We small citizens of 21st century America are witnessing in real time the fall of the American Empire at speeds no one could have ever predicted. One could of course point out that Rome lasted longer as did the British, so why should we fall so much more rapidly than the Romans we copied or the Red Coats we expelled?
The answer could never be simple because the fall was never going to be as simple as "Trump" or any one man. Trump is obviously a key to all this, but he did not arrive out of thin air. America with its vulnerable Electoral College and an overly ambitious Hillary Clinton merely set the stage of where we now find ourselves. The fall of America was not one bad decision or a hundred but billions of poor choices made by the GOP, the media, and every single vote that allowed republicans to become the modern answer to the Patricians of ancient Rome...the elite ruling class that could indulge itself while the rest of us suffered.
The question "when did all of this begin" is open for debate.
The assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy and Malcolm X?
The endless waste of Vietnam and the disgraces of both Watergate and Iran-Contra?
The ineptitude of both President Carter and President George H. Bush?
The frivolity of Bill Clinton or the dark post-9/11 cynicism of George "Dubya" Bush?
Right now in 2017 American is weaker than its been since we were crushed by the Great Depression of 1929. The irony there is that we have never had more wealth. The problem is that our wealth is limited to the top 1%... Which makes us no better than the British a century ago. Our Government was classified as an Oligarchy by Oxford University in 2015 and more people should have taken note of that fact. The Enlightenment of Voltaire and Descartes has been undermined by greed and lies here in the United States thanks to religious fanaticism and state sanctioned ignorance whenever the GOP are running the show.
The current darkness that has fallen over the Virgin Islands and especially Puerto Rico have brought forth a truth no one wants to admit:
America is now a failed state.
Now, some of you will doubtless take umbrage with this but consider the Wikipedia's own definition of "failed state":
1. A state that has lost control of territory (as we have with Puerto Rico).
2. Erosion of legitimate authority to make legitimate decisions.
3. Inability to provide public services (like reasonable law enforcement for African-Americans).
4. Inability to interact with other nations (like Iran, North Korea or even Israel when Trump gave secrets to the Russians in the Oval Office).
Please consider that we're the only first world nation who debates the morality of feeding hungry children, housing the desperate, helping the addicts, and providing healthcare.
As Trump continues to attack NFL players for not compulsively worshiping a piece of cloth and a song as well as his Twitter rage against Mayor Carmen Cruz of San Juan, Puerto Rico, those of us who are sane can only gaze on in disgust and abject horror as the nominal leader of the free world indulges in both racism and sexism to feed his own monstrous id. That Trump is a sexist/racist monster is a given. His views are well documented. What is most disturbing is a GOP that allows him to terrorize the entire planet with no regard for decency or the lives being lost hourly in Puerto Rico as he raves and lies about "doing a good job". As this vicious cabaret unfolds one thing is certain:
America will never again be regarded as a serious player in world affairs but at best a joke to be pitied and at worst a liability to be shunned and ridiculed. And far beyond the fields we know no one is laughing harder than Putin, who set events in motion on social media that eventually ended the reign of America and turned us into the punchline we now are.
Even if Liberals of both Parties regain the House and Senate in 2018 and impeach the Clockwork Orange it won't be enough to undo the damage he's already done.
"America" as an ideal is over.
The world sees us now for what we always denied we were:
A pitiful paper-tiger that was driven more than anything by the ugly trifecta of Patriarchy, Monotheism and Capitalism to expand like any ambitious franchise only to fail when it fell under its own idiotic hubris just like the Persian, Roman, Spanish, and British Empires.
What happens next is up to us.
Amputation or death?
What will you choose, America?
"Get a new president."
Snake Plissken , Escape From New York (1981)