The Twilight of Empire…

When I was young, I fell deeply in love with the ideal of American exceptionalism.  Through bright and youthful eyes, I saw a sense of greater meaning and promise in our own Manifest Destiny.  I saw the great power of our ideals of democracy, freedom, and liberty, and dreamed at night of the great ways they would shape and transform our world in spreading the image of our perfect society to all corners of the globe.  From a young age I dreamt of being a part of that amazing process, of freeing the oppressed, of protecting the powerless, and of dedicating a life in service to that society which had given me so much and so many opportunities…

Today, I look at my world through these time strained and tired eyes which oftentimes deceive my still fresh and vigorous body as to its true age, and I see elements and perspectives of my reality standing in stark contradiction to the ideals of my youth.  I see a world that has not entirely been liberated by American exceptionalism and in many cases, bits of a world that have been outright enslaved by it.  I see the darker manifestation of American Empire, an empire which we still categorically deny yet one that has grown into a cold and blood-soaked reality for so much of our world…

And when I look at my American Empire, I see but a palace of cards, a city built upon a hill of sand.  Despite all of our advances in knowledge, technology, communication, and military strength we cannot long deny the dark and cold fate which awaits us at the end of this dream.  We cannot overcome the forces of our history leading all of our little human experimentations with empire decidedly towards the grave.  And we cannot long conceal the mass of skeletons and forgotten souls which lay restlessly entombed under our increasingly unstable foundation…

Though we have many choices in this life, the one thing none of us can change is the point in time to which we were born and ultimately the times in which we live.  As a youth, I was a product of the height of American Empire, the pinnacle of its greatest achievements, and the moment in time which many of us believed would last forever.  And now as an adult, I am both a witness and player in the dramas of our great empire’s overreach and ultimate fall.  I didn’t choose to live in these times any more than my parents chose to live in theirs.  We are all simply dealt a hand in this game of life.  It’s what we do with it and what we learn and understand along the way that makes all the difference…

So what course will this narrative take?  How will the final cards of American Empire fall and the final hands play out?  Is there any stopping the trends of history?  Is there any opportunity to salvage the forgotten and broken dreams of our youth and turn them into a new manifestation of our reality?  Or are we all just casual observers to the great Shakespearian tragedy of our times?

Unfortunately, I appear to still be quite a bad fortuneteller.  I simply don’t know what new realities time, circumstance, and coincidence have in store for us in this life.  Yet I can decidedly say that we are approaching the twilight of this empire. Our palace is shaking unsteadily from the burden of its years and as the cards are slowly being pulled to weaken its structural integrity I can only say that we are in for very interesting times…

You can play causality games with this all night and never find yourself getting anywhere.  You can blame our coming economic crisis, our wars of aggression and hubris in foreign lands, our increasingly paranoid security state, the hollowness that has overcome our democracy in these days of one dollar, one vote, or the failure of our society and our people to adequately stand as the guardians of their own liberty.  But in the end, you will still be left with the same puzzling and troubling realities as you try to make sense of the events unfolding in front of your eyes…

Though of course there is another method to walk this path.  Just because we are burdened with the weight of our history does not mean we cannot affect its course if not its direction.  This empire will one day fall.  There is no escaping that end.   But the nature, the timeline, and the scope of that fall are things each of us can affect in our own ways, and I would say that it is about time we started paying a bit more attention.  Through the fall of an empire, the end of one dream, we see the unique opportunity to start something new, to imagine new realities, and to build a much better world for the next generations…

There is no panacea for this task.  There is no secret key to unlock all of our doors and one is wise to be wary of any that appear along the way.  As in my youth I believed that globalization would save us all from war, and now I see it bringing us dangerously closer to some of the most horrible realities I can imagine.  Ultimately, the work of tearing down and rebuilding this society will not be easy.  The days and nights will quickly turn into years and decades.  Many parts of the job will be quite messy.  And the fruits of our toils will often go unseen, even perhaps when the work is finally done.  But this journey is truly an amazing one and these times are quite interesting indeed.  Few generations in human history have had the opportunity such as ours to completely change and remake their world.  And I am truly honored to share this opportunity, and this moment in time with all of you.  Though we have reached the twilight of the American Empire, it need not be the twilight of human civilization…

Cheers,

Brian

23 SEP 2012, 2130(L), Grafenwoehr, Germany

Advertisements

About briangdonnelly

I'm pretty much a random traveler and free thinker. Right now I live and work with the Army in North Carolina. I grew up in Missouri but am from the northeast US and have traveled a lot with the Army and life in general so I can't say I really have a "home" except where I chose to catch a few hours or rack each day. Overall, life is pretty awesome and I'm looking forward to changing the world. Hit me up if you care... Peace, Brian
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s