A few years ago I wrote an article entitled “The Woes of Leviathan, South of the Border” (see blog) in which I outlined a number of crises being faced by our cousins in the U.S.A. As I re-read the various distress categories outlined at that time it is apparent that some things have changed, but not much. Here’s a quick look.
– Obesity – Better labelling for those who care to read packaged ingredients. Michelle Obama’s garden continues to grow and yes, people are getting fatter.
– Drugs – While “prop 19” died on the vine in California the vine was re-born in Colorado and Wyoming. Legal weed has produced some sizable (and legal) profits to say nothing of the tax windfall – and the vine continues to spread.
– Illegal Immigration – Maybe slowing from Mexico but, a veritable onslaught from Latin America. Dangerous treks provided by unscrupulous smugglers from countries that are socially and politically imploding.
– Unemployment – Better but, the quality of jobs and pay still lacks behind what they once were. A jungle of statistics under wide interpretation – but better!
– Bullying – Cyber attacks and tragic consequences seem to have fallen off the front pages recently. Maybe the younger generation has learned what not to put online? As to gay bashing I think that adherence to the law, state-by-state, is slowly allowing the issue to fade away like a bad dream.
– Education – Not much change in international grading standards and the ethnic divisions therein still in crises mode.
– Politics and Debt – Surprise- Zero Change!!
– So, consider what’s trending today-
1) The “Ferguson” Issue – (Another Corner Turned!)
Two months ago Barack Obama stood on one side of the Edmund Pettus bridge in Selma, Alabama and delivered what many believe was the signature speech of his presidency. Within the very broad scripture of that address he stated with reference to the Department of Justice’s ‘Ferguson’ report, “But, I rejected the notion that nothing’s changed. What happened in Ferguson may not be unique, but it’s no longer endemic”. And then there was Charlestown, and then there was Baltimore.
Ferguson in August of 2014 may have been the tipping point of injustice within the racial imbalance in the U.S.A. The recognition and tolerance of a social system that has not evolved from its sad history is spawning a public discord not seen since the burning of Detroit. Will Ferguson be the cornerstone of long-awaited change or will the protestors continue to march with hands-up from city-to-city-to-city?
2) The Cost of Terror – (Back to the Front)
While the attendant costs (both real and preventative) have always been high we are seeing the U.S.’s withdrawal from two very lengthy Middle East wars morph into a psychological permanence of high alert. And the definition of “terror” has become much more inclusive in that its reach extends beyond ISIS’ beheadings of Americans as that organization marches through Iraqi territory – territory for which the U.S. paid dearly. The high alert finger also points to cyber terror as practiced by the Chinese, etal on American industry and coming up fast will be a star wars battle for near space supremacy in spy technology. High alert dollars for the prevention of Boston bombings and the Texas jihadists? All in – it staggers the imagination along with the economy.
3) The Song of Putin – ( “Back in the U.S.S.R.”?)
While no attempt is made here to equate the little body-builder’s Crimea grab to Charlemagne’s excursion into Moorish Spain (Song of Roland) there are some odds and sods in the comparison.
The Christians at the time were seriously interested in re-establishing their moral and religious territory and weren’t asking anyone’s permission for sending troops across the border. At the end of the day Mr. Putin’s intentions were basically the same except he arranged the invasion of Crimea to appear as an open revolt by the locals who needed the support of their Russian brothers. And, while the spread of the “revolt” continues, the American Super Cop has yet to issue a serious citation for a serious transgression.
Will Putin’s song be heard in Poland, Latvia, etc. as he slowly re-builds the wall or will the U.S.A. polish up its tarnished international image and kick the little bugger back to Moscow?
4) Morality Creep – (Serial Darwinism For All)
“Duty, Honour, Country” – those words etched into Douglas MacArthur’s farewell speech at WestPoint carry a moral message which, like the sand, sifts into the changing fabric of the American ethos.
It seems ever more frequently we see and witness a new or revised morality step onto the American stage with a vigor that screams for attention. Whether it is gay marriage, Muslim fear mongering or racism there is always a counter-balancing moral view of intolerance under the guise of questioning whether or not God has lifted the ban on Christian unthinkables.
The moralizing of right and wrong is increasingly more divisive in the populace and its overreach will surely show its various forms as the upcoming election evolves. The survival of one’s moral view will indeed be on every Bible thumping table.
5) Forgiving Brian Williams – (The brutality of the “oops” factor)
A few weeks ago NBC suspended its chief news anchor Brian Williams for publically fibbing about his “combat” experience during the Iraq war. The real question is not whether or not he’s on paid leave (he is) but, rather will he be forgiven. The answer to that is not as simple as referring to the applicable morality clause involved; it sometimes (and often) depends on the likability factor of the one who has sinned. Consider the following forgiveness scale:
Yes They Did
- Bill Clinton – Stain of the Century
- Chris Brown – Beater but, better musician
- Michael Vick – Dog owner with a good arm
- Martha Stewart – Stocks and bonds versus Cookies and Christmas
No They Didn’t
- Anthony Weiner – Selfies vs. posing for elections
- John Edwards – A nominee but, nominal husband
- Eliot Spitzer – A crusader who went cruising
- Paula Deen – Buttercups and the ’N’ word
Regardless, the American media will pounce on any newsworthy offender and unless the ‘accused’ falls on their sword immediately their life will be hell on earth. So, is Brian Williams too big to fall? He is likeable but, military faux pas in that country means a hard road back as in the cases of Edward Snowden or David Petraeus.
All in all these five issues could simply be considered as add-ons to those outlined in the original “Woes of Leviathan”. But, actually some of more serious issues reflect America’s image on the international stage. These are dangerous times in which many of the players present a growing threat to the well-being and stability of nation states. America has always been resilient in its power of recovery and we are going to need that resilience as we approach an uncertain future.
Written By: Brian L. Curry, CEO, Curry-Henry Group (Copyright 2015)
“It’s a simple business but, it’s not easy”.