The enigmatic and unconventional artist and filmmaker, Andy Warhol, once said that we all have our own America. He said it consists of “Pieces of a fantasy America” that we think exists but which we really don’t see. He said we created this America from scenes in movies, from music lyrics, and from novels and other books. The result, he said, is an America made up of “art and schmaltz and emotions.”
I find a lot of truth in that.
We have the recorded history of this country in thousands of books and speeches and other forms of documentation and they all tell stories of hardship and courage, genius and empty-headedness, brotherhood and bigotry, slavery and freedom, cruelty and compassion, stampeding greed and astonishing charity, gross decadence and simple living.
We continue making American history and what we’re currently up to will not read well in future years.
Today, we find our country crippled by a political system that has outlived itself and is so dysfunctional it has left our government corrupt and broken and seemingly ruined beyond repair. No one appears to know how to fix it.
That America’s government would descend into little more than a money machine for the rich and the powerful, promoting a growing plutocracy and a shameful disregard for most of its citizens, is something to make Darwin hang his head and Jesus weep.
We are proving in this country—that we dream as being so great—that evolution has gaps in its process and that the Christian faith everyone seems so fond of appears to be ineffective against the grotesque selfishness that possesses most of us even those who claim to be saved and righteous and one of God’s own.
And so Charles Darwin with the brilliance of his confident march of evolution, and the teachings of Jesus so uncomplicated and loving and filled with his hope for peace on earth, struggle for relevance across the world but especially here in our fantasy America that we pretend is so good.
Millions of our people are out of work, not by choice or some lazy streak in them, but because manufacturing and industry and small business in this country barely exists any longer. It has been replaced by the criminal activity of banks and Wall Street firms and giant corporations who deal not in anything tangibly productive or useful but rather in complex financial schemes and the outsourcing of jobs and resources and in hoarding assets for their luxurious lifestyles instead of investing them in the American workforce, in American products, and in an American future.
Our politicians now function only as players in this obscenity spending their time creating legislation that protects their own interests and those of their wealthy benefactors.
But a first rate health care system for all of our citizens, excellent schools for our children, a clean environment for each of us to live in—these things are just too costly for our politicians and their corporate Santa Clauses.
And so our nation sours and turns rancid in this betrayal of our leaders who are showing just how ridiculous our fantasy America really is.
It is never too late however to change the course of history. Great thinkers in this country have always risen up in times of some unfixable stalemate to offer solutions for moving ahead. Individuals of moral courage and goodness of heart have always helped inspire and guide us to being a better people. And the young in this country have often captured our hearts with their refusal to serve false gods and bow down to adults who have failed them over and over again.
It is never easy letting go of a fantasy. But it is time. We can no longer maintain this make-believe country that we claim is so great and powerful. In reality, it still has so much potential, but only if we will wake up and get to work.
We need politicians with real term limits. We need to end this nonsense that money is free speech and massive corporations are people and millions of dollars can be spent on candidates and campaigns with little or no restrictions on the influence peddling that goes with it. We need an intelligent media that reports news and facts and not feed us lies and made-up stories and outright pandering to support a particular political party. And we need religion out of government and stop this cheapening of faith so that it serves no humanitarian purpose and becomes only a filthy sacrilege instead.
Let that be our dream for this country we love.
© 2011 Timothy Moody