Why is America Passive?


It is something I have rambled on about before…why is America so passive?  It seems as though the rest of the world is getting into the streets protesting the injustices that be…but not America.  Is it because Americans live in the blissful land of cognitive dissonance or was there just a shortage of red pills so most people took the blue pill?

 

RJ Eskow has an article on Alternet that questions this very idea.  Think about it…we have a very low voter turnout for a developed nation and yet have one of the highest levels of income inequality in the world.  Yet…we stand by and watch this happen as our civil rights are slowly and methodically stripped away.   We whine and complain about all of the wrong things…we need to start holding elected officials responsible for their actions – and to do that we have to pay attention to what they are doing.  We have let ourselves become so far removed from things that really matter that we have lost sight of them.   Eskow’s article:

Why Are Americans So Passive?

From the first breaths of life to the last, our lives are being stolen out from under us. From infant care and early education to Social Security and Medicare, the dominant economic ideology is demanding more lifelong sacrifices from the vulnerable to appease the gods of wealth.

Middle-class wages are stagnant. Unemployment is stalled at record levels. College education is leading to debt servitude and job insecurity. Millions of unemployed Americans have essentially been abandoned by their government.  Poverty is soaring. Bankers break the law with impunity, are bailed out, and go on breaking the law, richer than they were before.

And yet, bizarrely, the only Americans who seem to be seething with anger are the beneficiaries of this economic injustice – the wealthiest and most privileged among us.  But those who are suffering seem strangely passive.

As long as they stay that way, there will be no movement to repair these injustices. And the more these injustices are allowed to persist, the harder it will be to end them.

Where the hell is the outrage? And how can we start some?

John and Paul

Paul Krugman[3] ruminated about inflation-free unemployment the other day, and he was feeling pretty grim. Krugman is frustrated that clear prescriptions for this kind of economy – prescriptions born in John Maynard Keynes’ day – aren’t being followed. What John proposed then, Paul’s proposing now.

But he’s not optimistic.  “We can probably have high unemployment and stable prices in Europe and America for a very long time,” writes Krugman, “and all the wise heads will insist that it’s all structural, and nothing can be done until the public accepts drastic cuts in the safety net.”

One source for Krugman’s pessimism is the extensive political science research showing that “the level of unemployment matters hardly at all for elections; all that matters is the rate of change in the months leading up to the election.”

Krugman concludes that “high unemployment could become accepted as the new normal,” and worries that we’ll come to accept “a more or less permanent depression” as the norm – adding that “we could suffer endless, gratuitous suffering, yet the political and policy elite would feel no need to change its ways.”

Continue reading…

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2 responses to “Why is America Passive?”

  1. Barneysday says :

    Thanks for sharing this piece and the attached article.

    I agree that many Americans feel isolated and thus that somehow, the economic disaster is their fault. Thats the sad part.

    But I also believe the Boomer Parents have raised a generation of children, now the adults currently living this economic disaster, that are so self-centered as to really not be involved in anything other than themselves and whatever will bring instant gratification. They don’t bother to vote or take part in civic activities, because there is nothing in it for them. They are focused on “Big Brother” or “Housewifes From Who the Hell Cares” at the expense of good news programing or the likes of the Bill Moyers program referenced in the article.

    Ask how many know who Chris Hedges is? Bill Moyers, Greenwald, Snowden, or even Woodward and Bernstein? There is a very sad You Tube floating in the universe of a filmmaker asking young people to sign a petition to suspend the Bill of Rights, and No One questions it!

    Yes, as I’ve often blogged, the politicians and the wealthy are totally taking over this nation, and totally screwing the middle class and the poor, to the point of destroying both.

    But our narcissistic population deserves as much, if not more of the blame, for allowing it to happen. You write a wonderful blog, with all due humility, I do a pretty good job myself. Yet someone who publishes a consistent blog with pretty pictures or their latest shopping or travel adventures has readerships 10 times larger than we do. Taking nothing away from them, that points, even at a microscopic level, at our totally misplaced priorities as citizens.

    This country, between the economy, Too Big to Fail, dysfunctional congress, NSA spying, and corporate greed is going to “hell in a hand basket.” But you know what? We are allowing it.

    Thanks for a great post

    • thejumbledmind says :

      Thanks for the great comments. I agree with you completely in that we are a consumer driven – me first country. I also believe that we have to be voices of change and reason. We need to highlight leaders like Chris Hedges, Noam Chomsky, etc…Society is too tied up in being “busy” that it doesn’t take a look around and see what is happening.
      Again, thank you for the great comment!

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