U.S. National Debt Clock
america is sick. perhaps sicker than we've been in a long time. pressures are building. and i don't think that we, as citizens, are conscious enough of this on the whole.
we're at war, officially, yet everyday life goes on as normal. the general state of mind is _not_ at war. we still go to work, go to the gym, drink our coffees and chais. people small talk and watch tv. new movies and music and games are always there to entertain and distract us. but war isn't on our minds.
we see the little yellow ribbon magnets admonishing us to 'support our troops', but it seems to have become almost a fashionable icon (much like the plethora of flags after nine eleven).
now, granted, these are some pretty broad generalizations, and i know that not everybody out there is numb to our state of affairs, but honestly look around yourself, watch people on the street, or just watch a little tv, and i think you'll agree that the general focus of the average american mindset is not that of someone who is at war. just because you're not a soldier, doesn't mean that _your_ country isn't at war.
in the past, americans have had a strong voice in the matter, one way or another. whether protesting for their beliefs (that what we were doing was wrong) or rationing, volunteering (actually volunteering, not talking about the draft, here), and building things in factories, american's have always been _involved_ with the wars we were involved in. we were _doing_ something, not simply slapping a sticker on our suv's to declare our support.
in the first gulf war, the country was gripped with a somber anxiousness--no one rationed or volunteered because it wasn't necessaryl we had it in hand, but the country paid _attention_. we waited. we thought. we talked.
this time around, it seems like people are simply trying to forget. but this apathy will carry it's own consequences--and they are striking much closer to home than you think.
new laws are set into action all the time. freedoms are taken away 'for our protection.' the 'war on terror' sounds like a nice idea. hey, everybody, let's get together and stop terror for good. but it's not that simple.
if we allow our rights and liberties to be taken away to protect us from terrorists, then the terrorists have WON! and i don't think enough people see that. we can't live in fear because that's not what living is about. it's not what our _country_ is about. pretending that everything is okay, or remaining ignorant to what's happening will solve nothing. and it is most definately not 'supporting our troops'.
each time we allow a freedom to be taken from us, we add strength to the ability of leaders to delve deeper into the bill of rights. it's crazy. things that were perfectly legal ten years ago are felonies now. our prison system is crowded with drug related criminals while corporations (american businesses who are supposed to be strengthening and propelling the economy) are outsourcing jobs to save money and moving headquarters out of the country to save taxes.
the government owes so much that they are quickly about to lose control of the matter, yet we continue to overextend ourselves year after year after year. the national debt is approximately $7.7 billion at the time of this post, and it's estimated that we sink something like one point six eight billion further each day. and this trend has been more or less accurate (according to what i've been able to find) since a few weeks after 9/11.
the war on terror is not going to be won by making new laws. the war on terror is not going to be won by forcing national ids. the war on terror will not be won with databases and biometics. it will not be won with embargoes.
we have real enemies out there. people who genuinely want to hurt or destroy our country. and many of them are willing to go any length to accomplish their goals. but what we often don't think about is why. many of our enemies hate americans less for their beliefs and ideologies and more for the things which our country carries our in our name.
the public needs to wake up.
the only thing that's gonna change this is us demanding change. our country is broken and it's up to us to fix it. forget social security--the ss system's going to collapse and there won't be enough money to pay us what they owe, but if we don't correct the underlying economic problems, our ECONOMY will collapse! and then social security won't mean anything anyway.
the national debt is increasing. we need to find effective ways to make it decrease. big companies are taking large parts of themselves out of the country. new laws threaten the very liberty on which our country was conceived, founded and fought for. our government is supporting other countries, and while i agree that when you can, you should always help your neighbor, but right now we need to be helping ourselves.
nothing is made in the us anymore, and most factories can't compete with imported prices, but we can't up the import tariffs (which would help us manufacturers, and consequently create more jobs in certain fields) because of the delicate balances and agreements we are tied up in with many of these countries. i mean, if you think about it, china actually owns a share of our country.
and many of the hispanic labourers are sending a large portion of their earnings home to help their families. a noble cause, to be sure (and i'm all for coming to america to make a better life), but when you add it up, that's a _lot_ of money, just flowing right on out of the country.
it seems to me, the only way we are going to pull out of this situation is to evolve. america has to shift to a new paradigm. we have to grow and expand, leaving certain fears and methods behind--but i cannot stress enough that our freedoms and rights should not be included in the parts we abandoned. we need to foster creativity and drive back into our culture. we need to curious and involved and active. and above all we must be aware.
