So we have to do this

We have to use blog #4 to catalog our reactions to Fareed Zakaria’s article “What If America’s Best Days are Behind Us?” First of all, I noticed that this essay is about two years old and things are actually worse now. We narrowly missed voting into presidential office a man who puts religion and money above any other priorities, so apparently America is already screwed beyond hope. I think the warning and cautionary tone of Zakaria’s essay comes far too late. This Titanic has sailed.

Our Congress is hopeless. As I write this, they’ve gone for August recess. The last vote they took before fleeing was an attempt to repeal Obamacare. It was their fortieth attempt, all failed. Even though the Republicans don’t have the two-thirds majority required to appeal a law(yes, it’s the law of the land), they have held repeal votes forty times. If by some miracle they did pass the repeal, the president would veto the repeal and the law would still stand. There is no good reason for these legislators to keep doing this. What are the bills they could have been trying to pass in the meantime? A Jobs Act might have been nice. An Immigration Reform Act passed by the senate currently sits in the house and has gotten no action. How about approving a budget? Confirming some of the president’s appointees? All of this goes undone because of ideological roadblock.

I wonder what would be happening if a progressive liberal were in the White House? Maybe it comes as a shock to some people that I would say this, but that man in the White House is not terribly progressive.  He’s come so far back towards the center in trying to compromise with the “no compromise” party, that he’s almost leaning right. The man who white middle America fears as the socialist muslim apocalypse proposed tens of billions of dollars of cuts to Medicare. And the Tea Party still won’t compromise!

I don’t want to go on in this vein, so let’s look at some of Zakaria’s other reasoning. It’s painful to get compared to other countries that are doing things right because Americans will never accept that we can learn from anyone else. This seems like another hopeless crusade on his part. Zakaria may be more optimistic than me, but I just don’t see the U.S. applying economic lessons from other nations. We’re too prideful and arrogant. When you even bring up any constructive criticisms of America to some people they just react like you’re bashing America. Anything slightly positive is heaped with scorn. The first thing some of our reaction blogs have been saying is “who does this Zakaria think he is?”  This shows me the minds are closed.

Can they be reopened? Again, Zakaria sounds a little bit more hopeful than I feel when he says that Americans have always pressed forward in the past and not let themselves get overly satisfied with where they were at. To me, the current climate doesn’t feel like that. Instead, I think we have a lot of sub-Americas happening. Every group has their own view of this country that only vaguely resembles the view of another. Whenever I hear statements like “take this country back!”, I wonder what country they’re referring to. It seems to me like a creeping nostalgia for a place that never really existed except in people’s imagination.

It’s funny how Zakaria sneaks the founding fathers in towards the end of the article. I think most of them were just there at the time for the free port and ale. A bunch of drunk white guys flipping off King George then going “Oh, fuck! What are we going to do now?” Just kidding, I love those guys. But the way they’ve been deified, particularly by the right wing, just seems strange to me. They were men of their time. Men who lived, partied, had some good ideas and died centuries ago. The words that they wrote back then were never meant to be set in stone. The Constitution itself was imagined as a living document. Hell, they were changing it within days! And this country, America, was more of a fluid concept than a rigid nation. It was imagined and designed that way. The fathers wanted the country to keep evolving and to let current ideas guide it forward. Not to be bound by the past and never deviating from the words set down two hundred plus years ago. It was to be a place where no one would ever be ostracized for having a different belief. And a place where people of conscience could overcome their personal differences to work for the common good.

Is it still working that way? Did it ever, or have we been fooling ourselves all along? Has the great “American Experiment” come to its end?


Well, I had a much better conclusion of this blog before. But somehow when I thought I was posting it, I ended up losing the last two hundred words of it instead. I got all eloquent about Jefferson and Adams and stuff, and I just can’t recreate that magic. Sorry about that. I really didn’t enjoy this assignment very much. It made me think about current politics, which is very depressing.

