May 14th, 2008 15:18 EST
The End Of America?
I`m not a conspiracy theorist or a religious dispensationalist, and I don`t cry out "The sky is falling" when a bird poops on my bald head. But there is a free-floating anxiety permeating the media and popular culture that is making me feel out of sorts.
Like most guys I have an attention span of a few seconds, and I am a compulsive channel surfer. Every once in a while in the nether regions of cable TV land, I find a frothing-at-the-mouth televangelist warning that we are living in the last days.
I quickly dismiss the chowderhead, check out the pay-per-view offerings, but I`ve already seen the Jerry Springer Ho`s Gone Wild special. I make a pit stop at the business channel, and a gray-haired gentleman in a business suit, in a calm and reassuring tone, explains that within a decade or two China will replace the United States as the preeminent financial, military and cultural power in the world. His commentary might as well have been labeled "The Decline and Fall of Western Civilization."
Dang, maybe I should order that Jerry Springer program again to take my mind off the impending gloom and doom. There`s nothing like watching a trailer-park stripper involved in a love triangle with a midget and a transvestite to make me feel good about myself again.
Instead I decide to finally watch Al Gore`s Oscar winning documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth". After a few minutes I`m convinced that our planet is in peril from the effects of global warming. When Al explains how the rising sea levels will swallow most of our coastal cities including my beloved San Francisco, I yank out the DVD and toss it in the trash can. That scenario might be Pat Robertson`s wet dream, but it feels me with dread and anxiety.
Let me go online I reason, certainly the Internet is free of conspiracy theories and end of the world scenarios, right? There is such much paranoia thriving in cyberspace that I check out a Website hawking bomb shelters.
Today one of my editors did nothing to alleviate by angst, she sent me a link to a Shoutwire.Com article about the "End of the United States." The commentary was posted by "finalflash", but I don`t know the name of the author.
I digress, but it`s interesting to note how some people feel more comfortable in their cyberspace identities than they do in their real life personas. They`d rather spend time online as "SuperLoverDude" than endure the drudgery of living as Joe Smith in the land of cubicles. Walter Mitty is not dead, he is living in cyberspace.
Here`s a link to the full article:
A few excerpts from this "feel good" editorial:
"Most people would like to ignore this reality. This up and coming disaster that has steadily increased in magnitude since the early 90s. I guess pride has a lot to do with it, and also the fact that most people in the US are just downright ignorant of how their country even works much less the whole world."
"Economically, the US is dying and slowly at that. Decreasing exports in the face of increasing imports are causing trade deficits like never before. Exports are losing quality and US goods can no longer compete with good from abroad. Aging industries have been kept artificially alive by corrupt and inept leadership..."
"Technologically the US is behind as well as most people are aware in the fields of aeronautic and automotive industries. US automakers are now behind almost all Japanese and European makers while Boeing is now facing off against a much stronger Airbus. Also in the space of semiconductors and processors, the US is falling behind..."
"Socially the US was only good up until the hippy era in the 70s or 80s. Now, a majority of the US populace is below the level of most international education standards, and instead of trying to increase education spending and introducing tougher graduation requirements, they are reducing both..."
"Government is by far the biggest source of dilapidation between the four areas of society mentioned here. The judicial system is ruled by elites of the same color hiding behind a veil of supposed neutrality..."
You get the drift...
Is the cup half empty or half full, or is it about to be smashed to smithereens by an alien from another dimension? Why didn`t my editor send me a link to the latest batch of nude Britney Spears pics instead?
Economically, we are in the pits. You don`t need to be a rocket scientist or an economist to know that the mortgage crisis, recession, rising price of gas and falling value of the dollar spells economic gloom and doom.
Technologically we have fallen behind Japan and some European countries, but hey, I`ve got my computer and my iPod to wash away my blues.
And I will never win an argument trying to defend the clowns running our government...
But I disagree with the author when he boldly states that "socially the US was only good up until the hippy era in the 70`s or 80`s." Socially we have made a quantum leap in gender equality, gay rights and racial equality. It would have been much more difficult for someone like me with a Latino surname to be a columnist for a newspaper back in the 70`s.
Folks have been warning that the "Sky is falling" since the days when an acorn fell on the head of a caveman. It`s easy to dismiss a spray-haired televangelist when he says that the recent rash of celebrity bimbos flashing their nether regions is a sign that soon we will all be sporting a "666" tattoo on our foreheads. But it`s more difficult to dismiss learned economists and tenured professors warning of doom and gloom.
My advice is "Don`t Worry, Be Happy", and party like it`s 1999 all over again. Everything is OK.
Oh God, I hope I bookmarked that Website selling bomb shelters!