I wanted to talk with you about this country, our society, and my views on change--Not change in the Obama 2008 campaign manner--but change in the regular sense.
I'm going to be honest with you. I despise sudden and rapid change. This is a normal human reaction of course, as change represents the unknown, and the natural inclination is to fear the unknown. To panic blindly in the dark. Change--gradual as the steady flow of a stream--is more natural; more comforting; more easy to bear.
I think in some ways I can now understand the fears of you in November 2008 when you heard of Obama's plans for change. I can understand now the anxieties and anger of the Greatest Generation in the 1960s when they saw the youth attempting to denigrate all that they and their fathers have built. I'm a man deeply tied to my roots, to the past. I do not exist in the present, but drift in my mind from the past, with visions of the future.
From the time I was born in the year 1990, and for about 100 years before that, our country in terms of it's government was center to center left. Programs like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, regulations and the rest were the norm rather than the exception when I was born. As such, growing up with the government having the power it does, or the role in certain industries that it does, is something I'm accustomed to. I've never seen a problem with any of these programs, from an ideological or logical standpoint.
My ideological standing, as that of a Liberal, is founded on my own principles, my own interpretation of the law, and my own sense of morality. Yours may differ, and all of us to greater or lesser degrees will disagree on what role the government should play, how it should behave; down to the little things like the character and manner of the President himself. I will agree that regulation should be tempered with common sense; That welfare should be tempered with merit. I will agree that our government could be run more efficiently and in a more focused manner.
When I see people trying to radically change overnight what has existed with relatively little change for one hundred or more years;, to change the country as it was when I was born into it--It disturbs me. It's a change, and I do not believe change should come quick, but gradual. Liberalism to me, at least as it was say pre 2008, was the status quo. And I never saw anything wrong with it, and I do not now. I was raised to think that these programs, they were good, they helped people, etc. I was raised to think people like Teddy Roosevelt were heroic figures, men's men, public servants. And I still view them as such. My heroes will not change.
The place I tend to find myself most comfortable in is the status quo. If the status quo was TRULY dark, or if we were TRULY in the depths of darkness and the clutches of tyranny, I would agree as many of you seem to feel that radical and rapid change is needed; that a radical and sudden shift in our steady course must occur. But I do not see tyranny in our land. I look abroad and see real tyranny. I do not see America teeteering on the edge of armageddon as some fear. I believe America can overcome any struggle presented to it; The insurmountable strength of the American spirit, and the cunning ingenuity of the American mind, has proven true time and again over the last 236 years.
Now, to the negative changes I see:
Socially, culturally, pop culture wise, politically, I see the world as radically departing from what I knew, or thought it to be. When I was a child, at least in my environment or in my household, I wasn't raised to consider religion being anything other than the norm in life. God was real, God was something to worship. Life had a purpose, a reason. An afterlife awaited us after this one, where we'd be reunited with all our loved ones. And now as I grow up, it's under attack. It's something which is often mocked, belittled and disagreed with.
Our pop culture is one that uplifts cruelty, that uplifts bullying, that uplifts judging others solely on appearance. Look at the Rebecca Black thing. The girl is a 13 year old kid and she's getting millions of people telling her to "cut and die", "slit your wrists please" simply because she made a crappy song. I guess I'm very old fashioned, but I see such things as wrong...as immoral. I don't see how telling a young girl to kill herself because you hate her song is at all right, or proper, or good...yet it's accepted. Even encouraged by others.
We live now in a time where the media is more shark like than ever, always looking for blood; for vulnerability on the part of a celebrity. For any little humanity or mistake on their part, and they pounce on it like a lioness on a zebra. We watch with glee celebrities destroy themselves. This is entertainment to our media and our society now; self destruction. It's no longer a "tragedy"--it's entertainment. Pop culture of my generation enjoys watching the trainwreck of Charlie Sheen's life and his insane rants. It almost comes off as sociopathic to me. It almost reminds me of the South Park episode about Britney Spears--that the media (and society in general) demands celebrities become sacrificial lambs of a sort, for entertainment. And if you say anything against this sort of shark like mentality, you're an old fashioned fool, you're stupid, you're a moral puritan. Or so I've been called when I say that mocking and wishing death on Rebecca Black is wrong.
I grew up with the mindset that the world was a place of generally decent people. Yes, there were bad people, of course, evil people--but I grew up feeling that they weren't rewarded. That good people won in the end. Our pop culture uplifts the worst of morality, uplifts self proclaimed "gangstas", uplifts being a scumbag, a drug dealer or drug user and the like---And this radiates down to common culture in general. In my generation, talking like you're from the hood is cool; I come off odd because I talk proper. It's cool to take drugs, among people my age and where I come from. That was never my scene. I was never street wise, or taught to be, and it seems you need to be. I guess my perception of a lot of things was very idealized.
I guess in many ways I just find how fast our country, and the world, is changing to be almost frightening. Our country, and the world, is changing faster than ever, and sometimes it feels like the world is becoming someplace alien to me.