by Janet Ritz
I spoke with a friend the other day, one of those rare individuals who'd passed his 87th birthday with a clear perspective on life that went beyond even his years, and heard from him frustration that has been echoed both by others of his generation and by those who are not yet of age to drink or vote.
The question they've been asking is: what happened?
What happened to the values for which the WWII generation fought and died? What happened to our principals about saving money and living within our means? What happened to fighting for freedom of religion and thought and tolerance? What happened to personal responsibility and the willingness to sacrifice to meet a shared goal? What happened to the moral centers of those in charge for the last few decades that made them think they could use the earth as their personal or corporate garbage dump, their offshore bank account, their property to pillage?
My friend bemoaned the generation that had followed his as trust-fund babies given every opportunity after a hard-won victory, who did not understand or care about the sacrifices made to provide them with the right to become something more than their fathers.
Instead, he complained, they squandered it for short term gain and immediate gratification.
I have heard the same from those younger than me. How could so much have been lost so fast? What about us? What will happen to our lives and our children now that our fathers and mothers have spent their inheritence? Who broke America, who broke the world, who is going to fix it?
The answer most people in America give, according to the polls, is Barack Obama. There is a lot to be said for his accomplishments in so short a time -- increased national debt notwithstanding (given the enormity of the problems he has inherited) -- but that's not, I suspect, the answer he would give. The president would say (and has said) that we all have to change to get out of this mess. Continued...