Reflections on Twenty Years

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Nice cartoon. I note the text of this speech was given in 1995. That’s almost twenty years ago, and while it may have been applicable back then, it certainly doesn’t work today.

This is how radically our culture has changed in those twenty years: if you take a “lesser job,” whether it be in hours or money, you can no longer afford to buy a house or have a kid on what you’ll make. The 1% have rigged the game against us. Either you dance to their tune, or you survive poorly.

I found a way to work a lot less so I can write a lot more, but I make almost no money at it. Money greases the wheels in this country. When the car breaks, I won’t be able to afford to replace it. I don’t have insurance, so if I get sick, I may very well die. I’m single, so I don’t get any tax breaks.

I’m as happy as I’ve ever been… for now. I have a roof over my head, a car, and I’m not ill enough currently to need medical intervention. I can live with the pain of whatever’s wrong in my leg. But what happens when the status quo changes? Because things always change. That’s a fact.

So yeah, cute cartoon. But it doesn’t address our current reality. Today’s college grads are gonna discover selling out (or turning to a life of crime) is the only thing they can do if they want the car, the house, a marriage, and a kid. They may even have to sell out to two employers, which will definitely not give them the life so prettily illustrated in the cartoon.

And if they’re not straight white males, they’re gonna find it even harder to get any piece of the so-called American Dream, “so-called” because it’s most definitely a dream. The reality is gonna be hard to swallow.

Twenty years. That’s how quickly our quality of life has dropped. When people say “things can change in a heartbeat,” that’s pretty much true. Twenty years is barely measurable on America’s timeline, and it won’t show up at all on the world’s, and yet look what has happened during that short blip.

I only hope the reverse change happens as quickly, and we get back the things that once made this country so great. I want to see us get it back by moving forward, not trying, like the GOP, to go back to a time that no longer exists, and shouldn’t. I want to see real values being lauded again, and money take its rightful place far below things like loyalty, ethics, kindness and generosity.

But I’m not holding my breath. The 1% are holding onto our money and their power with all their strength. It’s gonna take something extraordinary to change this status quo. 

 

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7 Responses to Reflections on Twenty Years

  1. Dreamer9177 says:

    Very well said. Things are always seemingly just out of our reach, and that is what is supposed to spur us on to continue the chase. The thing is, most people never take the time to be happy with themselves and to enjoy their own lives. The culture stresses that we must always obtain more things and keep up with the Joneses. While this might give some people an incentive to continue playing the game, I wonder how many of them are truly happy?

    The 1% have most people so busy trying to survive that they cannot disengage themselves to see what is truly going on.

    • I broke that “consumerism” addiction years ago when I was laid off. I no longer feel compelled to purchase things because I’m being bombarded with ads. Not shopping much and never watching commercial television helped, too. (And this is another reason I can’t stand ads on the internet; they found yet another pipeline to deliver their “drug.”)

      I don’t think we fully realize how manipulated we are until we take a giant step back and see what they do to our heads.

      And even though I don’t purchase anything I don’t need, I’m still living in what the government calls poverty. I make just enough to pay the bills and I’m happy. I don’t spend most of my day jumping to a boss’s orders or afraid I’m going to be fired if I don’t work late or on the weekends (been there! hated it). As I pointed out, however, it took me a while to rig this in my favor. Years, in fact, and while it works for me, it won’t work for people with families or those that want them.

  2. Karen says:

    So true, so perfectly expressed. Hopefully one day enough people will want to see the same thing and it will start to happen.

    • I think they already do, but things are so out of whack, it’s going to take something catastrophic to change it.

      Last time income inequality was this bad was 1928. We all know what happened in 1929. That was catastrophic. That depression lasted years, and if the government then had taken the steps ours is doing now, it would have been much, much worse.

      Obviously, we do not learn from history, because out government has their heads up their asses while the middle class and poor struggle badly. We tell them we don’t want more wars, and they don’t listen. We beg for jobs, and they refuse to pass that bill. It’s disgusting, and history will reveal just how bad this time was, and how little government did to fix it.

  3. You’re absolutely right, of course, and I fear we’ve gone too far to turn back now. Especially after the Citizens United ruling which basically sold our government to the highest bidder. Further complicating the situation is that we don’t have the useful knowledge and experience our parents and grandparents had which got them through the Great Depression. At that time in our history, most Americans were at most one generation off the farm and knew how to raise their own food. I don’t see that happening today, nor do we have the actual, as opposed to virtual, social networks that helped people get through the hard times. The cartoon, however, made me think of the British sit com from the late 1970s, Good Neighbors, which is great fun and stars some of my favorite British actors.

    • I own that series. 🙂 Every year or two, I watch it from first to last episode. I love the Goods! Well, I love Jerry and Margo, too. It’s a wonderful show. I read Richard Briers recently died.

      Citizens United is maybe the worst thing to happen to this country. Overturning it must happen if there’s a chance in hell to get our government back.

      You’re right on every count. We don’t know how to grow food, and as most of us now live in the city, there’s no place to do it, either. 😦

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