Is a Crises of Confidence in US Creating a National Psychosis?
by Dan Ehrlich

America Seems to be in an Emotional and Economic Depression
The depression hitting America is more than economic...It's a crisis of national confidence, from our disintegrating family structure to our political leaders. Many people are worried about the future, partially because they never before thought about tomorrow in this hedonistic live-for-today nation.

Now, with an unofficial unemployment figure around 17 percent, people are thinking about the future or lack of it for themselves and their children. A big problem is they don't really know who to blame and what they could do about even if they did know.

On the national level, it seems from the President on down people are in place to keep us in our place via BS stories about what we must do to regain our national edge. I recall that elegant spokesman President G.W. Bush brushing aside fears about foreign competition by saying, "Americans welcome competition."

Well, since we are now taking our orders from China, or should I better say, China is taking our orders for just about everything, with left overs for other Asian nations such as India and the Philippines, I haven't seen Americans relishing our losing economic battle with cries of “Bring em' on.”

But there are a few Americans overjoyed at our plight. These are the captains of industry, such as Halliburton, who realizing the new world order taking shape, have jumped ship and reestablished themselves elsewhere for the sake of profits and with no thought for the sake of the country.

Yet, the greed factor isn't exclusive to industry and Wall Street. The scandal of the blue collar L.A. Suburb of Bell, Ca..has reverberated through the nation. And at least for the 40,000 residents of this low income town, it has opened a gaping wound in the body politic, one that has towns across the state under scrutiny for wrongdoings by public officials.

Still, with all the scandals uncovered and outrage exhibited by State Attorney General Jerry Brown, no one has yet been charged with anything. Bell residents, with higher property tax rates than in ultra swank Beverly Hills, want to know why.

And Brown, whose running for governor again after his last two terms, 1975-83, may be saving an arrest or two as a vote getter just before the November poll. His race with former E Bay honcho Meg Whitman is already record setting and the election is still weeks away.

In a sense, California the nation's biggest and one of the most diverse states, is a microcosm of the US. And the race for governor indicative of the shape of US politics...not much from which to choose.

Whitman, 54 and a Republican, has already racked up a record $119 million of personal expenses for the campaign, with the total by election day predicted to be in excess of $120 million. Yet in a state with a 12.3 percent unemployment rate (unofficially close to 20 percent) the best war cry she can come up with is “the first thing we have to do is create jobs.”

Brown, 72 and looks it, has a record about as spotty as kid with chicken pox. And with a fraction of Whitman's campaign budget, he has been slow off the mark. However, he is treading on dangerous verbiage promising, as did a past president: “No new taxes” but adding “without voter approval.”

So, what's really puzzling is why they want a job which in the end will probably be unrewarding. The state went in a few years from one of the wealthiest regions in the world to near bankruptcy, with not enough money to pay state workers. Now add to the mix more than 2 million illegal immigrants and and exodus of skilled white residents, and the only answer is: Power. Brown can't get enough of it, since he's lost about as many races as he's won and Whitman wants to know there is life after E Bay.

All which begs the burning question: Is this the best the political parties can field, an over-traveled and over the hill love child and a totally under-qualified former web executive who has no real plan of action? Or is it because they feel its a hopeless situation.

And the a similar picture is emerging nationally. President Obama, for all his intellect and rhetoric, doesn't really level with the people and some of his policies have backfired, helping the rich. But more than this, he's not the leader we need nor the international apologist we want. Yet, what does the other side offer, two former governors, one who took six years to get through a four journalism course.

So as it now stacks up:

  • Our political choices are minimal
  • Our input into government is minimal
  • Our ability to make our voices heard is minimal
  • Our politicians expect us to buy their simplistic stock outdated solutions
  • And, they only want our votes...other times we are just in the way
  • Is this how a democracy is supposed to operate?

Can you wonder why there's a crises of confidence in America?

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