Sunday, October 23, 2011
It was at a friend's wedding where an idea for creating a blog finally clicked. Coming back from the reception, I sat behind my friend (the groom's) parents who were of the baby boomer generation. We went back in forth with pleasantries after being tired and buzzed from an exciting evening. At some point the conversations steered into politics and by the end, maybe in order to get me to shut up, they said it would be good for me to get my ideas down in a blog. It seemed like a good idea.
At least from what I've seen, this is the most dysfunctional period our in our country that I have at experienced (26 years of life isn't that significantly long I concede). There is the continuous barrage of issues that we hear of: unemployment, recessions, climate change, crime (in many areas) the environment and energy policy, health care, etc. Right now, we are all affected by so many of these things and they are real and extemely painful at a personal level and hugely damaging from a societal perspective. I have my personal beliefs of certain problems being more salient than others, but I know that I cannot legitimately rank these issues in terms of how much of a crisis they pose with validity.
What I do believe, and feel strongly about is that underneath many of these problems is the general degradation and fragmentation of our society. I believe that people are less connected to one another and less involved to the point where the general functioning of our free society has been very much compromised. We don't have nearly as many strong physical communities where people are connected to one another in an area; we often lack a public space for ideas, experiences, resources and connections to be formed; we're overwhelmed and distracted by so much superfluous information that too often we don't involve ourselves in things that are directly important for us or our communties. As a result of our dysfunction, we're not taking care of the many issues that we are facting to the point that they have become insurmountable challenges.
What stands out for me was the Bush Adniminstration. This time period I think epitomizes the major societal issues that have led us to the pitfalls we are now dealing with and why I feel that we're really weak right now as a people. When I discuss my feelings with pretty much anyone who has some willingness to listen; most can agree that the way in which the War in Iraq was conducted and the trillion dollar tax reductions being put out simultaneously was atrocious. No other administration both put us into a huge war (at the very least conducted with very poor planning) and gave such an immense tax cut that predominantly went to the wealthy. The Bush Administration, in my view, showed an utter lack of care, humanity and connection to reality that dug us into an immense hole deeper than I think we've been in. It's not nearly as much about the ideology (though neo-conservative ideology can seem scary at points to me though I'm not well versed on it), it's more about how they went about things. The groupthink, the lack of percieved empathy, the disconnect from the realities of their action and the people they were leading. For the most part, I think it's becoming a fairly valid point that the Bush administration was awful.
I know that Cheney is not at all solely at fault for the problems we're facing now. I'm fed up with more then my share of Democrats and liberals. I bring this up as what I think epitomizes the nature / systemic problems of our society. We might not have been paying attention that much. I for one spent a lot of my 2000s in college playing Halo with my roommates and trying to get laid. If we were versed in issues we didn't care that much or think we could do that much about what was happening. Even when we were trying, we probably were often preaching to the choir or competing to barely be heard. This is my experience at least. I felt helpless these past 8 years but also wasn't trying that hard to participate meaningfully (I did donate $5 to a NY state rep, I never heard back from him when writing him a letter).
So a lot of this need to write comes from personal feelings of frustrations and my own experiences as I've been attempting to meaningfully enter the workforce and contribute to society. Mind you before I carry on I should have disclaimers. Most of my ideas are not mine. I'm citing Bowling Alone a lot by Robert Putnam in this entry and others. My experiences have been somewhat difficult as of recent, and this is a large part of why I'm writing. However, my problems absolutely pale in comparison to what most people in the U.S. are experiencing. Many personal attacks are somewhat geared to my own behavior and experiences and though I might say they reflect more segments of society then they actually do, this might not be true. I'll try not to swear. I'll get the links all set up and do some editing of sorts but I am fairly confident that the 4-5 people who are reading this will find a large slew of punctuation errors and words that are capitalized that shouldn't be.
I think this is important at a personal level (and I'm more than sure that there are enough blogs all ready exploring the recession and dysfunction of our nation, I'm guesssing that there is not a void) for me to get some ideas off my chest and to maybe at the very least feel I'm doing somewhat of a civic duty. Maybe at some point however, I'll rant or share an intereresting idea and someone will be moved by it (one of the four of you who might read this). Who knows. I do generally care about things going on. I've been angry a lot this past summer especially. I'd like if we came together more, if we did more to create a stronger and more humane society, and that together we addressed the many problems that we're being toppled by as a nation. Thanks.
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