A question for the old goodjers...

I see a lot of worry/fear (however you want to phrase) it going on. Many of you seem to think we're on the decline, and that Bush is going to ruin the world. Yet, I'm in my early twenties and I cannot in my lifetime notice any change. All I know is that it seems the samethings were said about Regan and life doesn't seem very different, to me.

Can you honestly notice a difference in how your day to day life has changed (outside of the normal change from growing up) in the last 20 or even 40 years? I can't.

Which is why it's so hard for me to get bent out of shape over things.

I'm only in my (Oh please God no) late twenties, but I certainly have not seen a difference in my personal day to day life. Then again, I'm a single, employed, mid-to upper middle class white male in the Northeast. I hear things like how income doesn't go up vs inflation for 80% of the workforce (making that number up), but that certainly isn't me. I'm 4 years out of college and have seen my income increase fairly significantly every year. I'm obviously concerned about Bush, but the family/friends I know in the military-industrial complex are all on the defense contractor side.

But I could easily see how much of what I hear could eventually affect me. Once I have a family and settle down, my promotability decreases significantly, and I may no longer see those raises that seem to come automatically now. I've studied just enough economics to know that the debt we're running, federally, individualy, and current account, just aren't sustainable in the long term, and that an adjustment is necessary. The US has always been somewhat of a whipping boy in foreign circles in my lifetime, often with good reason, but I only see us becoming moreso as time goes on. Multiple factors show tensions rising domestically and internationally, and it's just a matter of how quickly we'll be able to let off pressure, or if it will reach critical mass in the catastrophe some predict. I don't see a clear path towards any solution, but I do see tensions continuing to rise.

I think the best way to sum it up is: It's all downhill from here, at least in the short term. There are many mountains left to climb, but we could fall a long way if we're not looking at the next few steps.

Yes.

Back when I was a kid, living outside of Baltimore, any city I visited - NYC, DC, Baltimore, Philly, North Jersey, Boston - had an ugly brown haze hanging over it. Sometimes it was yellowish brown, sometimes a darker brown. It could hang around for weeks at a time and was acrid and a bit biting to breathe. It stung the eyes. Summertime was the worst. Oh, and in many parts of the Northeast, when it rained through the smog, the tree leaves yellowed and fell off.

Many, many people smoked, everywhere.

Talk radio and tv shows did not exist.

Democrats controlled the South with an iron fist, politically.

Women did not attend many major colleges - Princeton, Yale and others were all-male.

Religion was a private matter. Literalists were backwoods nutcases, snake-handlers and the like. When people did discuss it, it was with the assumption that everyone in earshot was Christian.

Abortion was illegal in most states; women died from self-administered abortions, and doctors went to jail for performing them.

I remember being yanked away from a Negroes only water fountain in Florida, because that was theirs, not mine.

Gasoline was cheap and leaded.

The East River caught fire. Repeatedly.

I had to change my major away from microecological systems (energy flow in small alpine meadow environments as an analog to larger, more complicated ecological systems) because Reagan was advised to stop Federal funding to any college program that featured Ecology as a field of study.

There's more, but the point is that you can't remember the change because it started in earnest in early 80's. The poisonous political environment of character assassination, one-sided debates and "my way or the highway" patriotism was *created*; it's not what politics was like in the late 60's or 70's. Our political debate has coarsened back towards the practices of the early 1800's.

Things have changed, definitely. I've been through a number of the ways politics and messaging have changed in past discussions. But the reason that Reagan is so admired by conservatives is that he managed to be elected, and actually tried to put some of the theories into play. Remember who preceded him - Ford, basically harmless and ineffective; Nixon and Agnew, true criminals; and then it's back to the 50's to get a Republican. Reagan could be passed off as strongly anti-Communist, and he rode the populist wave. Granted, he nearly got himself impeached, and his entire first economic plan crashed harder than Hillary's healthcare, but his relentless push to take the social issues agenda away from liberals, and bring back jingoistic patriotic militarism made him very popular. To this day, he's credited with accomplishing things that were in motion for years, even decades, before he came in, and his perfidious circumvention of the law is mostly ignored, or excused.

Politically, Reagan brought us the beginning of the partisan divide we suffer through today. From my perspective, it's not normal. Even at the height of the Viet Nam protests, Congress and the Senate were far more civil and cooperative than today, and Nixon only extended his ideas about Presidential prerogatives to the political arena. Bush and the modern Republicans are literally the most radical politicians in my lifetime, and perhaps going back to the very early parties.

