Darkness and Hope in these United States
The United States today is a land of paradox.
A nation famed for our liberty, we have the highest percentage of population incarcerated of all the nations of the Earth, this not even including the many citizens on probation, living without full citizenship rights, even rights like that to move to another city to seek more gainful employment, a right granted to serfs at the end of the medieval period in Europe.
Almost painfully slow to enter foreign wars since the social upheaval of the Vietnam era, our military expenditures surpass the next twelve nations combined, which is not money wasted in the strict sense of the word. We are fully, indeed over-prepared for any war or fighting force conceivable to man. By and large, we ignored the deeper lessons of the World Wars regarding hyper-militarization, fascism, and dehumanization, and instead only noted the patriotic boost to industry and our eventual victory.
Neither have we fully heeded the lesson of the second Iraq War: The ability to destroy an enemy army is useless without the softer but more civilized arts involved in persuading and governing a foreign civilization, for the time of occupation that is. The arts and ways of civilization and scholarship are destined to define the 21st century, however prepared we are to repeat the great wars and great sufferings of the last century.
A mighty economy tested by so many decades, our unemployment is low and our markets are peaking, yet millions of citizens (even children) experience the ravishes of poverty, poverty far more degrading and extensive than can be found in Western Europe or even most of the industrialized world.
Indeed, the United Nations recently saw fit to research and publish a report on the subject of American poverty, as if we were some third world back-water. There are countless impoverished Americans and so many of them are working or are children but are still unable to adequately meet life's basic needs! Many of the impoverished are not recent immigrants but full citizens with centuries of roots in this nation, and forefathers who spilt honorable blood on the fields of our wars.
Analyzing these verifiable facts, what comes into focus is a picture of madness and of injustice, especially considering that our current President isn't interested in curing the epidemic of over-criminalization but in expanding its contagion... despite the olive branch of hope we see in his backing the auspicious but woefully inadequate 'first step' legislation. Likewise, he isn't interested in curtailing the leviathan-like excess of 'defense' spending but rather has expanded it.
And he isn't interested in relieving the suffering and dehumanization of the impoverished, but rather is striving to add punitive work requirements as a requisite for receiving basic aid and nourishment... a policy that makes less sense when you consider that so many of the impoverished are either unofficially but physically disabled, mentally ill, or are women with small children they desire to be at home raising.
Furthermore, our domestic politics along with our habituation to the Cold War is causing us to continue a hostile and brutal blockade of our greatest nuclear rival: Russia. Between Russia and the U.S.A., there are enough nuclear and hydrogen bombs to send mankind back to a radio-active stone age... yet politicians and pundits continue to insist on Russia's economic isolation over the repatriation of the Crimea, a populace largely desiring to be Russian... A policy that could lead to nuclear war, or more likely to the dissipation of nuclear weaponry around the globe and into the hands of truly unstable states and organizations.
An impoverished Russia would have no other choice.
For all the prosperity and apparent beauty of these United States, we are in a burgeoning state of crisis, one which our elders are happily trapped in even as a drug addict willingly and daily bruises, bleeds and poisons his body... and imagines himself to be in a perfect world.
Fortunately, there are many and exemplary exceptions among the elders, and the upcoming generations have in overwhelming majority more sane and productive views on subjects such as poverty and mass incarceration. The whole world, firmly in the orbit of American power, must exist in a state of semi-madness until these noble generations gain enough age to stand up to their elders.
Stranger than fiction, this is the truth.