Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Where Did the Decade Go?

I didn't want to see the double-ought decade end without any kind of blog entry. I'd rather thought the cool, rainy season would herald a resurgence in posts, but it did not. Medical issues in the family took over in the latter part of November and continue to be a priority.

The transition from corporate controlled Republican to corporate controlled Democrat has been interesting and extremely educational for me. To watch the left grow silent while Obama pulled the covers off of his neocon policies was interesting. Watching the right whine about a market driven health care bill after Bush's socialist Medicare prescription plan was also interesting. Dick Cheney routinely gives "aid and comfort to our enemies" through his constant criticism as well. Ironic.

For those who were paying attention, watching how the parts of corporate interests, media, and government come together to play on political divisions to distract people from a larger agenda has been most educational of all. I've now heard both left and right scream "Fascist!" at various things and, it turns out, they are both right. They are just pointing at the wrong culprits when they point at each other.

At the beginning of this decade, we had an expectation that our transactions and our phone calls and our movements were our "own business." Now, we realize that this is not the case. Sprint gives out our locations without a warrant. All Internet providers log our transactions. Our email is not secure and is catalogued. Our phone communications are monitored, logged, and retained. Our faces are taped, our words recorded, and it is collated and databased for an indefinite period. Our "own business" no longer belongs to us. It is bought, sold, traded, and other people often have better access to what we do than we do ourselves. This transition was bipartisan.

This is the end of a decade where the American Dream finally woke up and realized that sleepy time is over. The Dow is roughly where it was a decade ago. I personally have the same salary I did in 2000 and many people I know took a permanent pay cut last year to feed the bonuses of our current overlords. Our medical bills have meant a pay cut retroactive for years. One out of six people is out of a job (and likely many more who "don't count" in the figures). The oil fields are peaking and the decline will continue unless there is a revolution in cheap oil extraction or another source (that doesn't require cheap oil to extract). We are living the end game of our own irrational exuberance of a limitless future and it has only just begun.

To enjoy this new decade and the challenges it poses, I humbly suggest the following:

1. Be thankful for those near you and reward them with your business, your sense of community, and your time.

2. Limit your desires for the next big thing. Most of us have plenty and many have not utilized things we have bought. Find your riches in what you have and who you are with. Find value in that which you had previously cast aside.

3. Find ways to tread more lightly on this wondrous planet. It is indeed a beautiful place and we've all lived to see natural places disappear in our lifetimes. We waste an awful lot of material and energy. Streamlining our approach may not fix everything, but it will help. Recycle, buy local, waste less. Pretty easy stuff. It won't kill you and it will come in handy if things get tougher.

4. Realize that the ideologue next door has much in common with you. Over and over I find that people of every stripe have roughly the same number of standard group types. Some are invaluable, some are powermongers, some are thrifty, some are useless, and so forth. Politics is now a form of entertainment and manipulation, so please don't let yourself get too caught up in it. I did to my regret (luckily, I have 9/11 as an excuse). Listening and thinking is a more powerful currency than righteous rage or self-assured deafness.

So, with that load of bricks I lay upon you, have a Happy New Year! May you find your way to happy things and find comfort and security in your family and friends. I wish you well!


Tom Degan's Daily Rant said...

I can remember exactly where I was when this awful decade came into being. Believe it or not, when I rang in the new year on January 1, 2000, I was not only stone-cold sober - I was at church! My then-girlfriend and I attended a special midnight mass at the local Catholic church to welcome in, not only a new decade, but a new century and a new millennium. I remember feeling filled with optimism. By entering this new era, I felt, we could wipe the slate clean. Maybe this would be a new age of peace, love, brother and sisterhood. EVERYBODY SING!

This is the dawning of the age of Aquarius!
Age of Aquarius!

How utterly naive on my part, huh? By year's end, all of that hope was out the window and into the toilet. In December of 2000, an ideologically perverted Supreme Court would assist in a stolen election by stopping the vote count in the state of Florida, installing a corrupt little frat boy with the I.Q. of a half-eaten box of Milk Duds as president of the United States. It was all downhill from that moment on. From the birth of "Reality Television" to the worst attack on American soil since the Civil War, it was quite a strange ten years to say the least. Thankfully this awful decade is a mere three days away from being forever consigned to history's scrap heap. Hallelujah.

Tom Degan

Dean Wormer said...

Beautifully said, Don.

As I mentioned I've pretty much given up on politics as a way to change anything at this point. I've always believed in accomodating in order to achieve progress but that's not what our leaders in Washington do. They capitulate.

The health care thing brought everything into sharp relief. Obama not only failed to fight for a progressive clear but it's pretty clear that the final product is pretty much what he wanted. Any solution that doesn't put us on the road to getting the fucking insurance companies off our backs is no solution at all.

As you say it's better to enjoy our families and the great outdoors. I'm also going to try and focus even more on the trivial. Their are tons of tv series I'd love to catch up on. :-)

Arkonbey said...

Word, Don.

Stay sane, stay content and remember, things may not be As Good As, but they are certainly Better Than...

Don Snabulus said...

Thanks y'all.

Pandabonium said...

Don, not a 'load a bricks' at all, but 4 resolutions which can lighten the burden considerably.

The Moody Minstrel said...

Well said on all counts.

Meanwhile, while the US flounders in a sea of whining, finger-pointing, buck-passing, and under-the-table favors, China appears to have picked up the ball and run with it. During the past week I have read in different media sources:

1. China's state-owned banks now far outpace the US in international lending.
2. Automobile sales in China outnumbered those in the US by almost 20% last year and continue to grow.
3. At least three of the five tallest buildings in the world (not including antennas) are located in China, and all of them were built during the last decade.

Couple that with China's growing space and high-tech industries, and you have a clear challenge to US dominance.

India isn't really all that far behind, either.

Today's newspaper contained an interview of a noted French economics expert (and former presidential advisor) who warned the world is about to face a round of explosive depolarization that will likely end in global warfare. At any rate, the US has already fumbled the ball in terms of being a world leader. It's probably only a matter of time before the rest of the world decides to label us an annoying has-been and chuck us aside in favor of other powers such as the EU, Russia, China, Japan, or India.

This is reality, Ted: one doesn't win the game by sitting on his laurels.

Don Snabulus said...


Indeed. The resolutions are pretty satisfying really. (I like yours over at Bluesette even better)


China is also buying up all available copper and other global mineral resources for later use. They do seem to have the momentum.

On the other hand, I have no desire to live there or exist under their rule. Sadly, while their economic system takes on qualities of ours, our social system is beginning to resemble theirs. Sad on both counts.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a reason to stock up on canned food and ammunition.