Thursday, September 2, 2010

Contemplating our Greatest Day...and its aftermath

This day sixty-five years ago was the most powerful moment in American history. It was on this day, aboard the battleship U.S.S. Missouri the Japanese formally surrendered to the Allied powers thus bringing World War Two to a close.

I call this the most powerful moment in American history because it was on that day we had the greatest army; the greatest navy; and the greatest air force the world had ever seen. Those forces consisted of men and women who were part of what we call now the Greatest Generation were commanded by some of the most stellar figures in American Military history: Douglas MacArthur, Dwight Eisenhower, Curtis LeMay, Bill Halsey, Chester Nimitz, Raymond Spruance, Omar Bradley, and George Patton.

Not only were our armed forces superior in the quality of its personnel; it also had the finest weapons including the ultimate weapon which compelled the Japanese to surrender in the first place: the atomic bomb—which America was the sole possessor at that time.

Not only was our military might supreme, our home front too was at its peak in terms of power and productivity.

American industry was operating at full capacity. Unemployment was nil. Our moral authority was at its pinnacle. The American people had full faith in its President and its Congress.

Now, today, sixty-five years later our country can no longer make those claims.

Today, we struggle with financial, moral, and ethical bankruptcy. Unemployment is rampant. Faith in our elected leadership is nonexistent—and justifiably so in many places.

How did it happen?

It certainly didn’t come from the outside. One cannot blame the Russians, the Chinese, the North Vietnamese, the Taliban, or Al-Qaeda.

No, the decline came from within—just as it always does in the course of human events.

For all the wars America has fought since 1945 the greatest, costliest, and most damaging war our country has fought has been with itself. When you examine the course of American politics, economics, and ethics since 1945 the most apt metaphor to describe what has transpired since then is war.

When you look at our society today, we are a nation at war with itself; a war with no victory and no end; just the mindless and senseless continuation of our own self-defeating purpose. And as long as that self-defeating purpose exists in the fabric of American society then there is no hope of future progress—just the long tortoise-like crawl towards national self-destruction.