"When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic." - Ben Franklin
"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's greatest civilizations has been about 200 years. These nations have progressed through this sequence: From bondage to spiritual faith; From spiritual faith to great courage; From liberty to abundance; From abundance to selfishness; From selfishness to apathy; From apathy to dependence; From dependence back into bondage." - Alexander Fraser Tytler, 1770, (aged 23).
I believe we are witnessing the most dangerous threat to our democratic republic in our country's history. Some will say that it is because of Obama's leftist economic policies (or their blaming of Obama for what was George W. Bush's policy of a nationalization of major U.S. corporations like Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, General Motors, and AIG). Some will say it is because of the GOP's wholehearted embrace of a socially conservative but morally and politically bigoted ideology (that is, Christianism). But I think it is neither one nor the other.
This decay of what made America great -- the embrace of capitalism, the essential acknowledgment that all people are equal, a fierce commitment to freedom of speech, the press, religion, etc. -- has been nearly destroyed by an almost insatiable thirst for the money/power combination. This combination is best obtained by essentially looting the U.S. Treasury, which bestows hefty subsidies to further the economic and political interests of the nation.
We Americans are no longer willing to hear that we must pay for the services that we receive from the government -- including healthcare, warfare, and retirement benefits. We all want something for nothing. A perfect example is California, where voters who gutted property taxes in 1978 still want the same level of education, transportation, and other services we had before then.
Ultimate responsibility for the current state of our government rests with us, the voters. We chose these people whose idea of governing is siphoning as much off the government tank as possible, as directed by their largest campaign contributors.
The 20th century, it is widely agreed, was the American century. We are losing our grip on the next. The 21st will eventually belong to China.
For the first time in a long time, I fear for my sons' futures.