Friday, January 8, 2016

Let's Get Real

From Occupy Democracy on Facebook
Yesterday, I ran across the above list on Facebook, and thought it interesting in terms of how we're doing as Americans and where we may need to make improvements.  It is time for us to get real, but not with prejudice, hate, or discrimination.

I also especially like that GOP candidates talk about how America is a great country and then Donald Trump comes along with his slogan "Make America Great Again."  No one seems to see the contradiction.  It's time to get real.

What does great mean anyway?

According to my Webster's Dictionary, it has several meanings related to size, quantity, description of magnitude, degree or effectiveness, emotion, duration, position, family relationships, and finally, quality.  It is that final meaning that I believe politicians have been bandying about in one way or another, i.e. "America is great" means superior in character or quality of life. 

As a writer, I am especially careful about using the word "great" because of its overuse in descriptions and life.  That overuse tends to dilute its meaning and impact.  Eventually, being great is really no better than being good.  I think it's truly rare for anything or anyone to be truly great which is the reason I rarely use the word in my own professional writing.

Why is The Grand Old Party, i.e. American Republicans, so focused on America being a great country?  Why do they flock to support Donald Trump and his slogan about making America great again without seeing the contradiction?

I think that Americans want to believe that America is superior to all the other countries, i.e. America is all powerful, with the best culture, the best people, the best everything.  But they fear that America isn't that great.  This reminds me of the grandiose narcissist who deep inside feels profoundly insecure and powerless.

America has much to offer the world in terms of intelligence, innovation, creativity, culture, and democracy.  America, however, needs to be able to look at herself realistically, noting what her people do well, as well as what needs improvement.

What would make America truly great, in my view, is if her people were to stop talking about it and take action to improve life here.  President Obama came into office in January 2009 with plans to do just that: improve the quality of American life.  We can do it.  He's struggled everyday since because of fear: of change or failure, of Obama being right, of gun control, of admitting that we need to make improvements, of terrorism, and of losing power (the wealthy and medical insurance companies, especially).

I have yet to hear Republican presidential candidates make concrete proposals and outline plans of action.  We are getting more of that kind of specificity from the Democratic candidates.  Especially Donald Trump speaks in vague generalities, and focuses on whipping up the emotions of his followers by playing on their fears (and probably his own fears).

Does anyone else see the glaring problem with the American political system?  We want to believe that our democracy is the best in the world, but it has begun to fray at the edges big time.  We are in desperate need of a return to governance and not continue with politics.  Candidates need to focus on governance, not politics and the money needed to play that game.

It's no great secret that I am not a political person.  I think politics, whether in the office or on the national campaign trail, is a great waste of time and energy.  America can do much better for itself, starting with people -- ordinary people -- demanding a focus on governance, not politics during campaigns and by the media which tends to be used greatly by the candidates to their own ends and have lost the objectivity the great Fourth Estate used to demand of itself.  Americans need to demand that corporate and lobbyist contributions to candidates and elected officials at every level of government be banned.

Americans need to demand action that will benefit their well-being and not that of the billionaires, wealthy corporations and lobbyists that pay candidates to insure their concerns will be protected and acted upon.  In addition, why is America the greatest  in being the most expensive country in which to live vs. the quality of that life?

When money talks, people listen.  There are those people in America today who fervently believe that the wealthy class has their best interests in mind and so they trust them.  As a result, the wealthy class has a disproportionate amount of power, and we are seeing them actively working to increase that power and their wealth without regard for anyone else.  This is a development that C. C. Yager saw coming and included in the first novel of her Perceval series, Perceval's Secret.  The top 1% have taken over America and created a nationalistic dictatorship to benefit its continuing power.

Is that what Americans want?



Nancy/BLissed-Out Grandma said...

This reminds me of a wonderful scene in the HBO series Newsroom. The lead newscaster is asked by a college student "what makes America the greatest country in the world." He responds "It isn't," and then goes on for about three minutes about how we could be but have given up on the values that made us great. If you haven't seen it, it might be on You Tube.

Gina said...

Nancy, here's the link to that scene from Newsroom on YouTube: