Following the victory in World War II, the U.S. was rightly proud of what "the greatest generation" had done. So for more than 15 years or so following that war, the new contraption called TV and the Hollywood formula movies showed America as a breeding ground for glorious and always-good Americans. Our American heroic figures, as portrayed, were forever winning the battle of good over evil. It was nice and comfortable to play on World War II heroism, and present a world in which it was easy to tell the good guys from the bad guys. Psst: we were the good guys.
The good guys, when faced with problems in which good was pitted against evil, and good was given the harder task, were people like John Wayne, Hopalong Cassidy, The Lone Ranger, James Arness, The Rifleman, Batman, Superman, and Roy Rogers. How could anyone dispute that the United States was where the good guys resided, and in the U.S. it was good that always conquered evil? We were working together as a united people who had used this same unity of purpose to overcome the Great Depression and World War II.
We lived in this comfortable bubble, with the only blot in the U.S. coming from extreme right-wing groups and individuals like The House Un-American Activities Committee, the John Birch Society and its various manifestations, Senator Joseph McCarthy, etc. But the bulk of Americans soon dismissed these extremists and moved along. But there was always a greed capitalism and war capitalism that tried to manipulate the American thought-process by championing the aforementioned "good" in America to acquire more and more profits ...using good OR evil tactics.
In many ways we have become a more complex people, but the same underlying danger continues. And with the immense money garnered from war profits, greed capitalism was used to own much of American media, buy politicians, give huge sums to special-interest groups. start wars, and promote the general welfare [of greed capitalism only]. And it was done, as it has been done throughout American history, by playing on the patriotic fervor of U.S. citizens. Anyone not joining this greedy enterprise was labeled a communist or socialist or an upatriotic threat. In reality, it became well-oiled greed capitalists against progressives, labor unions, working middle class, Latinos, blacks, etc. As in the building of railroad barons railroads, instead of demeaning imported Chinese laborers, they demeaned people of color. To various degrees, it has worked. But now the power is immense, and the threat from greed and war capitalism is about to overtake our democracy. We have a democratically elected President being called a socialist [he is, of course, black]. America is stuck, and the greed and war capitalists are poised to take over everything that smacks of democracy, fairness, and progressivism. We are not at a crossroads, we are at a ledge, about to be pushed off and into a pit that is controlled by the worst of greed capitalism, the very worst of war profiteers.
This Thursday, as you pray together, remember to pray for the United States of America. And do your praying honestly, not by using your spirituality to foster some secret agenda. Honesty and cooperation are sorely lacking in America today. I want Americans to all be thankful for what has been given to them, not just those who look only for profits or a special edge to get what they want. We can again regain our sensibility, our compassion, our spirit of helping others, and become again a people who can be termed "the greatest generation." Many of your fellow Americans need your help. Extend your hand.