And that's just political. The Bush Administration has worked through the use of Presidential orders to an unprecedented degree to try to change regulation in every major segment of government. That's a whole other topic.

Here's a thought experiment for you, Ulairi. Imagine that somehow segregation, "seperate but equal", was put back in place in 2010. In 2030, some poster says to you "How have things changed? You guys whine about it all the time, but I've seen nothing really different during my lifetime...I don't get why you guys are upset? (Double-posting to minority boards)". I think you'd see it differently.

What's kind of scary is the idea that the current political atmosphere might not seem so bad to you.

All I know is that it seems the samethings were said about Regan and life doesn't seem very different, to me.

I just noticed your focus on this. If you can't see the differences between the Reagan and Bush administrations, you are literally not paying attention. No offense intended, but take a look at the radical changes to regulations, the use of secrecy to bypass oversight, the signing statements, the massive use of rules changes to set policy that would not pass Congress, the refusal to take responsibility for mistakes, the frequent use of recess appointments and even the Patriot Act to bypass Congressional advice and consent...There's a huge difference there. Reagan left us with a recession and little else; Bush's impact has been far greater, and far more damaging.

Just as an example, this practice is unique to President Bush, in both quantity and claimed jurisdiction:

http://www.boston.com/news/nation/ar...
http://www.coherentbabble.com/signin...

Although the practice did start with Reagan (see above), Bush has taken it to an entirely new level.

When I was young, you could walk up to an airline counter, buy a ticket, and fly anywhere you wanted, without showing anyone any ID at all.

It was considered legal to have as much cash as you liked. (nowadays, if you have more than a certain amount, it's automatically confiscated and you have to prove that the money is legal for you to have.)

We were a net creditor nation, the envy of the world; we had an incredible standard of living, and we did it with essentially no debt.

Folks were certain the dollar was collapsing, because the monetary abuses of the 60s had finally taken root in the 70s; we had high inflation and a stagnant economy. Economic problems take a long while to happen and even longer to sort out. We started a new, suicidal fiscal course in the 80s when Reagan took over, and I believe we're topping out about now. We have been living on debt for the last twenty five years, consuming the gigantic wealth of our parents and grandparents to maintain a standard of living we really can't afford. We are now indebted past any ability to ever repay.

Cops were polite and respectful, rarely used force, and were generally pretty easygoing. You were taught, as a child, to go to a policeman if you were in trouble.

We were able to fund the entire space program out of, essentially, petty cash.

We believed that you could rehabilitate a prisoner; nowadays, it's expected that prisoners will be raped.

There was no such thing as a no-knock warrant.

There was no surveillance of citizens.(*)

If you were arrested, you could be quite certain you would be charged and processed within days.

* -- legally. There was surveillance, but heads rolled when the details were discovered.

Remember when eminent domain was used to build highways and hospitals?

For as long as I remember, I have been told there will not be any Social Security left when I retire. I've heard that before I had my first job in 1983. Seems like those buggers have been taking my money for it ever since. I have a pretty stgrong resentment toward Boomers in gerneral, as they are responsible not only for allowing the treasury to be looted, but have reaped the benefits of it, while passing the costs on down.

I remember when we could proudly denounce torture, as our government would not allow it ( legally. There was torture, but heads rolled when the details were discovered - Malor).

Robear, I was born in 83. I don't remember the Reagen era. My only memory of Reagen came from the 92 convention when I saw him speak. I don't really remember the Bush Sr. era.

Robear, I was born in 83. I don't remember the Reagen era. My only memory of Reagen came from the 92 convention when I saw him speak. I don't really remember the Bush Sr. era.

Robear, I was born in 83. I don't remember the Reagen era.

And so? Are you saying you know nothing about him but that speech? That you are not a Reagan Republican? I'm confused. My whole point is, your view of politics and how it works was *created* by people who worked with or for Reagan (and in many cases, Nixon). So it's reasonable to cite that time as a crux of change.

Not sure what you are trying to assert here...Especially since you compared what was "said" about Reagan with what's said about Bush. Or, maybe you didn't realize how direct a challenge this question creates.

