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Commentary Last Updated: Apr 8th, 2008 - 00:31:06

America at a critical turning point
By Michael Payne
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Apr 8, 2008, 00:11

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This nation is bleeding profusely; it is literally hemorrhaging. We are on the road to national bankruptcy as our national debt is over $9 trillion, our annual trade deficit is at $800 billion, our housing industry and associated financial institutions are in a chaotic state. The Federal Reserve continues to pour hundreds of billion of dollars into the black hole of unregulated, devious financial practices. The foundations of our economy are structurally unsound. And we have no clue on how to extricate ourselves from the quicksand of Iraq. We are digging ourselves into a massive hole but we cannot stop digging.

At the same time that we are going through domestic shock and awe, Bush & Cheney smirk and sneer and laugh at the people of America for our gullibility, our na�ve inaction as far too many of us watch them recklessly spend $12 billion a month on the illegal, immoral and unconscionable war in Iraq. We watch as they thumb their noses at us and we silently and subserviently accept the continuing madness of endless killing of our troops and innocent Iraqis. By our continued silence and subservience we are, in reality, condoning these actions that should be totally reprehensible and unacceptable.

Let's talk about lying. The Bush/Cheney "administration" has perfected lying, turned it into political art and taken it to heights never reached by anyone in this nation's history. Just a few reminders: Iraq (Bush) war, mission accomplished, WMD, yellowcake from Niger, Saddam involved in 911, the surge is working, America does not torture -- and on and on and on with no end.

And, then, we have the chief facilitators of spreading these lies incessantly to America. The craven, despicable corporate-controlled media that has lost any semblance of journalistic integrity and ethical practice has bought into these lies and has used all the resources at their disposal to spread them into the American mind. And in doing so these pseudo-journalists have infected the American electorate with a state of fear and paranoia.

And what of this American electorate, including that 70 percent of us who continually feed those polls that indicate that the majority of us want to end this war, stop the endless killing and return our troops to their families? Several thousand Americans contributing their opinions every now and then to pollsters has no real effort, none whatsoever, no real sacrifice. When confronted with the need to do something personal about the war the standard response often is, "But what can I do?" Well, just how many of this 70 percent of Americans have called, written or emailed their congressional representatives? How many have written letters to the editor, how many have expressed their strong opinions around the water cooler, in discussions with family (horrors, we can't offend a family member, can we?) or in any way?

The answer is that America apparently can get upset, can get vexed, and frustrated -- but we as a body of people just cannot seem to act in responsible, vocal ways of communication to our leaders and the media. We now have more channels of communication than ever before but we do not have the drive or the willingness to expend minimal time and effort to help in bringing about change. Our answer is to let the other guy do it, but the other guy apparently has too many more important things to do, so we just let the lies and the media lapdogs continue to mislead America.

I firmly believe that if, in the elections of 2008, America does not rise up with a massive voice and demand radical changes in the direction that our government has taken us, then, pure and simple, we as a nation will begin a painful descent that will bring about the end of our democracy as we have known it. We not only need change, but we must have radical change in governmental policies to preserve this democracy.

The specter of global warming and Peak Oil are threatening to make dramatic changes to our lifestyle and to the very future of our planet's existence. Do we Americans understand what the issues of global warming and Peak Oil mean to our future? Have Americans taken the time to educate themselves about these threats looming on the horizon? The impact that these twin impending disasters will have on every element of our daily lives and our very existence into the future? And not only the impact upon ourselves but also the lasting, terrible impact that they will have on future generations? If you do not know now you better prepare yourself for the future. It is not the least bit difficult to spend some time to research these critically important issues and anyone can easily do so by simply Googling these two terms on the Internet. Doing so will open up a window into a knowledge of things to come that most of us cannot even begin to imagine. Doing so will prepare you to face up to the future that is coming your way and one that is unavoidable. What is so difficult about getting educated about critical issues endangering our future?

