By Isis Win
Ending another year prompts reflection. Perhaps when it comes to our personal reflection the process seems, “Smooth and easy” to attain but when it comes to issues of our country and world, things may become complex and incomprehensible.
The reasons are quite obvious but offer no explanations as how we arrived to where we are. For starters the media does not make it any easier but as well, not always represents the truth. Propaganda and manipulation often make the headlines and we are left thinking what is not. In most cases, all depends on what the medium in place is. However, many of those issues foreign to our inner world affect everything including our personal and close world.
The political scene is no exception and as we know, such alters many other realms that ultimately affect us personally. Here I am doing a quick revision about some of those issues that have resulted in apathy, vitriolic reasoning and divided further the American people. All resulting in one of the worse cases in the American peopleʻs lack of confidence. However, it is clear that no one fully agrees in many of those points of issue and their true representation. Nevertheless, with some distance, the truth shines for itself, showing the facts as they truly are. Here are some at the top of the list.
Through the entire twenty-first century we’ve been encountering a not-so-familiar panorama in the US, starting with the unprovoked attack on the WTC, an event that shocked and infuriated even the most cool and collected person. For some “strange” reason, if we could have removed our selves from what happened as it happened, we didn’t. We were emotional witnesses to this hard-to-believe painful tragedy. Some people mourned, while for others, their anger was triggered to the point of seeking revenge against the perpetrator.
I bounced back and forth between both, but always kept in view that a terrorist faction is not a country. They have no official home and they can be spread around the world. How scary! Almost like in the bloody seventeenth century when many religion wars were fought. Therefore, fighting them seemed close to impossible. Those that were obsessed by that core anger wanted to take matters in their hands. As a consequence, flocks of young people joined the armed forces. Young patriotic people who were willing to sacrifice their lives to defend our sovereignty and freedom. People whose values rank at the highest level of caring for their nation and people, something to be much more than admired. But sadly, even the armed forces have failed them from beginning to end.
Through those same times, we were consumed as well by a previous enemy of the USA and a threat to the world: Saddam Hussein. Hussein already was an icon in our minds when he invaded and stole the vaults of Kuwait and was flawlessly ousted out of Kuwait by the US forces. The US demolished his arsenal, leaving him totally unprotected in one of the most dangerous and unstable regions of the world, a region that constantly has been at war since the beginning of history.
It was well-known that Hussein possessed chemical weapons and was fully capable of using them, and as well, US intelligence suspected a large arsenal that could be used against the US as retaliation, and the existence of production plants. There even was speculation that he was preparing to possess nuclear weapons although the UN stepped in and established there were not suspected weapons, nor plants. Saddam was no threat to anyone. As well, US intelligence assured the White House that Hussein had business with Al-Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden and was involved in the WTC attack.
Then, the US went to a preemptive assault on Iraq, a war that then-President Bush promised to the American people “will be a short one and a definite win” without any problem. History showed that not being the case at all, but as well, the presumed US intelligence was wrong. Way wrong! Hussein was not a threat nor was part of any act of terrorism against the US or any allied country. However, we engaged into a war that cost several thousands of life lost, and severely physically damaged many folds more of soldiers. The cost of this war was way beyond what the country could afford – especially when we were enjoying tax cuts across the board. But like if that wasn’t enough pain to the country and to the American people, the post-invasion effort was a total flop. The only winners in this war had been all the humongous businesses that garnered multi-billion contracts to support the troops, do the clean up, and saw to the return of Iraq, such as Halliburton. As well, we faced the true problem behind the 9/11 attack: Afghanistan. Our troops went there to kill all Al Qaeda operatives and their top rulers. It was another flop, although several of the people responsible for the attack had been detained and others killed, including Osama bin Laden.
We learned that what Bush said in regard to Iraq and Saddam was completely false, and his team made sure to point the finger at faulty intelligence, but not him. Bush simply washed his hands of any responsibility. To the public opinion, he just retaliated against the culprits of 9/11, and that sufficed to most. However, we now know that there was evidence of manipulations within the government agencies, and consequentially around that time, Secretary of State Colin Powell renounced his position, leaving politics for good. We will never know what the truth is. It has been said over and over that the attack to Iraq was planned before 9/11.