I would say, like most people, you only care about stuff when it affects you personally. Being 24, most of your adult life has been under a political administration and ideology that you agree with. When times change and politics with it, your memory of the old days will look a bit better. Also, being not married and fresh out of college doesn't hurt either.

karmajay wrote:

I would say, like most people, you only care about stuff when it affects you personally. Being 24, most of your adult life has been under a political administration and ideology that you agree with. When times change and politics with it, your memory of the old days will look a bit better. Also, being not married and fresh out of college doesn't hurt either. ;)

I don't really agree with Bush's ideology....I just disagree with the left more. Maybe, because I'm fresh out of college, but the left (and even people on these forums) seems angry and make me feel like they don't have any faith in the nation. Everything is coming down to them.

Also, I'm not a new republican. If anything, I'm a country club republican. I don't believe in abortion for any reason, but nor do I agree with the death penelty. I don't think the government should have anything to do with marriage, so that gay couples should be able to get civil unions. I'm much more of a "big business" republican more than anything. And, I thought we're ok with liberals now....

I'm not even sure if I believe in the war anymore...

When I was in high school and an eager and thirsty young mind, I took some summer courses at a local university. Just one-day, all-day affairs, for no credit or anything, just for interest. One that I took, because I thought it might be interesting, I dare not type out the name out of fear the CARNIVORE might pick up on it and send some feds my way. Suffice it to say the major lessons of that class was that you can get zinc by grinding up pennies, and black powder is a lot more powerful if confined.

We are appearing angry and you are not because it's your man who's sitting in the White House now, and he's having his way. Big time. Has it not been so, and has he not have a compliant Congress at his disposal, I gather the polarity of our sentiments would be reversed.

I don't think the government should have anything to do with marriage, so that gay couples should be able to get civil unions.

What about other, hetero couples? Should they also be limited to civil unions only?

Gorilla.800.lbs wrote:

We are appearing angry and you are not because it's your man who's sitting in the White House now, and he's having his way. Big time. Has it not been so, and has he not have a compliant Congress at his disposal, I gather the polarity of our sentiments would be reversed.

I don't think the government should have anything to do with marriage, so that gay couples should be able to get civil unions.

What about other, hetero couples? Should they also be limited to civil unions only? :)

All unions by law should be civil. The Church should marry couples and if one church wants to marry gays and straight couples, it's up to the church.

Ulairi wrote:

I don't really agree with Bush's ideology....I just disagree with the left more. Maybe, because I'm fresh out of college, but the left (and even people on these forums) seems angry and make me feel like they don't have any faith in the nation. Everything is coming down to them.

You're absolutely right, because I immediately thought, "Oh jesus christ of course we're angry!!"

I was born 38 years ago in what is arguably the birthplace and laboratory of North American democratic socialism. I grew up watching America from the position of a close outsider; biased, certainly, against this cultural and economic giant, but able to look clearly at it without the red-white-and-blue lens of jingoism. I learned bits of its history, both good and bad, and learned something of the principles on which it was founded and which served as a template for future governance.

Then I moved to America. Things began to look a little different. While I could appreciate the dynamism of the job market, I was dismayed that your literal physical wellbeing was dependent on your employer and the benefits they provide; to me, it smacked of a new feudalism. I saw a large amount of economic stratification, and yes, they were greatest across racial lines. I saw how many police there are, and realized this is not an orderly society, but one in which law enforcement waits for you to break the law to smack you down. Again, there's a racial difference; one out of three black men between ages 20-29 get incarcerated, apparently. One of the walls Reagan contributed most to tearing down was that between government and private industry: we've seen a rise in prison labor. They're overfilling the prisons--something I don't remember happening 25 years ago--and it made sense to somebody to turn a profit from it in the style of laissez-faire capitalism.

A captive population performing semi-involuntary labor for the profit of another. Nobody, I'm sure, meant to create something like a sneaky form of slavery, but there it is.

We celebrated the bicentennial in North Dakota. I remember the balloons, the flags, the joy. Things change. They change slowly, for the most powerful force in America is the status quo, but the government is selling little pieces of the country's soul to private interests, and giving other pieces away to religious ideologues.

Ulairi wrote:

All unions by law should be civil. The Church should marry couples and if one church wants to marry gays and straight couples, it's up to the church.

Hear, hear! Let us re-separate religion from government!

For the record, I'm also 24, and I don't see things as going so much more downhill than they ever did. Then again, I tend to see human history as a long march downward, into the abyss. Things are bad now, but they pretty much always were and will be. We just tend to let nostalgia cloud our memories about how bad things were.

