Poor ol’ Rush Limbaugh, I guess he thought he was delivering a bombshell to his loyal patriotic followers when he announced the other day he was, “for the first time in his life ashamed of America.” He is ashamed because he says “the ‘left” has taken over, liberals have won, they have created “more low-information, unaware, uneducated people” and what not. Low-information, unaware, uneducated people sounds to me like a perfect description of his own audience, but leave that aside for the moment. I never thought I would agree with him in any way, but I agree with him that I am ashamed of my country, although for very different reasons. Let me list some of the ways:
First, I guess I am ashamed to confess that such a large number of my fellow citizens actually listen to Rush’s daily stupid, mostly infantile, unfounded, hate-filled babble, and seem to take it seriously and delight in it.
I am also quite ashamed to live in the only highly industrialized, supposedly “modern,” supposedly “democratic” nation that does not provide universal health care to its citizens. I am likewise ashamed to live in a country that devalues education to the point we only begrudgingly finance our schools and teachers and carelessly allow them to deteriorate so badly (producing the very uneducated, unaware people Rush disparages). Of course I cannot say I am very proud to live in a country where our infrastructure has likewise deteriorated to the point that it will take trillions to repair it all. Of course there is also the fact of global warming, probably the most serious threat we have ever faced, and about which we have so far done next to nothing (except to deny it). I am also ashamed to live in a culture where the environment is considered completely expendable when it comes to making a profit.
I am ashamed, too, to be part of a nation eternally at “war,” or so it seems, especially as at least some of these so-called “wars” have never been authorized and are internationally defined as war crimes, Iraq comes specifically to mind, but there are others as well. Similarly I am ashamed to live in a nation that protects admitted war criminals while at the same time demanding those of other countries be held accountable. I am even more ashamed to acknowledge our uncritical, unquestioned, and immoral support for another country obviously guilty of multiple ongoing war crimes against an essentially helpless population.
I also find it difficult to be proud of our use of drones wherever we choose, violating international law and killing hundreds, even thousands, of innocent people. Along with this outrageous behavior is the claim that our government (President) claims the right to kill whomever they wish if they define them as “terrorists” (one nation’s terrorists are another nation’s heroes). I also find it shameless that using the excuse of promoting democracy around the world we continue to exploit other countries and attempt to maintain hegemony around the world. I am also not very proud to acknowledge that with some 5% of the earth’s population we use somewhere around 25% of the known resources.
I am also ashamed to live in a country where the wealth is distributed so unfairly, and even stupidly. One percent of the population owns as much or more than the 99% and fight endlessly to not have to share it with anyone no matter what their obvious needs. I think this kind of naked greed is truly shameful and should not be permitted (let alone promoted as somehow rightful). Most of all I am ashamed to be living in a nation of cannibals:
“Capitalism turns men into economic cannibals, and having done so, mistakes economic capitalism for human nature.” Edward Hyam.
Basically, I believe this is so, and if left unchecked and unregulated it will inevitably lead to the demise of our society as we have known it. The battle against greed ebbs and flows, at the moment greed is winning.
There is no calamity greater than lavish desires.
There is no greater guilt than discontentment.
And there is no greater disaster than greed.