The most unusual aspect of our current culture is a pervasive sense of denial, widespread delusion and an absolute refusal to acknowledge that which is before our very eyes.
I don’t want to get political here . . . I really don’t . . . which is fairly easy since the attitudes and beliefs of many Americans are as much a sociological as a political phenomenon. I’m a little bit amazed (though not as amazed or surprised as I wish I was) at how many people are fully accepting that the polarization of our society and the absolute free-fall of our economy is a fait accompli, a given, a done deal. I was sitting in the DMV the other day, and after suppressing the urge to hang myself that is inherent to everyone who’s ever spent quality time sitting in a DMV, I began to eavesdrop. Every conversation I heard, every single one, went something like this.
“I just lost my job of seven years.”
“I got laid off after 15 years . . . so much for the pension.”
“I’ve been looking for work for over a year . . . nobody even bothers to call back.”
“I ain’t got no idea how I’m going to cover next month’s bills.”
These are not infrequent statements, no matter the part of the country in which you reside. What struck me as odd was that, listening to the private talk and glancing furtively at the speakers, they all seemed to have a certain acquiescence. They knew the facts – they were and are experiencing them first hand – but they seemed relegated to the scenario that things are bad and things aren’t going to get any better. I got the impression, listening a bit more, that most planned on applying for food stamps, for disability, for any kind of government assistance they could uncover.
I can’t say I blame them for that, especially if they have families to feed. You do what you’ve got to do.
On the other hand, I didn’t feel any vibes of outrage from these folks, no sense of wounded pride, no concept that we are traveling down a road that leads only to more dependency and more poverty. My impression was that bad times, unemployment over 15% (the real number from the Bureau of Labor Statistics -- not the nicey-nice 8.2% that is constantly trumpeted by the media and the politicians) and zero hope for the future is simply the new normal.
These folks have given up . . . and I think they are legion.
Look, it would be real nice to live in a world where everything was puppies and rainbows and we had hot and cold running t-bones and taters. It would nice to crank open the faucet and have it squirt out lemonade and vodka twists. It would also be nice if dogs lived to age 90, if bacon was a fruit, if I could play “Layla” on the six-string and that every front yard came complete with a rainbow, pot of gold and very considerate leprechaun.
Fact . . . we are becoming, or maybe have become, a welfare nation. Fact, that welfare nation is financially unsustainable. Doesn’t anybody ever wonder who will pay for all of this, or are people intellectually immune to the idea that the US is already 15 trillion in debt (that will double or triple thanks to the Affordable Care Act recently approved by the Supreme Court)? There is no way to pay for this stuff; attempts to implement will result in a complete and total financial implosion. Not immediately . . . I'd say we could bury ourselves in misery and more debt for maybe a generation . . . but trust me that the final outcome will indeed be final.