FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

What Ever Happened to America?

by HENRY PELIFIAN

What happened to America my immigrant father entered for freedom and opportunity?  Why have opportunities shrunken where largess to the increasing poor and the rich have outstripped the capacity to produce prosperity for all Americans?

When my father entered America capitalism was not the domain of a few to control for the even fewer.  When he entered America small businesses were easy to start and with hard work prosperity was within reach.  He had financial success in business.  Today, the framework of legislation and costs limit the opportunities for Americans.  The prolonged obsession of government is national security and military spending. We have become a culture that  perpetuates and glorifies violence in entertainment.  Foreign and domestic policies often do not advance American prosperity causing it to diminish every minute of every day.

The American nation is being hollowed out like a gigantic nutritious egg with two political parties carving out the inside of the egg shell. When my father entered America the country was more decentralized and onerous government did not exist.  Now, police are militarized, war and war preparedness have overwhelmed the resources of country.  National security is an obsession costing astronomical funds as the nation is being hollowed out.  How did a nation situated between two oceans become embroiled across the globe in one misadventure and quagmire after another since the 1960s?

Any fool knows that any system of government is not perfect.  In our system legislation is often crafted and written by industries and lobbyists who are sometimes former members of Congress and current members of Congress often do not read the legislation they pass.  With every passing day it is Congress that appears to be launching incursions against the American people with innumerable laws that benefit a few at the expense of the majority.  Those with excellent credit ratings caused the financial meltdown of Wall Street while an American with bad credit may denied employment based solely on bad credit caused by lack of employment.   This is one example out of countless ones of wayward and adverse legislation for Americans allowing misuse of credit reports.   How many fools do we have in this country?

Pharmaceutical companies advertise prescription drugs on television to the majority of Americans who have no medical training. Is modern medical treatment driven by television commercials acceptable medical practice of lay people suggesting what prescription drugs to prescribe?

What happened to the America my father entered where now average and modest income earners are taxed at the same capital gains rate as those earning 20 to 30 times or more income annually?

When a government becomes so powerful that citizens become the servant, and government officials become the master and overlord it is no longer the country the Founding Fathers intended.

 

If government cannot sustain and maintain a modest program like Social Security then those in government do not have the capacity or skills to be in government.  If elected leaders cannot establish universal health care effectively and efficiently they clearly do not have the skill, talent and motivation to do so.  Why should employers be held financial liable for health care?  One of the unsaid reasons for off shoring jobs is the cost of health care.  My father always thought government should do three things in addition to national defense: provide for the education and health of everyone, and limit the wealth.  What he meant by limit the wealth is not allow a few to control such things as the media and news.  Capitalism requires a level playing field and preventing abuses is the role of government, otherwise the whole enterprise of government devolves into a carnival of power wielded not for the people but against the people.

 

When I was drafted into the army and went to Vietnam in 1967 my immigrant father watched the news anxiously every night.  He waited patiently for my return and died soon after my arrival home, for he was sick having endured more than the human body can take for a long life. He had wandered the deserts of Turkey and Syria as a boy trying to survive the first modern genocide- that of Armenians in Turkey.  Through various setbacks and journeys he finally made it to America and carried a small copy of the Constitution in his suit jacket.

 

As long as mediocre and inadequate leaders from the Vietnam era to now continue to get elected to the executive and legislative branches of government allowing the wealthy or influential to guide legislation, domestic and foreign policies, the answer to the question what has occurred to erode freedom and opportunity will be more urgent and critical.  The greater the empire becomes the less effective it becomes for the citizenry.  Our democracy was not founded to create a vast empire for a few at the expense of the many.

The test of any law and legislation ought to be how it benefits or harms Americans, not who gets to make an enormous profit.  The most important task of the United States Congress is the quality of its legislation, for if its legislation is faulty the nation is faulty.   No nation can long sustain or attain success for its people unless fairness, justice and equality reign supreme.  The ephemeral power of an empire built on sand will vanish in the first fierce winds of economic and fiscal mismanagement.

A country built by immigrants that creates vast government power by stealing authority from the people will neither prosper nor prevail.  When there are more limits on citizens than there are on elected representatives, freedom and democracy is diminished while the safety of citizens is in peril.

Henry David Thoreau put it best, “The character inherent in the American people has done all that has been accomplished; and it would have done somewhat more, if the government had not sometimes got in its way.”

