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The Battle for America
by Robert Moskowitz

Every generation stands on the shoulders of its parents, and reaches higher. Sometimes, we get to enjoy the fruits of what our parents have built. Other times, our parents have begun a project and it falls to us to take it another step. And occasionally, the house that our parents have built begins to deteriorate, needs maintenance, and if we want to continue living there it's up to us to bring the house back into a state of good repair.

That is the situation now in these United States. Generations before us have crafted a good, strong structure that allows not only for stability, but for change as the winds of time and culture blow at different strengths from different directions. But gradually, problems accumulate. And we have never been a people to fix things at the first sign of trouble.

No, we wait until just before the porch crumbles, or the roof caves in, or the fire in the living room gets out of hand before we pick up our tools and turn our attention to solving the problem.

We're there again, right now. Over the past decades, soulless moneyed interests in the guise of corporations have co-opted our institutions, rewritten our laws, and modified the ways we do business until our culture -- never completely friendly to personal growth or nurturing the finer spirit in all people -- has begun to do us serious harm. In fact, our very democracy and way of life are under attack.

Soulless moneyed interests have been selling off parts of our national heritage (parks, wildlife preservers, wetlands, forests, fisheries, even the purity of our water and air) for short term profits. And while the pendulum has historically swung first one way, then the other, things are now so out of whack that there's a real threat the pendulum may never swing back, may always stay on one side of the center point, on the side that favors money over people, power over truth, and short term gain over long term sustainability.

We've always thought of the Earth as a limitless resource, but now we can see it's a very small lifeboat, with no land in sight, no land likely to be found, perhaps no land in existence anywhere in the Universe. We're stuck here, and if we make the Earth less habitable, our children and grandchildren forever will have to suffer in the cesspool we leave them.

America was founded as a "city on a hill," a beacon to which the best and brightest could come, build a better life, and bootstrap humanity toward a brighter future. But today that heritage is being subverted by a ruling class that has no greater vision that lining its own pockets, no concerns other than immediate gain, and no values other than selfish ones.

In the past, our parents had greater clarity in which to fight their battles. They rebelled against a selfish King of England, they defended our country against invaders, and against dictators bent on world domination. We don't have that luxury. The Battle for America is going to be fought in a fog of confusion, misdirection, and uncertainty. Our enemies are not external, but our own brothers and sisters, our neighbors and colleagues, our bosses and our leaders -- anyone who doesn't recognize that the future depends on the present, who believes they can litter and pollute, deplete and despoil without having to suffer the consequences, and who doesn't feel they owe future generations the obligation to hand them a planet and a country that are in better shape than we received them.

It's no longer enough to believe in good values. It's no longer satisfactory simply to do no harm ourselves. If I don't litter, but you do, the world will still become a garbage dump. If I don't ruin natural resources but you do, they will still be trashed or paved over before our grandchildren can experience them.

So it's up to us not just to live a good life, but to make sure everyone else adheres to certain basic values, as well. And it's not enough to enforce these standards on our neighbors. In fact, it's wrong-headed to do so. The enemy is not the foot solider of avarice and short-sightedness that we see every day, it's the generals and strategists back at enemy headquarters who set the negative tone, establish the destructive values, and encourage the dangerous behavior that we no longer want to tolerate.

To kill the beast, you must chop off its head. And to win the battle for America, we must remove from power those who would deplete our strength and set fire to our lifeboat. We must replace that kind of leadership with people who understand our place in the physical universe and who appreciate the values of democracy, peace, fair play, and honesty that represent the leading edge of human culture and our best hope for a brighter future.





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Last Updated: August 24, 2006
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