Bob Herbert’s final column for the New York Times is a scathing rebuke of the decline of America at the hands of the right and the left. Herbert writes:
The U.S. has not just misplaced its priorities. When the most powerful country ever to inhabit the earth finds it so easy to plunge into the horror of warfare but almost impossible to find adequate work for its people or to properly educate its young, it has lost its way entirely. (par. 4)
Increasingly, it does seem that we have lost our way as a nation. I don’t believe that the nation is full of deluded citizens who want to shitcan our great nation, but there are the powerful elites and their corporate backers who are engaging in a money grab while the nation is distracted by ideological pedantry. There are bigger issues that need to be dealt with and gutting insignificant-by-cost social services is not the answer. The wealthy and corporations enjoy the benefits of a powerful American nation, and they should pay their fair share of the costs that maintain our country and its place in the world (read about this here). Granted, the wealthy and corporations with the advent of globalization are more capable than ever to easily transition their wealth and holdings to other places. Perhaps they don’t need America as much as American needs them, and it may be that they realize that. However, there are many of us who are not wealthy and who are steadily losing any chance of a life that can support a family and an enriched existence. It is up to us, regardless of political alignment, to realize the big picture problem of inequality in America and do something about it that transcends ideological differences. I agree with Herbert’s conclusion to “Losing Our Way”:
Overwhelming imbalances in wealth and income inevitably result in enormous imbalances of political power. So the corporations and the very wealthy continue to do well. The employment crisis never gets addressed. The wars never end. And nation-building never gets a foothold here at home.
New ideas and new leadership have seldom been more urgently needed. (par. 13-14)
Unfortunately, I don’t see anyone on the political horizon capable of leading America into a future where its people earn the benefits that they deserve. The outlook seems as bleak as the rock-tar covered scene out my office window at the Kent State library.