Beware of 2060

So far in the relatively brief history of the United States of America as a political entity, we have averaged one form or another of civil war every 100 years. Yes, I do indeed mean "civil war".  If the full history of the Revolutionary War is recalled, it will be remembered that, even during the heat of the conflict, citizens of the colonies were quite divided on whether they wished to remain British subjects or become independent.  Then, 100 years later, we had our out-and-out American Civil War, which everybody knows often pitted family against family and even brother against brother.  Another century later, while perhaps not thought of in this way by many as it did not have the "glory" of famous generals and the tactics of large battles, the country again became violently divided on the issues of civil rights, free speech, and overall equality.

In each of those cases, the conditions that led to out-and-out hostilities took several decades to bear their bitter fruit.  Also in each of those cases, most never saw what was coming — the British would never fire upon its own citizens, the South would never really secede from the Union, and police would never beat peaceful demonstrators in broad daylight in front of news cameras.

I began thinking about this for two reasons.  One was the use of "energy = volatility" in my previous entry.  Despite the USA’s current downturn in economic power and popularity around the world, have no doubt that it is still a very energetic country.  Just look at what is happening now.  No matter which side one prefers, an impartial look shows that we have a President with a very energetic agenda and it has in turn inspired an extremely energetic opposition.

As anybody that has ever accidentally touched an exposed electrical connection knows, if not properly channeled, energy is indeed quite volatile.  I truly believe that we have now passed a major tipping point where our energy can no longer be properly controlled and is my main reason for believing that we are on the road toward "Civil War IV" around our usual 100-year benchmark if enough people in this country don’t start showing some maturity and using common sense.

The tipping point in me beginning to think about telling everybody to beware of 2060 was the recent decision by the Los Angeles City Council to boycott doing as much business as possible with the State of Arizona.  This decision was made to protest the recent law passed in Arizona that allows police to ask those they suspect of breaking other laws to provide proof of their American citizenship.  The government of Los Angeles claims that this law will lead to racial profiling and abuse of police powers.  Arizona claims that they have engaged enough safety measures to prevent profiling and abuse.

In all fairness to Arizona, I must tell my faithful readers that what brought this on is not simply a reaction against illegal immigration in and of itself.  Sadly, cities like Phoenix and Tucson have seen a dramatic rise in kidnappings and murders as minions of the Mexican drug lords vie for control and grab for more power (thus proving yet again why the USA should decriminalize recreational drugs but that’s another rant for another day).

I also have to admit that I personally would like to see the end of illegal immigration for the sake of this nation’s safety as well as for that of our immigrants.  If our immigration policies were truly fair and just, there is no reason in the post 9/11 world that we should not expect to be able to know exactly who is in our country and that they leave when their visa expires.  Having everybody documented would also go a long way toward assuring that they would all be treated and paid fairly and not abused in sweatshops or by other uncaring employers.

On the other hand, let’s not kid ourselves here.  Anybody that knows anything about Arizona immediately realizes what is going to happen once their police and sheriffs can start asking, "Papers, please," and it won’t be pretty.

This is all so stupid too because Arizona could have accomplished the same goal more cheaply, efficiently, and humanely.  Instead of putting this additional burden on already overworked law enforcement officials (not to mention totally ignoring the Constitution of the United States), they could have implemented their own version of the E-Verify program.  This would have put the burden on employers to make sure they were not hiring undocumented workers thus making the overall cost much cheaper.  Combined with extremely heavy fines for those found to be hiring illegal immigrants, the money gained (including saving the millions that the State of Arizona will now spend defending their new law) could have gone to put more officers on the street or buy more equipment to assist them in monitoring and stopping the activities of the Mexican drug lords.

But, no…instead, Arizona has decided to try and wave its shriveled, old white dick at the Constitution and is already paying for it well beyond what the City Council of Los Angeles has just voted upon as several corporations and other organizations have already canceled plans to have conventions and big meetings in the state.  Oh, and don’t forget to pile on that anybody with a good tan much less people that are truly brown are quickly changing their thoughts of going on vacation in Arizona to see the Grand Canyon or any of the state’s many other attractions (of which there are many…in fact, Williams, Arizona has been one of my favorite places to visit anywhere in the USA with its old-time feel, cool temperatures, and beautiful pine forests).  It’s funny (in a sad way) because most Americans of Mexican descent (or from other Central and South American countries) are also against illegal immigration.  However, they strongly oppose laws like Arizona’s because, just like the black population, they know all to well how police can sometimes act toward those that are "different".

Williams, Arizona

Railroad Avenue (eastbound Old US Route 66) in Williams, Arizona – photograph taken by KoHoSo early on the morning of Friday, May 18, 2007.

I hate saying that but we all know in our hearts that it is true.  Over the years, I have come to know that most law enforcement officials are actually fair-minded people who should be thanked daily for the danger and bullshit they go through to keep the public safe — things that we regular citizens could never imagine doing ourselves.  However, when a cop goes bad, his transgressions are magnified — not because of sensationalist media, but because of the lack of trust it causes.  It is also a job that results in a lot of "groupthink" and, if one goes bad who is also a leader, it tends to infect the rest and they all begin following suit.  In addition, have no doubt…there is still a lot of "racial profiling" going on with the wink-and-nod approval of mayors and city councils all over the country even in supposedly "liberal" California.

