Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Sunset of America

Just because I say this country is in decline doesn't mean I'm anti-American or unpatriotic - I'm just making an observation. People my age and older have been around long enough to know the difference. If you're only 21, what do you know? Trust me, very little. I know. I was once 21 too.

And I'm not just referring to the financial decline of this nation, or because of the downfall that began since the housing bubble and the collapse of AIG (Joe Cassano). I saw the excess greed long before everyone's houses started quickly going up in value, and then when they started taking out home equity loans to buy brand new SUVs and big flat-screen TVs. Maybe had they been paid fairer wages, they wouldn't have felt compelled to put themselves in so much debt to enjoy the same things that they thought everyone else could easily afford (which they couldn't either). Corporate America sold us debt, and put America's citizens in slavery. We worked for them and we also owed them.

I think the biggest part of our decline started back in the mid-70s to early 80s (about the time of the oil embargo when America's oil production had already peaked and we became dependent of Mid Eastern oil). This was when we had disco, cocaine, dot coms, John DeLorean, L.A. gangs, Senator Gary Hart, ABSCAM, Watergate....everything that happened just after the Viet Nam War when American corporations escalated the outsourcing of jobs overseas. Had America "won" that war, South Viet Nam would have looked much like South Korea does today. The U.S. would have a Army installation on the DMZ and it would be in a constant state of military readiness.

Every generation complains about the younger generation, and every generation rebels against the previous one. When I was a teenager I used to wear Navy surplus bell-bottom jeans with patches and march in protest rallies against the Viet Nam War. When my dad was a teenager he wore bell-bottom jeans too...the difference was, he was IN the Navy on a war ship fighting in the Korean War, not protesting the war. But even though I disagreed with my dad many times, I still had values and knew right from wrong (and sometimes I did the wrong thing).

America's decline wasn't JUST because of corruption in politics - or JUST because of corporate greed either. It's was also because of a decline in family values. Even though I rejected authority as a kid and I rebelled and fought with my parents, as an adult I can look back and see my parents - and not just as authority figures, but as regular people. I'm older today than my parents were then, and I sometimes imagine relating to them as my equal peers, or as though they had been much younger than myself today. How would we inter-relate with one another had they not been my parents?

I used to disagree a lot with my parents when I used to be a lot more ignorant than I am today. I thought I knew everything, and that it was always THEY who were the ones who needed a little modern "enlightenment". But I mistook their old-fashioned ways as being "square", when all it was were their "values" I was criticizing - values that their parents had instilled in them when they were kids themselves. Values that are almost lost today, fading little by little, with each progressive generation. Being "politically correct" has replaced "moral decency".

Corporal punishment (not price gouging, but parental spankings) was once "normal" in child rearing. I was raised with the occasional belt to the ass, just as my father was with the occasional switch in the wood-shed when he was being raised on a farm. Today they call it "child abuse". While I still don't condone it, I'm beginning to think that THAT has something to do with our decline as well. As my dad used to say, "If you won't learn to respect me, then you damn sure will learn to fear me." Kids today don't fear authority as much, and they don't respect it at all. Hell, they don't even respect people like me...the elderly. And I once thought I was pretty cool!

The Greatest Generation (the baby boomer's parents) weren't called the "greatest" for nothing. They lived through and survived the greatest economic depression, then fought in the greatest war, and afterwards built this country into the greatest nation. There's so few left of those men or women of yesteryear; you'd have to watch an old black-and-white movie on TV to see them now. Their parents spanked them when they were bad, they had respect, they had values.

China will soon be the world's number one economic powerhouse, over taking America as they have already over-taken Japan has the second largest. China's middle class will soon dominate America's. We have 10% unemployment, China has 4%. I'm not bashing the United States (even though most of our leaders are liars and crooks); I'm just sad to see this once mighty and morally decent nation in decline, and it's because we lack values. Greed now governs every aspect of our society today.

Almost every congress-person will tell you about God and country, and will proclaim the merits of patriotism, tell you they support our soldiers, tell you about church and family values, and will try to convince you they are concerned, honest, and fiscally responsible. But if this were all so, why are we where we are today? Why do the banks and large corporations continue to destroy the working-class in this nation for ever more profits? Where is all this congressional "concern" when they still allow millions of people to suffer without an income while the wealthiest 2% are allowed to have everything they want?

Because congress, just like the rich, think, "We got ours!"

The average older unemployed American is most likely a baby boomer - a son or daughter of the Great Generation. They worked the longest and the hardest for the last 20, 30, or 40 years. Now they have been forced to spend their life's savings and retirement funds just to live because American corporations would rather hire younger people with iPods glued to their ears - those with NO experience at all. That same kid could have still been living at home with their parents, but instead they can now rent their own apartment, or even buy their own house (a great buyer's market today). Meanwhile, all the "old people's" parents (the Greatest Generation) have already passed the unemployed Boomers can't go home to mom or dad any more.

Just because I say this country is in decline doesn't mean I'm anti-American or unpatriotic - I'm just making an observation. Politicians and corporate America destroyed our once mighty nation. I'm not bashing America, I'm mourning its loss and the middle-class's demise.


  1. My mom is a "Baby Boomer" at the age of 67 and I'm a Gen X'er but I see the decline in values you talk about in your article. My children are Gen Y's and I see the lack of values and respect in their peers. My children don't have that because I'm not afraid to take a belt or my hand to my child's ass - no governmental agency is going to tell ME how to raise MY child and I WILL instill morals and respect without bargaining. But each time I see one of these "teeny-boppers" wandering down the street, I have to shake my head and hope to God that I'm dead before these kids grow up and take control because they are beyond spoiled and haven't a clue. Just another result of the decline of the middle class of America.
    Peach :o)~

  2. Bud.. Leave.. get the last of your money and leave. There are opportunities in Asia [Thailand, you can make a small living teaching English in the country]. I may be a lot younger than you but I was where you are. Our country left us in the cold, so find someplace warm. let me know if you need something