The Russians May Have Compromised Our Election, But At Least The Giants Beat The Cowboys!
Definition of decadence for English Language Learners
: behavior that shows low morals and a great love of pleasure, money, fame, etc. – Merriam-Webster.com
Four-and-a-half years ago, I wrote the following:
We seem a people no longer capable even of knowing our past, let alone learning from both the best and worst of who we have been. Arguments flare up over even the most basic realities of who we have been. These fights, proxy struggles for our identity, show us that we no longer even know who we are anymore. Struggles over race and religion, labor and ideology, demonstrate a fundamental fear among so many of us that our identity is disappearing. Even as our country grows more culturally diverse, taking in to itself more and more of the larger world, ever redefining “America” in wondrous ways, there are far too many of us who rage against any thought that who we are becoming should differ from who we once were. In the process, so much else is lost, the once proud idea that “America” is always a work in progress offering opportunity and, perhaps, real hope, dreaming big and achieving even bigger no longer even a recognizable husk.
Had I even suspected how much further we as a people would decline between then and now, I doubt I would have been as even a little hopeful as I was that we might yet divert disaster. Being one tiny voice in an ever-expanding chorus of shouts and screams in what is increasingly nothing but an echo chamber, magnifying those loudest to the point of incoherence, I do believe it is even more difficult, if not impossible, to offer a word of comfort in an era of rage; a word of hope in an era of despair; to find a way through the deafening noise of the pile of wreckage that is our public discourse and proclaim, “This is not how things ought to be.” Because, honestly, I don’t think people give a shit anymore.
A day and a half after it was revealed our intelligence services had strong evidence Russian Intelligence both hacked both our political parties’ computer files as well as acted aggressively to effect the outcome of our late national election, and that senior government officials, when confronted with this information, insisted we do nothing. the biggest topic I saw on social media was the New York Giants beating the Dallas Cowboys. Today, the top headline on Yahoo!’s main page is the break-up of the couple from that stupid reality show, Flip or Flop. Yesterday, the Sunday news programs didn’t offer space for those who presented the intelligence briefing – or their seniors who must have given the go-ahead, to speak to the stories; instead, we had political consultants, like Donald Trump’s campaign manager, who obviously dismissed the entire story. Rather than interview Pres. Obama, Sens. Graham or Schumer or McCain, one channel decided to interview Donald Trump, from whom we heard he was smart enough not to need intelligence briefings every day.
Did you know that Kim Kardashian released a new video in which she appears in lingerie? That was trending far higher on various news feeds this morning than just what the hell we’re going to do about this mess we’re in. Thirty years ago, if we’d learned the Soviets had managed to become actively involved in pushing one candidate or party over another during a national election, we would have been on the brink of nuclear war – even if it wasn’t true! Why? Because back then we not only hated and distrusted commies; we gave a damn about things like our national sovereignty, the integrity of our national electoral process, and were quite willing to defend those things. Now, we can’t even get a majority of people upset enough to turn off a goddamn football game long enough to check out whether it’s true that some American leaders insisted we do nothing while a foreign power manipulated the American electorate. Desensitized by an overburdened media environment that is ready to declare everything from dumb bureaucratic mistakes to the color of the First Lady’s dress a scandal, when we receive word of something this horrible, we just can’t get all that chuffed about it. Like everything else, it seems, people are willing to take threats to our national integrity lightly, waiting for all sides to be heard.
As if all sides should be heard on matters this important.
We are a weak people. We elected the weakest candidate in our history who will no doubt be our weakest, worst President. We take far too much pride in the technical advancement and achievements of our military, while we ignore all the things that really make a people strong. Hell, all those folks out there demanding we support the troops without question are led by people who wouldn’t pay them enough to stay off food stamps if it weren’t for public opinion. Our newspapers and social media create hagiographies for our returning troops, yet most of us turn a blind eye to the scandal of inadequate support for those facing PTSD and related issues. And, of course, the Congress just elected by all those flag-waving troop-supporters, is going to gut the VA medical system. So good job.
I began this with a definition of “decadence”, for that is among our biggest problems. Cowardice, division, small-mindedness, national amnesia, and the lack of any national moral sense have led us to this pass. All have contributed to this moment when, rather than demanding immediate answers to questions regarding the integrity of the Presidential election, we as a people wonder if the story is even true.
I’d pity us as a nation if I weren’t so disgusted.