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Sorry, World - This what freedom looks like
I've often been embarrassed at some of the scandals and the general behavior in this country, and wondered what intelligent, reasonable folks think, in other civilized countries. Surely, Europeans and others think that all of our problems are immense, and that this much freedom just surely couldn't be worth it. They would be wrong.
Yes, we have immense problems. We are divided down the middle, between a mostly younger generation that wants everything handed to them on a silver platter and hardcore constitutionalists, who want things to be like they were when they were kids, and everybody had two parents and worked for a living. We have kids flipping out and becoming half-baked terrorists. We have crooked politicians out the wazoo that think they are elites who can make rules for everyone else to follow that don't apply to themselves. Our foreign policy veers and swerves because our government changes every 4 or 8 years, with the two parties being nearly completely opposite, ideology-wise. We have 20 trillion dollars of national debt, with no sign that it will ever get any smaller.
In the midst of all this, we still have the largest economy and the most powerful military that the world has ever seen, by far. China is overtaking us, economically and militarily, but they still have a long ways to go, and we can still crash their economy, if it comes to it, though not without some suffering on our own part. As usual, our people ignore world politics and all of the burgeoning threats, until the last possible minute, before waking up and taking the hard way back. Folks tend to their own business and let others tend to theirs, until they finally notice that they are getting screwed and better do something. We have been in wars all over the globe that could have been avoided, or at least minimized, had we been paying attention. We ally with folks who have the same enemies, and then end up opposing them, later on, when they stab us in the back, or because we had an election and the new administration disagrees with the last one.
We have a populace in which a high percentage of us feel the need to arm ourselves against the bad guys among us, yet we still live mostly normal lives, going and coming as we please, and most of us still help our neighbors and teach our children to be kind to others, while also teaching them to fight back, when attacked. We have states that demand support from the federal government to pay for all of their silliness, while refusing to obey the laws that most of their own Congressmen voted in, years ago. We have other states who pay their own way and a large part of what the other states fall short on, yet still find a way to prosper. The contradictions are endless, and getting worse every day. But, in general, we continue to prosper.
How can this be?
I have come to the conclusion that this is just what freedom looks like. It's very messy, and doesn't work, about half of the time. We may eventually use it up, or we may continue on like this forever. Who the hell knows? It worked well for a long time, because we had a frontier to escape to. When the frontier is all used up, will we go the way of all the other attempts at democratic government? Maybe there will always be a 'new' frontier. Maybe economics will cause the great cities to fail, and they will become frontiers. Maybe we will fight another civil war, causing migrations that will create new frontiers. Maybe we will end up fighting our neighbors and begin conquering their frontiers.
Maybe. But I'm thinking that come what may, this country will always be a place where free men still live, somewhere. Maybe we are the frontier.