America: Potential vs. Reality

rfk jfkThe idea hit me just the other day like a thunderclap. This country’s best days are years behind it. As a matter of fact (and I hate to be the one to break the bad news to you) the good old U-S of A is broken and I fear it is now beyond fixing. America has been destroyed and the damage is more-than-likely irreparable. And were we to take that first step on the long road to recovery, such an effort would take decades – maybe even a century. Let’s face it: America is finished. It’s toast. Kaput. In the crapper. Dead as a doornail. Wrecked and raped. Warped and ruined. Up the creek without a freakin’ paddle. Over and out. Trampled and stomped. Bumped and bashed. Mortally wounded. Utterly wasted. Totally trashed. Screwed, blued and tattooed. EVERYBODY SING!

The old gray mare she ain’t what she used to be
Ain’t what she used to be
Ain’t what she used to be….

This country’s future will be an insatiable nostalgia for its distant past. Thirty straight years of political dysfunction and corruption has rendered this once-great nation impotent, a shadow of what we once were – and the potential of what we could have become. We might have been a virtual paradise. In fact, once upon a time we came pretty damned close! But it’s over. You understand that, right? It’s all over now, baby blue.

This ain’t your father’s America.

It’s time to wind up the masquerade
Just make your mind up – the piper must be paid
The party’s over
It’s all over, my friend

You won’t even want to find yourself unfortunate enough to share a hemisphere with this place twenty-five years from today – I guarantee it. Given the average longevity of men in my family, I will probably not live to see the sociological catastrophe that will be America in 2035. Lucky me! The next ten years will see an historical first: American refugees. Brace yourselves, Canada. And remember that we’re not particularly fond of warm beer, okay?.

[AUTHOR’S NOTE: A reader from Canada named Brandon indignantly (but gently) informs me that Canada likes their beer frigid as well. In his own words: “C’mon! We’re the frozen tundra! Where would we even get warm beer?” Point conceded, Brandon. My bad. Thanks for keeping me on my toes, pal.]

“The fault, dear Brutus, lies not in our stars, but in ourselves.” –William Shakespeare

Edward R. Murrow used that quote from Julius Caesar at the conclusion of a 1954 broadcast about Joe McCarthy. He was trying to explain how a drunken demagogue like the Wisconsin senator could have found success in a political system crafted by the likes of Jefferson and Adams. Perhaps Murrow was being generous. Perhaps the man’s essential optimism forbade him from facing the obvious. Let us face some nasty and irreversible facts, shall we? Americans are pretty dumb. The evidence is overwhelming and irrefutable.

November 4 will mark the thirtieth anniversary of the day that Weeda Peeple sent a senile, dirty old dingbat named Ronald Reagan to the White House. Despite the damage his administration did to this country’s social and economic infrastructure, he is still held in high esteem by most of us. Last week on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, the eminent historian Douglas Brinkley cited Reagan as one of America’s “great” presidents – right up there with Washington, Lincoln and the two Roosevelts. Amazing. If someone as smart as Brinkley still doesn’t get it, it’s doubtful that the vast majority of Americans are going to get it any time soon. They probably never will; hence our downfall.

“We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of the few, but we can’t have both.” — Justice Louis Brandeis

tom deganTwenty-six days from today (if current trends continue) these imbecilic Americans will bang yet another nail into the slowly-closing coffin of their economic security by handing the legislative branch of our government back to Reagan’s ideological heirs – the same jackals and jackasses – bitches and bastards – who are responsible for the mess we’re in today….and our downward spiral will only continue.

Is this a great country, or what?

Suggested Reading: Armed Madhouse, by Greg Palast

Tom Degan


  1. says

    That thunderous roar you hear is me giving you a standing ovation. Thank you for this well-written, insightful article. I thoroughly agree that it this country’s downfall began during Reagan. Perhaps, if you can find time, you can read my take on the old man: Reagan Should be Condemned, not Celebrated.

  2. Richard Packard says

    After reading Mr. Degan’s article (America:Potential vs Reality) it is obvious his livelihood isn’t in the ‘motivational speaking’ circuit. “He does” point out some of the realities confronting America today however, I didn’t read anything in the article that points to the “potential” that his title implies. Yes, it is said that Americans are the most ‘misinformed’ people in the world when it comes to “real time events” happening around the globe. The propaganda service (whether left or right) we call news is totally ‘subjective’ and absent of objectivity, facts and substance. And talking about “reality”, I have never known this country to be on the crisp of “virtual paradise” since its inception over two hundred years ago. Anyone who knows a little history will attest to the fact that the “dominate group’s” ancestry came conquered, enslaved, exploited, murdered and in some cases ‘permanently scared’ some of its citizenry. Maybe the “virtual paradise” that Mr. Degan speaks about is a view held by a “virtually” micro few. That being said I have hope that Americans if given the facts, the truth (absent of “the spin”) will make the right decisions about electing someone who is “for” America first. If Americans are entrusted with the right information I believe that they can move in a direction that will benefit all Americans and not just the ‘privileged few’. Americans are generous (to a fault), caring and lovers of freedom and liberty, let us espouse and encourage these virtues present them with truth, honesty, integrity, justice and a positive example from our leaders. We must shun all forms of evil whether it be from outside or within our borders, we must truely be a ‘nation of laws’ and that ‘light on the hill’ that the rest of the world can look up to.

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