Saturday, July 07, 2012

Detroit And America's Intransigence

I'm watching Dan Rather Reports special two-hour investigation of Detroit's public schools. Long story short: they're screwed and they are emblematic of our nation's educational system on the whole.

Rather early on, they showed some videos from Detroit's past in the 1950's and 60's, when the city was rumbling with vibrant industry and manufacturing, and the ridiculously effusive language being used to describe the city and, indeed, all of America just stuck in my craw.

My craw got all stuck full of it because it reminded me of the same garbage in that innane "Halftime in America" ad for Chrysler that aired during the Super Bowl. It's the same shit, different generation, and it is absolutely infuriating.

We have problems. Detroit is hosed. Wanna' fix Detroit? Spend lots of money, build a lot of stuff, and let the child run. We are not doing that, though. We are not doing any of that. Instead, we dumped trillions of dollars into the banks — thus saving the all-important rich people — and the public debate is between those who want to fix things, and borderline-crazy nincompoops like Ron Paul who think that the world will magically fix itself.

No, what videos like the Chrysler ad show is that we don't need to actually fix problems, we just need to feel great about being American! Fix problems? Pah! We're American! Poor people can't afford food? Pah! We're American! Middle class collapsing? Pah! We're American! Unemployment at double-digits? Pah! WE ARE FUCKING AMERICAN!

This feel-good garbage, so strongly rooted in American exceptionalism, makes me want to puke. We are not "Americans". We are a group of people, nothing more, and our system is broken. We need to fix it. Not doing anything and feeling proud about that hasn't worked up to this point, so why should we expect it to magically start?

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