A quick mid year Rant

A quick word today, the day after Independence Day.   I’ve just started to read “Vietnam: A History” by Stanley Karnow.  I expect it will be a good book, akin to the Best and Brightest by Halberstam, another good book.

For some reason, I only have made it to page 11 when the word “Exceptionalism” reared its ugly head.  Nothing like notions of grandeur to make a person…a nation feel invincible, to do things and worry about the consequences later. 

I have a post that will probably not go up until the Fall, that I’ve been thinking about for at least a year, formulating it in my mind.  Putting things to paper is a much more detailed process than simply thinking about something.   Thinking about something is much more direct, “as the crow flies”, but putting it to paper is never as direct nor as quick.  It is time consuming. 

As a boy and then as a young man I came across the concept of Exceptionalism and Manifest Destiny.  The secret in America’s sauce you might say.   Oh well.  Whatever.  I don’t hear too much about this in America today.   For 3 days now, in this “great country” of ours, I’ve yet been able to get online to read, or to browse, or to conduct business.   Apparently AT&T has a server down.    So I’m told.   I’m past complaining how such a country vast in resources can have such slow, backward access to the internet.    

It does though again remind me of the ugly face of capitalism….and the infinite patience of Government to do nothing.

The ridiculousness of Exceptionalism and Manifest Destiny tends to lose its sheen in moments like these.

Yet there is unquestionably a strong, albeit older strand within American Society, perhaps one quarter of the country, that still believes in such mysticism.   It drives our faith, our belief that things here will indeed get better…well because America is “special”.    Maybe this strand of The People is older…wiser…I dunno.   Maybe it’s they just don’t use the Internet. 

A country full of cashiers, hole diggers, waitresses and gas stations.  A McDonald’s on every corner.   A country where more and more of the “good jobs”(read IT), are taken by people who speak English with a strong accent.  

Will they too drink the koolaid of Exceptionalism and Manifest Destiny? 

Meanwhile another place 8000 miles away lives and breathes the same thing.  It drinks the same damn koolaid.   A fire breathing media that can’t wait to “overrun” not only Japan but the whole South China Sea…well because not only is it “ours”, but “always has been”.    And that’s really that.

I find it ironic that despite the difference in Age and Culture between the two Monolithic Societies of the 21st Century, that it is China that seems “vibrant” and “young”, while America seems “old” and “reluctant”.     Lost if you will.   Like an old man needing to be helped across the street by a Boy Scout.

It is a simple fact of life that two bullies cannot occupy the same street.  One needs to either give way or move on.   With two civilizations so totally different there can only be one King of the Hill.  Accommodation is not a realistic option.  No one ever thinks of that until the fight is over.  It’s just human nature.    But the Town Crier we call Modern Media eliminates any chance for either retreat or subtlety, from either side, hence the whole town cum planet is watching.   Negotiation goes out the window. 

As long as both countries have a strain of its own people believing so vociferously in its own sense of historical entitlement, than it comes down to nothing but irresistible force meets immovable object.  


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