Faith in one's nation is much different than faith in one's government. The anger comes about when corruption and greed are turned upside down and held up as virtues. For me it's the greed ... "The majority (79 percent) of freshmen in 1970 had an important personal objective of "developing a meaningful philosophy of life. By 2005, the majority of freshmen (75 percent) said their primary objective was "being very well off financially." We stand at a pivotal time in human history and it seems like we are going about it all wrong. Ergo the frustration/anger ....

I see an increase in the wealthy, an increase in the poor and a decrease in the middle class.

PissedYeti wrote:

Faith in one's nation is much different than faith in one's government. The anger comes about when corruption and greed are turned upside down and held up as virtues. For me it's the greed ... "The majority (79 percent) of freshmen in 1970 had an important personal objective of "developing a meaningful philosophy of life. By 2005, the majority of freshmen (75 percent) said their primary objective was "being very well off financially." We stand at a pivotal time in human history and it seems like we are going about it all wrong. Ergo the frustration/anger ....

Hey man, you aren't the one who got a creative writing BA in 2005. Or, if you did, perhaps you'd like to explain how you made a career path out of it for me?

wordsmythe wrote:

Hey man, you aren't the one who got a creative writing BA in 2005. Or, if you did, perhaps you'd like to explain how you made a career path out of it for me?

You write stuff, and then people pay you for it. (my standard fee as career advisor is $100, but I've tossed out a freebie here).

Funkenpants wrote:
wordsmythe wrote:

Hey man, you aren't the one who got a creative writing BA in 2005. Or, if you did, perhaps you'd like to explain how you made a career path out of it for me?

You write stuff, and then people pay you for it. (my standard fee as career advisor is $100, but I've tossed out a freebie here).

Brilliant!

Wait no, the other thing. Guess I'm a bad writer.

Law school and I tried a relationship, but we weren't really meant to be. The writing is terrible, but I hear you get paid some large, male deer for it.

Can you honestly notice a difference in how your day to day life has changed

It's not just about me.

All unions by law should be civil. The Church should marry couples and if one church wants to marry gays and straight couples, it's up to the church.

I'm in full agreement with you on that one.

I always thought it was all about you, Ely.

Elysium wrote:
Can you honestly notice a difference in how your day to day life has changed

It's not just about me.

But, if something goes wrong in your life (or anyones life) do you look for the government for help?

I don't look to the government for help if I lose my job.

Have you lost your job since you got out on your own, Ulairi?

Here's another question Ulairi since you have a serious girlfriend now. What things will you be willing to give up if you get married, have kids and have a 700+ monthly health care payment. Or buy a house and have a yearly 20% home insurance increase.

I think one thing is that people have lived through both sides of the coin and are better able to make a choice on what side was better for them. If I recall, your parents were well off and you had no troubles in college with money. Once you are out on your own and have a family, ideals change (unless you bust out a huge salary in your 1st job and if you do then good on ya )

But, if something goes wrong in your life (or anyones life) do you look for the government for help?

That's not what you asked. You asked about the pessimism of America and then equated that to whether individuals were experiencing change in the day to day life. I think that's flawed. As I'm on record saying elsewhere I don't feel America is in a decline, but I do feel the current power structure is deeply troubled and I look to places other than my checkbook when making conclusions about the world.

Economy, personal or otherwise, is not everything.

PissedYeti wrote:

Faith in one's nation is much different than faith in one's government. The anger comes about when corruption and greed are turned upside down and held up as virtues. For me it's the greed ... "The majority (79 percent) of freshmen in 1970 had an important personal objective of "developing a meaningful philosophy of life. By 2005, the majority of freshmen (75 percent) said their primary objective was "being very well off financially." We stand at a pivotal time in human history and it seems like we are going about it all wrong. Ergo the frustration/anger ....

"No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money."
Luke 16:13

I remember when most anyone could afford healthcare, even medicine, with basic medical insurance that was accessible to almost everyone who was working. This isn't so much me personally, but remembering with my parents.

Now we've progressed to the point where medical insurance is a veritable minefield of incomprehensible legalese, and not only is it enough of a headache getting coverage, you're not even guaranteed that medical insurance is actually going to ensure coverage for all your medical problems.

[edit]For reference, I'm 30 this year. Yes, still pretty young, but old enough to remember the differences between then and now.

ChronicNecrosis wrote:

"No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money."
Luke 16:13

All too true.

Greed really is the root of all evil, be it greed for power, wealth, or whatever.