National Suicide Seems the Only Remaining Option. Or is it?
It’s been a good run. Something over two centuries. But now, as the reality dawns on an increasing percentage of the population, the sad truth emerges. Let’s go back to the beginning. That amazing day of July 4, 1776. Assaulted by the powers of wealth and privilege, a group of men gathered during a hot, humid Philadelphia summer and faced a moment of truth. They sent forth a message to the world. “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal.”
Few men understood the meaning of that day more than Benjamin Franklin. Thirteen colonies had decided to challenge the wealthiest and most powerful nation on the planet. Each who signed the Declaration did it with the full knowledge that they had pledged their life and livelihood to the idea that the people should control their own governance and that a government dominated by the wealthy and powerful was unacceptable.
Some years later, September 17, 1787 to be precise, Franklin gave a speech on the final day of the Constitutional Convention. According to Madison’s notes, he began as follows:
“I confess that there are several parts of this Constitution which I do not at present approve, but I am sure I shall never approve them: for having lived long, I have experienced many instances of being obligated by better information, or fuller consideration, to change opinions even on important subjects, which I once thought right, but found to be otherwise. It is therefore that the older I grow, the more apt I am to doubt my own judgment, and to pay more respect to the judgment of others.”
On that day, and in the spirit which Franklin echoed, the Constitution was finished and ratification began. The news quickly spread that the country had a new governing document. As Franklin left the building, the following exchange occurred.
More than any other present during the deliberations, with the possible exception of James Madison, Franklin appreciated both the benefits and the dangers of what the Convention had decided upon. In a country where a large percentage of the population was illiterate and education was primitive, the future depended upon the intelligent engagement of citizens in their own government. He knew that, should such engagement dissipate, there were forces of avarice that would seek to steal away the Republic. If the people ever lost the ability to recognize and pursue their own self-interest, Madison’s structure would fall like a house of cards.
Many of the founding fathers shared his belief - and his fear for the future of the country.
The Federal Government, and indeed all governments within the United States, were intended to serve the people. The American revolution was fought to break the hold of the wealthy and powerful on the affairs of the general population. Men like Franklin and Madison were determined to put in place a governmental structure that made it very difficult for a pattern, so prevalent in the rest of the world, to be replicated in the United States. That was the true American exceptionalism. The firewall they counted on to prevent the wealthy and powerful from gaining control of the government they created was an intelligent, educated and involved citizenry. It was an Englishman who put it well.
It is now painfully clear that Madison’s firewall has failed. The dominance of the wealthy and powerful at the expense of all others is a clear indication of that failure. The United States is now the kind of country that the Founding Fathers would have fomented rebellion against. Washington has become truly a Parliament of Whores – lobbyists write legislation, wrap it in campaign contributions and deliver it to Congress and the White House for rubber stamping. If the elected officials don’t sellout their constituents for the pieces of silver, the wealthy and powerful organize an effort to replace them. There is, after all, an unlimited supply of compliant idiots on offer.
So why is this important to the argument that I’m making - that an increasing percentage of the American population has decided that national suicide is the only remaining option? These individuals support a president who made them 'fortune cookie' promises during the campaign and whose every action since taking office is against their interests. The clear agenda is to cut entitlements and pass on massive tax cuts to the wealthy. Yet they continue to support him. The same citizens elect extremist representatives to the House and Senate only to discover that they have been swindled. But what do they do when they discover that they have been swindled? They simply stay the course. The clear indication is that they have given up any pretense of living up to the expectations of the Founding Fathers. The unavoidable conclusion is that a large percentage of Americans see themselves as cattle en route to a slaughterhouse. But these cattle will, of their own volition, march forward to their own slaughter. And why is it likely that something other than suicide will occur?
A principal driver of suicide is a sense of shame. I believe that an increasing percentage of the population is ashamed of what they have allowed to happen to their country. They see the clown-in-chief in the White House – the people’s house – selling out every campaign promise that he made. Congress increasingly looks like a gaggle of morons, crooks and useful idiots. The Supreme Court casually discards foundational principals for cheap political purposes. And, deep inside, the people know that Franklin and Madison were right – that an educated and engaged citizenry would protect the Republic. It was the responsibility of the people to keep this from happening and they are now facing their own abject failure - the establishment of a distinctly anti-American dominance by the wealthy and powerful took place on their watch.
The resulting suicide pact among a growing percentage of the American population is a curious one given the country’s history. But it is understandable if you take a broader view. “When you got nothing, you got nothing to lose.” Americans are coming face-to-face with the realization of what they have allowed to happen. They have exchanges their freedoms and future - and that of their children - for a bit part in a reality show.
All across the United States people are having that experience. They are no longer citizens but indentured servants. Reduced to poverty and with no future worth looking forward to, they suffer the additional indignity of watching helplessly as their own government squeezes the last drop of blood out of them for the benefit the true owners of the country - the wealthy and powerful. And so, they decide to see the entire kabuki as a kind of reality show. Their participation in politics is limited to going where they are told and chanting slogans. Their lives, once illuminated by the American dream, are become drearier and meaner while their television brings them images of elected representatives and lobbyists living high off the hog.
It seemed that the total subjugation of the American people was a foregone certainty. Then something happened that opened the possibility of an alternative to national suicide. A ‘deranged’ individual attacked a Republican baseball practice. And for all of 24 hours, elected officials and their lobbyist allies realized that they had targets on their backs and that there was a growing percentage of the American population that had completely lost hope. And for a few more individuals the alternative appeared more and more rational. of course, these elected officials quickly went back to the job for which where they were being paid. The government has been lost to the control of the wealthy and powerful. Elected representatives were too busy caressing the genitals of the wealthy and powerful in return for campaign contributions and PAC support - nobody really cared about the majority of the population except as a source of additional plunder.
“When you got nothing, you got nothing to lose.”
A citizenry, without the ability to think critically about self-interest and the interest of the country, is a gathering of beasts. And when beasts are cornered - or wounded - or starving - when parents have nothing to give their children but the promise of an even more dreary future, the reaction of at least some of them is entirely predictable. Shame is a driver towards suicide, but rage and shame are drivers towards extreme action. I am reminded of a verse from a song Neil Sedaka made popular:
Hungry eyes take in the view
Of the world that lays them low.
Too many years on a welfare line,
The old song and dance time after time,
You can only get so pushed around
Until you wanna tear the damn thing down.
(New York City Blues)
I fear for the future of my country. Killing a Congressman or Senator is an inherently irrational act. It does not touch the wealthy or powerful – they will simply enlist a replacement. But, when suicide is the only other viable alternative option, there will be some who decide to make a dramatic statement on the way out. The glory that was the American experiment is teetering on a knife's edge. It's hard to see how that glory will be saved without the kind of action that set it in motion those centuries ago - revolution.
PJ, Mentoring Client,
Mentoring Client, CEO and Serial Entrepreneur,
Mentoring Client, Deloitte,
CEO of Croix Connect and Host of ABC Radio’s ‘Taking Care of Business’,
Partner, IT & Telecom, Defense Solutions,