Land of the Free, Home of the Brave, and All That Shit

A dreamslide to a mixto sandwich

"The reason our institutions, our traditional religions, are all crumbling, is because they're no longer relevant." -Bill Hicks

Good thing I'm getting in one final trip to the Gulf before it's slicked completely over like Steven Seagal's hot tub after the pandas come over. The Colorado spring has been decidedly short on sunshine this year, even before the two feet of hail currently falling, and dude needs a tan.

If it proves to be too late to avoid the stiff reality of Slippery Black Death, I have no choice but to embrace it and take a Slip 'n Slide head-first dive all the way to Cuba. Not that they'll take me, but it's worth a shot, washing ashore wrapped in an oil-drenched American flag, holding a six-pack of Bud Light Lime and Season 2 of American Gladiators on VHS.

"I come from America, home of the free, land of the brave, and all that shit," I'll mumble to the first Cuban I see, trading him the Gladiators tapes for a two-pound mixto sandwich while I drink as many Limes as I can before he starts asking too many questions about Nitro and Blaze.

The locals gather around, peppering me with questions about the American Dream. "If you can't play baseball, don't bother," I say between bites of salty, delicious pork.

"Anyone here can go to a doctor, and what the fuck, you've already got sun-drenched beaches, plus of course these sandwiches... As for the rest of it, everything you need to know is on those tapes."

What the Cubans don't know yet is that the complete and total collapse of the Global American Empire is entering its climactic and explosive final stage. Grab whatever you can get your hands on, hold tight, and pray to Jesus it doesn't suddenly catch fire. It's been happening in slow motion for thirty years now, but this is the fun part, with floods and flames and oil-volcanoes.

There's still hope, no? A political awakening? The American People have to be better than this, right? Sure, whatever you say. Anyone who believes that clap-trap has never been to a Wal-Mart, or an NFL game, or watched cable television.

The best we've been able to muster is something called the Tea Party, full of the usual hypocritical bull-shit, which is to say it is supremely American. This movement is in favor of cutting both taxes and the deficit; they want their jobs back, and also support Globalization; they want immigrants to leave and they want cheap vegetables.

No movement will ever get what it wants if it doesn't know what it wants, and no large group of Americans is capable of thought that deep and critical. We do what we are told, repeat what we've heard, and think the universe revolves around each and every one of us.

In a pick-and-choose society it's easy to be anti-tax and pro-war, against big government and for-Reagan, to believe that Fox News — owned and operated by one of the richest mother-fuckers on the planet — is looking out for their interests, while MSNBC — owned by one of the biggest military contractors on the planet -- is part of the "liberal media."

Anybody who takes themselves seriously would walk out on any room that Glenn Beck was in. The man's got a money-dick so far up his ass that you can see it through his teeth when he talks.

"But freedom," the Cubans prod. "You have freedom in America. Beautiful freedom."

"Yes," I scoff a little, doing my best to respect their basic Caribbean dignity, not making fun, hoping someone has rum. "But freedom is flexible. Our way of life is non-negotiable, but freedom..."

The average American has been spending more than they earn since 2005; Credit card debt averages roughly $16,000 per American household; The average college student is graduating with about $25,000 of student debt.

"We define it differently."

In the name of preserving the intellectual construct that is the Global Economy we've allowed two Major American Cities to be destroyed. Our local governments are bankrupt; our state governments are bankrupt; our federal government is bankrupt; Iceland is bankrupt; Greece is bankrupt, Ireland is bankrupt; Spain is bankrupt; Portugal is bankrupt; the entire developing world is behind the IMF eight-ball... Corporate profits are at world-record levels; bankers pay themselves hundreds of billions of dollars per year... This paragraph could go on for decades.

"We have the freedom to never ask questions," I say. "We have the freedom to pretend we don't know where all our fucking money went... Who has rum?"