Leadership or Lack Thereof…
Charles R. Dickens
China vs. America – A not-so social media post quoting Bill Maher made me consider our leadership style in America. I include a transcript of Mr. Maher’s program below – without permission – for context and clarity.
I find Mr. Bill Maher snarky and smarmy, but he makes perfect sense from time to time.
I believe the following transcript is one of his best monologues.
Why are Americans sleeping? We aren’t sleeping; we are spending our time enabling little boys to become little girls!!! We have the Sec of Defense, responding to an order from the ‘commander in chief,’ designing stylish new uniforms for pregnant ‘soldiers’ and developing racial and gender equity programs.
Losing to China
New rule, you’re not gonna win the battle for the 21st century if you are a silly people and Americans are a silly people. That’s the classic phrase from Lawrence of Arabia when Lawrence tells his Bedouin allies that as long as they stay a bunch of squabbling tribes, they will remain a silly people. Well, we’re the silly people now.
You know who doesn’t care that there’s a stereotype of a Chinese man in a Dr. Seuss book? China. All 1.4 billion of them could give a Crouching Tiger flying fuck … because they’re not a silly people. If anything, they are as serious as a prison fight. Look, we all know China does bad stuff. They break promises about Hong Kong’s autonomy, they put Uyghurs in camps and punish dissent, and we don’t want to be that, but there’s got to be something between an authoritarian government that tells everyone what to do, and a representative government that can’t do anything at all.
In two generations, China has built 500 entire cities from scratch, moved the majority of their huge population from poverty to the middle class, and mostly cornered the market in 5G and pharmaceuticals. Oh, and they bought Africa. Their New Silk Road initiative is the biggest infrastructure project in history, indebting not just that continent but large parts of Asia, Europe, and the Middle East to the people who built their roads, bridges, and ports. If you want to go anywhere in the world these days, you better have a yen for travel. Yeah.
In China alone, they have 40,000 kilometers of high-speed rail. America has none. Our fastest train is the train that goes around the zoo. California wanted to build a high-speed rail connecting the entire state, but alas, could not; we’re 6 billion in the hole just trying to finish the track connecting the vital hubs of Bakersfield and Merced. One small step for nobody, one giant leap if you’re a raisin. On a national level, we’ve been having infrastructure week every week since 2009. But we never do anything. Half the country’s having a never-ending woke competition deciding whether Mr. Potato Head has a dick, and the other half believes we have to stop the lizard people because they’re eating babies. We are a silly people. Even when we all agree on something, like getting rid of the penny, no the inertia, the ass-covering, the graph, the lawyers, the cowardice, nothing ever moves in this impacted colon of a country. We see a problem, and we ignore it, lie about it, fight about it, endlessly litigate it, sunset clause it, kick it down the road and then write a bill where a half-assed solution doesn’t kick in for 10 years.
China sees a problem, and they fix it. They build a dam. We debate what to rename it. That’s why their airports look like this. And ours look like this. In San Francisco, it took 10 years just to get to bus lines through environmental review. The ‘big dig,’ a tunnel in Boston, took 16 years and don’t get me started on my solar hookup.
China once put up a 57-story skyscraper in 19 days. They demolished and rebuilt the Sanyuan Bridge in Beijing in 43 hours. We binge-watch; they binge-build. When COVID hit Wuhan, the city built a quarantine center with 4000 rooms in 10 days, and they barely had to use it because they quickly arrested the spread of the disease. They were back to throwing raves in swimming pools. While we were stuck at home surfing the dark web for black market Charmin.
We’re not losing to China. We lost. The returns just haven’t all come in yet. They made robots that check a kid’s temperature and got their asses back in school. Most of our kids are still pretending to take zoom classes while they watch Tik Tok and their brain cells slowly commit ritual suicide. As George Bush once said, ‘is our children learning.’
There is a progressive trend now to sacrifice merit for equity; colleges are chucking the SAT and ACT test, and in New York, Mayor de Blasio announced merit would no longer decide who gets into the schools for advanced learners, but rather a lottery system. You think China’s doing that? Letting political correctness get in the way of nurturing their best and brightest? You think Chinese colleges are offering courses in the philosophy of Star Trek, the sociology of Seinfeld, and Surviving the Coming Zombie Apocalypse?
Those are real, and so is China, and they are eating our lunch. And believe me, in an hour, though, they’ll be hungry again.
