When one struggles through their early years without the benefit of Mother, Father, or blood relations to set one upon a path, one is bereft of any sense of culture or clan heritage. Thus I was a tradition upon myself, every day an opportunity to invent my place in the world based solely upon my own understanding, which would continue to evolve decade after decade, independent of any expectations laid down by a previous generation of my own origins.
What was left me was the "culture" of modern America, with all it's evolving sense of power, superiority, and entitlement. After all, I was born only ten years after the "sleeping giant" had been awakened by the Japanese, only to surmount an almost impossible victory against fascism and imperialism, to turn the tide and become the world's greatest military and economic superpower. It could only get better, and I had every expectation, even without the guidance of family or mentors, to benefit greatly. I believed all those rosy predictions of moon bases, universal peace, and a cure for all diseases. Fast-forward half a century, chock full of more advances than any previous era, and where am I? Where are WE?
The seeds of our own downfall were sown immediately after the signing of the articles of surrender of the former Empire of Japan aboard the Battleship U.S.S. Missouri. Within that decade we would attain our highest pinnacle in manufacturing, finance, innovation, and social evolution. We still had the social contract, only enhanced; we were sending a wave of young men, ex-citizen soldiers, to college, to become our new hope for the future, leaders of a whole new tomorrow. And we were determined to make the lives of our children, like those generations before us, better than our own, that they might never again know deprivation or the horrors of war. And we failed miserably.
We failed so utterly due to that very toxic characteristic of any great civilization.....ENTITLEMENT. Yes, we had cheap gas, cheap automobiles, ever-increasing wages (thanks finally to strong unions), increasingly advanced health care, cheap food, the suburbs with a quarter-acre of grass and a picket fence, and this ida that everybody else in the world wanted to be just like us.
Only everybody DIDN'T want to be "just like" us. On top of that, our first generation of children after WWII increasingly found reasons to not even like their own parents. It was then that all our shortcomings in the area of ethics and human rights began to show themselves in the faces of our own kids. Capitalism, that economic model that promised to deliver the goods to every corner of the land began to divide us ever more increasingly into the haves and the have-nots. Racial equality, something we were supposed to have taken care of courtesy of the bloody war between the States, wasn't even CLOSE to being reckoned with, only now it was GOING to be reckoned with, one way or another. And before we knew it, all the rules we had been raised with were going out the window in favor of a new freedom of thought and expression that did not want to recognize boundaries or responsibility.
What the Democratic Party fought so hard to establish that would truly make us that "shining city on the hill" would soon be turned upside down by a new generation of righteous nay-sayers, disillusioned with the loss of social order and strict rules, who began to be manipulated by "Conservative" party bosses to try and contain this populace who were trying to throw off the yoke of the rich and powerful, by calling upon religion and fear to power a backlash which would destroy the American dream from the inside out, all the while feeding the coffers of increasingly wealthy king-makers, even starting wars to distract us and have us fight each other for the right to claim a purer practice of patriotism. Thus, in order to form a more perfect union, we fed the beast our children, and our hopes for a free and democratic future for our grandchildren, who instead face the very extinction of our species.
I want all of you to understand that it's not the commies, or the terrorists, or the pinko-fags that brought us here; it was each and every one of us, thanks to our worship of the devil himself...ENTITLEMENT. Thanks to entitlement, we have a healthcare system which isn't working for us anymore. Thanks to entitlement, we can't get enough gas and can't afford the gas we get. Thanks to entitlement, our cars are bigger than they ever had to be. Thanks to entitlement, we will heat up our planet faster than we can wean ourselves off our poisons, and our grandchildren, if we even HAVE any, will curse us for our avarice. After all, weren't we supposed to make THEIR future better than our own, rather than cutting it short altogether?
Make excuses if you want. I'm sure you're entitled.
P.S. To my readers; please do not think I direct this at you unless you recognize within examples of your own complicity, as do I. Most of those who remain within my readership I would hope have recognized the truth of what I say already and would not take offense at such self-examinations. For those of you entirely new to my pontifications, I invite you to rail against what is said here by turning your rage into positive action rather than denial, even if it means something simple as changing out all your house lights to fluorescents or car-pooling when possible. Hope is Hope; denial is nothing but death.