Monday, December 20, 2004

An Insatiable Desire for Immediacy

The analogy of the United States as a fast food culture is fitting in so many ways, but it fails to adequately describe the reaches of Americans' selfish desire for instant gratification.

Generally speaking, conservatives are "more guilty" of this desire, but its manifestation among progressives has plagued their political movements in recent years as well.

I hinted at some of the dangers this insatiable desire for immediacy has created in my last post, but I'll rehash some of them now.

In the war on terror, our country's infatuation with fast results, as belied by body counts of the enemy ("terrorists" in this case), created a perfect opportunity for our war profiteer President and his cohorts to push our nation into a pre-emptive war of the sort unseen since Soviet aggression against Eastern Europe shortly following World War II. Our pressing need for terrorists to be dying daily has blinded approximately half the electorate into ignoring the fact that many of those dying in Iraq are not terrorists of the sort that would have ever attacked our country; they are merely those who are attempting to ensure their nation remains sovereign while a foreign occupier has begun to construct bases to be used by a permanent American military presence in that country. As a result, we are creating an environment in the Middle East in which anti-American sentiment is rapidly breeding increased aggression against American soldiers and is resulting in a quickly deteriorating situation in which the future of Iraq seems bleak and hopeless.
A cable sent by the Central Intelligence Agency's station chief in Baghdad has warned that the situation in Iraq is deteriorating and may not rebound any time soon, according to government officials cited in a report by The New York Times.
Additionally, terrorism is on the rise. If only had our nation more patience and even some small measure of foresight, perhaps we could have stood against the pseudo-fascists that are in power and encouraged our elected representatives to hold them in check.

Across the entire political spectrum, however, this characteristic of American society has been revealed in a number of ways throughout history. Reckless development (beginning at this nations' founding) at breakneck speeds along with its necessities of strip-mining the earth, ravaging of the rainforests, polluting both the air and water supply, and destruction of marshlands are prime examples. Only in the last 2-3 decades have progressives begun to concern themselves with such issues.

The loss of patience also is demonstrated by the outrageously high usage of credit cards in the United States. Credit cards are not inherently a negative thing; rather, credit is a wonderful institution as it allows for people to purchase homes and cars for themselves and their families. However, when not used in moderation, as with nearly anything else, it becomes a parasite and can quickly ruin lives. Waiting for a weighty purchase has been made nearly impossible for many in our country, and with that, patience has been further eroded.

Progressives must stand against this loss of patience and consider the future more so than we have recently. While John Kerry is a great Senator and leader, and would have made a far better President than the latest of the Bushista cartel we have in power now, he did not represent a strong alternative to Bush. He's been referred to as a "Bush-lite", which, though may be slightly harsh, has some truth to it. I understand the rationale for nominating him, as it was made with a concern for pragmatism.

However, it failed.

We must not allow the Democratic Party again to resign itself to a moderate candidate if the reason is to blend over some differences and present a candidate that is symmetrical in grey, uncertain areas and issues. We cannot allow the Republicans to be the lone party of strong stances. Doing so causes the criticism of the Democrats as having weak-knees to be completely true.

We must make clear the benefits of considering the future when making decisions regarding the present. We must strongly make the case for our core principles of freedom, liberty, and equality above all else. We must fight the idea that intellectualism is not pragmatic and, thus, should not be a concern.

We must show that the status quo of no patience or foresight is damning to our future.