Nevertheless, we engaged in two war fronts, lost too many lives, and more, although Bush assured us to the contrary. We left Iraq a total mess, and Afghanistan is far from reaching an end. The cost of both wars amounts several billions of dollars, although we’ll never know if the actual cost of the wars on Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq is close to 4 trillion dollars as stated by the press.
But the previous administration left us one more chaos. Although analysts, academics and several legislators warned the White House about the dangerous housing and mortgage balloon, the White House did nothing. It burst, leaving us in the second-worst recession in history. Frankly, after all I’ve read about the depression of the 30s, I believe what we’ve dealt with is a true depression. However, it never reached that level because the White House stepped in and saved most of the banks.
This created another breed of winners: bankers and their top men, including those that illegally traded many corrupted loans. Bottom line, the Republicans left the country and the American people in dire straights. We lived through almost an entire decade while watching the most powerful White House in the history of the US deceiving the American people, selling the country to China, creating a war that was not justified by any means, and violating the Freedom Act with the Patriot Act, and all in the name of justice. But justice to who? Although most Americans agreed with bringing to justice all responsible for the attack, no one agreed to the results of the flawed management to achieve that purpose. So far Al-Qaeda has cost the US almost 10,000 lives and a fortune we cannot afford.
It wasn’t surprising to see Bush winning a second term. Although I forecast many years ago Kerry being president due to his remarkable political career, his campaign was too poor and the fact was that he is part of the American aristocracy, even if just by marriage. I knew all that would be a heavy price for him. Bush won and we were set on course to tragedy. The silver spoon-born rancher got a second term. The saddest part is – learning about Bush’s grim past. Although a college graduate, he is an ignorant, not presidential caliber at all.
Bush has not even traveled overseas ever! And he became a president? As well, all his previous “professional” positions were a total flop. Not even being governor of Texas created sound credentials, well, despite the grand fact that he came from a family with a long history in American politics.
Then, elections came again, and with the American people already fed up with the terrible and failed Republican policies of Bush, the Democrats rose into power. I remember so clearly when Governor Obama delivered that phenomenal speech at the Democratic Convention at Kerry’s nomination, I was awed and deeply impressed by it. I told my wife right away, “Here we have a presidential Democrat.” My wife dismissed my comment simply because in her eyes, America was not ready for an African-American president. I had doubts too. However, I believed that the principles of his speech were exactly what the American people wanted and needed: to return to the known American principles of social justice and a growing economic power to all. But that panorama was too far from reality, considering all of above.
Obama became the choice of the American people. Personally, I favored Obama simply because McCain was not promising throughout his campaign at all, particularly after he selected bimbo Palin as his running partner. It was clear that either he wanted absolute power by choosing her or he felt the election was in his pocket anyway. I took offense at his poor choice. “Why Palin?”, I wondered. Because she is an eloquent loose canon? Because she is very attractive? Or because she is quite poisoned against moderate or liberal policies?
My question was answered once the Tea Party started to take over the Republican platform. All that is about is vitriol and nothing about policies or real patriotism, not even American dreams. Opposition to abortion, illegal immigrants, gun control and antagonism against gay rights became their platform and nothing about American policy nor the well-being of the American people. It was about removing from the American tapestry anyone that wasn’t approved by them. Like that defines our nation! Clearly, as well, greed known among republicans is part of their song.
However, it is my impression that in reality, McCain gave away his presidential dreams due to the recent disaster of the financial meltdown. In fact, I don’t doubt the possibility that the Republican party gave away the election to let the Democrats deal with the existing crisis and then win the following period. Fixing the depression wouldn’t be possible in the next four years, but it is more promising during the next period. We must remember at all times that in politics, anything can happen. And if so, the Republicans had made a great performance presenting a view of Obama and the Republican Party that would assure them the White House in 2012.
I can only hope that the American people have a better vision than going by the Republican propaganda and the blocked attempts to address our current situation. If the White House ends up Republican in 2012, we must be prepared to manage a worse war than the one against Al-Qaeda, because the American people have left behind for far too long the worst scenario for the American people in the last 100 years. Frankly, I believe that the majority voters are not willing to deal with the Republicans, at least in 2012.
