The American society has stood as a beacon of urbanization and advancement, marking a clear divide between the important civilization that had risen in the West and the barbarism of other underdeveloped peoples; however, this view of American exceptionalism has fallen into an age of decline.
The progress of history is marked with the emergence of great empires, all of which attained a zenith of societal advancement that marked them as a great civilization of civil people living in a new structure of hierarchy and urbanization. These empires of history rose to become global powers defined by a golden age of prosperity, wealth and a general contentedness of their masses. Each of these empires rose to represent the ideal of the time and yet, each of these empires fell due to a floodgate of problems that rotted their infrastructure. Despite claims to the contrary, the empires of the past fell with extraordinary speed. The transition from equipoise to anarchy took little more than a decade for many of the powers. The vast imperial metropolis of Rome, the Ming dynasty’s rule in China and the Soviet Union were powers of vast strength and land, yet their structural integrity collapsed into utter despair and ruin in the span of a decade. So saying, the great American power of the West has been plagued with a plethora of problems being perpetuated by a growing inability of the political structure to properly address the concerns of a growing uncivil public. The political atmosphere is defined by a growing polarization of views that has constructed a parallel society of hate-mongers and delusions of the American greatness, an ideal only resplendent in the minds of a public too afraid and confused to address the reality of a crumbling empire. The political paralysis of the American system should not be inevitable, but the rigidity of ideals proliferated by those in powers has resulted in a structure of education and thinking that indoctrinates the new age of American thinkers into the same growing divide of competition that has defined the past era of politics and society in America. The era is defined by a political strategy defined by ignoring problems and failing to address the points that have been proclaimed as ‘nonnegotiable’ – social security, military budget, health care, etc. This prolonged era of “can-kicking” has become the age of descent for the American nation, an age that was allowed to grow and fester because of the general unwillingness to make sacrifices and address the corruption, the poverty and the crumbling pillars of structure that are deteriorating at the weight of the American decline.
“See our sense of shame and throw it overboard. See our moral compass and set it so past bored. I guess conscience really does just make cowards of us all. See us turn a blind eye till it’s criminal.” – Anti-Flag, “Turn a Blind Eye”
The root of problems being born in the American civilization are mainly found in the fact that the American nation is no longer home to a civil public; rather, the masses have become a divided sea of propaganda-infused tools from both the right and left. This has essentially resulted in a civil war of competing values and ethics that undermine the American nation and its sense of indivisibility. Though the American nation was founded on the cooperation of both the right and the left, an infusion of ideals congruent to all people, the modern era has forgotten the civility and brotherhood that gave rise to the republic. The American people, mimicking the corporate-bought leader, are not thinking pragmatically; rather, they are merely regurgitating the manipulation of images and ideas propagated by television, allowing for propaganda to become a substitute for individual ideas and ideology. The senseless adherence to a medium controlled by conservative capitalists has allowed for the American people to lose grasp on reality and believe that the status quo of American greatness will continue on under their complicit behavior. Nevertheless, this American greatness is spiraling downwards as did the empires of old. The rise of Western civilization, the reason for the rise of the American nation, was due to a series of institutional innovations – competition, scientific revolution, the rule of law and representative government, modern medicine, and work ethic. These assets for growth were monopolized by the rise of the West and yet, these tools for civilization have grown divergent of their initial purposes. The consumer society has turned into a system through which the media can delve into the minds of the masses, run ads inspiring insecurity and superficial want for carnal and material pleasures. The consumer society has turned the American nation into a corporate capitalist hierarchy through which the great diverge is seen in the ever-growing gap between the rich and struggling poor. The work ethic is now a concept that applies only to the poor, those that must live check-to-check in order to maintain a standard of living that is barely livable. As the masses grow tired of carrying the great American behemoth, the mechanisms of the American infrastructure begin to crumble under the weight of a debt and disparity to which they have no answer for. 50 million people in America last year to earn enough to eat. This number, a fit description of the false myth of the American Dream, can also be coupled together with the fact that the $14 trillion bailout for CEOs and banks, the 1% who never struggle to eat, was paid for by the taxpayers – approximately $47,000 per person. The poor and middle class will pay for it in the form of inflation, declining infrastructure, poorer education and higher state and local taxes. As the rest of the world advances beyond the advancements from America’s past, the great empire languishes in its own investment in the past, unwilling to make the necessary sacrifices to emerge from its stagnant pool of despair and decay.
