Vol. 22, No. 5,514 - The American Reporter - September 7, 2016

by Randolph T. Holhut
American Reporter Correspondent
Dummerston, Vt.
June 24, 2010
On Native Ground

Back to home page

Printable version of this story

DUMMERSTON, Vt. -- The banks wrecked our economy, and they are still raking in record profits while escaping all accountability for their misdeeds.

The Taliban still control Afghanistan, and after nearly nine years of our soldiers waging a increasingly futile war, little has changed in the "graveyard of empires."

And oil keeps gushing from the floor of the Gulf of Mexico, mocking all attempts to plug a shattered well that shouldn't have been drilled in the first place.

If that wasn't ernough, a Pew Charitable Trust poll released June 22 said 40 percent of Americans believe Jesus Christ will return within the next 40 years. But that's not the Second Coming we should be worried about.

Welcome to Can't-Do Nation. Welcome to a country devoid of leadership, incapable of a dealing with its problems in a rational and sensible manner, complacently preparing for Armageddon.

Our presidents have been talking about the need for energy conservation, alternative energy sources and weaning our nation off imported oil since Richard Nixon was in the White House. Nearly four decades later, we import more oil than ever.

In the midst of the worst economic crisis since the 1930s, we see no willingness by Congress to deal with chronic joblessness, for fear of raising taxes or increasing the national debt.

Ours is a nation that is hollowed out, with a crumbling infrastructure, failing schools, a debased civic culture and a deeply corrupt militarized, privatized government concerned more with the welfare of giant corporations and the military industrial complex that the welfare of its citizens.

Sure, there are still those who thump their chests and speak of American exceptionalism and the inherent goodness of our nation. But those are claims that ring false in the face of so many military, environmental, economic and political crises that are not being dealt with - crises that threaten to engulf our nation.

And there are those claim that the American people are too impatient and that change takes time. But that thinking is mocked by a political culture steeped in cynicism and attuned only to the next election.

Taken together, this is not a narrative for a nation that needs to summon everything it has to deal with problems of unprecedented magnitude. This is a narrative for a nation that is about to crack up.

Maybe this is what William Butler Yeats, the Nobel-winning Irish poet, meant when he wrote these words in his poem, "The Second Coming":

"Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere

The ceremony of innocence is drowned;

The best lack all conviction, while the worst

Are full of passionate intensity."

Yeats wrote those words in 1919, after the terrible destruction of Europe during the World War I. He died in 1939, on the eve of World War II and the creation of new weapons capable of exterminating all life on Earth.

And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,

Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Yeats' generation had no answer to the question which ends "The Second Coming." Our present generation, now in power. has no answer, either.

Maybe we're seeing Yeats' apocalypse now. We have a feckless Democratic Party that can't articulate solutions for our ills and doesn't have enough guts to act. We have a corrupt Republican Party that has veered so far to the right it has embraced some of the most extreme elements rattling around our political landscape. And both seem incapable of walking away from their corporate masters long enough to take action on matters critical to our nation's long-term survival.

Things have fallen apart. The center is not holding. Innocence has long ago drowned and our nation yawns while the rough beast - global warming, out-of-control militarism, economic inequality and a political system that afflicts the afflicted and comforts the comfortable - growls at the gate.

We do not have the option of being Can't-Do Nation, not if we want to survive the turbulence that lies ahead. We need to summon all our strength to rise above this blood-dimmed tide that threatens to swamp us.

Can we? Will we?

Randolph T. Holhut has been a journalist in New England for more than 30 years. He edited "The George Seldes Reader" (Barricade Books). He can be reached at randyholhut@yahoo.com.

Copyright 2016 Joe Shea The American Reporter. All Rights Reserved.

Site Meter