The following was on a thumb drive that fell out of a homeless woman’s pocket. She seemed quite unusual to me, and had a beauty of presence. Maybe Native American? I tried to give the drive back to her, but when she saw me coming, she gave me a strange, teary-eyed look, and then ran away!
Although it has been a great honor to be chosen to go back in time, it has also been most difficult. I see now why the candidate pool was huge, and the selection process rigorous. At first I thought I had won the lottery, but now I am feeling intense pain.
On a scholarly front, studying the decline of the American Empire firsthand, in situ, is fascinating. It is every historian’s dream to actually time-travel. And here I am, immersed in a country that no longer exists, two thousand years before I was born.
We consider the United States as the end phase of the massive genocide that followed Columbus’s contact with the Arawak, and rightly so. In the first half of its existence, the country decimated and deceived millions of Native Americans, wiping out entire cultures. In the second half, it became a world Empire, expanding on its “Manifest Destiny” in brutal and barbaric ways. At its height, it had solid tentacles of power latched all over the globe.
However, as quickly as it rose to world pre-eminence, the Empire faded. The whole process took about seventy-years, less that the lifespan of a typical patrician. If you were born in 1945, at the end of World War II, and died in 2015, you would have approximated the timeframe of the supremacy of the United States of America. This fall is considered, properly, as one of the greatest tragedies of unconscionable error in the history of civilization.
We tend to look back on ‘the Stars and Stripes’ with something akin to horror, tinged by a little fascination. How could human beings commit vast genocide, drop two atomic bombs, and engage in dozens of barbaric wars based on ignorant fear (e.g., the little known Philippine War of the late 19th century, Vietnam, and near the end, the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars)? We also ponder, perhaps a little too haughtily, how greed could have infected their institutions so thoroughly without their knowing? How could they have ignored all the signs of moral decay? Even blatant physical evidence, such as tangible environmental destruction from global warming, was unable to impact their mental walls.
From my vantage, now, ensconced in the early 21st century (I can still hardly believe it!), I will dare to draw one solid conclusion: we have been too harsh on the bulk of the American people. I would say that over 50% of them are aware they live in an ethically disgusting time. This majority correctly predicts they are headed for disaster.
As evidence, one of the big newspapers (as they were called then, in reference to writing on slim physical sheets called “paper”), The New York Times, just ran an editorial that is entirely accurate and heavily condemnatory.
It starts out this way:
On two crucial issues this week, the extremists who dominate the Republican majority in the House of Representatives made it clear how little interest they have in the future prosperity of their country, or its reputation for fairness and decency.
This coheres with our own understanding of the extremism and fanaticism that took hold of the populus. It could have been taken from the writings of one of my colleagues.
The article continues in this harsh yet absolutely honest and correct vein. A few paragraphs later:
These actions show how far the House has retreated from the national mainstream into a cave of indifference and ignorance. House members don’t want to know that millions of Americans remain hungry (in an economy held back by their own austerity ideology), and they don’t want to deal with the desperation of immigrant families who want nothing more than a chance to work and feed themselves without fear of deportation.
(Here is the ‘link’ from their simplistic unimind, for archival purposes:
Now, this is truly amazing. This newspaper, NYT, is generally supported by many millions of citizens, and it is proclaiming loudly and unequivocally, well, I can’t put it any better than they do: a powerful faction has “retreated from the mainstream into a cave of indifference and ignorance.”
So, here is what I have learned. Not all Americans were blind. Not even most. All it took was a sizeable minority to lock the governmental process into stalemate. Quoting from the article, again: “On issue after issue, they have passed radical bills and then refused to negotiate.”
As my research proceeds, it is becoming clear that this minority is the primary culprit in the imminent collapse. Of course, it is not that simple. Those citizens that vote for them are also to blame. As are the huge business organizations--the “corporations” as they are referred to--that effectively bribe them (the corruption in the Empire is definitely as bad as we surmised, though not atypical in theoretical models of imperial degeneration).
And the large majority of folks, including the "liberals," continue certain woeful practices, such as buying products made in slave-labor countries.
Another huge caveat: the seeds for this self-destructive intransigence were laid decades ago, when the prideful country, brimming with wealth, went on a consumer binge. This stoked egoism and avarice, and undercut the social fabric of kind humility that had been prevalent since the Great Depression.
What is the demographic of this blinkered group, the Republicans? Their politicians are elected in districts that are about 75% white. This ethnic group, white, has been known for racism since the inception of the USA, and still stubbornly clings to its unethical privilege. In other words, whites who vote Republican are supporting racism, whether consciously or not. And this psi status has overridden their ability to see clearly (or “decently” to use the wording of the editorial above).
White power is slipping, and many whites refuse to admit it. It is too painful. It is too shocking to admit they have been greedy, racist, and, in truth, widely wrong. Indeed, it must be agonizing for them to even begin to face the horror: the Empire, associated for so long with white leadership, has fallen into a tailspin, pulled down by a heavy gravity of oppression and atrocity.
The denial is, in large part, a Republican mindset. This national denial produces rage, hate and the damming fixitive of stubbornness. It clogs Republican minds and they drag everyone into their vortex. If you challenge them rationally, they react with irrational attack. Their leaders are as intelligent as any, but use their skill to spin specious lines of complex argument, or to simply stoke up spite in the gullible. They are, in short, classic demagogues, those who have mastered the despicable side of rhetoric.
These are my current formulations. I can no longer look at the American people as we do in my time. They are far more sensitive and variegated, not a homogenous lump of stupid need. Many of them are more enlightened than many of us. We tend to see them as primitive and utterly lacking in conscience. But they are exquisite in mind. The difference is in their cultural programming and the resultant effects on their emotional lucidity.
It is true, they have no advanced understanding of swarm dynamics. They still consider themselves primarily as individuals. And though they are aware of the social forces of denial and racism (and sexism--the white leadership is mostly all male), even the wisest of them are like ill-placed corks bobbing in a sociological maelstrom.
I am even becoming shy to talk to them. It tears my heart.
Temporal Reconnaissance Scout
Los Angeles, California