I met a Palestinian woman who came to the United States for her graduate degree. She picked the U.S. because she wanted to see imperialism from the inside. She wanted to understand the richest, most powerful country on earth. Imagine her surprise when she learned that the kind of economic development programs she worked on in Palestine were needed as much in Appalachia as back home.
I was thinking about that conversation as I read Glenn Greenwald’s piece on What Collapsing Empire Looks Like.
The truth is that a whole lot of people aren’t going to notice the cuts in basic services that Greenwald wrote about. Cutting public school hours doesn’t make much difference to people who send their kid to private school. And it doesn’t make much difference to the 18% of U.S. Latinos who won’t graduate high school (26% in California.).
Cutting off street lights won’t be noticed by the people who live in gate-enclosed McMansion communities. And it won’t be noticed by the 14% on Indian reservations who don’t have electricity in their homes. Total lack of public transportation won’t be noticed by people with three luxury cars in the driveway. And it will barely be noticed by people who live in places like Liberty City or Little Haiti, where residents have been relying on private jitneys for years.
People keep talking about the United State’s decline, but I wonder how much of it is more of an unveiling.