Henry Pelifian received a B.A. from the State University of New York at Geneseo, NY in English/Drama and Education, an MBA in International Managment from Thunderbird School of Global Management, Glendale, AZ.. He served in the U.S. Army with one year in Qui Nhon, South Vietnam. A former Peace Corps Volunteer in Thailand, he worked for several more years overseas, primarily in Thailand in the U.S. Refugee Program. He is now writing novels, plays and short stories. You can visit his Amazon page here.

 

 

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

June 22, 2017
Jason Hirthler
Invisible Empire Beneath the Radar, Above Suspicion
Ken Levy
Sorry, But It’s Entirely the Right’s Fault
John Laforge
Fukushima’s Radiation Will Poison Food “for Decades,” Study Finds
Ann Garrison
Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour Party, and the UK’s Socialist Surge
Phillip Doe
Big Oil in the Rocky Mountain State: the Overwhelming Tawdriness of Government in Colorado
Howard Lisnoff
The Spiritual Death of Ongoing War
Stephen Cooper
Civilized, Constitution-Loving Californians Will Continue Capital Punishment Fight
Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla
Cuba Will Not Bow to Trump’s Threats
Ramzy Baroud
Israel vs. the United Nations: The Nikki Haley Doctrine
Tyler Wilch
The Political Theology of US Drone Warfare
Colin Todhunter
A Grain of Truth: RCEP and the Corporate Hijack of Indian Agriculture
Robert Koehler
When the Detainee is American…
Jeff Berg
Our No Trump Contract
Faiza Shaheen
London Fire Fuels Movement to Challenge Inequality in UK
Rob Seimetz
Sorry I Am Not Sorry: A Letter From Millennials to Baby Boomers
June 21, 2017
Jim Kavanagh
Resist This: the United States is at War With Syria
James Ridgeway
Good Agent, Bad Agent: Robert Mueller and 9-11
Diana Johnstone
The Single Party French State … as the Majority of Voters Abstain
Ted Rall
Democrats Want to Lose the 2020 Election
Kathy Kelly
“Would You Like a Drink of Water?” Please Ask a Yemeni Child
Russell Mokhiber
Sen. Joe Manchin Says “No” to Single-Payer, While Lindsay Graham Floats Single-Payer for Sick People
Ralph Nader
Closing Democracy’s Doors Until the People Open Them
Binoy Kampmark
Barclays in Hot Water: The Qatar Connection
Jesse Jackson
Trump Ratchets Up the Use of Guns, Bombs, Troops, and Insults
N.D. Jayaprakash
No More Con Games: Abolish Nuclear Weapons Now! (Part Four)
David Busch
The Kingdom of Pence–and His League of Flaming Demons–is Upon Us
Stephen Cooper
How John Steinbeck’s “In Dubious Battle” Helps Us Navigate Social Discord
Madis Senner
The Roots of America’s Identity and Our Political Divide are Buried Deep in the Land
June 20, 2017
Ajamu Baraka
The Body Count Rises in the U.S. War Against Black People
Gary Leupp
Russia’s Calm, But Firm, Response to the US Shooting Down a Syrian Fighter Jet
Maxim Nikolenko
Beating Oliver Stone: the Media’s Spin on the Putin Interviews
Michael J. Sainato
Philando Castile and the Self Righteous Cloak of White Privilege
John W. Whitehead
The Militarized Police State Opens Fire
Peter Crowley
The Groundhog Days of Terrorism
Norman Solomon
Behind the Media Surge Against Bernie Sanders
Pauline Murphy
Friedrich Engels: a Tourist In Ireland
David Swanson
The Unifying Force of War Abolition
Louisa Willcox
Senators Bernie Sanders, Cory Booker, Tom Udall Back Tribes in Grizzly Fight
John Stanton
Mass Incarceration, Prison Labor in the United States
Robert Fisk
Did Trump Denounce Qatar Over Failed Business Deals?
Medea Benjamin
America Will Regret Helping Saudi Arabia Bomb Yemen
Brian Addison
Los Angeles County Data Shows Startling Surge in Youth, Latino Homelessness
Native News Online
Betraying Indian Country: How Grizzly Delisting Exposes Trump and Zinke’s Assault on Tribal Sovereignty and Treaty Rights
Stephen Martin
A Tragic Inferno in London Reflects the Terrorism of the Global Free Market
Debadityo Sinha
Think Like a River
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail