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America: We Are Rome

Updated on February 8, 2014

And it's time for a change, lest we fall as they did.

I love America. Call it misplaced nationalistic pride if you want, but I think that this country still has the potential to be great once more.

Before I go any further, let me tell you a little about me. I’m a published author, an artist, a college graduate passionately pursuing a dream that many would say is crazy (and that my finances would seem to indicate is outright insane as well.) I’ve lived well, I’ve starved, I’ve seen the ups and downs, the hard times and the good. I write constantly– it’s cheap to start, it’s the one thing that I know I can do, and it’s the one thing where I can keep slamming my head against the walls put up between hungry young males (like me) and the jobs that pay more than a starving wage.

What’s my definition of a starving wage? Anything less than a person needs to survive in today’s world, plus a little bit on the side (say $100 a month here in California) to spend on the kind of frivolous things (like Starbucks or roses for the one you love) that make life worth living. Heck, I get excited when I can actually put money into my savings account. With Social Security going downhill and with my personal choice not to have children, I’m already saving for a period when I’m going to be too old to work. Will I have enough put away to live off of when I get there? Well, we’ll just have to see what happens.

Here’s the thing. I was born here in the US, third generation Californian, and even though the third world conditions all around me in the cities make me so disgusted sometimes I want to ditch this piece of dirt and start over in a state or a country that actually cares about the health and happiness of its citizens, I’ve stayed. Why? Because I think that this place has the potential to be great. We have the potential to stop the societal decline and be the great empire that didn’t fall. We have the potential to become a first world nation again.

What’s the root of our problem? It’s not immigrants, it’s not pollution, it’s not money, it’s not any religious group or ethnicity– it’s greed, it’s unhappiness, it’s a lack of time, a lack of educational resources, a lack of access to good paying jobs and a media-enhanced polarization of ideologies. We’re the richest nation on Earth, but there’s such a huge divide between the upper classes and the lower classes that it’s almost worse than feudalism or the caste system of India. Consider this– I’ve spent my whole life studying, supporting and working in fields relating to the empowerment of minorities, racial, sexual and religious. I identify myself as both a feminist and a gay rights activist, and I’ve heard (and even written) all the stories about how easy it is for people who are white and male to make it in this world.

Let me tell you, it’s a fantasy. The disempowered aren’t any one given minority. They’re the majority. They’re the working poor that gets stiffed so often. In my lifetime, I have seen more working poor who are white, male (and hey, sometimes even protestant!) than I have of any other race, sex or creed. Sometimes, being involved with various empowerment groups, I even feel like it’s a sin just being what I am, a sin that I have to make up for by undoing the damage the ancestors of other white people did long before I was born (my family didn’t come over with any of the early settlers, and members of both sides of my family have been involved in empowerment and furthering the social causes of women and minorities for as long as they’ve been in this great country.)

How do we fix our nation? By taking action. We have to look past the little traditional differences that we have been taught separate us and band together as the non-wealthy consumers we are. We have to buck the system. We have to stand up, call in sick, leave work in droves, turn off our televisions and stand outside on street corners with signs. We have to ask our leaders, our bosses and our politicians the kind of questions that are going to make them squirm. We have to change our daily habits virally, en-masse, and send a message to the big corporations that rule this nation in the only voice we have left– the voice of the consumer. As long as we live in a corporate-controlled employer’s market system where the wealthy ride the carcass of our nation into the ground, things are going to go downhill.

I’m not advocating violence. I have never advocated violence. I believe in passive resistance, standing up and walking out, showing those we all support unknowingly that we’re not going to support them anymore. I’m saying that we need to simply stop playing the game that the rich have written the rules for. We need to stand up and work together to change the rules or we are going to be trampled to death by the fortunate few as they swarm in like pigs at the feeding trough. We need to inform people, show them how their materialism selfishly hurts others. We need to educate people, make them think, and take action now before it is too late.

And if “the man” tries to put us down, if the system pushes on us, takes away our voice, our rights, our liberties, our loves, our dreams or anything else we have, we must stand stronger and work harder toward a future where America will be a nation we can be proud of again, a nation where our children can grow up safe, where our children and our parents can always get the health care they need without having to pay exorbitant fees for it, and where our children won’t have to be afraid of speaking out against corruption in whatever forms it may take (or wherever it may hide.) We have to be a nation of the kind of independent over-achievers that our founding fathers were, or else everything we have accomplished as a nation in the last two centuries will have been for naught.


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    • TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

      Sondra Rochelle 

      4 years ago from USA

      It's funny that you titled your hub this way because when I was in Washington, DC a few years back, I did feel like I was in Rome. I sure hope we don't have their fate! Nicely done article. Thank you.

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 

      4 years ago from Deep South, USA

      I agree with your recommendation to send a message en masse to greedy corporate management (and their stockholders) by not purchasing their products. Unfortunately, too many people who recognize this is now Corporate America that is governed not for its citizens but to benefit the corporations that fund (and own) Congress are not willing to participate in a boycott.

      More Americans who want this country to become strong again need to become activists. It is only when we combine our efforts that we can become stronger than those whose only priority is profit.

      Voted Up++ and shared


    • Earl S. Wynn profile imageAUTHOR

      Earl S. Wynn 

      8 years ago from California

      Great points, everyone. Jeff-- good point, but here in California WASPs are not the majority anymore. We've become a minority called "non-hispanic white." I'm not advocating any kind of white power or white privilege stance, but I do think that programs at the college institution level and those meant to instill diversity in the workplace are broken and need to be removed or overhauled.

    • Jeff Berndt profile image

      Jeff Berndt 

      8 years ago from Southeast Michigan

      Earl, you've seen more working-poor WASPs because there are more WASPs around than any other group. They're (we're) in the majority. That means that in any social/economic range, most of the folks there are going to be WASPs.

      That doesn't mean that the unemployed able-bodied straight WASP isn't going to have an easier time finding a job than the unemployed black guy, hispanic guy, wheelchair-bound guy, gay guy, woman, etc. He probably will, unless he's got some other thing going against him, like a criminal record, alcoholism, staggeringly bad halitosis, what have you.

      The fact that some white folks are underprivileged doesn't mean that there is no white privilege.

      LRC's point about money and politics is very apt. We seem to have started a vicious circle in American politics: The wealthy have used their wealth to influence politicians, and the politicians have made it easier for the wealthy to concentrate and consolidate their wealth, which make it easier for the wealthy to influence politicians, etc.

    • Susie Writes profile image


      8 years ago from Northern California

      Your hub expresses my sentiments exactly! Greed is behind most of our problems, greed in the common man who must have everything his neighbor does (whether he can afford it or not, and if not, just put it on credit!)and greed by our elected government that seems to be run by greedy financial and corporate institutions. I feel that in order to see change, we must overhaul our current system and chase BOTH controlling parties out of town. They have proven themselves useless and dishonorable.

      Additionally, I think that positions in government should not be paid but be voluntary. Such community and national service should be a bullet point on one's resume, something they did as an interest out of love for their country. Once your bit is done, you go back to your regular job in your chosen field. Take out the monetary and career incentives and the corruption is drastically reduced. That's my fantasy anyway.

      A big problem I see is an unwillingness in the people to do what it takes to force needed change. We Americans are incredibly spoiled and immature. We whine and want someone else to do all the dirty work while we talk on our cell phones about celebrity trivia and keep ourselves blissfully ignorant, television reality shows comprising the bulk of our literary diets. Far too many times I get the response, "Oh well, I'm just one person. What can I do?" spoken in a flippant manner that indicates they don't want to and aren't going to do anything. It's too much effort for them to exert. I think it's going to take a lot more of us suffering before the masses rise up and say "ENOUGH!" But like you, Earl, I hold out hope that there will be enough of us, those who have a vision of how great this country can be, who will take action and be heard. I hope I live long enough to see and be a part of it.

      A wonderful, thought provoking hub you have written here!

    • LRCBlogger profile image


      8 years ago

      Interesting hub, I do agree that the wealth divide is a serious problem and a lot bigger than most people realize. The sad part is many people vote for political candidates that work to only further support and grow the wealth divide.

      My answer is a bit simpler. Pass comprehensive campaign finance laws and conflict of interest laws. This will kick money out of politics and no longer will govt regulate and govern with the best interests of corporate america in mind.

      I think you make a good point that we have to ask tough questions that make our bosses squirm. Average CEO pay is how many times the average employee? How many people in a given company can probably do the CEO's job? Probably more than you think.

    • Earl S. Wynn profile imageAUTHOR

      Earl S. Wynn 

      8 years ago from California

      Agreed! The education system here in America is broken on so many levels. Teachers are hired and fired solely based on how much they cost a given institution (and if replacements, regardless of skill!) can be hired for less. And then, once you get your degree, what can you do with it? Haha! All you get is a boot in the butt and a piece of paper that might as well say "thanks for the cash and good luck, sucker!"

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 

      8 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Education is the key! What do you do when the educational system is a bad joke though? On top of which the greatest hypnotists in the world, the TV works day and night at brainwashing people ... It's messed up.

      All the best!


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