Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy.
- Ernest Benn
And, now, some more questions: What is wrong with us? The rest of the world is leaving us behind in so many important areas like education, health care, scientific development, industrial strength, and I suppose I could go on, but I hope you get the picture. We used to be so proud (at least we were when I was a boy) of our factories, and our work ethic (remember the American Work Ethic?), our inventiveness, our good-old-fashioned-that's-the-American-Way. Have you seen the acres and acres of abandoned factories that still exist in cities like St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Akron, or wherever (pick a city; pick a state)? One word fits these places: sad (well, a lot of other words fit, too, but I'm going with that one). How have we let this happen?
Damn it! We led the world in just about everything! Now, take a look, if your ethnocentric-ly brainwashed mind can allow you to do so, at the rest of the world! First, most of those countries we grew up feeling sorry for have surpassed us in many of the more significant areas usually referred to as 'quality of life.' And, we are now pretty much a joke among those who used to be our friends and allies. If that is not bad enough, we are universally considered to be stupid, rash, brash, overbearing, aggressive, uninformed, uneducated, and, incompetent (OK, it is nothing new to be thought of as rash, overbearing, aggressive, uninformed, etc., for Americans, but it is so much worse today, and we all know it). While we have been distracted by what amounts to so much BS (the senseless wars on Terror, Drugs, Poverty, et al), our educational system has gone to pot ('no child left behind, my A$$'!), and that means that our ability to create, to discover, to invent, and therefore to exceed, has gone with it.
And, you know one aspect of all this that really gets me is this: should I dare to suggest that maybe right about now, we need to take a very close look at who and what we are, and maybe, just maybe, we as a nation might need to consider that some of the old educational methods were not so bad, I will be jumped on as reactionary, resistant to change, obstructionist, and all kinds of other 'bad' things. I know that it is always thought to be 'bad form' to ever think about reverting to something old, you know, anti-progressive, old-fashioned (as if that is a dirty word), etc. But, you know what? If a thing works, why does it need fixing? If our generation received a good public education, and if the greatest generation (that would be our parents' generation) received a good public education, why did our generation have to start trying to change everything? I mean, it was our parent's generation that developed so many marvelous things (have you seen that list of things that are commonplace today, but did not exist along about 1950? It is mind boggling!) that simply did not exist when they were born. And, they did this while surviving the Great Depression and fighting the biggest war in the history of the world.
People from all over the world wanted to attend an American University, and while many still do, what is the quality of the education that they receive today, compared to just thirty years ago? Pretty lousy, from everything I've read and seen. Today's high school graduate is physically retarded as well, and barely literate, and why? Let me count the ways……..no discipline in the schools, or at home; no manners taught to anyone; no concept of etiquette; no physical exercise; no real content taught in any school; no abilities or talents developed (due to limited or nonexistent budgets) for any arts, or for that matter, anything requiring the use of the hands (as in no metal shop, no wood shop, no drafting); kids no longer learn anything by rote, because that is too taxing on their poor little psyches, or some damn thing.
You know what? I'm tired of it! I say, it is indeed time for change. Let me go farther. It is a time to ask some hard questions, and face some hard facts. I know that it has for too long been common in the U. S., when confronted by a problem, to simply throw money at it. What a waste! Or, the politicians' other (stalling tactic?) answer: maybe we need to appoint a committee to study the situation. Bull Shit! Or, worse, let's hire a 'professional' consultant to look at the situation, and offer us some 'professional' recommendations for improvement. Isn't professional just another word for whore? Who needs that sort of consultation or the recommendations of a whore? Not us. As I said, look at what worked, or what works. Consider reverting to some of those methods, if whatever crap we're stuck with now is not working.
One small suggestion here, by the way: maybe instead of pouring all those billions of dollars "overseas" (foreign aid), we should end all those handouts to others, and keep some of our money at home, to help ourselves. Now, I know that some folks will say that the amount of our dollars that goes to foreign aid is only 1% of the overall national budget, but I would ask them to consider this: 1% of how many Trillions of Dollars has to add up to a significant amount of cash, now, doesn't it? Just a thought, you know……….? After all, we damn well got ourselves into this fix, and we damn well cannot count on anyone else in the whole wide world to help us get out of it. All we have to do is start.