Yesterday, I did another blog that’s kind of a weird parody one that’s not really appropriate for this homework. Of course, I’m still going to post it, but I’ll wait until Monday so it can’t be mistaken for the actual blog #4. If anyone was offended by this one, just wait for Monday!

898 words; 9:05 PM, 8/3/13

4 thoughts on “So we have to do this

  1. I like when you said “this Titanic has sailed” not only does it relate to the article originally but it makes sense. I agree with the fact that we are on beyond fixing the current problems we have. We need to start from scratch on some things instead of continuing to pour money into them which is just draining the money we don’t even have. Essentially we are dumping other countries money into failing programs. Why are people still giving us money? We are going to have to start exchanging favors soon if you know what I mean…like military assistance and things like that 🙂 . That’s pretty much the most we have to offer to other countries I feel like anymore.
    Another point I agree on is that we are too proud! We are fine taking other countries money but we can’t adapt their functioning systems of government? Not even their whole infrastructure but even tid bits and what nots. I feel realistically we are not going to do that either. America is still a young country founded on new fresh ideas from our forefathers and I think we are stuck in that mentality. That everything we do has to be fresh, new, different and ultimately better than every other country. We need to shift our focus from being number 1 to just being functional!

  2. Comment #8
    I just started to read this blog and some days this is why I want to move out of the U.S. I am going to France for a vacation in March and if my mom was able to come with me I would move there. I don’t know if France is better or worse than the U.S. To get out of the craziness of this country will be better than anything.
    Anything in congress is hopeless from here to forever. What the congress needs is fresh blood. Most of the people in there are old farts and the lady’s too. The world is changing and these people are not changing with it. My views on the person who is in the white house, is I believe the first two years he was trying to deal with what he was left with, was a horrible economy. I don’t know much about the subject that is all I am saying. And know he is doing what he thinks is best for the country, none of us might agree with it and we might rebel against it, but if anyone of us think about it, it won’t matter who is president, there will always be someone who will disagree with what they are doing for the public, for the economy, and or for the congress.
    Maybe I am one of the Americans that don’t care what is going on around them until effects my life. But I am not, I do want to know what other countries are doing to better themselves and maybe we can learn from them. I would love a job like that, just go around to different countries in the world and ask the leaders what they have done to rebuild their country or done with the economy for the citzens to have a better idea of what’s going on.
    WC-313. 8/7/13. 1:36pm-chelsea

  3. I completely agree with you. Some people are saying that Zakaria has no idea what he is talking about that America is number 1 and that there is nothing that is going to stop us. They think we will always be number one no matter what. And I think it depends on what you look at as being number 1. I mean if you think about it America’s standard of living is so much higher than that of say China. When you look at places like Scotland or some other European countries it can be hard to say which country has the best standard of living. However there is the opposite side as well… you have the people that are like Obama isn’t doing anything and no one is doing anything in the government. And when I hear that I say OK you do it…like you try to make the 320.4 million people in the United States happy. I mean who do they think they are saying that they aren’t doing anything. Obviously our system has problems but thinking they can fix them in a certain amount of time is ridiculous…..Thanks for reading my comment I hope it makes sense!

  4. This Article is all sorts of trouble, i agree with a lot of what you said. People in America are always worried about themselves and what is best for them. While we could study other countries and how they are succeeding, Americans would not accept it. “true Americans” have been in a way brainwashed to believe we are #1, even if there is something wrong we don’t need help from anyone! In class there were people who thought like that, it made me very… angry. The problem is that we all want to be comfortable, but it just is not possible. It took us going into a depression and to have America filled with fear for us to rocket to be the best, comfortable is not there. We have fallen in a hole, and to get out i believe we will need to ALL suffer before it gets better. As an individual you cannot expect to become great without sacrifice, so how can it be different for a whole country?

    To sum it all up, i think nothing will get better without it first getting worse. I do not mean the worse it is getting right now, we are still comfortable. I do not know what worse will look like, i just assume it will be similar to what has happened in the past.

    Sorry for just ranting…

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