Today, a little before 6am, we became a second rate power.
It had been coming for a couple of years now. The Senate has not passed a budget in 813 days. We cannot figure out how to pay our bills, and we borrow forty three cents for every dollar that the government spends.
We seem to couch our international interests in the interests of others, and extend our rights of citizenship to all we deal with, including those who would destroy that citizenship altogether.
Our schools are broken. We rank 27th out of 33 in Math, and 22 out of 33 in Science according to the 2009 OECD figures. The real world tells us that we have done far worse than that for our neediest children. The illiteracy rate in Detroit is 47%. That is two points WORSE than Afghan males!
We are unable to build our own infrastructure any more. The new San Francisco Bay Bridge is being built in China and shipped to the city by the bay. It will save half a billion in costs.
Yes, the signs were all around us. We have regulated and cost our selves out of competitiveness in virtually every sphere of business. We have not built a new nuclear plant since 1977. We are canceling permits to mine coal in West Virginia, and we are dragging our feet on allowing any permits to drill for oil in the Gulf of Mexico. We can forget about Alaska and our shores. As our president said "Of necessity, electricity rates will skyrocket."
We knew this day was coming, even if we just couldn't imagine it. We read articles suggesting that double digit unemployment was the new normal, and others that showed 40 weeks to be the average time of unemployment. Yet others suggested that the road to happiness must come from having very little of what you had before.
But today it happened. At 5:57am Daylight Savings Time, The United States of America became an Earthbound country. The shuttle Atlantis landed for the very last time. Our country will no longer lead in the exploration of outer limits. We will hitch a ride with the Russians, like the Dutch, or the Finns.
Today, we put the finishing touches on a policy of insignificance. Today we gave up the mantle of leadership, much as we did in Libya, or for that matter, as we have done in much of the rest of the world. We will be content now , to squabble over the dinner crumbs of prosperity or at least those that can still be found, without giving a second thought as to how we became a first rate and prosperous power to begin with.