An old friend emailed me tonight wanting to know what I thought about the state of the Union. I didn’t intend to write a diatribe, but it just flowed out of me. My thoughts are what follows, with a few edits.

These are certainly scary times and we are in desperate need of serious people that can lead and make changes to our bankrupt society. Both of our parties (unified, as I see them, under the umbrella of the Corporate party) are fear mongering, saying that this will cause another great depression, starting this coming Monday. Wasn’t it just 10 days ago that McCain said the economy is fundamentally strong? That is indeed a rapid decline.

Freedom doesn’t come without some pain and we need to be free of these banks and corporations that feed off the masses. To get free of these parasites, it will take a cleansing. We need to live honest lives and we simply are not honest as a people.

We pretend that this country is capitalist when in fact we are the largest socialist state in the world. We are in fact the worst socialist state in the world. We indenture or enlist our young in exchange for their education, only to bankrupt them later with “free market” health care. We then have the audacity to expect the public to bail out trillion dollar corporations?

We pretend that we love the free market, yet when that market kills off a sector, we bail it out with public money because failure to do so might be a little bit too free. We still pay farmers to allow their fields to go fallow to control the price of cereals on the world market. We prevent businesses from offering superior, safer products because it will cause other businesses to have to compete. You don’t need to be an economist to recognize this isn’t a free market. We are completely dishonest with ourselves and that has to stop. I don’t see any of our “experts” saying that. Instead, tonight after the President’s address, it cut right back to “America’s Got Talent”. Clearly, our priorities are in order.

I didn’t live during the great depression and from the looks of it (and what my grandparents have told me), it wasn’t a picnic that I would like to partake in. But out of that struggle, we got the prosperity and growth that has carried us to today. It was all part of the cycle. The late 19th and early 20th century were the time of the robber barons, a period not unlike the 1980’s and 90’s. It takes a decade or so for the proverbial chickens to come home to roost after such largess. We find ourselves on the decline in that cycle. Ben Bernanke is an expert on the Great Depression and Paulson is no lackey when it comes to economic history. They both know this to be true. They just have the unfortunate task of having to try to delay the depression until after the election. Even then, I’m not convinced that we will have a “great depression.” I suggest that we roll the dice and simply break the cycle.

This situation speaks to a larger problem. I really think that the bulk of the problem with the American people today is that we defer to experts. We don’t want to have to think about hard issues (again, dishonest), so we leave them to the “experts”. We are told that life has become so complicated that the individual cannot possibly understand how politics/government/military/economics/etc. really work or how they need to be managed. Expertise is a huge industry. I have friends who make huge sums of money serving as experts. Let me tell you first hand, we don’t need experts to tell us anything, save how to send a man to the moon.

You can just tell in your gut that this bailout deal stinks. But society has conditioned us to rely on experts. The refrain is always the same every time you make an argument against the cult of expertise: “it’s more complicated than you think.” Bullshit.

There is a reason that a little pamphlet called “Common Sense” sparked the idea for this country. Paine wrote a masterpiece and titled it honestly. It contains the essence of what this country has to offer and we would all be better served to read it.

Many will see this piece as depressing, but that pun isn’t my intent. I am certain that, if we can just be honest with ourselves, we can become the great nation we pretend to be, with or without a great depression. Now, do us all a favor and write your congressional representatives and go read Paine’s Common Sense.