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As the world works its way through the first quarter of another year, it should be apparent to anyone paying attention that the human condition is suffering from a depressing progress deficit.  Further, with climate change looming, that progress deficit is only likely to grow.  This is not the first time in human history, not even in the relatively-short and often-delusional “history” of the United States, that there is a lot going wrong at the same time.  But it may be the first time that so much of what is going wrong could be reversed if there were the will to do so and the absence of the willful ignorance, corruption, and corporate greed that stand in the way.

Even after the usual holiday season blitz, Americans are continually bombarded with pleas from charitable institutions to feed hungry children, to house the homeless, to fund critical research, and to provide the healthcare that the desperate seek.  Images of hungry children here and abroad abound amid the pleas for donations – just $19 a month will feed a hungry child for a few weeks.  Help out and you get a free blanket that the hungry child could probably use more than you can. 

Think about that and then think about just how helpful it would have been for the US government to have invested in feeding hungry children instead of investing in those hundreds of 2000 pound bombs at $16,000 a piece they sent to Israel to be dropped on caged civilians in Gaza.*  Then start thinking about all those killing machines America’s military-industrial complex so blithely supplies in our name to its eager “allies” around the globe while St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital begs for funding.

The point here is that we have the means to do the humane, the right, and the moral, and the only cost to do so is giving up an addiction to the inhumane, the wrong, and the immoral.  There is no US constitutional requirement that the richest nation on earth must work so hard to create the fiction that America strives to provide a path to global peace and prosperity. The national obsession with firearms and the glorification of the merchants of death speak loudly enough.  Add the chorus of Pentagon flaks and their corporate masters and the rest of humanity gets drowned out.  And that is just the beginning.

America’s moral foundation is so shaky now that many in the world are finally catching on.  However, the harder audience to reach is the nearest one, the simmering swamp of ignorance and delusion from sea to shining sea.  If hypocrisy were an actual religion instead of the foundation of most, if not all, religions, the Righteous House of Hypocrisy would be overflowing – pass the plate and grab a genuine bottle of snake oil on the way out.

The US government and corporate America cannot even sort out who the winners should be in the latest inhumanity spectacle in Gaza.  So, instead of rendering a clear message that the latest inhumanity must stop before America offers Israel even more death-dealing capacity, Americans and the rest of the world get another dose of America’s latest version of munitions might makes right.  How much further down the humanity and morality scale will America sink before the madness of the nation’s unshakable marriage to the merchants of death finds its match.


In the face of the greed, avarice and ignorance driving the nation’s lust for international relevance, a far more aggressive and assertive pushback will be required to even try to change course.  But it is hard to identify the initial point in the figurative oyster shell to even try to pry it open.  It would surely help to start by ignoring all things Trump, at least until his first sentencing hearing.  This Potemkin monster has been created and fed by all of the nation’s worst instincts.  Try to imagine another “hero” so flawed by mendacity and narcissism.

Once we move Trump to his own little personal hell, and stop bashing old people for their longevity, there might be an opening to examine humane solutions to inhumane problems and conditions.  This could also give the nation a new analytical framework for evaluating the past performance and future potential of politicians, corporate titans, academics, and the vast expanse of the professional class, including journalists.

However, examining humane solutions to inhumane problems and conditions in this context has to embrace much more than some academic exercise.  It will take new and renewed energy to make America and at least some of the rest of the world a laboratory for diagnosing the problems and conditions, identifying the symptoms, and then relentlessly confronting the fundamental inhumanity that always results from inhumane and immoral means.  America and so many other countries in the world glibly embrace the notion that there is a path to humane goals that can be achieved through these inhumane and immoral means.  There simply is no such path.


For many Americans who like to think of themselves as moral and humane, it will take confrontation instead of acquiescence.  It will take learning hard truths and then passing those hard truths on to friends and family and professional associates and co-religionists and the like.


It will take a willingness to boycott those who make money in service of inhumanity.  It will take the willingness to tell a local merchant you really like that you are taking your business elsewhere because their business allows guns to be sold next to the butter you buy there.  It will take the willingness to tell the parents of a child who is a good friend of your child that your child can’t go to their house anymore because they have firearms in their house.


It will essentially require that comfortable people make the uncomfortable choices necessary to open the oyster.  To be sure, this does not require that everyone dedicate their lives to doing good all the time, but it does require the courage to examine choices, make new ones, and then keep making them until those choices have a humane and moral impact.  While my permission is not essential, it is OK to go to a ballgame, drink a few beers, and root for the home team.  It is not OK to turn a blind eye to human suffering while telling your children what a great guy you are.  You aren’t, and they are less likely to be if you are the role model.

And that in the end is a big part of the problem…




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