Now I don't want to get off on a rant here, but America has turned into one gigantic dysfunctional family that's so far gone it makes the Menendezes look like the Von Trapps.
Look at our education system. Our kids have to pass through metal detectors simply to get an F- in woodshop.
And you know something, that four hundred to one student/teacher ratio is producing a generation of miscreant zombies who look at a mall map and think to themselves, "How in the f*** did the map people know 'we are here'?"
We're in danger of turning into a Beavis and Butthead theme park, a "Space-Between-your-Ears Mountain." Within the decade, the odds are pretty good that we'll all be working for a thirteen-year-old Asian kid who's from a country that still gives a s*** about education.
And what's the current status of our cherished, personal freedoms? Well, folks, we're the freest people on earth.
We have so much freedom nowadays that the President of the United States has to barricade the street in front of his f***in' house just so he can scarf down a Moon Pie at midnight and not have to dive behind the Mamie Eisenhower ottoman. Great, we've turned Pennsylvania Avenue into a salt-lick for mimes. Christ, everybody's packin' nowadays. The other day, they caught Socks the Cat trying to yak a hairball at Clinton. We seem to be interpreting personal "freedom" to mean stockpiling firepower that would make the Branch Davidian compound look like Ed Begley's place at Zuma Beach.
As for our much-beloved, two party political system ... well, right now, it's splintered worse than a jammed door at Chuck Norris' house.
The conservatives plan for the next decade is the inverse effect of "Back to the Future." It's essentially, "Ahead to the Past." Their plan may suck, but at least they have a plan. Liberals are running around like an organically fed, free-range chicken with its head cut off. No wonder they fight so hard for the spotted owl - they're right behind 'em on the endangered species list. Politicians better come up with something concrete soon, or our future will be darker than George Hamilton reading Sylvia Plath in the basement of a Mott Street opium den ... and that of course is pretty dark.
And certainly our geopolitical gestalt has changed radically. Once we were a generous, outgoing nation, always eager to pick up a check or break up a brawl.
Hey, we were Hoyt Axton. Now we're on the verge of becoming the free world's answer to Travis Bickle - camouflaged, armed to the teeth, and ready to off the first person who glances at us wrong. Our motto has changed from "E Pluribus Unum" to "What the f*** are you lookin' at?"
Sure, we're still the best nation on this planet. But does that carry the weight it used to? Nowadays, isn't that sort of like being the valedictorian at summer school? Given our amazing resources and our ideals, is this funhouse-mirror version of America really the best we can do? I don't think so. If America wants to bat cleanup in the New World Order, here's some common sense suggestions for moving into the twenty-first century:
ONE - Don't look to politicians to fix anything - get off your Snackwells ass and do it yourself.
TWO - Be open to new ideas. Buy electric cars when they go on the market. Sure they'll be s****y at first, but gas cars are s****y now. Get the s****y car of the future!
THREE - G. Gordon Liddy, shut the f*** up, all right?!
FOUR - G. Gordon Liddy, shut the f*** up. Just wanted to be sure, in case he just tuned in.
FIVE - Teach your kids about birth control so that we're not packed into these fruited plains like circus clowns in a Volkswagen Beetle.
SIX - Conservatives, don't censor Hollywood. It's supposed to be s****y trash. And what's left of you liberals, don't censor Rush Limbaugh. Understand him for what he is - a shopping cart with a bad wheel that pulls to the right no matter which way it's facing
SEVEN - How's about everybody getting their nose out of other people's affairs and minding their own business? We have become such a nation of busybodies and voyeurs that the Constitution now reads, "We, the Peep Hole...."
EIGHT - Strive for a day when "NRA" means "Not Relevant Anymore."
NINE - Try to keep in mind that for all the horrors and the fear media shove down our throats every night, most people are basically good. They want just what you want - food, shelter, love. We're mammals. We're migratory creatures that no longer have any new places to go. So now it's time to go inward, to do some karmic retooling on ourselves.
And finally, the tenth suggestion on how to make America a better place in the next century ... stop ripping off Letterman!
Of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong.
Miller, Dennis. The Rants. NY: Doubleday. 1996.
gestalt: a structure, configuration, or
pattern of physical, biological, or psychological phenomena so integrated
as to constitute a functional unit with properties not derivable by summation
of its parts (WWWebster Dictionary) (back)
voyeur: one obtaining sexual gratification from seeing sex organs and sexual acts; broadly : one who habitually seeks sexual stimulation by visual means (WWWebster Dictionary) (back)
opium den: illegal gathering spaces for the consumption of opium (back)
ottoman: an upholstered often overstuffed seat or couch usually without a back; an overstuffed footstool (WWWebster Dictionary) (back)
Hoyt Axton is known for playing avuncular characters in film. (back)
NRA refers to the National Rifle Association. (back)
Writers from Dowell's ATL135:005, Fall '98 class: