America Alcoholica by Donna Gaines

America Alcoholica

Remember, O Lord, what has happened to us;
look, and see our disgrace.
Our inheritance has been turned over to aliens,
our homes to foreigners.
We have become orphans and fatherless,
our mothers like widows.
We must buy the water we drink;
our wood can be had only at a price.
Those who pursue us are at our heels;
we are weary and find no rest.
Lamentations 5:1-5

In the transition from capitalism to socialism there’s an interim period of history known as alcoholism. Typically described as self-centered, self-seeking, and arrogant yet filled with shame, the active alcoholic is a fear-based and narcissistic creature—sort of like America.

As advanced capitalism slams through an inevitable end-times collapse, we’re hung-over, reeling towards a terminal state of anomie; stranded somewhere between another drink and the promise of living sober. As any addict can testify, the morning after always feels apocalyptic; the daylight bores into us, drilling down to the core of our soul-sickness. Cold terror sets in, we're nauseous with despair. Depleted, ashamed, hopelessly alone, we cry out for salvation, Lord I just can’t face another day. We pray for a miracle—a bailout, a regime change, a new messiah. We bargain with God, with fate, with history, making a thousand more promises we'll never keep; liberty, freedom, equality, dignity, democracy.

Alcoholism is an individual malaise; sober living is a we proposition—a social project that requires binding fellowship. We’ve fallen so short, nullified sacred social contracts and sold out future generations. Wallowing in personal loss, debt and self-pity, now we play the game of blame and shame. Mostly, we betrayed ourselves. We followed a false god and here we are, spiritually and materially bankrupt.

We admitted we were powerless…and that our lives had become unmanageable. Yes, the last eight years have been brutal. But a hard bottom can be a blessing to a sick and suffering alcoholic. From the personal to the social, from the individual to the collective, profound desperation often precedes radical transformation. Yet even as we are dragged kicking and screaming into a better world, we resist. There is no great man of history who can save us now. We need a change of heart.

For the late stage alcoholic, the alternative to recovery is a slow, stinking, death. Bush is not Satan, McCain is not Bush, and Obama is not Christ. Denial is not a river in Egypt or a new club in Dubai. Analog or digital, PC verses Mac, either way, the party’s over. It’s time for us to rise up, suit up, show up, and grow up. Come November 4, America goes to rehab.
*reprinted from: First of the Month