America can do whatever we set our mind to. I heard that lately.
This is probably true. America is wealthy and powerful, and there’s no reason to believe that “we” can’t do all sorts of cool stuff, like bring down unemployment, fix our aging infrastructure and make it world-class, mitigate the looming climate change disaster, implement a not-ludicrously wasteful healthcare system, make sure our elders are cared for, stop fighting stupid wars — you know, shit like that.
And there’s evidence that Americans want stuff done that they’ve set their minds to. Our president has just done a thing, for example, that they surely wanted done, namely, wasting a guy they wanted wasted. This is a mission that has been accomplished. And now it seems they like the president more than they had only last week — why, he just got something done!
This raises the question though of why the only things that ever get done involve death.
Why can we kill a guy but not get people jobs? Why can’t we fix bridges that are falling apart? Why can’t we get our shit together to save the fucking planet?
Because we’ve set our mind to do other things, that’s why.
Because the “we” that matters is not we the people.
No matter what Americans want, like jobs, say, we’ve achieved a point in our national history where, increasingly, the only function of government that our rulers see as legitimate and worth spending money on, is war. Even if our wars of choice are ludicrously conceived & then pretty badly botched.
Once upon a time we went to the fucking moon. Now we can’t get out of Afghanistan.
And this is not because “we” don’t want to get the fuck out of Afghanistan.