Backwards is Not Forward

I had one of those light bulb moments this morning. You know, when you all of a sudden see something that should have been clear all along, and you say “Ah-ha!”

I was listening to the news in my car, and they were discussing the accusations that John McCain had an “inappropriate” relationship with a young woman eight years ago. My first thought was “Oh, jeeze, they’re trying to smear him,” and I was disgusted. Then I thought, “Who cares?” His wife, surely, and his family, but come on.

This is the 21st century, and it appears that we as a nation and a culture are moving decidedly backwards. Our last president was reviled for having an “inappropriate” relationship with an intern, and yet the current administration can lie, cheat and steal, showing favoritism to certain big businesses, and dismantling environmental laws intended to save the earth.  Science has shown us that we are in big trouble, and yet our leaders call it a hoax. They prefer a public which is blind, and which wants all the amenities of the good life without paying the price. Better to think about a candidate’s sex life than his policy on global warming…

Europeans laugh at our obsession with the sex lives of our politicians.   They are miles ahead of us in stem cell research, all because so many Americans mistakenly confuse science with religious morality, and who thrive on misinformation and ignorance.

In 1620, the Pilgrims arrived in this land seeking freedom to practice their religion without persecution. Then there were the Puritans, with ever stricter rules on human behavior. When the founding fathers established the United States of America, they clearly set down a plan to separate these rules from the government’s purview. As an extension of the Pilgrims’ desire, they declared a separation of church and state, so that all citizens of the new country could worship as they pleased.

Yet in the beginning of this new century, we Americans have seen a strange phenomenon: some very vocal religious souls are trying to impose their beliefs on our legal system and our government. The neo-con movement gained pride and strength by preying on the fears of the ignorant and joining together in their hatred of anyone who is different from them.

The attitude toward gays is a perfect example. Homosexuality has existed for as long as there have been human beings. Yet some folks feel that they must rid the world of this perceived evil, and they will go to amazing lengths to deny others of their rights.

Well, I appear to have drifted, but that light bulb moment… The culture of the USA is going backwards. Instead of gaining insight, and increasing tolerance of others, we seem to be narrowing our view of what is acceptable!   We no longer strive to be the first with a new technology, or the leader in medical research. How could this happen?

Is it possible that we peaked as a nation in the 60’s, when there was optimism and a growing potential for greatness?  Are we destined to fall behind the rest of the world in science, technology, trade, education and even life style?  John F. Kennedy gave our nation hope, and the perception of a Camelot.  So what happened? We now have more millionaires than one could imagine, but we also have a shrinking middle class, and a growing number of working poor.  The American dream is out of reach for more and more of us.  Our social services and our health care have fallen sadly behind much of the world.  Even our infant mortality rates are high!

In a country where so many have so much, and many, many more have too little, there is something seriously wrong.

Instead of moving forward, are we going backward?  Are we reverting to puritanism with all of its rules and dictates?  Are we dismantling our Constitution and Bill of Rights to strengthen that upper echelon of citizens?  The executives of insurance companies get richer and richer, all while people are being denied the health care they need.  Corporations post record profits while polluting the air and water, and lowering the standard of living of their workers.  A ten dollar an hour worker faces a salary freeze while the CEO get a 12 million dollar bonus.

What used to be called “the greatest country in the world” has ceased growing.  We are reverting to a place where ignorance and fear controlled our lives, rather than knowledge and wisdom.

This makes me incredibly sad.


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10 Responses to “Backwards is Not Forward”

  1. jojovtx1800 Says:

    Ah, but even Camelot was flawed with accusations of sexcapades. Poppa Joe financed the whole affair with illegal booze money, Ted was a drunken killer, and possible mob ties got two of them killed. Not much has changed over the years.
    Politics always has, and always will be a dirty game played by the elite, with us as the pawns.

  2. Corina Says:

    I don’t think that we are necessarily going backwards. We are remaining stagnant. The reason that all of these things you mentioned are coming to light now is just that… they are coming to light NOW. We have closed our eyes or had them closed. It is now with modern technology and a world in which the tiniest of human actions is documented by intrusive Big Brother tactics, that we are seeing these things and noticing them and discussing them. But they’ve been there all along.

    I agree with the McCain thing. It isn’t anyone’s business but his wife’s if he can’t keep his zipper closed at the appropriate times. (Or maybe it’s an age thing, he is getting on in age.)

    It’s time that we begin to hold our elected representatives responsible for their actions. It isn’t time to look into the private lives of those that we elect or consider electing. He’s not my candidate but he deserves privacy, as any one of us would insist on, were we in his place.

    I was going some place with this but my mind isn’t working and I’m only 52 Imagine McCain’s at near 72!

  3. Stevo Says:

    Yes, things are definately going backwards. Astute observation. Trash television is a giant warning.