“They call it America, ‘land of the free, home of the brave’. More to the truth, it’s a murderer, it’s the land of the enslaved!” – Anti-Flag, “Until It Happens to You”
The media has become to represent cult of personality, one aimed at maintaining the servility of the masses. The culture of illusion thrives by robbing the American people of the intellectual and linguistic tools to separate illusion from truth. It reduces the people to the level and dependency of mindless slaves. Rather than focusing on the crumbling walls of their own futures, the people remain unquestionably loyal to reality shows and the paparazzi invasion of some person or another’s privacy. The people are plagued with a narcissism epidemic in which a shift in culture towards greater self-admiration is illustrated by their malicious attitude and sadistic behavior towards others. The American people are subject to a growing desire to watch and laugh at the misfortunes of others, allowing for corporate media to create shows and images that enrapture the peoples’ attention and allow them to continue on blissfully ignorant of the collapsing empire. To provide a general example – American Idol and the subset series of talent shows that have followed, through which the American people denigrate those who go on by a sadistic voting mechanism that demeans the worth of a person to the number of people who voted in their favor. As millions go sick and dying in the streets, as brothers and sisters are sent to die in foreign lands to ensure the oil tycoons remain resplendent in their lavish homes, the American people sit on couched and laugh at people on these shows. It is the same ‘freak-show’ distraction that comes along every time a mighty empire starts collapsing. These shows have become the new coliseum where the American people willingly participate in a show where the weak are torn apart for the sake of their amusement. The American civilization, a society honored for its advancement and urban technology, has become home to cruel and vile population being deluded into waging war on each other and on their own minds. As they fight among themselves about the validity of a FOX News report or an MSNBC claim, laugh at the idiocy of some star on Jersey Shore, or stare mindlessly at the sexual images of some HBO series, the American people are driven like animals towards the workforce to labor on. The American people are not forced through physical power to work rank and file in jobs dedicated to the perseverance of a nation no longer representative of its intended purpose of freedom and justice for all. Rather, the American people are coerced into these jobs to ensure that the debt and disparity of the nation, both of which were created by the corporate leaders and politicians in the 1%, does not utterly destroy the nation. It is the media – tv, commercials, radio and the web – that has invaded the conscience of the people, making them fools. The American people have become the target audience for the noise propagated by competing groups and organizations, all interested in profit and power instead of truth and fact. Thus, a public is created that is divided into competing groups of barbaric fighters with no grasp of what is truly important. The fighters stand on their pedestals of fabricated reports and gossip, regurgitating the manipulated information reported by their favorite medium. Throwing word and dagger, the American people have brought down their own nation.
“I thought I’d begun to see a change, but the more things change, the more they stay the same. Back stabbing and name calling, the trademarks of your act. You talk and talk of unity, but divide with your attacks.” – Anti-Flag, “Tearing Everyone Down”
In retrospect, the American people are led to fight against one another, against those that represent an ideal opposite of what was published on their rightist/leftist media medium, believing that to rise up and be an American is to yell, scream and fight so ignorantly loud that no one else can heart another view, a view that could be the salvation for a nation that, apparently, is only home to deluded and bigoted people. The people are led astray, led to lead senseless and ignorant lives, in order to maintain a stable and peaceful workforce that is in charge of keeping the rich aloft on pedestals far from the everyday worries of the masses. The rich think of ever more ingenious ways to hoard more wealth, mostly at the expense of the public, instead of working to resolve the country’s problems. As the people suffer way, they remain loyal to mainstream commercial mediums of media that pander to profits and gossip, deluding the peoples’ sense of reality and striving to fuel the peoples’ motivation to continue on working and listening, to continue on being so divided and bigoted. In the end, what is the purpose of having an American civilization if the American people are no longer interested in being civil. America has become a cruel and vicious place, rewarding the shallowest, meanest and loudest of those fighters that stand for the division of a country proclaimed as the United States. With no sense of decency, no right or wrong, the American people pander to the most extremist of views and values proliferated on their favorite mediums, illustrating that the modern civilization is just another reality show of incredulous activities that demeans those within, destroys its surroundings and caters to the amusement of a target audience – the corporate benefactors. The American nation has become a slogan-saying, bile-spewing, hate-monger.