How To Watch an Empire Fall

The narrative usually says that tragedy turns into triumph. An individual or an organization overcomes some tragedy and either in the midst of or after facing a period of grieving, they come back better than ever, stronger, you know that corny type of stuff.

This entire month so far has been filled with tragedy, the murders of multiple men, many of them Black and the subsequent police killings have shaken the nation to its very core and has brought the country to a tipping point not seen since the 1960s. Monday was the first day of the Republican National Convention (more on that in a bit), as we are indeed in the middle of a national election cycle that has been filled with nothing short of absolute chaos from the get go. You would think with all of the tragedy, we’ll eventually get some triumph, right? This is America, we stand triumphant in the wake of tragedy*.

Not only will we keep being inundated with tragedy (unfortunately, because that is the narrative of this place), but we will, as evidenced by the last two nights, be inundated with something that is probably eve more sinister than tragedy, and that is decadence. Every empire that has risen has fallen and the American Empire** will be no exception.

Am I jumping the gun a bit? Do I sound like a conspiracy theorist, one of those fringe lunatics that lurk in the shadows and see things that aren’t there? No, not at all***.  Do I have a rudimentary understanding of history? That, I do. Do I have an understanding of the greater American culture? Exactly. Let me explain.

As a person with loose morals, I find myself appalled at the way the morals of this country have gone down the drain. However, recent events have forced me to get off of whatever moral high horse I may have rested my ample posterior on and remember the most important rule of this Fight Club that we call America: morals are for pussies. America didn’t expand from sea to shining sea by having  morals and shit. America didn’t enslave one group of people, wipe out another and even still had energy left to push back another (equally conquered, mind you) group of people by having morals. This country likes to make believe like we have morals, but it’s a facade that is surely fading, if it hasn’t already. American hypocrisy has been on full display. Between showing more sympathy over a dead gorilla (whom I actually think shouldn’t have died, IDC, that kid’s parents fucked up) than a dead (colored) human, the Republican National Convention (which I’m sure that the thinkpieces that will come from this week long event will be both epic and abysmal), the raging debates over who can use what bathroom, who can get married, who should give and take life, etcetera, we have no right to claim moral superiority over anyone.

Why do I mention morals, even though we have none? Because when morals begin lacking, empires fall.

We’re not overexerted in size or military might. We currently have four territories under our belt (in researching this piece I was surprised to learn how many we’ve had throughout our history). While we have military bases all over the world, and we’re engaged in some conflicts and always at the ready to enter into some more, the military, for now, not quite overexerted but not quite on reserve either. That could always change in either direction though, especially since we still have not reached Election Day.

Christianity is in a strange spot. We’re being sold the narrative that Islam itself is a threat.We have people calling for religion to be added to the national identity, to have prayer in school and work. God is still being used as justification for many actions in this country. Yet many young folk are growing more comfortable in forsaking religion outright, or taking a spiritual, and not religious path, while those that do take a religious path reaffirm that every day on social media.

The gap between the rich and the poor has definitely widened. Unemployment has fluctuated over the years, currently standing at 4.9% as of June (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics). Yet poverty is still a grossly unaddressed reality for many, and the middle class is being insidiously chipped away, and those at the bottom are slowly growing dissatisfied holding up the people at the top.

Politics is a joke. I really don’t need a paragraph for that.

And truthfully, every last one of us has a certain depth of vapidness that we dive underneath. Some of us dive in a three feet (the shallow end) and others dive in a 10 (deep end).

These are but a few of the signs of a falling empire. Now, I’m not suggesting that this is all going to happen soon, for all we know we might be able to ride out this white, Christian, heterosexual, patriarchal, cisgenderd, able bodied, wealthy male centered society for two hundred more years for all I know. I know that I am running out of faith in this country, and it’s pretty early for me to be running out of that. You can take my ramblings as a warning or you can take them as someone who is just paranoid. Not matter what you do, put your life down for a moment and take a good hard look at everything around you. You will be disappointed.

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