Thursday, April 6, 2017

How Thoughtlessly We Dissipate Our Energies

I’m inching ever closer to my 65th birthday, or, with a tip of the hat to Jack Benny, the 64th anniversary of my first birthday. And as I do, more and more of who we are and why makes less and less sense to me, Because I do believe that those who cannot learn from history are fated to repeat it, I keep returning to both American and World history because who we are now, to a great extent, is who we were when....and America and the world of 2017, liver spots, MAGA ball caps, and beauty marks, is to a large extent based on what happened during and immediately after World War II.

A war that was fought before (about) 86% of the world's population were born continues to exert an influence over who we are, and in all likelihood who we shall be, in much the way the moon affects the tides of the oceans here on Earth. Some years back instead of using the internet to send someone a cat meme, I used it to prowl around the National Archives who have amazing information online if you have the time and patience to look for it to include the census from1940, which as an amateur historian I consider to be the last quiet year of American history.

The United States was still struggling to find its way back from the brink of the abyss, financially. A wildly speculative Wall Street, an unregulated banking industry, and good old-fashioned greed (odd how it never goes out of style, innit?) had taken us South in 1929 and we stayed there, more or less, despite poking and prodding and sometimes because of it.

And lest any of us with sympathies for what’s often called the alt-right attitude forget, the nanny state and the social safety did not yet exist. There was no Social Security, no Medicare or Medicaid-no food stamps, no heating assistance, no affordable health care. Nada. Zip. Gar Nichts. There was nothing but the kindness of strangers and the outreach of various religious orders and charitable organizations.

How different was the United States of 1940 from the one in which we live today? More than you'd ever dream but far less than you're likely to believe. Dive in and find out for yourself. Save those sepia tinted eyeglasses for reruns of some of those shows on Nick at Night-perhaps they'll be better with age, though I doubt it.

The big lesson I think we learn by glancing back through historical records such as the archives in trying to form a picture of life 'back then' is that we were more worse off then than we are now. It’s true; you can look it up and maybe you should, because/despite it all we survived; actually, we triumphed.

As we always shall and should, no matter who and where you are in our political landscape at this moment. It's sadness or euphoria and we need to be all in
-bill kenny  

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