A recent cross country trip dished up depressing visual evidence of our nation's physical decay and moral depravity, capped by the news that the government was transferring Bradley Manning to Leavenworth federal prison in Kansas.
His initiation, according to a released inmate who went through it himself, will be three weeks of continuous gang rape. Since we weren't told the details of his transfer, it's possible this new humiliation of an innocent man has already begun.
"Free Now" (the alias of another recently released Leavenworth inmate) wrote: "Bottom line is you're going to be sucking c*** or getting plugged in the seat, unless you fight. Anytime someone tries to punk you, you fight, unless he happens to be a gang member. In that case you need permission from the leader of his set to fight him."
His military captors know full well what Manning faces; may, I suspect, have secretly arranged for it with one of the seven prison gangs known to operate in -- and actually run -- Leavenworth.
And, yes, Manning is Constitutionally an innocent man: he has not been tried, his guilt has not been proved in a court of law, he is as innocent as you or your pastor.
Our national state of denial will enable millions of Americans to ignore these truths, as they ignore so many others. In town after town I saw signs of pride in our military and the unending wars they wage. Nowhere did I see regret for the slaughter of innocent civilians, for documented atrocities, or for the massive national debt these wars have created. I did see signs and hear people condemning immigrants, the poor, the uneducated and the sick for causing our national indebtedness by needing assistance to survive.
In town after town I saw a Wal-Mart, but in what once was the business district were boarded-up buildings where the American Dreams of small businessmen went up in smoke.
Once when I paid a restaurant cashier, I jokingly told her to keep my three cents change and "give it to the governor next time you see him." She replied: "If enough people did that, maybe he'd fix the roads." The roads in this "blue" state were indeed in terrible condition; when I drove them ten years ago they were safe and well-maintained.
America's infrastructure is rotting while we squander tax dollars fighting insane wars and supporting inhumane dictatorships because they're friendly to our vast military machine. Government funds creating jobs to bring the infrastructure into the 21st Century would help solve our massive unemployment problem, and bring down the deficit, as any number of Nobel Prize-winning economists have told us over and over again.
But that would spoil Wall Street's free ride on the backs of the struggling millions of ordinary Americans.
Our national sense of denial won't allow us to face these unpleasant truths. We're up to our clavicles in "news" about the royal wedding. We pay no attention to the screams of an innocent man being gang-raped in a federal prison.
It's the new American Way.
Frankly, my dear, it sucks.