America has silently watched the steady erosion of our democracy as this most corrupt administration in U.S. history has initiated a sinister agenda to make the Constitution irrelevant and meaningless. The USAPATRIOT Act, the elimination of habeas corpus, promotion of torture and rendition, continuous expansion of wiretapping of all Americans. This has been a cleverly planned agenda that, coupled with the dastardly compliance of the mainstream media, and the complete lack of courage and failure to uphold our Constitution by Nancy Pelosi and her colleagues to initiate the impeachment of both Bush and Cheney, have contributed greatly to bringing America to the point of no return.

America cannot and must not continue on this foolhardy course that is taking our nation into financial and moral collapse. We have to stop this intense bleeding and hemorrhaging and begin the long and very painful process to heal the grievous wounds that Bush & Cheney have inflicted upon America.

It is becoming clear that we will soon have to choose between Obama or McCain to lead our nation as it appears that Hillary Clinton in now in the process of self-destruction. So we will have to choose between Obama, the shooting star of the Democratic Party (but now wounded by his association with his pastor), the agent of hope and change, the candidate that some call an empty vessel with no real substance. Or we will have the option of choosing McCain, the standard bearer of the Dinosaur Party, he being the zealous supporter of more war in Iraq (how about 100 years or so?) and the man that has admitted that he knows little about economics -- in other words, a perfect clone of Bush.

This is a critical choice for America. Do we want a relative unknown who exudes optimism, hope and new ideas, who has the ability to lead and inspire, but who has little Washington experience and has not really been tested? Or do we want a life-long politician who is in the process of selling his soul to the Christian Right, John Hagee and Pat Robertson? And who now is becoming the master of gaffes as he rapidly approaches senility with Liebermann desperately trying to prop him up? McCain is a well-known warhawk who clearly has no intention to reverse the misguided direction of the Bush administration.

Maybe Obama vs. McCain is not the best choice for America. But we in America can no longer run, we can no longer hide -- trying to remain comfortable with the status quo and stay the course in an atmosphere where total collapse is looming on our horizon. This can no longer be tolerated. It is totally unacceptable. We must step up, stop our procrastinating, and we must accept total responsibility for the future of America.

Just think, if we stop the insanity in Iraq, we can save the lives of untold troops, actually victims, untold innocent Iraqis and prevent a possible preemptive, attack on Iran that Bush & Cheney may well be planning -- a strike that would be a complete disaster and could turn the entire Middle East into a hellfire.

If we can somehow bring an end to the Iraq war, we will free up that $12 billion and more per month that could be used in America to rebuild our infrastructure, our education system, provide universal healthcare, reduce our massive debt and bring America back from the abyss that we now face.

But, as crucial as it is, the most important decision for America is not who will lead America. The most important decision is for us to decide just what we want to be, do we want to put a stop to the neocon war machine that aims to perpetuate wars to control resources, do we want to restore our moral compass? Do those of us who call ourselves Christians want to actually adhere to the commandments, "thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not steal?"

This is a most critical time in the history of our nation. Let me make this very clear. If the 70 percent of Americans who have consistently stated their opposition to this Iraq war, want it ended and the troops brought home -- in poll after poll -- somehow choose to back off that most important position by reversing it and choosing a bloodthirsty warhawk like John McCain, then America will get exactly what it deserves. If the American electorate can once again be duped and manipulated then it has not learned a thing during the last five years of infamy. America will continue on a reckless course of national bankruptcy; we will continue the unconscionable slaughter of innocents in the Middle East. We will have lost our moral compass and this nation will begin a rapid descent that will spell the end of our American democracy.

But if we Americans finally have the courage and will to say, "enough is enough" and demand change, then there is a good chance that we can still turn our nation back on course. And to do so we will need leadership with the vision, courage, conviction and wisdom to show us the way in restoring honesty, integrity and moral principles. We are at that critical crossroads, that point of no return right now. There is no escaping it; this is something that we must face. Are we up to the task or will we continue to let "whatever will be will be, business as usual, stay the course, don't rock the boat" remain our national theme song? Very soon each and every one of us will have to make this monumental decision. Think about that very deeply. What will you do when you consider that your decision will be critical in determining the future direction of this nation?

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