  4. nanis Says:

    jojovtx: I’m not sure you saw my point – that we may have the abilities, but we CHOOSE not to go forward. In science, in health care, in technology…

    I agree that politicians have always had a scandalous side, and yes, JFK had lovers, but does that really matter? If a president can lead his country and inspire hopefulness rather than despair, do we really care what he does in the bedroom?

    I am not naive; I know that power corrupts, and absolute power, yada yada yada…. But when we called ourselves the greatest nation, we had some facts to back that up. It would be a really tough treatise to prove today.

    Corina, I think you are holding on to some of that hopefulness. For that, I envy you.

    Stevo – the trash television comment is evidence that you, also, are astute.

  5. Corina Says:

    Hopefulness? I’m hopeful? Gee, I haven’t been hopeful since I was a child in kindergarten, hoping the teacher would pick me. She didn’t. I don’t think I’ve been hopeful since then.

    What makes you think I’m hopeful?

  6. nanis Says:

    Sorry, Corina… my mistake.

    Hopefulness is something most of us used to have, but it’s rare nowadays.

    Remember when people used to say, “Someday they’ll put a man on the moon!”
    “Someday we’ll all have computers in our homes.”
    “Someday no one will be hungry.”
    “Someday people will know that wars are useless.”
    “Someday everyone who wants a job will have one.”


    Now I say “Someday in the not too distant future, our culture will come crashing down”.
    “Someday in the not too distant future, we will destroy the ecological balance of our planet, rendering it unfriendly to human life.”

    Hopefulness? Not much.

  7. pandemonic Says:

    It’s a mixture of a lot of things. We’re getting bigger, from what? Our food is supercharged. We’re getting dumber, from what? The dumbing down of schools. We’re getting lazier, because we want things to be easy and everything has to be free. We’re a mess.

  8. Amoeboid Blurry Smile Says:

    Hmm. I feel this way too. I sometimes console myself by thinking that it must be because of seeing the world through rose coloured glasses and things aren’t really getting worse and worse and worse. It sort of works.

  9. Jon Says:

    You are so right in so many ways!! I am so disappointed in this administration, I’m left feeling violated. Just today there was news of a huge portion of ice crashing into the sea. It was the size of Connecticut!!! Not good. We need to protect our Earth!! The death toll in Iraq has reach 4000 and the economy is in the pits!! Our nation has been told debt is OK and everyone has credit cards, a car payment and student loans. Did you know more students are dropping out of college due to credit card misuse than grades. These kids are charging away thousands, having to drop out to make the payments, not getting jobs because of no degree! Madness!! Why is it so difficult for us, the public, Mr. and Mrs. Jones, to get the truth. Fox news is mind retarding, CNN isn’t much better, MSNBC forget it. I have to go to foreign sources to get what I feel is an even remotely unbiased story.

    Some of the comments above concern me. So negative and with out hope! It’s a fact that in todays society people would rather dumb themselves in front of a box for hours at night than discuss the big questions, than read a book. They would rather play video games than talk about why we are here and do you and I have a purpose. Now, briefly, perhaps to briefly, your view of religion and it’s role should be addressed. This is not the popular opinion right now in our culture but it should be said. It’s not the religion that is hating people. It’s not the religion that is trashing the environment. Bush says he prays and does God’s work, that’s Bush talking. Christian beliefs, true Christian beliefs are based in understanding, acceptance, protecting what has been given to us. Jesus was an environmentalist, I’m sure of it. I know much of this sounds weird, especially coming from my mind but it’s what I have come to find as the truth. People have mentioned it’s the lack of education that is what the problem is, no it’s the lack of teaching the correct things. In todays culture we are taught there is no truth, no definite. When a Christian point of view is taken it’s immediately dismissed as uneducated or outdated. While it seems to me that the further we move away from God the further in trouble we get. There have been so many terrible things done by people calling themselves Christians and in the name of God but those were not the actions of God. Sometimes I hear people justifying an action with scripture and it makes me ill inside to think that thats what that person took away from that particular verse. Truly read and study the bible, take one of the gospels and read it. I’m sure you will be able to find that it relates positively to your life.

    For me, personally, I’m excited for our future. I see some great things coming to our nation in the next ten years. I see many years of hard work and people uniting together with common goals to restore this nation as our founders did before us.

  10. nanis Says:

    “Christian beliefs, true Christian beliefs are based in understanding, acceptance, protecting what has been given to us. Jesus was an environmentalist, I’m sure of it.”

    That, my dear, is a truth I can believe in. Wish many of those so-called “christians” out there could hear you.

    I am truly glad to see your enthusiasm. I hope that many of your peers are on the same path, and that your generation will bring about the changes we need to see. Or rather, bring us back to where we were.

    Thanks for your thoughtful comments and insight. You are quite amazing!

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