Thursday, December 02, 2010

Where Do We Go From Here?

America, and much of the rest of the world, has really serious problems with their economies. I read yesterday that this is the worst the American economy has been in eighty years. In America we have an aging population as in Europe, Russia, Japan, and even China.

The Republicans no longer even try to hide their contempt for the poor and the working-middle classes. They and their tea party buddies are openly racist. It is their clear intent to eliminate government funded social security, and they have devoted a lot of time and resources to turning back Obama's modest health care reforms.

I am now in my sixties as are many of my friends. It is pretty common at this age to develop chronic diseases or serious, life threatening things like cancer. Young people think old geezers just quietly fade away. Maybe this is how it used to happen when the old folks were taken care of as part of a larger familial group. But now that the kids and grandkids live a long way away, and they are so busy keeping their own lives afloat, the communication with grandpa and grandma is becoming increasingly less frequent.

Many of the baby boomers who are just now reaching the 60's are well educated, and grew up during the civil rights and Vietnam War protests. We have believed in Democracy, capitalism, and the free market. And now it is all turning out to be a house of cards and false.

Democrats have moved so far to the right that they are virtual Republicans. The voters vote, especially us old folks, and then the elected officials do what their large campaign contributors want rather than what the voters back home want. American democracy has turned into a sham. Capitalism and the free market are destroying the middle class and enriching only the wealthy. The "trickle down" phenomenon has turned out to be Ray-guns hogwash and a complete lie.

So you have a growing group of rather angry old folks. Maybe even a bit bitter. Once the doctors tell you that you have incurable cancer, it changes your outlook subtly. Once you no longer have anyone dependent upon you, there certainly is far less to lose. Increasingly the census bureau reports more and more single person household. This is true of young people, but also among us old folks. Anonymity. A dangerous word and a dicey concept.

I am beginning to worry that some of the less emotionally stable members of the old folks group may start thinking about taking extreme action. If you have lost your job, have lost your house and family, and you have no health insurance you begin to realize that most of this is because of the breakdown in democracy and the evils of the market and capitalism. And greed and arrogance.

Then when the doctors tell you that you are dying of some incurable disease, there may be some who think, "Why not just put a large caliber bullet in my brain?"

More dangerous in my mind are the other old folks who might conclude, "Before I put that handgun to my own head, perhaps I can do society one more bit of good by murdering someone else first. Some dishonest, fat-assed, racist, right wing politician." It used to be only the red necks and radical right wingers that had these dangerous ideas. I fear that with the societal breakdown that is occurring we will begin to see more and more of the smart, well educated, progressive-liberal old folks coming to the same conclusion.