End of an empire

Consider that the 20th century saw the emergence of something like an American Empire. What we are seeing in the 21st century is the slow death of this empire. Many people have predicted its impending collapse, but I’m not talking here about the balooning deficit, its proclivity to entering into unwinnable, unpopular and costly foreign wars, its useless war on drugs, its ludicrous adult population imprisonment rate, its poor public school performance, or its broken healthcare system.

The greatest sign that the US is a nation in decline is its apparently increasing desire for joke politicians. I’m not talking about this (though seeing Joe Biden like this makes me worry a bit less about the potential for some video of me in a compromising situation to leak onto the web):


I’m talking about this:

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin with a gun
apparently she's a better shot than Cheney

I’m talking about a gun-toting potential vice-president who thinks climate change isn’t human-caused, and thinks we should teach about the “debate” bewteen creation science and evolution in public school. (I also believe in teaching the controversy.)

I’m talking about GW Bush, the Governator, Dan Quayle, Jesse Ventura, and Ronald Reagan.

For some reason, the US is the only country in the world where, in the race to become the nation’s leader, it’s a serious advantage to not seem too smart.

The good news from Palin’s selection is that the Republicans won’t be able to whine about Obama’s purported “lack of experience” any more. Not that experience is any guarantee of anything: was Bush more experienced than Obama? Perhaps, by most definitions of “experienced.” But that didn’t stop him from making stupid decision after stupid decision.