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Spring '06 Articles:
Good-Bye from IMPACT
MLK the Revolutionary
So That's It?
The Muddlemarch: 1
The Muddlemarch: 2
War on Dissent Intensifies
Maturity is for the Weak
(music reviews)

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art/Frank Reynoso

So That's It?

Tell me–did our society peak at the end of 1999? Was what we know as Western Civilization just a fad? Something to get us through the industrial phase of our development?

Seriously, humans, what's the deal? We used to know how to run a relatively peaceful world. There were always trouble spots, but at least the developed world managed to get along relatively well, fighting wars through proxy or through treaty organizations, and presenting the illusion of the moral high ground.

Now there is some kind of unhealthy reversion going on, as though the entire world is suddenly run by hypersensitive, dim-witted 7-year-olds. Their motives are so transparent; their emotions are worn on their sleeves. That's no way for politicians to behave. It's just dangerous. We need to get our leadership back into the hands of well-adjusted, whiz kid 7-year-olds where it belongs. Unfortunately, we likely have a three-year wait before we can start to reap these joys. The gears are not turning nearly fast enough to stop the current flow of embarrassing mediocrity flowing through the government machine.

In the meantime, we're going to have to find a way to live with tyranny in our midst, the kind of dark, just-in-time, science-fiction government that took legitimate power and twisted it for nefarious purposes while we were sleeping. Did we learn nothing from the Star Wars prequels besides how not to make a movie? The forces to balance the equation are starting to turn against our president, who now enjoys a 60 percent disapproval rating, but the damage is clearly already done. And there ain't no farm boy from Tatooine gonna step in and deliver us from the dark lord.

I could argue that there have been darker times. The human race has certainly seen much worse than the wars that are going on now, no doubt. Hiroshima was a drop in the bucket compared to how many millions of Japanese civilians were killed during World War II after the U.S. bombed significant percentages of their major cities. Londoners are not huddling into their basements every night to survive bombing runs from German aircraft. Nobody has to storm any beaches just to retake a teeny crescent of France.

But you really gotta be piss-scared that so many different kinds of crises are beginning to manifest at a time when every single person in the United States owns about $25,000 of the national debt. As if the war weren't already sucking what amounts to multiple times the cost of the Apollo program out of the treasury on a monthly basis, entire cities are being sucked underwater. The Antarctic Ice Shelf, which contains 90 percent of the world's fresh water, is sliding off the damn continent. Wešre running out of room for things to go wrong.

And by the way, I've been waiting 11 years to tell Rush Limbaugh that he was absolutely retarded about the environment in the nineties. Eat my crap, you sorry, sorry fool. At least a great many Republicans are finally coming around on the "maybe it isn't a good idea to consume the fuck out of the Earth because we have the money to do it' front. Does this herald a new golden age of American honesty and responsibility toward the environment? I doubt we have the collective will to make the necessary sacrifices.

No, luxury and abundance is an immutable entitlement in American culture. That is why all my instincts tell me that the age of America is coming to a close, as it must eventually, as all great companies and empires must when they can no longer adapt to the realities of the time. The experiment was good, but poorly managed in the end. Like any behemoth corporation, a country can present the appearance of shining health right up until the point that its own personal Enron CEO runs off with all the money and leaves the rest holding the bag. The most frightening prospect is that of who will fill the power vacuum once this broken down El Camino of a country lacks the funds necessary to pay the interest on its debts and implodes. Please, Lord, let the European Union get their shit together, 'cause otherwise we're all going to be speaking Chinese.

And I may be tossing too many cultural references in here, but doesn't it seem all so tragic that The West Wing is coming to an end during all of this? I mean, isn't that always the way we hoped our government was working, with an educated, economically savvy, emotionally mature, and well-spoken leader at the helm? I mean, damn–can we get together and elect these writers into office? They prove that there are people out there who know how to govern with the intellectual might and brilliant civic wisdom that is truly becoming to leaders of a superpower. It would be glorious, but sadly, I have to agree with The Colbert Report that the show was all so much John Kerry fan fiction.

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