America in Decline


And I thought Mormons had principles.  Silly me.

Well 2016 is rapidly coming to a close.

This year I turned 74 and I guess next year, following my own rule to celebrate only birthdays ending in zero or five after turning 60, I will have to celebrate my birthday.  Assuming of course I make it to 75.  One never knows about these things.

This year saw the passing of my sister-in-law, my late wife’s older sister.  She was 75.

I had known her since 1963 when I first started dating her baby sister.  In all the years we have known each other I cannot recall an unkind word ever passing between us.  I will miss her.

Her husband and her brother live close by; all three of us are widowers in our 70s and 80s.  I suggested we call ourselves the Three Caballeros.

This year my first grandchild was born.  I didn’t expect it.  My daughters are 39 and 37 and like all Americans today outside of the ten percenters they have to work along with their husbands to make ends meet.

Clark Cassius came into the world on the night Donald Trump won the Presidency of the United States of America.

I drank a lot that night, mostly in celebration with a touch of sorrow.  I worry about his future and the future of a country that would elect such an odious man.  Yes I know.  “Toritto, you’re getting hysterical again!”

Our country has continued its march to the right since the election of the last President from show biz – St. Ronnie.

The lunatics have won the Presidency and now control the government.  You can now expect a massive paradigm shift in the American political culture, driving an already right-wing country further to the right, even into a unique form of American fascism.

It’s not an exaggeration to say that Barack Obama and the Democratic Party are today’s political heirs of Ronald Reagan and they’re seen as the left in today’s politics. That’s the result of a shift that began 40 years ago.

Pretty sad when Obama and Hillary Clinton are the “left!”.  Could we find two more corporate Democrats?

Since the time of the Gipper the right has marched on moving ever further to the extreme – to a point where a “serious” Presidential candidate questioned the birth place, and thus whether or not a sitting President, is an “American”.

The night Clark was born I felt like a left wing German becoming a father the night Adolph Hitler took power.  He was worried because he knew not what the future would bring.  That German felt only dread.

In the 5 weeks or so that have passed since the birth of Clark Cassius and the election of Trump a certain calm has come over this old man.  My future now is only living day to day; besides I can’t do anything about it but vote.  And I’m too old for “demonstrations” – at least what they call “demonstrations” these days.    But since I haven’t seen any demonstrations I’m not worried about skipping them.

I’ve often thought in the past that things have to get really bad before there is any meaningful change.   After all, Martin Luther King didn’t bring about change with sanctimonious mealy-mouthing by himself.  Change came with the likes of Malcolm, the Panthers and the burning down of a few city centers.  That’s what got the attention.

And I do strongly suspect things will get worse though I am beginning to wonder if things will ever get better again.

We are already seeing a dust-up between the CIA and the President over whether or not Vlad interfered in the elections to Trump’s benefit.  We know the FBI did.  The President elect blew off the CIA as well as their daily security updates. “Not necessary” says the President elect.  “I’m smart” and besides they say the same thing everyday.  It’s not necessarily a smart thing to do – to blow off the CIA.

China is in a pique over the Taiwan phone call.   The President elect went on to say that he is not automatically  bound by the “one-China” policy.  At least not until they call in our debt to them.

As for his Cabinet picks he has done what I feared – staff it with corporate executives, unqualified lackeys, military right wingers and alt.right nut jobs.  Oh well.  His National Security Advisor is Mike Flynn who repeated his son’s tweets concerning the child sex ring Hillary Clinton and John Podesta were running out the basement of a pizzeria in Washington.  Nice.  I guess repeating the tweet doesn’t disqualify Flynn from a national security position.  For those of you wondering what I’m talking about, search Pizzagate.

Meanwhile, in the halls of the Republican led Congress there is joy at the possibility of dismantling Obamacare and attacking Social Security and Medicare.  Since I’ll be dead and buried before any cuts of either affect me I’m kind of laughing at those poor schmucks who loudly proclaimed their Trump loyalty; wait until they get to retirement age.

Read about it here :

Everything good about America has been reduced to a “hustle” in my lifetime.

I no longer believe that any unexpected force of social justice or political improvement will rescue the United States. A slow and steady decline is more likely, particularly because America is a “hustling culture.” Although it had and has many alternative traditions and countercultural movements, nothing can gain sufficient momentum to challenge what rests at the failing heart of American life: the pursuit of material wealth, career advancement and elevation of social status.

One need only look into the vacuous eyes of Mitt Romney, crawling around on all fours kissing the ring of the new Pope recently at dinner.  During the presidential primary, Romney gave an impressive address to Republicans warning against the dangers of a Trump nomination. “His imagination must never be wedded to real power,” the former governor stated with conviction in the same speech in which he called the current president-elect a “phony” and “fraud.”   In subsequent interviews, he predicted that a Trump presidency would initiate “trickle down racism” and “trickle down misogyny” throughout American politics and culture.

