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U.S. following in Roman Empire’s tracks

Another “old gent” friend at the Superior YMCA frequently compliments me on these articles. The other day he made a suggestion for improvement.

He believes that my being a liberal comes through loud and clear, so I should write about the conservative side too.

I’ve thought about that and worried that it may not be possible for me. The other side is the Republican and more conservative side. I’m going to try “the old college try.”

I can’t argue with Republicans when they say the national debt is too high and needs addressing. How is the sticker?

Many Republican conservatives and I have major disagreements. They believe that our bloated defense program is essential. Only relatively small reductions are possible. I believe that we are not only overdoing defense, but are losing friends around the world with our drone “collateral damage.” We have troops in hundreds of bases about the world and U.S. planes, ships and other new creations for war.

War is for killing enemies. Non-enemies are too often killed in wars such as has been happening with our drone strikes on reported Taliban or Al Qaeda. We call it “collateral damage,” but you can quickly see how difficult that would be to believe if our noncombatants — our wives and children —were being accidentally killed.

Murder is still murder in spite of the phraseology.

Undoubtedly, our greatest difference of opinion is about our nation’s wealth.

I believe that all American adults deserve a living wage. Those unable to contribute should be treated like we treat nonproductive members of our individual families who are unable to earn an income. We believe nobody, deserves to have unlimited wealth while that is not being achieved. The wealthy want a lower tax rate even though we know the IRS is riddled with subsidies and tax contrivances that favor the wealthy.

Big money has funds for diddling the regulations until several top international corporations and individuals pay well below the legal requirements. Several paid no income tax this past year.

Free market is the conservative cry for less government. For the lower income end, law breaking means prison time. Many are filling privatized prisons for possessing minimal amounts of marijuana. We have no hesitancy to say some of our banks are just too big to fail.

Let me finish with words pointing out the benefit of two political parties. The one without major strength still is able to keep the major party in tow. They can and do filibuster. They can force the debate, they initiate new legislation and are able to vote and stop what they determine to be unworthy.

The U.S. holds a very important position in our world today. We are expected to act quickly whenever serious problems exist. We do a lot. We provide money to innumerable countries for many reasons. Sometimes, we have a dual capitalistic benefit such as selling war materials built in the U.S. that keeps our munitions producers in high gear.

A past Republican president, Dwight Eisenhower, warned us in his final address of the increasing political impact of the Military Industrial Complex. He knew it firsthand, coming from the presidency and being our leading general in World War II. We should have listened.

I believe that we are in danger of being another world power that has over extended. Previous world failures tried doing too much, too often, in too many places, too many times.

I was reminded of that when hearing that official Chinese newspapers are now saying that China may be heading in that direction.

The way they put it was, “We need to draw lessons from the chaotic collapse of authoritarian regimes elsewhere,” (The Economist,” Jan 21, 2013.)


Will we someday be written up as was the Fall of the Roman Empire?

Bernie Hughes, Ed.D, is a retired educator who resides in Superior. He can be reached at bernie3024@