Back in the 60′s and 70′s, I dropped out of the system, and I took my family with me. In 1976 I took my wife and two children to live in a commune, where my other two children were born. Dropping out and moving to an apocalyptic “spiritual community” was the biggest mistake I ever made. It is only now, in my dotage, that I have come to realize it. It took the shock of 9/11 to open my eyes to the truth that this system, the United States of America, is the best there has ever been. The alternatives pale before it. Of course it is flawed, being an organization of human beings. But so flawed that the only recourse is to drop out of it entirely and work towards its demise? Not even close. As a result of my adolescent foolishness, my children were handicapped. Unnecessary obstacles were placed in their paths. My long-suffering wife, now divorced, was coerced into following me into this dead-end. I lost a promising career. We never owned a house. My sons were not able, later, to thrive in the straight educational system, not to mention the soybean diet they were forced to grow up on.
My comrades and I, back in the day, were oh so proud of our revolutionary courage and perception. Many of them still indulge in these absurd arrogant delusions. And many others, while acknowledging that mistakes were made, are still proud of their youthful idealism. Idealism is OK, in very, very small doses, but the kind of idealism that takes you completely out of the game, is dangerous, and is easily manipulated by smarter, more experienced people, for their own ends.
I’m not complaining. I am happily remarried, and working hard on the cutting edge of the information age. We just bought a house. Life is good. I always put an American flag out front of our house in Tennessee on Memorial Day and Independence Day. I am grateful and proud to be an American. I accept the struggle to make my way in a corrupt and unfair system that is less corrupt and unfair than any other human system that exists, now or ever. It is a system that is indifferent to my youthful indiscretions. Whattaya got? That’s the only question I have to answer.
I’m as opinionated as ever of course. Obviously. Just read some of the Greatest Hits on the sidebar. But my opinions now all take place within the framework of the American revolution, the over-arching political and, dare I say it, spiritual revolution of the millenium. As Stephen Daedalus says in Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, “History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awaken.” And America is a child of history. We have much to answer for: the native American holocaust, slavery, segregation, Japanese internment camps, CIA support of fascist regimes, etc., etc. As a life-long charter member of the blame America first club, I am well aware of the youthful mistakes of my country. But all of this is trumped by the incredible vision, practicality, and ongoing realization, at great sacrifice, of the constitution of the United States of America. Love it or leave it. You are not going to find a better deal anywhere.