9 thoughts on “Beau on U.S. History as Seen Between Generations

  1. Ao those of us who are of a certain age remember the great America all wrong! An interesting take on the issue! It was pointed out to me when I was in Australia for my 60th b’day and said something to my cousin about the Australian history if importing prisoners from England — he commented that it was no different than what we did in America. Yikes!

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  2. I do not agree. I never thought America was the international good guy. Read far too much actual — not school — history for that. What I did think is that we had a fundamental sense of right and wrong and that when nip came to tuck, we’d do the right thing … and right had nothing to do with the Soviet Union, either. Remember, that Berlin wall came down when I was pretty young. I really thought — for a while until, like most illusions, it was shattered by reality — that the old U.S,S,R. might, without their antique soviet rulers, be free enough to make good choices.

    I remember a world where people were more polite to each other and where however individually corrupt our pols were, they still believed in “the good of the country” above and beyond their individual agendas. That belief has been falling apart with the passing years. I really thought at least some of them cared. I wish I’d been right about that. We could use some caring.

    This horror in which we live right now? It didn’t start with Trump. It started when we decided to create a nation, we would allow slavery and it was okay to slaughter the Natives. We sold our collective souls to the devil before we even had a constitution or anything resembling a country. Oh, we had a nicely written constitution and some idealistic people who did some good, sometimes, when they were allowed.

    Overall? We have always owed our souls to whoever had the most money because THAT was what the slavery deal was about — letting the south keep their slaves so they could keep their plantation and not (heaven forbid) have to actually WORK.

    Standard Oil went half a dozen rounds with TR and theoretically, he lost … but he didn’t lose anything and today’s Exxon is the same company. Bigger, uglier, and as ruthless as ever. Those huge corporations NEVER lose.

    I don’t remember that lovely world and neither does Garry. Maybe only white middle-class people remember it. The rest of us were under no illusions about where we stood in the great scheme of things. I do remember a world where there was more personal communication between people and there was a little more opportunity to move ahead in the game of life. But those opportunities are gone now. We are feudal now. Born a serf? Die a serf.

    There is an assumption by our kids including my granddaughter that we remember a perfect little world. We don’t. There’s a lot of assuming going on. Some old people want to remember that world. Maybe they lived in one of the millions of white suburbs and they never had to bump into a dark-skinned person and treat them as equals. Then again, maybe age has rosied their memories so it was like they wanted it to be, with all the bumps and ugliness gone.

    Yup. LOTS of assuming going on. I miss people being polite and actually TALKING to each other, but that’s the extent of it. I never believed our propaganda, probably because my mother and father didn’t believe it either. There’s a lot of youngsters out there who are so ignorant they think the boomer generation did it all. Everything. All of our problems were created by MY generation. And yours.

    The level of ignorance and stupidity going around the world is breathtaking. I think I’ve gotten past being shocked. Now, it’s more like disgust.

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    • Marilyn, what a wonderful reply! I really think it’s worthy of a post on your blog! Me? I drank from my old school textbooks as a kid, along with my treasured World Book Encyclopedia (which still sit on a shelf not 15 feet from where I type this), and I was fully sold. It wasn’t until Vietnam that I realized the hoax. Our collective nation of citizens believe(d) and want(ed) justice. Our governing politicians want(ed) to maintain the illusion to keep our nation Number One. Today, our collective nation of citizens is split. Too many have forgotten the meaning of justice; too many have taken up the cloak of earlier politicians’ secret agendas – to keep the U.S. Number One regardless of the consequences to others. I look forward to seeing this on your blog! (Nudge, nudge, wink, wink)


      • I think that you both overlook the fact that America is made up of more than politicians and selfish self-serving people. I see so much good around me wherever I am and no, it does not negate the horrors of the Trump administration and those Incredible traitors in government who support him, but there is a reason why so many want to come here. My friend Mesfin who fled pre-Derg Ethiopia thinks America is the greatest nation. It has given him a chance to live when so many of his generation died in the Ethiopian revolution and its aftermath. At least here we are able to speak out against what we see as huge unfairnesses in government without fear of being beheaded, as in Saudi Arabia. I know. That’s setting a low standard of comparison, but I am just saying that as ashamed as I am of our Federal Government and many of the state government leaders, the white supremacists, those who fail to see the fairness of a belief in universal social justice and charity and those smug Christians who think a declaration of Christianity is all that is necessary without standing up for the fairness to all that Christ taught, I am also proud of those who are setting up agencies to aid those enroute to relatives who will shelter them until their asylum hearings, those trying to find a solution, those dispensing information and campaigning for more justice and fairness in government and elections. I am proud of those in their teens and twenties who are more active in trying to save the environment and human rights than I was at that age. As distressed as I am over present conditions, I do hear the advice of friends who urge that I try to remain happy and enjoy life and do what I can in my own life to foster those principals I wish our government was fostering. I’m going to post this as my internet is iffy and I fear losing it, but before that, I’m going to post once again a quote by Will and Ariel Durant that has been my guiding principal in life since I heard it long long ago.

        “Civilization is a stream with banks. The stream is sometimes filled with blood from people killing, stealing, shouting and doing things historians usually record; while on the banks, unnoticed, people build homes, make love, raise children, sing songs, write poetry and even whittle statues. The story of civilization is the story of what happened on the banks. Historians are pessimists because they ignore the banks of the river.” Will Durant

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      • My mother was born in 1910 and remembered WW I AND 2. She remembered the terrible things done to Americans during the depressing, how they poured poison on food they couldn’t sell so no one could eat it. And people were starving.

        How quickly she learned to not write “Jewish” in that “Religion” box on an application. She remembered good things too, but she taught me a level of skepticism that has served me well.

        I’ll have to read it again. I’ve gotten sick of people. However awful things are, we’ve done it to ourselves. Not me or you personally, but as a species, we’ve done so many awful things, I often wonder if we deserve to survive.

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  3. I think historians are optimists because they know EVENTUALLY things turn around. But remember: a historian’s “eventually” might be several hundred or 1000 years. I don’t have that kind of time. And remember — along the banks of the river, raging hordes of murdering Crusaders dropped by one afternoon and killed everyone.

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  4. I know there are good people. You guys are some of them and I know others, too. But that’s not the point. As the world turns, good people rarely have the power to build a world worth living in.

    As an older person? I have NO power. None. I can sign a million petitions, vote for what I believe are the best people available … and it won’t make any difference. I do it anyway because I made a deal with myself to do my best, no matter what happens. But effectively, I have no power to change anything. I make a little noise. I write a little something. In the end, what will be will be and what I think about it, say about it, worry about it? Maybe when I was young and we were a huge group of people who could group together and have some power … but those days are clearly gone. We had a few protests and then they sort of trickled away. They didn’t build on each other and form a powerful wave. So much of the protests — they were US. Still US.

    I make my dogs happy. I make Garry happy. Sometimes, I make friends happy. That’s the best I have to give.

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