Cartoon America

I finally figured it out, what’s really wrong with America, what’s really keeping America from being great again, but you’re not going to want to hear it: we have met the enemy, as a great man once misquoted, and they is us. We, the people, or in this case, the toons, have come to believe in a caricature of ourselves, something that never really existed, an exaggerated image of ourselves as great, and everyone else as inferior. In short, we have come to believe in our own mythology, and sadly, that’s the way most Americans behave today, wandering tough guys, ready to kick ass and take names, calling everyone else cucks, up until the time someone bigger and badder comes along: for example, when a white supremacist gets punched in the head for being an asshole, and then suddenly becomes the victim, his right to free speech having been violated, with no thought entering into his mind that others might react to that speech.

Everything in America is exaggerated today. An example can be found in such a basic thing as our driving on our highways. No one in America, it seems, can be compelled to do the speed limit. Traffic on the highways is forty-five percent travelling way too fast, forty-five percent travelling way too slow, and ten percent trying to dodge around the resultant chaos. And, in fact, it’s the American definition of freedom itself that causes the chaos in American society, and turns us into that caricature that I mentioned previously.

The average American’s definition of freedom is: “I can do whatever I want, whenever I want,” but that isn’t really the definition of freedom, it’s the definition of chaos itself when you have over 300 million people all trying to practice that ideal at once. American freedom has no limitations of duty to others, and that itself is the caricature; such an ideal never existed, indeed, could never exist, except in the imagination of Americans.

Our cartoon president (should I spell that precedent?) is the poster child for those in American society responsible for placing him in the White House, with the help of foreign actors, of course, and an archaic electoral process designed to placate slave states (See? We’ve always been a cartoon). He honestly believes that he is above the law because he was elected president. Presidents, according to the Donald, can do whatever they want, because they’re the Commander in Chief, and leader of the free world, and the boss can do whatever he wants. It’s roughly the same illogic as when Americans believe that speeding is okay, because everyone else is doing it. Yet, just as Americans, he believes the law applies to everyone else, as when someone tries to sue him, or investigate his sleazy activities.

Sadly, President Toon does represent a substantial portion of Americans, those who believe in the comic book version of American history, and those who firmly believe in an America that never was, the America that rode the high plains of the world alone, six gun dangling from its hip, warning all other countries with its steely eyes not to mess with the U.S. Unfortunately, that leaves the rest of us surrounded by toons, and wondering how we can change the Toonited States of America back into the United States of America. Hopefully, somehow, through our democratic process, we will find a way.

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The only death I want to see in America

The only death I want to see in America is the death of radicalism. Extremism is born of stupidity, a narrow minded inability to see anyone’s point of view but my own, and the argument between the two extremes is giving the Russian government exactly what it wants, and was trying to achieve in its meddling in the last election: the death of democratic discourse in the United States. Extremism plays into the hands of Vladimir Putin, his band of murderous thugs, and the allies they have placed in the highest offices of government in the United States. His plan to destroy democracy in the United States is working, because we are turning away from the fundamental thing that makes democracies work: intelligent discourse. The less we are willing to talk to each other, and compromise, because compromise is the essence of true democracy, the easier we become to manipulate, and that is what Vladimir Putin, a sociopath on the world stage, wants.

It is up to us, the moderate, reasoning people of the United States, the people who place education and intelligence above radicalized belief, to turn the American conversation away from the mindless name calling and hatred that characterizes American speech today.

We, as a nation, have to stop accepting and excusing violence in any form, physical, or verbal. ¬†Whether it’s electing a Congressman after he assaults a reporter, because people understood his anger, or attacks on members of Congress, because they represent things that we hate, or feel will harm us, we, the people, must no longer condone, or even try to understand these actions. Our condemnation must be swift, and unified, because if we don’t we are sliding down the slippery slope toward fascism that Vlad the Manipulator has placed before us, and is happy to grease through his allies every day.

We need to stop this slide toward fascism that hard rhetoric and violent actions brings. Democracy, no matter what its limitations, or flaws, is the best form of government for the people. Fascism only works if you happen to be on the government’s good side, and the government’s good side changes on the whim of one, or the few, depending upon what blend of Fascism you happen to have operating in your country. Fascism can be appealing, because it’s the easiest form of government: you don’t need to think about anything, just follow: but if you think that’s appealing, I invite you to read my piece on Ernst Rohm, which you’ll find as an earlier post in this blog.

My father’s generation fought against tyranny and fascism. They sacrificed and shed blood to end its rule over the world stage. I find it appalling that we, as a nation, now seem to have forgotten that sacrifice, and that heritage. If you truly want to make America great again, you don’t do it through twitter, demagoguery, or admiring fascist killers and strong men, you do it through reinforcing the only bastions that defend democracy: intelligent discourse, transparency, and the rule of democratic law, none of which admits of hatred, bias, or an us, or them, mentality.