The American voters are after justice, fairness and equal distribution. Obama promised not only that, but a total change of the political landscape. A red flag in my view. He was committing to too much and on top of that he was to going to bridge differences between Republicans and Democrats? I wondered how could he do that? That definitely would represent a major change! However, I knew as well that the fact that he is of African descent could bring as well another can of worms for him and the Democrats. Of course, no one wants to publicly admit that, but for four years I’ve heard too many Republicans and Democrats whining about that fact. In 2008, I didn’t care myself because my eyes don’t suffer from those ethnic filters. As well, I knew what the nation needed was someone who wanted to achieve a place in history that confirmed what this nation is supposed to be about. If we could have another Lincoln or Jefferson, that would be it! How naïve of me, because I disregarded the fact that the opposition would make sure he failed in any attempt to bring any of those promised changes. All that because he is a Democrat, he promised too much, he believed in the ability to fully change the nation and because he is black. It seems I was right, but that doesn’t remove the sadness I experienced because, in my book, everything should be about the bettering of the country and everyone in it.
Now we’ve witnessed for a few months the front-runners for the official Republican candidacy throwing dirt at each other and many folds more to Obama. At the early stage of the debates, I was somehow excited about it. Now, I am so disappointed and just as frustrated. Between all the candidates, the Republican party lacks of any true presidential caliber candidate. Flip flopping, ignorance, deception and a hidden agenda are out in the light, even to the politically blind. Not even extracting the best of each candidate can we create one candidate that is sound and promising. On the other side, we still have Obama who, according to the Tea Party and the running candidates, is nothing close to presidential caliber and is a total fraud. If that were to be true, we are in a humongous jam because what the American people need is even a tiny bit of confidence in our future and a change of social and economic structure, something the Republicans openly are against. This is the reason the Occupy movement was born.
Although it seems that Occupy has awakened consciousness along the Main Streets, I see no signs of participation in numbers, something that is vital and badly needed. Perhaps everyone is too busy doing Christmas shopping or too depressed to say anything? It is another layer to the apathy I see. But I don’t blame anyone for it. It would be useless to do so. We cannot change our deficit, unemployment, nor the animosity of the Arab world towards us, or the divisive mentality in politics. We are hopeless!
I know as well that most of the people unaffected by the recession not only don’t really care about what’s going on in the country or the people, and they have an opinion that differs so much from reality. Dentists can afford looking at the eye of the customer and say: “Well, I have a plan for your dental care. It will take a few visits and your cost will only be $5,000!” Not to mention a visit to the Doctor, who in the long run, will only write another prescription to be filled and enrich the already-billionaire bio-chemical industries. God forbid that you need a lawyer that will charge you $300 for that letter he sent in your behalf! Nor go back to the gas prices of the early 2000s. But instead, we can buy a large screen TV, an iPad, or a car in payments so it provides some sense to living! And that while a small group of new millionaires and billionaires take their monies to foreign banks, can afford multiple mega-million homes, have their own jet, a fabulous yacht in an exotic place and pay almost no taxes!
Only the blind cannot see what’s truly happening to the world and our country, but, since they are blind, they will not read my blog. But way high in the aristocratic ladder, I can point to all those politicians who are not only out of touch with what the nation needs, but are clueless about what the American people want. Why would they care? Especially if they can enjoy a million dollar revolving account at Tiffany’s, or live in a $1,000,000+ home, while others are just concerned about putting a turkey on the Christmas dinner table or even worse, having a warm roof over their heads. In case you are not aware, poverty levels have grown as bad as our deficit.
If the country needs something, it is to put an end to negativity, to halt the bashing of those who are not approved by others, to – pitch in – where and when possible, and to insure the well-being of every single law-abiding citizen. We need to open our minds, eyes and hearts! Every single American matters as much as you do! After all, the well-being of others, is reflected in our own lives because our lives, are the fabric of America. Diversity has been one of the greatest blessings of the USA; therefore, every single individual should count, regardless of how different we might be or of our personal preferences. Therefore, everyone must be entitled to the exact same rights and opportunities. It is great for corporate America that has achieved the wold’s greatest place, but that place should not be exclusive to them, nor exclude anyone.
God Bless America and each of us!