The United States of America: A Shining Beacon No More

Last week was a bad one for America. The needless and unjustifiable killing of two black men by police, followed by the senseless killing of five police officers in revenge by a disturbed black Army veteran, were but two telling events in a long series over the past several decades that demonstrate that there is something seriously wrong in this land of the free and the home of the brave.
Once a shining beacon of light to the world, the United States of America is increasingly losing its moral compass and becoming more and more dysfunctional with each passing year. The systemic racism that is behind the increasing toll of police killings of young black men is but one symptom of whole array of serious social, political and economic issues that are becoming more and more intractable with each passing year. What is worse is that the politicians, rather than addressing the issues, are instead becoming more polarized, confrontational and dogmatic in their entrenched positions.
The issues confronting Americans are serious to the point of being existential threats. Racism is a key one. The twentieth century saw huge progress in the U.S. in redressing the inequalities and oppression of its black population. And yet, the past several decades has seen a serious regression, exacerbated no doubt by the declining economic state that afflicts the poorer classes of American society where blacks are disproportionately represented. Added to this has been increasing resentment against the large influx of disadvantaged Latino immigrants from Mexico and other points south coming to America to escape the shackles of grinding poverty. Throw in a mounting xenophobia against Muslims fleeing the sectarian violence of the mid-east, and you have a volatile situation that is creating significant social unrest.
There are of course, other serious challenges. The economic system that made the U.S. the richest country in the world is starting to come apart. Increasingly, the corporate world has come to control the political structures of the country to the point where political policy is constructed not to benefit the welfare and well-being of the citizens, but rather to enable corporations to extract the maximum amount of profit from the nation’s resources. The economic collapse of 2008 was outright fraud perpetrated by large American financial institutions on a gullible population. Yet no one was punished for it and nothing has been done to limit the ability of these same institutions to do the same in the future. More and more wealth is being concentrated into fewer and fewer hands. The gap between the haves and have-nots is continuing to accelerate.
And then of course, is the huge problem of guns and lack of any meaningful gun control. There is virtually no restriction on the sale of powerful automatic assault weapons to anyone. Death by gun in the U.S. has become epidemic. Despite overwhelming evidence from countries that have instituted effective gun control, Congress not only refuses to institute effective gun control but won’t even pass the most basic measures to prevent weapons being sold to suspected terrorists, criminals or the mentally ill. The NRA contributes huge amounts of money to congressional and senate election campaigns, and appears to have American lawmakers in their pockets.
Lastly, the American political arena has stopped being a system for rational debate, constructive dialogue and practical compromise for the common good. The Republican Party has been hijacked by Tea Party obstructionists, and ever since the election of President Obama, it has become clear that they have no desire to cooperate with the Democrats in ensuring effective governance, but rather they have done everything they can to delay, obstruct and sabotage any initiative of Obama’s or the Democrats, no matter how necessary or beneficial such initiatives may have been for the American public. As if that is not bad enough, it now looks like the Republican Party has been railroaded into accepting a candidate for President that is literally a buffoon, a racist, a bully, misogynist, and an ignoramus when it comes to economic or foreign policy.
America has somewhere, somehow lost its way. How could it have happened? The U.S. is still home to some of the most brilliant minds, the latest cutting edge technology, the best educational system, and a tradition of freedom, justice and equality of opportunity that is unparalleled in this world. Wake up America! The world needs America to return to being that shining beacon of light it once was.