Saturday, January 22, 2005

Think Piece 

This article was written by Rafael D. Frankel and published in Farang Magazine in December, 2004. He took many of the ideas and thoughts that I've had lately and put them into a discernible form, unlike the crap in my head. I don't agree with everything he says, but I do agree with his basic premise.

Please: read it with an open mind, get thru the entire thing, and take some time to think a bit before attacking and crucifying him and/or me. The tough part is, many of the thoughts and ideas he puts forth were not very clear to me before we started traveling. And it's taken a bit of time for me to drop the defensiveness and allowing myself a clearer view of what's going on and .

I am typing this up, copying from the magazine it was printed in. I was unable to find the article online which is why I am doing this. Any spelling/grammatical/general flubs are a product of my typing. If someone has legal issues with me over this, let me know. I'd gladly link this article instead of typing it up. But I think the message is important enough for me to take the time to do this.

Any italicized or bold sections are my emphasis.Later, I'll expand more of my own ideas and recent thoughts. Don't worry. And these last few days in Uzbekistan are only serving to bolster and improve my thinking and embolden me in how I'm thinking lately. So be ready.


Even the Roman Empire fell, overrun by a band of "barbarian" Visigoths undaunted by the power they were tackling. But they were just the final instruments of Rome's demise. The real fall befan centuries earlier when a bloated empire became arrogant and hubristic. Sound familiar?

I honestly don't know what the future hold for the United States of America, but after a five-week visit back to my home country and the presidential election, it appears that my vision for the USA is far off track. I am not a self-hating American, nor do I want to be a mouthpiece for the intransigent Europeans who feel so culturally superior to their trans-Atlantic counterparts. I hoped I would not be writing this article and yet here I am forced to confront the fact that my country isn't just in a rut, it's diseased.

It's easy to point out where America has gone wrong over the last four years: the Iraq War, abandoning the Kyoto Protocol, failing to push for a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, insulting ourallies, and making enemies out of people who once looked to us for hope and inspiration. But these are just the outward and most recognisable symptoms of the cancer running through American society-the actions the rest of the world sees without truly understanding the root causes of all of this. If these were isolated incidents, caused independently of one another and without a clear tie into the fabric of what American society has become, then I could optimistically opint out to the rest of the world that there were 55 million of us that voted for John Kerry. Unfortunately, those numbers belie a much greater and insidious affliction in the vast majority of my countrymen.

Jerry Springer not withstanding, American TV (the only form of entertainment many AAmericans can afford and/or have time for) continues to paint a rosy picture of life in "the greatest nation on earth". That message, delivered by the media, is only reinforced (not the other way around) by a goverment which continues to tell its people the "American dream" is alive and well. And though that message obviously conflicts with what the average American sees in his own life, when it is delivered forcefully, ad nauseum, throughout every medium of communication he knows, he eventually believes it's his own deficiencies which rightfully condemn him to working 80 hours a week at Wal-Mart (my parents recently met such a person) for wages which can barely sustain an individual, let alone a family.


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Name: Corey
Location: Portland, Oregon, United States

I'm on a journey with no destination. The path is constantly changing direction but there are always adventures to be had. "Never" and "always" have left my lexicon.

WWW http:/www.jimspeak.blogspot.com