The Us Decade

What happened to a big bunch of us from the late 20th Century? Why is dysfunction the functional fact of life for so many ? Is it our greater awareness of the sad state of the world thanks to the ubiquitous reach of media? After all, from Viet Nam, through the wholesale assassinations in the ’60s, through Watergate and near-impeachment, to the Gulf War, political scandals, more impeachment, and the rise of terrorism, we’ve stared into the abyss with regularity. The revolution has been televised — and replayed and sound-bitten and regurgitated on an endless loop of awfulness.

Is it the many societal sea-changes we’ve been through? Civil rights, woman’s rights, gay rights, equal rights–all worthwhile battles that somehow never seem completely won? Fed up with status-quo, young people over the years have sought answers as hippies, yippies, yuppies, preppies, treckies, boomer, buster and Gens X, Y, and Z–but still seek answers. Don’t even get me started on religion; from God is dead to Jihad, from Billy Graham to the Moral Majority to Vatican II, to the Ayatollah, to the purpose-driven Lexus, faith has inspired the best and the absolute worst in its adherents. Like nomads in a desert, we wonder as we wander; baaa, baaa, baaa.

Is the Dr. Phil answer the answer? Are we just whiners who need to wake up, grab those boot-straps and take responsibility? Well…how’s that working out for anyone who’s trying it?

Or is it just me? Am I misreading the mood of my fellow travelers on spaceship earth? Am I the only one who feels disenfranchised, disenchanted, discombobulated and just plain dissed? If so, ignore me as I skulk off to find my boot-straps.

We’re not alone, though we feel the space between us like a million miles of cold empty air at times. We are individuals, to be sure, but we share common space, common frailties, common vulnerability. We’re all in this together, so why are we each imprisoned alone by the ills that beset and best us?

Is it because all efforts to bond never seem to last? The headiness of united purpose giving way to cynical disgust when the heat of passion is cooled by the harsh dawn of an uncaring new day? Is it because modern political warfare  seems bent on diverting every means of the common good to the individual profit? Is it because our trust in our systems and mechanisms and methods are constantly crushed? Or is it because, as the eminent Dr. Dennis Leary suggests, we suck?

Seriously, we are capable and created to contend with angels. Why are we so grounded and stuck? The answer is not in our stars, nor in our selves, I think. If separateness and isolation are the problems, being strong, but apart and alone is not the answer.  Seems to me, our generations are better if we can recognize our interconnectedness, our need for unity, our capacity for concern and care for each other ; and come to know we don’t have to go it alone. Simple, right? Hey, they may have called him the Lone Ranger, but he never went anywhere without his pal, Tonto.

What happened to us? Maybe nothing we can’t fix together.

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3 Responses to The Us Decade

  1. Brian, I’m with you. Too bad more aren’t.

    It may be that because we’re animals, and since we’ve reached the end of the old frontiers and resources on Earth, like rats who’ve bred to be too numerous for their cage, we’re turning on each other, more and more.

    Is it too late? Only the future will tell, and only if reason, compassion, and virtue will prevail over irrational fear and stupid selfishness.

  2. Thanks, Norm. I’m not sure that we got here by way of the same route, but I do believe we’re on the same page. I hope there still is time, I want to believe in the better angels of humankind.

  3. robbie says:

    Dennis Leary’s You Suck is next on my “to read” list – thanks for the prologue xo

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