.
We talk a lot of shit in this once great nation about our military prowess and the power of our economy, but what we rarely talk about anymore – because we can’t without totally exposing our hypocrisy – are notions of fairness and justice, of equity and community. Forget the idea of being judged by the content of your character – no, man, the only measure that matters is the content of your bank account, your stock portfolio, your real estate holdings…ideals are for suckers, fools, and limp wristed liberals.
Any person with eyes to see, ears to hear, and a brain to think will stand dumbstruck in this cruel America; despair falls like a heavy blackout curtain.
A dozen years of continuous war and what is the message from our civilian and military leaders: that more war is needed; they can’t wait to drop more ordnance on the Middle East. It’s good business for Lockheed Martin and Raytheon and General Dynamics.
Look at the stock market, many of the same people say, not your hourly wage or the grand total of your debts; the market is up and that can only mean that the economy is sound.
Ignore the man behind the velvet curtain: focus on the lights and the fire and the smoke and the noise. How many times will we fall prey to the masters of distraction, believe them when they insist that up is down and white is black and that the American Dream is alive and well – and available to all – when in fact the Dream is DOA.
How much of this madness is enough?
Children should not go hungry in America, but they do, because we let them; children should not be homeless in America, but too many are. We have money for wars without end and tax breaks for people richer than Midas, but we can’t afford to feed and house children or pay their parents a decent wage.
Our lack of shame is as astounding as our hubris.