We live in a country that is armed to the teeth. We have the largest military in the world spending just under 40% of total world military expenditure. We have, on a per capita basis, 112.6 guns per 100 persons. The European average is about 30 per 100. We have about 5% of the world’s population and 25% of the world’s prisoners. American police kill citizens on a scale that is unprecedented we. We kill more in a month than many countries kill in years and each year is worse than the next check out this article for some clear graphics. The target for prison, for killings that are resembling lynchings is always black men. White Americans have suddenly rediscovered the “high” of racism where by our very existence we regard ourselves as “superior” to the dark-skinned races despite the growing rate of suicide, depression, drug use, and sickness that is becoming a plague on white America. Americans “won” the country through violence and genocide as well as creativity so an appreciation of violence, punishment and so on seem to be central to our sense of identity.

We go around the world starting wars often for little reason other than profit and elbowing rivals out in intrigues in the Imperial Court in Washington since the Presidency itself has degenerated magnificently over the past few decades. But the main idea in our society is that if you are in pain, if you are lost and having trouble in life that you ought to be punished just for taking up space–this is a radical departure from the sort of values that have cone down to us in the Western Humanist and Christian traditions as they exist in theory at least. We have come just the sort of country our Founders did not want. We are focused on Empire, acquiring power, status and wealth all the while, even if we fail at our goal, tickling whatever fancy itches. We are taught to please ourselves and to fulfill ourselves not help our brothers and sisters–we have no problem leaving them in the dust and becoming “winners.” Is it any surprise that we live in a society filled with mental illness and chronic pain–where the non-rich are consistently losing ground to the wealthy in income and power. Anyone who has any doubts can look here at a Princeton study proving that only the needs and interests of the oligarchs are considered when making laws.

So isn’t it inevitable that tensions would be heightened at this time. We’ve just experience the death of the old Republican Party and the birth of something as yet inchoate with Donald Trump but so far there’s a strong aspect of cultural and racial conflict in his candidacy. At the same time we just saw a prominent politician needing what appears to be electoral fraud to beat an aging and largely unknown socialist despite the  sponsorship of her candidacy by the Democratic Party and the mainstream media. We are deeply divided not along two lines but along I would say by a little over a  half dozen different groups. Is this how we want to live? Are we gonna continue to fund our mass killing of people around the world and in our own country? Are we going to just say “the Hell with it” and just start shooting people we don’t like? Is our propensity to get our uniformed services out there killing others going to result in we killing each other. Are we going to face the fact we are returning, clearly, to Jim Crow by other means so we can pretend we aren’t racists? Are we going to ever face anything at all that is real? Or are we going to keep floating on the fantasy machines and drugs that keep us stupid and entranced?

SOURCE: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, SIPRI Military Expenditure Database, April 2016. Data are for 2015. Compiled by PGPF. NOTE: Figures are in U.S. dollars, converted from local currencies using market exchange rates.

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