Thursday, August 26, 2010

Requiem for a Country

Here is a Yahoo! article about dying American cities.

As I read this I think... what does it take for people to get a "wake up call"? It should be pretty clear to most Americans that something has gone off the rails. In the 1970s things went sour and there seemed to be an antidote in the 1980s with Ronald Reagan's "It's Morning in America" theme. But it should now be clear that this was a false lead. Thirty years of Republican ideology has led the US into even more of a boxed-in corner.

You would think that people would wake up, shake their heads, and feel the need to take a new direction. But instead, it appears that Americans want more of the lies-before-truth and below-the-belt sucker punching that the Republicans deliver as "politics". Instead of a basic honesty about the current situation and a determination to do the hard work to get onto to a better road, Americans want more drug-laden Republican feel-good pablum. Sad.

You have to be able to feel the difference. Watch a 1930s or 1940s film. These were done during the depths of the Great Depression and the horrors of WWII, but there is a solid humanity about them, strong story line, optimism, and decency. Flash forward to the 1970s and you get things turning sour with the "I'm into 'Me'" generation and the turning away from social commitment and engagement with a civil society. By the 1980s this turns into the "Greed is Good" mantra. Politics turns mean with dirty tricks. It goes from the limited meanness of Nixon's "plumbers" to where politics today is pure mud slinging. Everything has slid toward right wing messages of power and greed, shrinking government, do nothing for nobody unless there is money up front, and all the hideous bowing and scraping before the rich and powerful. It is sickening. No wonder decay is the theme of American today.

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