Newsweek Magazine has a super man logo with dollar signs, and the title "America is Winning - and Why" all over it's obnoxious front page.
My response is: Newsweek is Dreaming - And Why.
I would like to offer a few examples of the people of my generation, the twenty-somethings, as I see us as the ones who will be controlling the near falling future of the USA.
I took a trip for the first time to Senegal in 2007, I was shocked upon my arrival to teach in rural Senegal - students with nothing but run-down desks, a chalkboard, and recycled pecils and papers in the middle of a beaten down building with no elecricity. Their condition wasn't the shocking thing, the shocking thing was how many of these young Senegalese students in the middle of nowhere, could out-history, out-geography, out-math, and out-everything any of their cluless American counter-parts. Not only did I find this in Senegal, but in Japan, Thailand, Taiwan, Mali, Morocco, Tunisia. Perhaps the only other country that seemed just as clueless as the Americans was Saudi Arabians...but thats another story.
Why do I believe that the American Empire is seeing the last of it's glory days...
1. Being intelligent is now a commodity in the USA.
We may all have the technology to make information easier for us to access, but that doesn't mean we use it. I can't tell you how many Americans of my generation rely almost solely on a quick look on Wikipedia and Google to answer their questions about the world. I have American friends who work at Google, Microsoft and Nasa and they all joke and laugh about how they are the only American citizens they see at work. I'm not suprised, we lack our own intelligence so we import the best of other countries to come and work for our cause. Teachers of children younger and younger have to fight to get their kids to get off of their cellphones in class, and they aren't using it for googling or wikipeding concepts - its usually facebook or blackberry messenger that is pulling students minds away from the classroom.
2. The World Hates Us.
The United States of America made a grave mistake in their reaction to the 9/11 attacks. First of all, the majority of Americans were so terribly weak in geography and world history and culture that they didn't realize that the majority of the hijackers came from America's best friend Saudi Arabia. For them, Iraq and the Middle East and Saudi Arabia - and even our Persian Iranians are all basically the same country with the same evil religion - "terrorism". On the day when the US was attacked, Iranians took to the streets and the government condemned these actions as UnIslamic. There was a window of simpathy around the world for the USA on that day, and we turned around and decalred war on a country that basically the entire world knew, had nothing to do with this mess. The majority of Americans don't even know that Osama Bin Laden once was an American hero or "freedom fighter" who was trained by the CIA to take down the Soviets. When people say these facts - Americans cry out "conspiracy theorists". Our own knowledge of our own history, and the worlds has caused us to make arrogant and horrible mistakes around the world that people don't forgive easilt.
3. Not much has changed.
Barak Obama won the election with ease in 2008. His slogan "yes we can" and his talk of bringing change into America gave people hope, not only because he would potentially become our first black president but also because he was young, sharp, and intelligent, a change the US needed to pull away from George W. Bush. I remember crying on election day with my roommate, we were inspired and we believed change was coming to America. Most of us were fed up with the mistakes our nation had made and we were ready to move on. However, Obama came into office, AIPAC seemed to control the reigns and nothing seemed to change. It is quite ironic that under Obama the Occupy movement gained - but I believe rightfully so. People are frustrated with the system in the USA - and its clearly about to burst. If the American people are declaring that 99% of the population is suffering, then something is seriously wrong.
4. The Occupy Movement
Though I salute you, my dear generation, for taking to the streets in protest - I lived through the Tunisian revolution, and honestly America - we could use some lessons from the Arabs. The generations before us stood in brave protest and took on serious resistance from police in the Civil Rights movements, if we wanna see change, we HAVE to absolutley disturb the routine of the people in power, or else nobody is going to move. Camping out on Wall Street is not going to change anything - those people will happily walk past you into their offices and go about their daily lives. Something needs to be shut down - make them miss a day or a week or a month of work - cause a scene and maybe someone will listen to you. I believe in peaceful protest - but that protest better disturb those people making decisions in some way - otherwise they are never going to move for you. Arab youth in Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, Eastern Saudi Arabia, and other places took to the streets and made changes happen. They were willing to martyr themselves and die for that freedom. That passion and dedication is something seriously lacking in our country, and I gaurentee this, as long as we remain in a stagnant position and other parts of the world are making positive changes and reforms - we will continue to fall further and further behind. Mark my words - the revolutions and reforms are happening in the area we steretyped and mocked for the last decade - and as long as they progress and we remain stagnent - it will be them who mock us one day.
Perhaps this is the source of it all. Public schools are a joke, neighborhood public schools are funded with tax dollars from the area - thus rich neighborhoods have rich schools and poor neighborhoods have poor schools. High School education is a joke - I can't remember a single thing I learned in high school. It's like we finally open our eyes to the world the moment we step into University. The problem is that the majority of Americans don't step into University because it is so DAMN OVERPRICED. We have the most expensive Universities in the World. They may be the best - but any normal human being has to go up to his or her ass in debt to have a right to a University education. And since we are the "land where dreams come true" God knows job competition is high - so if you want to do anything remotely meaningful or secure in your life - you better have a University Degree. But we can't afford it. Not long ago at least Community colleges were free, but now even Community Colleges are becoming un affordable. Take some of that money that we give in aid to Israel or to the war budget and use all of that to further steipend Universities and you will have a lot more educated youth.
Thats all I have to rant about right now.