Well, today I became another year older (not necessarily a year wiser), somewhat deeper in debt ($4.25 a gallon for regular unleaded), and now is a good a time to reflect as any (the rum hasn’t kicked in yet).
And reflect I did.
To the positive side of the ledger:
- Even as poor as we are out here in the hinterlands, having seen what it is like to be really poor, while overseas, still helps to kind of keep things in perspective. I could (still) indeed be worse. We have a roof over our heads, food in our bellies, gainful (if somewhat underpaid) employment, and a wealth, unmeasured, of family and friends whose bonds are themselves more precious than gold.
- Reasonably good health, and even with an imperfect health system/insurance, access to the most modern of medical technology. This done without the “benefit” of “Obamacare”.
- Freedom to travel though out the country, when ever the mood or opportunity strikes us.
- Freedom to choose where we want to live and or work (assuming you have the money for the former, and meet the skill-set[s] for the latter).
- Relative safety in ones travels throughout the country (admittedly, there are areas throughout the country which are not as safe as others, and some which are flat-out “unsafe”)
- A rich harvest of foods, meats, fish and fowl, and drink of which to choose from, in preparing for ones meals.
- A diverse choice of viewpoints on almost any given subject, idea, or belief. And the ability, with minimal effort, to be able to research or view same.
- … (fill in the blank)
Now considering all the above, you would think we were still in the 50’s or 60’s. On the face of it there does not seem to be much difference. But that would be misleading and mistaken.
Looking at the negative side of the ledger:
- The purchasing power of the dollar, compared to where it was 50 years ago, is not nearly as strong.
- The “gap” between those who are in the top 2% of the wealthiest in this country , and those on the bottom couple of rungs. (the middle class be shrinking)
- The (continuing) debasement/dissolution of the “traditional” family.
- The (continuing) debasement/dissolution of what was once considered “traditional” cultural norms.
- The encroachment of government (local/state/federal) into almost every aspect of society and or individual lives.
- The loss of even any attempt by all/any media to provide something akin to objective reporting (opinion pieces and editorials aside).
- … (fill in the blank)
It would seem the pluses outweigh the negatives. But both lists are purposefully left incomplete. There is a final entry on each for you, dear reader(s) in which to add to either list. I would be interested in what you all come up with.
Frankly, I do not feel this is in any way shape or form, the same country it was a mere fifty years ago. Have there been some positive changes since then? Yes. But at the end of the day, I can’t honestly say we as a nation, a culture or a peoples, are better for all which has been allowed to evolve since then. And not every chance brought about in the last half century has been good for us. (Even if based on “good intent’, despite what the media or government may say. The Patriot Act and the EPA are two good examples of that.) This country has become increasingly polarized. Become increasingly divided along any number of fault lines.
I have had faith in the people to, at the end of the day, stand up for what is right and true about us as a nation, a culture, and a people. That a horrific event, such as what happened in September of 2001 would unite us against the enemies without as much as it would call to bring those with in our borders to accountability of their actions (or lack there of). Sadly, with a few exceptions, this did not happen. And so we are where we are today.
I wonder what will be left of this nation, and its grand experiment, at the end of the next fifty years.