An American mantra.

If anything explains the current American malaise, it is the often heard mantra: It is not my responsibility. It defines America in the 21st Century. It causes the woeful state of American politics. It explains the economic meltdown of 2008.

The total lack of responsibility in the sub-prime mortgages that caused the economic collapse was not by the janitors in the banks but by the banks’ boards and operating officers. Canadian banks missed out on that gravy train on its way to the train wreck because of the conservatism of their rules and rulers. It will still take  America more than a few years to rebuild world confidence and to restore trust at home.

But what kind of America will emerge from this present abyss? The split in political direction is wide and far reaching. The battle is bitter. It sets the haves against the have-nots. It pits the intellectual against the ignorant. It invokes a holy crusade against the secular infidels within. And nobody expects to win at the ballot boxes. This is a house divided. It is an armed homeland of distrust, inured to bloodshed.

Give President Obama his due. He steered the ship of state through the first four years. He saved General Motors, he stabilized the banks, he fought and won the battle to bring Medicare to millions of Americans. If the sheer weight of his rhetoric could win, he could sleep easy in the White House.

But Americans are afraid.  They cannot see the truth through the lies of the politicians. They are the mightiest country in the world and they feel they are losing ground. They fear the rot of their cities as the war on drugs is lost.

And what choice are they offered. GOP candidate Mitt Romney is a millionaire and only his wife knows him as a person. He lacks any grasp of what is beyond America and yet he aspires to lead the world. His running mate, the man chosen to be a heart-beat from a Romney presidency, is a right-wing evangelical who knows even less about the real world and shows little interest in learning. Their candidacy is not an alternative to the Obama presidency but a sad commentary on how far the country has wandered from the ideals of America’s founding fathers.

French historian Alexis de Toqueville wrote of the States in the early 1800s that “I know of no country in which there is so little independence of mind and real freedom of discussion as in America.” And it seems there has been little improvement since.

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Copyright 2012 © Peter Lowry

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