it is up to us to know what's going on. we need to pay attention to what our government is involved in, both abroad and right here on home soil. and when they try to put something past us that doesn't quite fly, we need to REACT! we need to speak our minds and make our voices heard. that's the only way we will survive.
the government was put in place, by our forefathers, to serve and protect us. the checks and balances were put there to hinder the government from serving itself. but they are not a magic bullet. it is the duty of every american citizen to experience the world around him or her.
and when a part of the government steps out of line, you'd better belive that it's our duty to set them straight. there are various means and avenues we have available to us for these purposes--some are more appropriate to certain situations than others.
for instance public airwaves. we have the right, as american citizens, to listen to public airspace (for obvious reasons--monitoring the monitors). there are restrictions on what you are allowed to listen to (also for obvious reasons--military secrets, privacy of peoples conversations...). but slowly, the public airspace is being sold to corporations. new laws are coming out making it much hazier to determine what is okay to listen to. and many institutions, while not actually forbidding people to listen, are simply moving to new digital and encrypted systems so that one can't listen anyway.
new laws governing ids and airports and train stations. besides the fact that creating a national id is unconstitutional at best, and sporting a really bad track record at worst (eastern europe? hello?), it still doesn't really solve anything. just for an case in point example, all the terrorists recovered in 9/11 were carrying legitimate us ids. and say what you will, but even if each state still gets to make its own ids, forcing them to comply with a set of standards of included personal data (especially biometric data) MAKES it into a national id system. period. i don't know about you, but i don't wanna have to show my id to cross the state line when i'm driving home to see my family.
scariest of all is the usa patriot act, which basically lets the government hold someone, without charging them, indefinately. i guess you just dissappear or something.
and if you haven't heard about calea, either, i'd recommend a quick google on the matter. it puts the old 'mission impossible' hang-up-the-phone-quick-so-they-can't-trace-you theory to a quick and uneasy rest.
open records and open meetings. public records are often overlooked or ignored. there is a LOT of good information out there, publically accessible, just sitting there for the taking. but a lot of it is obscure, poorly documented and just plain hard to find. we need to dig into these resources. go to your library and local government buildings. snoop around on more government websites. it's public info, dig into it.
we also have the right (at least for now) to form militias and bear arms. is this in case the military fails and we end up with another conflict on our own soil? partly, but it's also so we can defend ourselves from our own government if need be. god forbid we should ever need to, but it's vitally important that we remember why we have these rights and why it's so essential that we fight viciously to protect them.
i said it before and i'll say it again--the only way we're gonna win this (and by this, i mean our continued existence as we know it) is to be better. we need to be smarter, more determined, more informed, more aware and more active than we have been lately (and by lately i mean the last two or three decades).
we need to make it known to the government what our will is and make sure we keep a close eye on them. change is not going to happen over night and it will not be a painless process.
but it is necessary. we cannot continue on the path we are on. it is the same path that orwell saw. it leads to damnation.
there are a lot of hungry counties out there with the will that we don't seem to have, and it's not going to take them more than an instant to strike when the opportunity presents itself. we have to break the curve and become good at something again.
the country needs to overcome its collective lethargy and accomplish something. we need to take our high powered microscope and point it at our own system. we need to overcome our fear and explore ourselves. we need to find our own weaknesses and problems and fix them before someone else finds them.
it's time for an upgrade. the war on terror will be won when every american is so aware, so fortified with knowledge and bonded together with unity that no terrorist will be able to slip through the cracks to exploit us. we will be united in harmonic fluidity and simultaneously poised to react to whatever new challenges these changing times bring.
what can you do? bond with each other. become involved with your friends. be open. be friendly to people you meet (but be _aware_). know your environment. become intimately familiar with your surroundings. know your neighbors and your coworkers and the workers at the places you support with your patronage. learn new things. always be curious--always ask why. make your opinions known. if you have something to say, say it. write a blog, write a letter, make a phone call, protest, get your voice OUT THERE! when there's a new law coming up that you disagree with, tell your congressmen. buy from small and independent dealerships. write letters to these corporations explaining how you feel about the things they do. help somebody you know (do nice things for people). and once again learn.
that's the most important thing i can say to you. if you do nothing else, keep your eyes open and learn. learn something new everyday. 'cause you never know...
U.S. National Debt Clock