It mystifies me!
Sometimes I don’t even understand what’s going on. Life is a great adventure and it is easy to get lost in the weeds and focused on minutia. One way for that to happen is when you let yourself get sucked into the news. The media only make money after they persuade you that what they are selling is something you need to know. And they work damn hard at it.
I’ve learned over time that stuff happens whether I know about it or not. I have about the same influence over events whether informed or ignorant. However I find that I am much happier when I am ignorant. So I turn off the news and ignore the newspapers. This allows me to pretend that the world isn’t falling apart right before my eyes. It keeps me closer to sane and reasonable than I would otherwise be. When the wheels fall off the bus, with any luck I will be otherwise occupied.
It’s not easy!
It takes superhuman effort to block all the news however. Here and there a story will leak through my protective shield and over time, it is impossible not to notice that the world is changing. And not for the better.
One of the things that really bugs me is the future. Back when I was a kid we worshiped the future and believed in progress, technology and science. The future was where life got even better, where there were new worlds to conquer and frontiers to explore. Cars changed every year. And those changes were substantial. Tail fins came and went. Windshields wrapped and unwrapped. Everybody knew when you had a year old car and snickered unlike these days where cars hardly change at all and nobody can tell that your car is five years old and they are all ugly.
Or take airplanes. The 707 was a breakthrough but 40 years later today’s planes don’t fly any faster, they just carry more people, have overhead bins and lousy service. The Concorde was a dead end and the airliners on the drawing board are just effete refinements of old technology not breakthroughs.
Who killed the future?
When I was a kid, the future was exciting. We would be traveling at supersonic speeds long before the new century. Where are those supersonic airliners? Nobody is even dreaming about them any more. And take space travel. When President Kennedy launched the Apollo Moon Project we all got excited because it meant that man would finally escape Earth and embrace a new frontier. Well America had enough oomph to get to the Moon but that was it. NASA frittered away our space heritage and technology for the timid and useless space shuttle which could never reach a useful altitude for space exploration and bored us to tears even when it crashed.
What impresses me today is that it isn’t part of our culture anymore to embrace the future. NASA has turned into the IRS with no vision or dreams about space and no magic. Our leaders don’t talk about the future like they did when I was a kid. And people aren’t upset that we don’t have a future. It is all they can do to keep their eyes on the ground for fear of making a misstep and falling. These days we can’t afford a future.
So what went wrong?
I don’t know for sure what went wrong. I don’t know why people stopped dreaming big and expecting the future to be bright. I do have my suspicions. For me, the optimism stopped when President Kennedy was shot. It was the end of the era of optimism and can do spirit and the beginning of second guessing America and the American way. It was the end of progress and the future and the beginning of self-doubt and introspection. Take it for what it is worth but my judgment is this.
The future died with President Kennedy
The future of America died with President Kennedy. All the problems, loss of focus and dithering in our country started with one man and his anti-American agenda and once the country made a worng turn, nobody has ever even tried to get it right again (well maybe one guy but it is going to take an army).
So who might I be talking about, you ask? Who was that destructive, subversive man and what was his anti-American agenda? I’ll tell you.
It was Lyndon Johnson and the catastrophic Great Society.