There have always always been disposable people in a limited-use society, but it’s worse now. We, as a nation of lonesome people found alone in a decaying world, have become much more than merely disposable. We have become the toss aways. We have lost our value. We have forfeited the way forward. We find ourselves teetering on the precipice between the living, and the dismayed, and the balance of the affair solely belongs to us — the us of us.

You’d think by now we’d have a clue into the madness that consumes us — where greed and opportunity rule the day for those in power while the rest of us rue the day we while away our dreams, and the wishes of our children, into the dirty gravel of the 9-5 job and the never ending school day. A 40-hour work week that strangles us is only the beginning of the hours due to be paid.

Yes, we’re in trouble in America. We still think we run the world, but we really worry about the ruin of us while the rest of the world figures out that we’ve grown soft, lazy, and uninspired. There aren’t enough fighter planes screaming over Homeland sporting events, or enough tanks rolling on foreign soil, to strikingly convince us in our deepest fears that we’re still the most powerful nation in the world. We wish to believe to dream. We buy our own fear.

How and when did this decline in American exceptionalism begin — if our delight was ever really a thing?

In 1945, the free world rescued the rest of the world, and ever since that moment in time, the remainders of the world have been tossed askew as the vanquished have sought revenge, and the victorious have rested, still wet in their mangers, deciding the world owes them for every good thing that has happened since the world was made safe for democracy; and the afterbirth is given just as much value as the stillbirth.

We preside with faith and preen with morality while the danger of another American Tragedy forms only our rationalizations, and never our cohesive terror.

However, Democracy is never safe — it takes hard work and sacrifice to keep a democratic state alive — and the world is failing that test of freedom. Antagonists are on the rise. Authoritarian rule is admired by those who profess their need to bleed for a flag to perform their loyalty to a nation.

Freedom is more than pageantry participation and self admiration. The rising threat of a militarized local police force should be a moment of grave concern for everyone, but there are those surrounding us who still find comfort in conceding weapons of war patrolling our streets are as elementary to lives staining pavement as lilies are to blooming in the Spring.

Deeds of valor require a moral duty to the core of a community. It isn’t enough to just shout out or stand in attendance. No, in order to make a difference today, we must come together to do more than just complain while patting ourselves on the back for making a joyful noise.

We need to test everything we think we know. We need to question every single statement our government brands in our name — both at home and abroad. We need to be more than heard — we need to be feared for the dry power we have stored; feared because we are awake and aware of what’s going on around us and behind our backs. We need to make it clear we cannot just play along because that isn’t working out for the best of us.

Money has always ruled the world by purchasing power and appeasing authority. Do the poor ever have a hope of being involved in the forward position of a future life? Or are they stuck with calloused hands and backs bowed by doing the work that the rest of us refuse to imagine? “Divide and conquer” isn’t the motto of the enemy, it is the rule of corrupt leadership.

We must force ourselves to look beyond the combustible illusion of what we pray our lives to be against what they really are in the world space of living on our knees. It is up to only us to question authority, and to act to unravel the material of the unwinding mortal coil of the human condition.

Sure, we may hold disdain for those who are not like us, but who is really like us? Family? Friends? Those who share our common beliefs of faith and community? Why must we always be at odds against those who may choose to believe as they believe without our withheld approval?

For 75 years, we have been the self-anointed, worldwide arbiter of what is right and wrong, and that’s the no-win condition of a rotting, universal, moral code that is an unwinnable — but federally assailable and functionally jingoistic — division of divinity.

We are always prepared to fight, to make war, but we are rarely willing to celebrate to keep the peace because not being aggressive and possessive is not to be American.

If we are able to change our thought process to celebrate the people, all the people, and to bring everyone home, we risk winning the entire moment in history in which we can never be defeated because we can never be divided, only desired; and what’s wrong with leading the world with grace and caring instead of threats and bullying?

Have we learned nothing of the matter of human nature that when one is threatened and backed into a corner the only way out of the desperation is to fight back with bloody death?

If we hope to choose peace over war, friend over the familiar, wounded over the pleased, then we need to open our minds, and our ingenuity, to find common spokes that connect us, and bind them together tighter than ever because what is at risk now is a wobbling worldwide contempt for thought, science, and education — and the risk to self, and to the other, is the wages of death spiralling us into peril; and what waits for us on the other side of the mountain is not the glory of the stars, or the dawning golden sun, but the bitter ash of a cold gravestone.

The choice is ours; let’s make it an active one, together — don’t let us toss us away!