The new age

The father of our country was a slave holder. He was a land speculator. His legacy is still that of a great man, a man of immense ability and noble heart.

He refused the blandishments of power. He spurned those who would make him king. He voluntarily stepped down after two terms in office. He is admired as the American Cincinnatus, the farmer who left the plow to save Rome by leading its legions to victory, but, when victory was won, returned back to his farm and a simple life.

When George Washington finished his second term, he gave a farewell address. It’s about 6,000 words long, and is graded for an eighteenth grade reader. In other words, a graduate student. Yet his words were standard reading in 19th century common schools. Today, politicians like Donald Trump speak at a fourth grade comprehension level. Senator Rand Paul is called too philosophical because he speaks at a seventh grade level.

In this address the father of our country talked about the virtues and responsibilities of a republican government and its citizens. He warned against the evils that could destroy a republic. In particular, Washington warned against

• Excessive debt

• Excessive partisanship

• Maintaining long term favoritism or enmity toward particular foreign governments

• Fighting unnecessary wars

If you mention this to a neocon, his response is: “That’s so 1797!”

Sure, times have changed. We live in a new era, a new reality. Sparks’ own Karl Rove said that his neocon U.S. is the new reality, and they make history, and all you can do is watch, and write about what they have done.

Only, that was so 2004!

Now when I turned on the British Broadcasting Corporation, a middle aged woman on a talk show asked, “Does anyone here really still believe that America can get anything it wants, anymore?”

The political tectonic plates are shifting, and a major earthquake is coming. Over 40 percent of the world is now aligned with the partnership between Chinese-style socialism and Russian conservatism. They are preaching a new vision of economic cooperation and democracy between nations, not necessarily democracy within nations.

Did Putin and Xi Jinping read Washington’s farewell address? Why have we let Russia and China become the new world leaders?

The U.S. is in decline, but that is not necessarily bad. Let the French die in Niger, if they want. They know that part of the world much better than we do.

We have been 16 years in Afghanistan. In most of that forsaken land, dogs are considered unclean. Yet whenever we sweep a village, we bring bomb sniffing dogs into Afghan homes, causing anguish and humiliation. And even after 16 years, we dropped propaganda fliers with a picture of a military dog overlaid with a verse from the Quran!

Empire does not suit us. We’re not even good at it. It has bankrupted us and made us mad with fear. We readily give up our liberty for false security. There is no security at the top! There will always be barbarians knocking at the gates.

It doesn’t have to be this way. We could trade peacefully with Russia and China and Iran. We could, but we won’t. We are heading for a fall instead, and it will be very big drop.

Just lay down the white man’s burden. Bring the troops home.

We thought Bush, Obama and Trump would do just that. We are once more betrayed.

Haven’t there been enough black-laced widows weeping on flag-draped caskets?