Thursday, May 10, 2012

Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away...

 (warning history here)

Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away... or did they? People seem to romanticize the past  and talk about how the present is worse.   But was it really better back then.   I will grant you that things are different, but  are they worse? (if you do not want a history lesson skip to the last 2 paragraphs)

In the 1930s we had the great depression.  In the 1940s we entered word war II and lost millions of family members to w=the war and the war efforts..

In the 1950s, the cold war was so bad that people spent their hard earned money to create bomb shelters at their home.  They were so sure that nuclear war was coming that every aspect of life was on survival after the war.  A US senator  named McCarthy created even more fear as he ran a committee to ruin lives of people even suspected of being sympathetic to communism.  Fear was the constant.  Finally things came to a head when the US joined in the Vietnam War to stop the spread of communism.

In the 1960s people were protesting the war and politicians were hell bent to be the ones who brought victory or cease fire.  The manipulations  actually extended the war.  With the draft in force, hundreds of thousands of soldiers forced into military service  nearly 60, 000 died, and many more were permanently wounded.  The 'flower children" brought protesting to a different level when they separated from society.   Black panthers, white supremacists , and more emerged in that decade as powerful political forces.

In the 70's  fuel was deregulated and prices jumped from $0.20 to over a $1 in one week.  People had to deal with the cost of travel going up 500%!  even cities were basically what we now consider rural,  only 1 phone per house, if they even had one,  and no cable tv .  Internet was not yet  here.  Winn Dixie was the big grocery store in the area, and they were priced like a monopoly.  Bread cost around $1 per loaf, pretty much the same as it does here now.  The war finally ended with the fall of Saigon.  And guess what?  Here at home, we had a recession!  The president in office quit because he had screwed up the country intentionally and got caught doing it.  He appointed an inept vice president who no one elected  to serve out his term.  The next elected president did no better, and the economy was so bad that mortgage rates went over 12 percent, making it impossible for people to buy a house at a reasonable rate. 

In the 80s, junk bonds and yuppies and financial cheats burst onto the scene with huge effect, depriving hundreds of thousands of people their retirement money. The invention of the cell phone system began, but bag phones were rarely available, and very few areas actually had a signal.  The internet consisted of text bulletin boards.  Computers came out as mostly one color  low or no graphics machines. vide recording was by VCR tapes, and the new thing in town was cablevision with 20 channels!  
In the 90s the internet became closer to today's internet.  Web pages were available through AOL, Compuserve, and one or 2 others, but at a per minutes fee.  Many people ended up with a $300 - $500 bill after only a month of service without realizing what they had done. The president was a retired actor who media kept catching glimpses of doing truly odd things, making the world speculate on his senility.  The Shah of Iran was overthrown , and muslim forces did inhuman things to US prisoners in Iran.  thousands were killed in the battles that followed.  The middle east and the soviet union were unstable , and everyone feared an atomic war.

In the 1990s, The US president started operation Desert shield.   It was to protect the oil rich kuwait from the menacing dictator   of Iraq, who an earlier president had put into power... Thousands died protecting the oil, and the prices of gas at home doubled and tripled.  And that was only the first year...The second year a second operation blasted into the area, costing more money and  lives.  Over 530,000 soldiers died in this war.  The soviet union collapsed and the Berlin wall was fully removed  in the 1990s.  The next president closed off the battles to redirect the money to the rest of the US needs. He balanced the budget, but did so by nearly destroying our armed forces.  Many bases were closed and military  equipment was  removed.  Then he got caught getting a blow-job in office.   Nothing he did from then on mattered. 

In the 2000s the new president challenged China, and nearly got us into a war with them.  The intelligence community  intentionally ignored the  threat of the bin laden terrorists.  They hijacked planes and sent them into primary targets on US soil.   During the next "no  fly zone" days, the parents of Bin laden  were escorted by the US out of the president's family home where they had been visiting their friends Many conjectures started about who knew what and who allowed what to happen.   Even the VP, whose company held the patent on the Anthrax  vaccine, was thought to be in involved, since anthrax was a very unlikely terrorist weapon when several hundred more effective ones were available. The president changed things by focussing everyone's attention on Iraq.  He touted weapons of mass destruction, playing on  everyone's fears and began the decades long wars that have been there since. No weapons were ever uncovered.  One website says an average of 620,000 soldiers have died there per year.  The budget went from balanced to trillions of dollars deficit, and the economy has continued to crash ever since.

Now here we are in the 2010s.  and the war is reduced, the economy is still messed up.  thousands are homeless, and millions unemployed. The middle class has been eliminated by a more distinct 2 class system in the US. We are in a mess.  And it only took us 80 years to get here....

In reality, right now our times are more stable than they have been in 80 years.  we have new technology and conveniences the likes of which no one even imagined  during those past few decades. we have a higher standard of living than ever before.  and we have new healthcare methods that are generations ahead of even a decade ago.  These are the good times.   Live them and love them.  Know that not everything is going to be good in even the best of times, but we are better off now than any decade in any of our lifetimes.

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