Now he humiliated himself.  His excuse? , “Trump did something I tried to do and was unsuccessful in. He won the general election.”  Like Vince Lombardi said “Winning isn’t everything.  It’s the only thing.”

Remember Jimmie Carter’s “Crisis of Confidence” speech?  It was the final stand of the alternative tradition. From the Oval Office in 1979, Carter attempted to rescue a nation adrift, explaining that “Human identity is no longer defined by what one does, but by what one owns… Piling up material goods cannot fill the emptiness of lives which have no confidence or purpose.”

The speech received widespread ridicule.  What Carter was attempting was nothing less than a reversal of nearly four hundred years of American history.  Now history has marched forward to the election of America’s ultimate hustler.

In 1831, the nation’s amoral center was clear to Alexis de Tocqueville, who wrote, “As one digs deeper into the national character of the Americans, one sees that they have sought the value of everything in this world only in the answer to this single question: how much money will it bring in?”

“The oppressed are allowed once every few years to decide which particular representatives of the oppressing class are to represent and repress them in parliament.”

or in other words “If democracy, in essence, means the abolition of class domination, then why should not a socialist minister charm the whole bourgeois world by orations on class collaboration?”

Both courtesy of V. I. Lenin.  He knew the 1% wanted it all.  Still do.




About toritto

I was born during year four of the reign of Emperor Tiberius Claudius on the outskirts of the empire in Brooklyn. I married my high school sweetheart, the girl I took to the prom and we were together for forty years until her passing in 2004. We had four kids together and buried two together. I had a successful career in Corporate America (never got rich but made a living) and traveled the world. I am currently retired in the Tampa Bay metro area and live alone. One of my daughters is close by and one within a morning’s drive. They call their pops everyday. I try to write poetry (not very well), and about family. Occasionally I will try a historical piece relating to politics. :-)
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9 Responses to America in Decline

  1. beetleypete says:

    Is it any wonder that I have been a Communist for most of my life, Frank?
    Things change with children and grandchildren, but I don’t really have any, so I haven’t changed. I feel your pain, my blogging friend, and partner. There is no easy solution, unfortunately. We have to go with what we have got. Shitty, isn’t it? It always has been.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Ms. V says:

    The original Declaration of Independence read….life,liberty and the pursuit of money… Somebody got the founding fathers to change money to the more nebulous “happiness” but they knew what they meant. I’m worried and disgusted by turns. There’s no way to predict what we’ll find when the dust settles and I don’t handle uncertainty very well.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Lara/Trace says:

    I wish I could tell you how I feel. I’m still in a state of fear – similar as the Nazi’s start killing people, rounding them up. I don’t know where we are or where we are headed but it’s fear, deep deep fear. I am glad you wrote this.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Lara/Trace says:

    I have a question for you. Could concentration camps be created again? Is that possible with Trump? I am feeling like its very very possible. Not Jews this time.

    On one of the maps, I look at all the concentration camps in Germany – more than I ever imagined.

    How could the German people not know? Complicit? Turn their heads away?

    Americans now, we are in disbelief this could happen again.

    Genocide happens everywhere.I wanted you to look at these maps.

    Liked by 2 people

    • beetleypete says:

      The Germans knew. The camp inmates worked in factories. They were marched through the streets to their labours. Children mocked them, some threw things at them. Never believe the ridiculous notion that the German (and the Polish, Czech, Lithuanian, and others) people were ‘surprised’ by the camps. They had been around for many years before the war; housing political prisoners, communists, homosexuals, and religious dissidents. (The Allies knew too, but chose to ignore it.)
      Regards, Pete.

      Liked by 2 people

    • toritto says:

      Lara – I agree with Pete’s comment above. Of course the German people knew. As did the Poles, Lithuanians, Czechs etc. Some resisted. Some actively participated and collaborated. Most simply kept quiet.

      As for camps in this country I wouldn’t worry too much just yet barring another 9/11 style attack. In that event all bets are off, especially for Muslims in this country. Certainly a registry would probably be forthcoming as well as possibly a camp for “terrorists” a la Guantanamo. There would be plenty of Trumpists ready to man the watch towers.

      The issues you raise and which bother me would take a few blog posts – for example the President elect tweeting an attack on a union leader in Indiana by name, causing him and his family to receive death threats from Trump crazies. Blowing off the CIA. Stacking his cabinet with military and uber-capitalist corporatists and Wall Street bankers. None of these folks have the common man at heart and all are authoritarians in their nature.

      I’m old. I’m going to sit and watch. We live in interesting times.


  5. Invictus says:


    It looks like you have read your Morris Berman.


  6. I feel you, man, I feel you.



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