Daily prompt: What drives America?


I’m sorry if you find this question intrusive, rude – even hostile. It’s not meant to be any of those things. It’s a genuine request for enlightenment.

You see, for so many years you have stood proud – the land of the free and the home of the brave. For so many years we’ve been asked to look to you for leadership: the beacon of modern democracy, the lynchpin of world politics and world finance, the source of innovation, the home of freedom and opportunity.

And we did look to you. We followed you into Korea, Vietnam and then Iraq. Your culture heavily influenced our culture. And your news became our news, hitting our headlines almost as soon as it hit yours, because after all, what you do creates waves around the world.

But now when we look to you, what we see is a night sky fractured by forked lightning.

What’s happened?

It’s as if Americans no longer believe in America.


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7 Responses to Daily prompt: What drives America?

  1. Noah Weiss says:

    It really does seem like the country has fallen into a nadir of hate, distrust, violence, and xenophobia. I know that none of those drive me, but then again, I am usually not driven by politics or others’ opinions…

  2. Beth says:

    Helen, many things, and I can’t begin to explain it all, but as a people we don’t have the maturity anymore to handle the issues at hand. Our government distorts statistics and spins events back to us so we feel we are constantly “gaslighted”. Combine that with a youth culture that believes itself to be “all that” based on nothing but Tweeting and Selfies. The Kardashians get more press than important issues. We hear ZERO about what’s going on in Europe and the rest of the world in mainstream media. The media was de-regulated in the 80’s so that it no longer has to be fair and balanced – they omit whatever doesn’t suit their particular agenda – the last of the language was removed in 2011, so there really isn’t any journalistic integrity at all – they just publish whatever is most inflammatory to get the most clicks. It has become popular to support anything that makes the supporters feel good about themselves without ever actually understanding what’s really going on. The gun lobbies are insane and can’t seem to hear reason – they keep screaming the same lame arguments because they believe whacked things. And we continue to raise our young with a level of spoiled immaturity unsurpassed anywhere else in the world.

    The “Make America GREAT again” slogan just seems inflated to me at this point – I’d settle for jobs, less crime, better general social responsibility and not drowning in the mess we’ve made. That’s what I see, anyway.

  3. Beth says:

    Helen, I forgot – also, the passage of Citizens United which allows large corporations to be treated like individuals with the rights of individuals. It permits huge sums of money flowing between big-business, the very wealthy, and the election process. We also have a strange electoral college voting system that can subvert popular vote and leave segments of votes in the hands of people who are not beholden to act in the interests of the voters in their states.

    • Hi Beth. Sorry it’s taken me so long to respond, particularly when I really appreciate your comprehensive comment – but then that’s also why it’s taken me so long! I wanted to think about it properly before I opened my mouth.
      First of all, I’ve tried to understand your voting system and can’t. Popular vote here determines who gets in and who doesn’t. Your electoral college is a mystery to me, but it does seem as though personal wealth plays a big part. Is this impression correct? If so, I’m not surprised that ‘normal’ Americans feel disenchanted, particularly when the gulf between rich and poor seems so astronomical. Wealthy Americans talk in figures that sound to me like monopoly money, but at the same time, you have the highest incarceration rate in the developed world, and from what I’ve seen in documentaries, the prison system is populated by people predestined to be there by poverty and lack of opportunity.
      What you say about the press also explains something else that’s struck me quite often – that Americans seem to know very little about the rest of the world. There are also relatively few American passport holders, and I know from my son (a scriptwriter) that network television only runs American shows. Which all seems pretty tragic for the most influential country in the world, for the rest of us as well as you.
      I’m interested in what you say about raising your young with ‘a level of spoiled immaturity’. But don’t start me on your gun laws. I’m liable to froth at the mouth.
      Thank you again. Wish I could sit down and discuss it properly.

      • Beth says:

        I admire your wanting to understand, Helen. I met a number of wonderful Australians on the Camino and admire that the Aussies are so funny, feisty and involved politically.

        The gun thing is just ridiculous, and I won’t get started because then we’ll BOTH be foaming at the mouth. I’m glad I didn’t say anything to offend you and understand completely wanting to digest a bit.

        Yes, the electoral college is there to prevent the unwashed masses from electing someone problematic – like Trump (only he got past anyway). We effectively only have 2 parties because those who run independently never amass enough votes to become very powerful for some reason (I’m voting third-party this time anyway in lieu of NOT voting because can’t bring myself to vote for either of the two main ones). Larger numbers of others are talking about voting third party this time because we have 2 such horrid candidates, but generally, a vote for an independent candidate is seen as a “wasted vote” because it could have been used to cast against the less desirable of the two main candidates. To make matter worse, the Democrats (who bizarrely seem to have devolved into a party mainly devoted to Black Lives Matter advocates, pro-immigrant/pro-open borders, and LGBT causes) have a system called the Superdelegate system – also meant to be a counterbalance to the will of the unwashed masses. Superdelegates are basically rich people who have been active in the political party and who can counter-balance (neutralize) regions of voters they don’t agree with. It seems DESIGNED to be almost unintelligible, in my opinion.

        Yes, we get mostly “drive-by” information about other countries and tend to be very unaware and uninvolved politically. I use the Brit news outlets for more detail.

        I’m hesitant to write about incarceration and immigration on here, but can write to you about it – I’m at crepes4suzette@gmail.com.
        I wish you all the best there!

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