We had a case of termites that had burrowed up through our foundation and had eaten away all the wood inside the baseboards of our bedroom. The outside paint was still intact, so we didn't see a thing for a long time until we hit it accidently and then the whole paint surface broke like an egg.
That's kind of like America. Corruption has invisibly wasted the inside, and the only thing holding up the country is probably a thin naive optimism native to the American soul, which came from a couple of centuries of having it better than the places from which we all came. Faith in the system which we thought made us exceptional is doomed to be replaced by cynicism and hopelessness.
The rot has wasted our financial power, without which we will not long survive as world leader.
Debased currency has been behind the fall of every empire. John K. Galbraith warned of this specific danger thirty years ago. Disraeli and others said that those who ignore the failures of history are doomed to repeat them.
Knowing this I can lead the rest of my life without illusions and, as a student of Zen, know that my happiness does not require a belief in any political system, or patriotic fervor for any country.
There are those who say our economy will rise again from the ashes, and ascend Phoenix-like to new heights. I assume they have faith in some magic substance availabile only in America that will revive our whole eroded industrial base, create vast and amazingly new technology which we can once again sell to the world, all the while paying off our foreign and domestic debt.
The news is that we do not have the technologists, the scientists, or the intellectual property to do this. China and India now graduate far more elite minds than we can, and they will set the parameters for applied science in the next few decades dominating world trade. Already, China takes 80 % of the resource exports from the continent of Africa, and is making long term deals for oil in South America and the Middle East.
We blew our patrimony, the riches of a fallow continent, by using our energies in vain pursuits, catering to decadent appetites, and national megalomania.