From now on the United States of America will never be the same as it was. The signs were there during the Clinton administration, as the presidency gained more and more power, but it all really exploded during the last eight years. The current government has approved torture of “criminals” and wiretapping of private citizens’ phones, has taken away habeas corpus, and has refused to comply with investigations and lawful questioning. And now the government has begun to buy banks and the Secretary of the Treasury, who serves at the pleasure of the president, now wants unlimited power to buy anything he wants without any oversight. You might recognize some of these as things that happen in dictatorships. At the very least we are turning into a socialist country (although there are serious questions in my mind about whether socialism would be so bad right now).
Shortly, America will no longer be a world power like it is now. I’m not saying the U.S. is going to turn into some third-world country, but I am saying that we will become like France, Germany, England, Spain, etc. In other words, a country who gets along in the world but does not rule it. A country that relies on other countries around it for survival because it is not big enough to do everything on its own anymore. The American economy will never again be like it was. The dollar will never be as strong as it used to be, and it won’t be surprising if we eventually have to join with other counries in an economic union (North American Union, anyone? I’ve promoted the idea before).
For the country to survive, we must repair our relationship with the rest of the world. We must change the idea of Americans being fat, lazy, hateful, and ignorant. We must show that we can be good, we can be creative, we can be inventive, we can be cooperative, and we can be generous. I am even more convinced right now of the importance of voting for Obama for president, but I’ll get into that more in a subsequent post in which I’ll detail my positions as the election gets closer.
But, for now, I’ll say this: America will never be the same. This financial crisis will be seen in history as the turning point in which the United States began its slide (or ascent?) to the level of other large countries instead of being the biggest kid on the block. The key is what we do with it. Do we bemoan our circumstances and complain that we’ve lost the ability to tell everyone what to do, or do we learn how to live in a world with other people. Do we learn to cooperate and work together to make things better for everyone, not just us?
The United States will never be the same, and I don’t think that’s such a bad thing.