China has leadership, albeit Communist – we have Bungles the Clown and Cackles, the legacy of The Democrat-Socialist party. Ah yes, but America has the best government money can buy.
We are frozen in place by special interest groups funded by gazillionaires who think wealth imbues them with unique social insight and omniscience.
The minorities have taken control of the country as we fight about who to blame for creating the lizards eating the babies and the genitalia of Mr. Potato Head. We watched from the sidelines, never voicing our concerns because we didn’t want to offend anyone.
What the fuck is wrong with us?
Well, here it is… My not so Humble Opinion!
* We let the media dictate our elections. We took their word, all lies, mistaking popularity for ability.
* Popularity became the sole decision point for the presidency. Our current situation indicates; we chose poorly.
* We forgot that the ONLY reason the media exists is to SELL us stuff. They sell us what we want by telling us what we want to hear, and of course, that is their corporate agenda.
They are expert marketers.
* We have the Military-Industrial Congressional Complex running the country under the watchful eye and the direction of the same Gazillionaires – Oligarchs.
* We equate education with wisdom and knowledge with ability.
* Knowledge is not intelligence – Intelligence is the ability to change and know the difference.
* We believe that someone with more degrees than a thermometer can run an economy but can’t balance a checkbook.
* The collection of FIVE HUNDRED FORTY-FIVE millionaires that run this country is not interested in our lives, only in getting richer by keeping those cushy high-paid non-productive positions. It’s not a big salary, but the fringe benefits, payola, and access to unique sources of income are astonishing.
* We’ve allowed politics to supplant our constitution.
* We allowed the Executive branch of our government to weaponize the Judicial with the assistance of the Legislative.
* We rattle the sword of retribution but never draw it from the scabbard. We talk the talk – but never walk the walk.
* We’re easily distracted – wholly fixated on the wrong things. It doesn’t help that the media are the distractors and co-conspirators in this charade. They obfuscate while Congress negates any Progress.
If pro is positive and con is negative, Congress is the opposite of Progress. (paraphrased from a quote by Will Rogers). We see this play out every day.
We were once all Americans. Now we’re tribes of hyphenated, ethnic nationalists no longer willing to join a common culture and beneficial societal group to become a country. We instead insist on individuality, ethnic origins, and nationality groups.
We’ve enjoyed the strength and power that comes from unity, but now we demand our individualism. We refuse to relinquish our racial nationalism to the greater good, no understanding we never lose it. We want it all.
We’re more concerned about our rights and images and who to blame for our problems rather than solving them as a community. We demand that every minority receives equality with the majority in every detail. Rather than elevating the whole, we reduce everyone to the lowest common denominator.
It’s a lose-lose proposition.
Rather than an educated and illuminated populace, we’ve created the great illiterati. Functionally illiterate children are awarded diplomas and certificates of accomplishment and sent into a high-tech workforce ill-equipped to survive. But… everyone gets a trophy!
America is religiously, racially, and politically divided, and China is unified – as a totalitarian country. Our constitution was America’s bedrock, but politics chipped away at it for over two hundred fifty years. Now all that remains is rubble. A house divided can not stand, nor can a place whose foundation is on the sand or debris.
Stalin about America –
“America is like a healthy body and its resistance is threefold: its patriotism, its morality, and its spiritual life. If we can undermine these three areas, America will collapse from within.”
So let it be written, so let it be done!
Charles R. Dickens was born in 1951, is a veteran of the Vietnam, for which he volunteered, and the great-great grandson of the noted author, whose name he shares.
He is a fiercely proud American, who still believes this is the greatest country on the planet, with which we’ve lost control and certainly our direction. He grew up in moderate financial surrounding; were not rich by any stretch, but didn’t go hungry – his incredibly hard working father saw to that. As most from that era, he learned about life from his father, whose story would take too long to tell, other than to say that, he is also a fiercely proud American; a WWII and Korean war, veteran Marine.
Charlie was educated in the parochial system which, demanded that you actually learn something, and have capability to retain it before you advance. He attended several universities in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree, and chased the goose further to a master’s, and has retained some very definite ideas about education in this country.
In addition, Charlie is a professional (struggling) blues guitar and vocalist – a musician. This is his therapy career. Nothing brings him as much joy as playing music, and he wishes that he could make a living at it… maybe some day!
That’s Charlie… a proud, opinionated, and passionate American.