Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Day Uncle Sam Went Looney

The founders of the modern democratic republic of America were, as one, very precise and rational in what they wished to accomplish. They wanted a society free of government oppression and overly burdensome taxation, one that advanced safety and well-being of individual citizens: the right to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness".

Later, when the country was wrapped up in military conflict all around the planet, America, the institution, was humanized under the stern but fatherly projection of "Uncle Sam", who impelled a great many young men to enlist in the military to express American unity and patriotic goodness through power in the battlefields. Back home, women were also enlisted to build the guns and bombs that were the tools of might for the fighting men.

Today, Uncle Sam, as the humanized institution America, is going bonkers. If we take the workings of Congress as the brainpower that articulates how this giant creature behaves, with the Presidency as the cerebral cortex, then we see that the creature is foaming at the mouth and spitting a great deal of anger.

No longer is the drive of "citizen well-being" a foundational moral value.

Rather, it has been supplanted with a kind of mean spirited, manipulative, power-grabbing partisanship that sees public officials acting, not for the public good, but for personal persistence in office. They work to win. Personally.

They don't use the sum and substance of their acts as the basis for gaining re-election. They use deceit and spin and smoke and mirrors.

I've written numerous times about how governance in the US has become dysfunctional because of the ease of sound bite manipulations in the modern world of news as entertainment and social networks as a medium of nonsense as profound wisdom.

The following article published by Associated Press calls the dysfunction "gridlock" and expands upon the reasons for the contentious workings of Congress:

The writers identify the following four contributors to gridlock, reframed in my words:

  • In 1994 there was a Republican revolution (under the directorship of Newt Gingrich) that placed prominence of the party ahead of public good. Efforts to compromise ended; efforts to win intensified.

  • Cultural change. Legislators spend less time in Washington and more time locally. The media have changed, too. Opinionated news and blogging "inflame partisanship."

  • Unrestrained use of partisan tools. The filibuster and other techniques of achieving dominance became the operational standard within Congress. Each side pulls the tricks the other side did when they were running things; each side criticizes the other's use of these tricks.

  • New campaign laws have encouraged a flow of money to extreme elements of the respective parties and the radicals have used that money to buy influence.

In the interest of being succinct, I condense these four qualities to characterize Uncle Sam today as contentious, irrational, hypocritical and greedy.

That is the New America. Contentious, irrational, hypocritical and greedy.

The collegial old boy network of congressional wheeling and dealing has dissolved into an angry pack of back-biting, self-serving hyenas.

The notion of giving, of civic responsibility, of the honor of being truthful, the courage of candor . . . history.

I don't know how else to characterize it.

And I don't know how it will cure itself given that anger is like a snowball rolling downhill. It grows until it hits something and explodes. It nearly pushed the world off the economic cliff during the recent debt negotiation.

The next national election in 2012 will be down and dirty, bloody. It ought to do a lot to build ratings at Fox and MSNBC.

It's bad, folks. It's really, really bad.

Forget pursuit of happiness.

Go to survival mode.

Move to the Philippines and hunker down. Bask in the typhoons and suck on coconut juice whilst Washington rots.


  1. Well... I think Uncle Sam right now has a defective cerebral cortex, that's causing this brain damage. Reagan, Bush Sr and Clinton didn't seem to have this defect.

    How do we come about deciding what's best, for "citizen well-being and public good"? Should we do it the same way "Obama-Care" was done?

    Do you really think "sound bite manipulations" from evil corporate media and special interests caused all this havoc, or is somebody failing to reach across the aisle?


  2. BTW, great young men continue to enlist in the Military after 10 years of war.


  3. Obama-Care was a wrong priority at the time, I think. It should have been dealt with after recovery was set. I'm not sure what is the best way to deal with it; I know it is exceedingly intricate, and I would not follow guidance provided by insurance companies.

    I think it is a non-partisan defect, the preference to call names rather than reach across the isle. Boehner, Pelosi . . . same political animal. The last statesmen on the Democratic side were Byrd and Kennedy. Collins on the Republican side is a stateswoman. That's all I can name. Maybe you can enlighten me, modernize me. I haven't watched C-SPAN for several years.

  4. I think curtailment of frivolous law suits would have been the best approach for health care reform. Not trying to be a know-it-all, I'm just a regular guy with an opinion.

    You can still watch C-SPAN here:


  5. Winky. Your regular opinion makes a lot of sense to me. Thanks also for the link. Alas, my internet connection is not of the quality that permits lengthy video monitoring. I'm on an outlying island, and remote at that,so no hard wiring. I might try to catch some the more "dramatic" sessions of debate if the connection works.

  6. Ever since White House hired a Filipina cook America has gone looney tunes ...

    I wanted to know what she's cooking the past presidents ...

  7. Mariano,

    The White House has a Filipina cook because Filipino Cuisine is the Best Cuisine in the World. It's that simple really.

  8. Whoa, Proud P. Stop right there. Americans did not want any of the coronary artery-clogging cuisines of Filipinos. It's pure suicide. It's coronary suicide. Just the same pass me the adobo and lechon ...

  9. Mariano,

    Adobo, Lechon, Kare-Kare, etc. The best food in the world. Products of our great culture. Glad that you agree :)

  10. Cuisine is personal choice, and one's upbringing has a lot to do with tastes, I think. For myself, I rank an "In and Out" hamburger with fries the best meal in the world. Endemic to Southern California. For delicacy and complexity, sidle up to a good sushi bar with an experienced chef and Japanese food is easily number one as a genre. Second for me, a personal choice, would be Italian, where you can stop off at a roadside restaurant anywhere and get a delight, with rich wine if you want it. Pastas everywhich way.

    Third would be Filipino for that heart-clogging goodness Mariano refers to. I don't like French cooking, too oily and bizarre for me. Like, snails and salad after the main course. Mexican is excellent but limited in scope. Everything else that I've tried pales, but one can find surprises everywhere. Even in the White House, I would guess.

  11. Joe,

    You are wrong. Filipino food is obviously superior to those that you have mentioned. Japanese food is so overrated. Only a weak mind can be led to believe that raw fish and rice makes a good dish. How silly! Where is the effort in combining raw fish and rice? You have been duped by clever marketing my good man. Italian is OK but still not quite as complex and satisfying as Filipino food.

  12. PP, your taste is your taste and mine is mine. Kindly don't denigrate me because I prefer something other than you. Only really really weak minds try to cram other people into their own shirts.