The sun hangs over a tattered US flag.

The sun is setting on American exceptionalism.

Nationwide addictions. Nationwide delusions. Nationwide desecration and self-destruction.

America hasn’t hit bottom yet, but we can damn well see it from here.

Because of her special specialness, America is not going to understand she’s no longer great and glorious until final impact, until there’s nothing left of this country but a smoking crater nationwide.

She says she talks to angels,
They call her out by name.
Oh yeah, she talks to angels,
Says they call her out by her name
. . .

Over the last two centuries, prominent Americans have described the United States as an “empire of liberty,” a “shining city on a hill,” the “last best hope of Earth,” the “leader of the free world,” and the “indispensable nation.” These enduring tropes explain why all presidential candidates feel compelled to offer ritualistic paeans to America’s greatness.

Declarations of American exceptionalism rest on the belief that the United States is a uniquely virtuous nation, one that loves peace, nurtures liberty, respects human rights, and embraces the rule of law. Americans like to think their country behaves much better than other states do, and certainly better than other great powers. If only it were true. The United States may not have been as brutal as the worst states in world history, but a dispassionate look at the historical record belies most claims about America’s moral superiority.

Moral superiority? We left moral superiority behind long ago and are setting new records for immoral superiority.

She keeps a lock of hair in her pocket,
She wears a cross around her neck.

Enslaved Africans have seen that cross, Native American victims of genocide have seen that cross, conquered Filipinos have seen it, firebombed Japanese have seen it, napalmed Vietnamese have seen it, “liberated” Iraqis have seen it, dark-skinned people all over the world have been granted the privilege of seeing that cross around America’s neck. She’s showing it to frightened immigrant children now, then sending them back to be killed.

Let that be a lesson to them for daring to breathe the sacred air of this uniquely virtuous nation.

She paints her eyes as black as night now, pulls those shades down tight . . .

We are increasingly becoming a society of secret laws, which corrupts not only the democratic legislative process but also the open judiciary that is so crucial in a democratic society. Examples include the secret FISA Court extending its reach into interpretive constitutional rulings, and the Justice Department refusing to reveal how it is interpreting and carrying out numerous laws, including those involving Patriot Act surveillance, the war powers used to order drone strikes against American citizens, and GPS and other location-tracking technology. The corruption that secrecy brings is growing not just within the executive branch, it’s spreading to the legislative and judicial branches as well.

So here we are . . .

American Exceptionalism?

She never mentions the word addiction, in certain company . . .

The United States spends nearly as much on military hardware, fixture and training as all other countries combined. But the military budget is hardly ever questioned in a town that is dominated by its industrial complex. Advertisements for the defense contractors line the metros while TV and print commercials showcase the latest hardware as politicians cave into the lobbying campaigns of the contractors. The fact of the matter is and you can see it by the military budget, the U.S. is in fact a warfare state. It’s addicted to militarism, its addicted to war spending and it’s addicted to war profits.

Dwight D. Eisenhower, the only Republican since 1865 who was ever right about anything . . .

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

Ike pretty much said it all there. But as the John Birch Society pointed out, he was a communist.

Yeah, she gives me a smile when the pain comes,
The pain gonna make everything alright.
Oh yeah there’s a smile when the pain comes,
Pain’s gonna make everything alright
. . .

Almost 23 million people remain unemployed or underemployed, and poverty continues to grip over 46 million Americans. On top of that, large numbers of adults and out of school youth in the United States are chronically unemployed. Few of them are counted in formal unemployment statistics because they are no longer, or never were, sufficiently connected to the labor force to be counted in those statistics.

The U.S. is being split into a collection of islands for the rich and a vast land mass for the poor. The middle class has been getting hollowed out for decades. Worker productivity has grown 11 times more quickly than median hourly compensation since 1979, and the rich have captured most of the gains. The top one percent seized 60 percent of all income gains between 1979 and 2007, while the bottom 90 percent was left with just 9 percent of total income growth.

We’re told that the pain of hopelessness, the pain of poverty, the pain of the dying middle class is nothing to be concerned about. Everything’s going to be alright. Smiling politicians know what’s best for us, so do smiling bankers, smiling CEO’s, and those 100,000 smiling lobbyists on K Street. How long are you going to keep listening to them, America? How much longer are you going to keep buying what those pushers are selling? How much longer are you going to keep sticking that needle of corruption in your veins, how much longer are you going to keep pressing the plunger all the way down?

It’s time for an intervention, America. It’s time for detox, it’s time for rehab, it’s time to haul you in to the nearest nonviolent revolution treatment clinic whether you want to go or not.

She says she talks to angels,
They call her out by name.
Oh yeah, she talks to angels,
Says they call her out by her name . . .

American Exceptionalism Flag by owspostersunder Creative Commons license.

Photo by David Poe released under a Creative Commons No Derivatives license.