Ignavus populus

“Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot, in things racial, we have always been, and we, I believe, continue to be, in too many ways, a nation of cowards.”  ~AG Eric Holder

A quote like this is always guaranteed to unleash a shit-storm, and even those who agree with the sentiment which provoked the statement are likely to suggest that actually saying it was in-artful…at best.  It wasn’t a slip of the tongue.  Holder’s recent statement about ending federal raids on medical marijuana dispensaries in California attest to his ability at making artful statements.  Clinton’s old point-man in the war on reefer made it more than clear that he was only following the big-boss man’s orders concerning the federal raids, not his own beliefs.  So what was he trying to accomplish?

Honestly, i have no idea what his motivation was and i’m completely out of the loop in regards to race relations in 21st century America…living, as i do, in a place as white as the frequent blizzards that blanket the area.  Holder’s statement goes deeper than American race relations.  He inadvertently tripped over the elephant in the middle of the room.

America is a nation of cowards from sea to shining sea and on every issue that we face.  Ignavus Populus might as well be the new, national motto.  And as a bonus, the translation can be read as both “Cowardly Nation” and “Lazy Populace”.  The elegance of two birds with one stone is irresistible.

How else can you explain a nation of 300+ million people cowering in fear of a man who has to cart his dialysis machine from cave to cave?  This is a nation where people actually went to the hardware store and bought three mil plastic sheeting and duck tape to protect themselves from a chemical-biological attack on their suburban enclaves.  The same nation that logged thousands of tearful phone calls to television and radio shows, worried that they were no longer safe in Topeka and Peoria.  Evil bogeymen were surely plotting against their shopping malls from under beds and inside closets everywhere.

Fear so pervasive that a plurality was/is willing to sacrifice the freedom that they purport to hold so dear for a shred of perceived safety.  A nation that was truly the “land of the free and the home of the brave” would have stood firm and tall after 9/11.  Not America.  Americans claimed PTSD from watching horrific events on television.  And nearly eight years later everyone still just shuts up and cowers at the mention of Osama bin Laden and his minions.

It’s not just terrorism.  Americans fear just about everything from peanut butter to politicians.

We puff up our chests and call the French “cheese-eating surrender monkeys”, but when the French government fucks around and pisses off the people they take to the streets and shut large swaths of the country down.  Big, tough, pick-up driving Americans can be systematically raped by generations of politicians from both sides of the aisle with nothing more than a few cowardly acts of vandalism in Minnesota.

We watch the masters of the universe make a hash of our retirement plans and then watch the government of, for, and by Wall Street pilfer the income of our children and grandchildren to bailout the offending bankers.  Yet we do not act in any way for fear that those bankers will stop extending us credit…even though they stopped extending us credit already.  We sit idly by while the bankers demand taxpayer funds and increase credit card interest rates to usury levels.  Apparently we fear a life without our Citi-card more than we fear getting rolled over twice.  “Please, Mr. Banker, sir, I’ll pay you 30% just don’t take away my ability to buy more cheap plastic crap that I don’t really need.”

We fear the Chinese because they “take away our jobs”.  Never mind that we didn’t raise a finger against our own politicians who shipped those jobs oversees.  We fear the Chinese because one day they might be a major military power.  Oddly, we don’t fear the Chinese because they hold the purse-strings.  Deep down we fear that our ascendancy is over, and it’s far easier to hide under the bed and hope that our troubles will go away if we just ignore them.

We fear the Mexicans who come to the US to do jobs that we feel beneath us anyhow.  We fear illegal drugs and black people.  We fear climate change and any adjustment to our “standard of living” that might mitigate our environmental damage.  We fear sex on TV and talking about sex openly.  We fear everyone who doesn’t agree with our political views.  We fear godless heathens and bible-thumpers.  We fear highway accidents and the imported petroleum needed to propel the ultra-safe, over-weight vehicles that protect us.  We fear cancer and trans-fats, but not as much as we fear a world without cheap calories that make us fat and cancer-ridden.

We are, in short, a nation of cowards…regardless of our mythology that speaks of “can-do attitudes” and “self-renewal” and “melting pots” and “rugged individualism”.  All those things might have been true, but if they were it was in an era best characterized by “once upon a time.”  This mythology certainly does not accurately describe any time over the last 35 years of American history.  There can be only one end for a nation of cowards.  The details may vary, but that the end will be ignoble is assured.

And so concludes another chapter of The Decline and Fall of Western Snivelization.

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~ by Lex on February 28, 2009.

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