So…after all of that explanation, how does this lead the USA to its next version of civil war?  The answer is very simple and is contained in the flag of my beloved home state.

The Flag of the Commonwealth of Kentucky

"United we stand, divided we fall" is something ingrained in my head as I used to stare at this flag and contemplate those words as a little boy, sometimes doing so for hours on end.  As we all know, it is as true as true can be which is why versions of that statement appear in almost every religious text ever written.

In an originally unintentional quirk of the media, we are already in a time when we have been divided into being either "red" (Republican) or "blue" (Democratic) states.  Political pundits now constantly make their points by deriding certain states and cities as literally being pure evil — Democrats scoff at places like Texas and Kansas while Republicans hate on states such as California and Massachusetts.

However, that in and of itself is not the tipping point as such things have always been used in American politics to make political hay.  What I see as being what has now put us on an almost unstoppable slide toward significant outbreaks of violence (although probably not an actual civil war) once this festers long enough is that the precedent has been set in modern times for major cities and states to take official financial action against one another over political policy.  This is why, even though I strongly oppose the illegal immigration law just implemented in Arizona, I even more strongly oppose the action of the City Council of Los Angeles to boycott them.

This type of action has been taken in the past.  However, it was almost always aimed at a foreign government like Red China or during the apartheid days of South Africa.  If this was ever done within the United States, it was only by smaller and very far-left or far-right leaning cities so, frankly, nobody else gave a shit (Berkeley, California always comes to mind for this type of silly legislation).

Now we have the government of the second-largest city in the country boycotting an entire state.  If one thinks that this is going to be an isolated incident, think again.  Idaho will probably be the next state to pass a law similar to Arizona’s and more are in the pipeline elsewhere.  This will create more boycotts and anti-boycotts as the citizens of each city and state line up to protest the unfair treatment of [fill in the blank].

Sure…the US Supreme Court will eventually review this law but that will not end it either.  Whichever side loses will accuse the court of being filled with "activist" judges and stir up their supporters with even further furor to punish the city and state governments with which they do not agree.

Chief Justice John Roberts - He's only in it for teh lulz!

Chief Justice John Roberts – He’s only in it for teh lulz!

While I cannot predict exactly when and how it will all go down, I’d lay a pretty good bet on my general scenario in Las Vegas if I thought that I would still be around at 95 years old in 2060.  I think its a damn good wager because the boycotts will end up being about energy (there’s that volatility factor again!) and people will get pissed when their electricity and natural gas costs begin to skyrocket and rationing plus forced conservation inevitably follow.

Yes, this will indeed be about energy…or did you not know that a high-ranking official in charge of power plants in Arizona has already threatened to cut off the electricity that two of his facilities send to Los Angeles?

There are only two things over which I would hedge my bet.  The first one would be that, somehow, people finally become disenchanted with things like the Fox News Channel, MSNBC, talk radio, Democracy Now, the so-called Tea Party, and all of the rest of these charlatans that pass out lies as easily and happily as candy on Halloween.  The other one is that, somehow, we get involved in a big-time conventional war that forces the country to come together as it did in the 1940’s.

Frankly, neither of those things is likely to happen.  People are already used to getting "news" from places where they are only fed what version of it that they are going to like and there’s no way we get into a long conflict like World War II again because of that fun little invention we call the hydrogen bomb.

Despite my feeling that this is probably an unstoppable force that will eventually lead to a lot of violence at least to the level of the 1960’s if not worse, I will still be one of those people holding a candle for hope and change…although I don’t expect it from the man that currently likes to use those words so much because he is so far proving to be a failure at really going out to fight for what he says he believes in.  Like any good mentor, I and others will still keep repeating those wise old sayings and other phrases like "moderation is the key," "ain’t no time to hate," and all the rest in the hope that enough people will carry and pass them on in order to prevent disaster and, maybe, finally get this country to rise to a new level instead of sink back to an old one.

Remember, "The Man" is not always the American government or a big corporation.  "The Man" is also that ugly person who supports people that say things like, "I think all liberals should be taken out and shot," or, "I wish that all conservatives would just die."  "The Man" is also the person that calls others who want better regulation of Wall Street socialists and communists or all those that want to protect our borders fascists and bigots.  "The Man" also only gets his opinions from Glenn Beck or Keith Olbermann and never once thinks that either of them might be saying what they’re saying just to push emotional buttons, keep their ratings up, and thus retain their lucrative contracts.  Worst of all, "The Man" talks for two years about how all politicians are corrupt but then goes into the voting booth and casts a ballot for the same type of people every single fucking time so we all spend the next two years on the same arguments and continue to never get anything accomplished.

Don’t be "The Man".  Stick it to "The Man" by thinking for yourself, basing your political beliefs on facts instead of bluster, allowing others to decide things for themselves, and — most of all — by not succumbing to hate.  The man feeds on hate.  Starve him.  Starve that motherfucker to death or he will eat America alive.  We are all Americans, red, blue, purple, or pink, and we should be glad for it.  Don’t let the man divide us to the point that we begin hating other states and cities over something besides sports.  If we don’t prevent that from happening, it won’t be all that long in the grand scheme of things before the shooting between Los Angeles and Phoenix is being done with something besides a basketball.

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