USA ascending

Perhaps our enveloping drama is presenting itself backwards. It looks, to many commentators, as if lunatics are trying to destroy their own country in the name of saving it. It’s possible many of us have forgotten what our country is.

The US seemed serene, powerful, centered, not a little narcissistic – attractive; easy to walk up to. It was, perhaps, running on an inherited idea of what it was, and the strength of other people’s labor.

We thought we understood the whole world, and the world was ours. Something hot and old and hungry stirred in our bellies, and we turned giddy. We deliberately put aside who we were, and declared ourselves whoever we wanted to be. We wanted to be like God. We wanted the whole world, protected and cared for by us, to pay us our due – to yield, from devotion, to our national example of liberty and truth which was, unfortunately, only our imagination.

Now, we’re divided. There is hot-headed bellowing of ideals, and preparation for dying in the trenches – to accomplish what?

That’s the thing about idealists: if they run out of hot soup they’re no more than pathetic. In our eagerness to touch the light, we’re turning under the family farm and cutting off the money supply. Calmer, more powerful voices are making noises about the children. Wisdom will require the lunatics to stand down.

Remember, though, what the lunatics were doing in the first place. They were ripping away at that artificial, proud delusion of infinite control and total security which really is, slowly, strangling us. There has to remain room for simply me – and simply you – to be what we wish.

The global talk is: the US is in decline. I remember an elementary school teacher of mine once speaking about, of all things, the business effects of banning televised cigarette ads (I was young). The old school claimed it would be a death knell for the corporations. In fact, eliminating the marketing expenses propelled the companies to new heights.

The US has been spending its lifetime fortune policing the planet and wrapping it up in our paper. We could never afford this. Perhaps – just perhaps – the folks reaching for the light will help shine it on the original problem. Perhaps we can spend a little less on advertising the United States and a little more on living for the day.

I’m not for ceding an inch of territory gained, but I’m ready to take a few deep breaths.

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