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Sep-06-2009 21:46printcomments

Whither, America?

What every thinking, humanly caring American (which rules out Republicans as a class) needs to do is open the window or go out on their balcony or front step and shout as loud as they can: I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.

Withering flag
Courtesy: arm4.static.flickr.com

(CALGARY, Alberta) - After 9/11, the civilized world rallied around America. The tragic thing, though, is that America never rallied around itself.

The headline alone in today’s New York Times filled me with anger and frustration because the only thing I can do is write this article. Reading the story fills me with rage at my impotence.

The story is titled: “Surge in Homeless Children Strains School Districts” and reports that there is “a national surge of homeless schoolchildren that is driven by relentless unemployment and foreclosures.

The rise, to more than one million students without stable housing by last spring, has tested budget-battered school districts as they try to carry out their responsibilities — and the federal mandate — to salvage education for children whose lives are filled with insecurity and turmoil.”

I can only imagine the fear, anguish and suffering across America, by men and women of all ages and—most particularly, their children.

Then there’s this September 1 story: “Low-Wage Workers Are Often Cheated, Study Says,” which reports that “The study, the most comprehensive examination of wage-law violations in a decade, also found that 68 percent of the workers interviewed had experienced at least one pay-related violation in the previous work week.”

Or, this story from August 18: “Tax Bills Put Pressure on Struggling Homeowners”: “Hard times are causing more homeowners to fall behind on their property taxes. But in thousands of cases, they are not responsible to their local governments, but to private companies that charge double-digit interest and thousands of dollars in service fees.

This is because in recent years struggling cities and counties have sold their delinquent tax bills to the highest bidder.” There has to be something unconstitutional about this.

On August 26, Maria Cuomo, chairwoman of HELP USA said in a letter to the editor: “Each night an estimated 4,000 female veterans are homeless in the United States, and perhaps twice as many are homeless at some point during the year. This statistic is expected to grow as more women return from active tours.”

After 9/11, the civilized world rallied around America. The tragic thing, though, is that America never rallied around itself. Americans elected George W. Bush for a second term and supported his administration’s efforts to dismantle democracy after being whipped into a frenzy of national fear.

The seeds of American destruction were planted in its very founding where the belief in self-reliance and independence became engrained in the national character. A society based on the pre-eminence of the individual is doomed by definition.

Many years ago I read a 1972 book by Alphonso Pinkney who, until his death in 2006, was the long-time chairman of the Department of Sociology of Hunter College. An African-American, and widely respected by his colleagues, his book is titled The American Way of Violence. Here are some excerpts from my notes:

”The notion of social justice has never been widely shared in the United States. The general feeling is that while citizens have responsibilities toward their government, the government has few, if any, toward citizens. The individual is left to fend for himself in a system which rewards the accumulation of wealth, regardless of how it is done.

A few pages later Pinkney goes on to say:

”The citizens of this country, like their leaders, have little regard for human life and human dignity….Through the centuries Americans have lived in a society which demonstrated its contempt for human beings in countless ways. Given the nature of the society with its emphasis on creating profits rather than serving human needs, it is not surprising that Americans are a violent people. They are turned into brutes by a society devoid of humanism, and the mass media makes its contribution by glorifying brutality.”

What every thinking, humanly caring American (which rules out Republicans as a class) needs to do is open the window or go out on their balcony or front step and shout as loud as they can: I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.

Then do something positive and constructive about it.


Daniel Johnson was born near the midpoint of the twentieth century in Calgary, Alberta. In his teens he knew he was going to be a writer, which explains why he was one of only a handful of boys in his high school typing class—a skill he knew was going to be necessary. He defines himself as a social reformer, not a left winger, the latter being an ideological label which, he says, is why he is not an ideologue, although a lot of his views could be described as left-wing. He understands that who he is, is largely defined by where he came from. The focus for Daniel’s writing came in 1972. After a trip to Europe he moved to Vancouver, British Columbia. Alberta, and Calgary in particular, was extremely conservative Bible Belt country, more like Houston than any other Canadian city (a direct influence of the oil industry). Two successive Premiers of the province, from 1935 to 1971, had been Baptist evangelicals with their own weekly Sunday radio program—Back to the Bible Hour, while in office. In Alberta everything was distorted by religion.

Although he had published a few pieces (unpaid) in the local daily, the Calgary Herald, it was not until 1975 that he could actually make a living from journalism when, from 1975 to 1981 he was reporter, photographer, then editor of the weekly Airdrie Echo. For more than ten years after that he worked with Peter C. Newman (1979-1993), Canada’s top business writer (notably a series of books, The Canadian Establishment). Through this period Daniel also did some national radio and TV broadcasting with the CBC. You can write to Daniel at: Salem-News@gravityshadow.com

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Anonymous September 8, 2009 7:27 am (Pacific time)

And I have a feeling we have not seen anything yet. Besides the dollar dropping like a lead balloon, (77.2 as we speak), gold at 1005, unemployment hitting 10% (20%+ in reality), there also these things to consider Signs of the coming collapse of the US empire are everywhere. First of all you have the US’s main supplier of money, Japan, fall under control of a government that does not want to buy any more US treasuries. This alone spells doom. To add to their woes, as already mentioned, the Chinese are not going to let themselves get ripped off by fraudulent derivatives contracts. They have also been avoiding Treasuries. Bye bye money center banks and bye bye Federal Reserve. Then you have Russian and German leaders meeting in Poland and forcing the US to back off its plan to put missiles there. It is like saying to the US: “Eastern Europe is no longer your turf.” Meanwhile in the US back yard of Latin America Mexico and Argentina are decriminalizing drugs. The US would have been able to prevent that even a few years ago. With the September 30th deadline approaching, this sort of news is spilling out of the corporate media. They can no longer keep the big lie going.

Anonymous September 7, 2009 10:55 am (Pacific time)

Daniel...there is more that you can do than write. You can read this article, then research every sentence, until you find the truth. I also suggest researching 911 with an open mind. This is what is going on sir. And it wont stop, until people wake up. http://www.infowars.com/a-wake-up-call/

Daniel Johnson September 7, 2009 7:04 am (Pacific time)

It is through language that we define and evaluate the world around us, especially the social world. For example, calling a man “independent” (in English) is not only to describe his social relations but (in our society) to praise him. In Chinese, this notion of independence would be incomprehensible. A man without social attachments or a recognition of his many dependencies on other people and the community in general would be called “antisocial”, a profound criticism.

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