So involved and aware are they that it can become difficult to see America for what it is, and what it has recently become.
Yet outwith the sphere of liberal thought there exists a wider population, and they can be said to represent "middle-America", the status quo, that large populace that provides stability and continuity. While the political polar opposites stress and fight over radical notions of either persuasion, the inertia in the general adult population should serve to buffer the extremes.
Is it working?
I worry about the citizens of my adopted home. Worry about them, and worry for them. Whether or not it is my place to be so concerned I cannot say, but I try to be thoughtful, I try to analyze that which I see and hear around me, and as a sentient being it is hard not to form a view. I read the Constitution and I guess I have a right not simply to form a view, but to express one too.
When seeking to draw out themes it is very difficult not to paint with too broad a brush. It is not my intent to ascribe the following to any individual, or group of individuals. I do not say you, the reader, are like this. That is a judgement for you to make, and having done so decide for yourself whether or not these attitudes are ones you consider appropriate, and can live with. If the conclusion is that it is this author who is the outlier, then so be it, clearly we will disagree.
My view of America used to be that it was a conglomerate of around 300 million people who had somehow managed to create a society, and a contiguous nation out of many different populations. That the people here lived free, and valued the freedoms they had created for themselves. Indeed, Americans regularly boast about their "freedoms", and demonstrate their vocal support at every opportunity.
I've been here ten years now, and I can tell you that the reality is a million miles from the poster. As a society you have fewer freedoms than many of you think you have, fewer actually than most Europeans have, and what makes it worse is that this country is giving up the few freedoms that did exist just a short while ago.
It really is no good whatsoever to talk about freedom, and about the Bill of Rights, without examining what happens when you delve even a short way below the headlines.
Freedom of speech is completely valueless if you cannot make yourself heard. Waste of time. The power-brokers will happily let you pontificate to your heart's content provided your words are ineffective. Take two small examples .... Intimidation of citizens outside Health Clinics is not only tolerated but actively supported by the highest court in the land. Occupy Wall Street on the other hand, ruthlessly suppressed in a manner that would have warmed the heart of Joseph Stalin. In the unlikely event that you do manage to gain a small audience for your expression of your first amendment rights, then that's okay, the establishment has determined that unlimited finance can be brought to bear to ensure that your pitiful cries are simply pissing in the face of the gale-force wind coming the other way.
Your opponents bought the newspapers, the tv stations, the cable companies, and, in case all of that was not enough, they bought the politicians too. Good luck!
The "Castle Doctrine", loosely based on the old English notion that "An Englishman's home is his castle" sponsored the fourth amendment. That you will be secure in your possessions except upon reasonable suspicion of probable cause. What happened to that? They made a new border zone that extends 100 miles from any potential point of entry to the United States. They haven't put rings around airports yet, but already the so-called "Constitution Free Zone covers approximately 200 million people, most of whom seem to be blissfully unaware that they live near the border, yet whose protections have been severely curtailed.
We have an CIA and NSA that is out of control. Rogue agencies that despite being caught not only spying on Americans, but lying to Congress about it too ... indeed spying on Congress to the extent of threatening Congressmen with jail, and Brennan STILL has the full support of a Democratic President. Seriously? We can't expect Republicans to protect and preserve our civil rights, but when did it become acceptable, even fashionable to permit Democrats to behave this way?
Equal protections .... When you are fourteen times more likely to be jailed in Oklahoma if you are black, when the rolling back of voting rights disproportionately hurts people of color, and poor people, when that is happening in the very states the Voting Rights Act was passed to protect, and when the Supreme Court guts that Act, then where is the equality?
These are basic freedoms. Absolute cornerstones of the Constitution, the building blocks upon which Americans built their free country, and enshrined those freedoms they constantly tell the rest of the world are best available in this exceptional nation.
To look for a moment at the practical effect this all has on the lives of people. It's all well and good to talk of freedom, but that is a feature that surely brings to the American people some remarkable benefits, right?
Let me ask you .... How much annual leave are you legally entitled to? How many paid sick days do you get? Maternity leave? Paternity Leave? Workplace creches?
How much protection do you have from unfair dismissal? Any dismissal? Will your unemployment benefits be paid for as long as you need a helping hand? How about healthcare. There have been changes, have they meant that you can now access all the healthcare you need regardless of cost? Can your kids fully enjoy Public Schools with no out-of pocket expenses?
These are freedoms that matter. Not the right to express yourself on a Blog, or carry your AR15 into Target, or patrol the border to threaten children. They are not freedom, living decently, working hard for a fair reward and retiring with grace and dignity ... that is freedom!
I have never encountered a population so beholden to petty officialdom. If it is a rule then it must be obeyed, and the person that calls the rule, or the law, an ass are so upsetting to the general populace that they must be condemned as criminal. It doesn't matter that they law is iniquitous, it's not relevant that someone being put to death dies in agony ... they got what was coming, they deserved it. The very citizens who value the constitution and the freedoms, and due process it is supposed to convey, simply do not understand either what it says, or what it means.
It is NOT okay that the prisoner dies in extreme agony, because the constitution says so. You cannot pick and choose which amendments you think appropriate any more than you can be selective about the Bible that you believe to be the literal word of God. It doesn't work that way, and the fact that so many allow it to is the basic reason why social justice is a very long way off.
I have come to believe that a large block of society actually needs the comfort blanket of an authoritarian state. They will accept any excuse for the rolling back of civil rights if someone, anyone who appears knowledgeable deems it necessary to protect their freedoms. The irony, that we must sacrifice our freedom that we may live free, is completely lost on them.
There were two generations that were very different. Those who fought the second world war, and those who came immediately after. They built this country into what it was, a place where men were free, where hard work was rewarded and where the American Dream was a reality. They created the middle-class that is now under threat, and the ones who are still alive must be bewildered at how we are squandering their legacy.