Saturday, September 12, 2015
Life in the United States. . . Then and Now
Before time slips away entirely during this vacation period we are enjoying, I want to say a few words about what looks to be akin to "the elephant in the room". . . the attitudes and outlook of the people in this once great land we are (earthly) citizens of.
There's something missing in the DNA of American society and culture, more obviously gone now than when we were last residents here in January. There's an obvious attitude of not caring one for another, not looking out for the best interests of another, not loving your neighbor as you would love yourself.
It pains me to say it, because that's not the country I was born and raised in. Yet the evidence is all around me: the population has surrendered and given up, and they don't give a flyin' fig about anything anymore. No one wants to engage in pleasant conversation - that might open the inquisitor up to an episode of misplaced, bottled up anger about something not even remotely pertaining to the conversation. It could ignite an anger that might threaten one's life.
So people oftentimes play it safe. Not a peep from them as they go about their daily tasks. Not if they can help it, anyway. Not gonna get involved seems to be the new mantra of the American people anymore.
Because I am not them, living in a foreign land where there appears to be more optimism and better human relations that is not so - ahem - illegal drug fueled, and because I genuinely care, I (still) try to engage certain folks in conversation. Maybe I'm a risky guy doing risky things in the land of my birth and where I've spent most of my life. I dunno. A fool for Christ, to be sure!
Having been a retail sales clerk for many years when I was much younger, I struck up some conversations with the clerks that assisted us in our shopping forays yesterday. Some were older in age - even approaching our ages - and most were much younger, of course, but what struck me terribly is that they were so thankful for our respect and kindness. . . what so many current customers in the United States today *do not* offer a retail clerk. This actually led to us getting some (probably) internal discounts not ordinarily available to most shoppers, saving us money as they returned the respect shown to them back to us. But the words exchanged showed that they longed for even a modicum of encouragement for an often thankless job done with little thanks in return.
I mentioned to a Costco employee at their Oxnard warehouse that her job of emptying out the trash barrels in the outdoor Food Court was just as important as that of Costco's CEO. . . and that one day, she might even be in that position by the Grace of God (and a good education) someday! That made a visible impression on her as her constitution straightened up on hearing this encouraging news. You could see her back noticeably aligning north to south, and her frame becoming taller. Methinks this employee was actually starving to hear such kind words, so rarely are they delivered in these discouraging times.
While waiting for my bride at this same Costco as she visited the restroom, I struck up a few conversations with the clientele as they were in cashier's lines. One guy laughed at one of my jokes in English, so I proceeded to follow up with a similar joke en Espan~ol! He understood that one, too, though it was obvious he knew not a word of Spanish. I've found that the Bob Hope school of humor to be the best to use: laugh *with* the person, not *at* them. Clean humor, not all this filthy language stuff that passes as comedy nowadays. People seem to be even more reticent than previously, but I'm always game to change the equation - and the spiritual ambience - with a good joke in any language. I guess it's yet another Gift from God.
Talking to yet another clerk at a clothing store, it became obvious that what has changed in the US while we have been away is a sense of optimism and hope. People have been lied to too many times by too many people in authority, and their lives are worse off, not better off, than before. Makes me think of Ronald Reagan's 1980 Presidential Campaign question he posited to the American people: "Are you better off than you were four years ago?" Nowadays, people are so discouraged, they don't even bother to go out and vote. They have been lied to by the Ruling Class and the elected leaders so often so many times they apparently throw their hands in despair and. . . go into fetal position, I guess. Or approaching that direction at the very least.
California continues to have a serious drought problem. Whole orchards in the San Joaquin Valley are dying off, and they won't be back. Cambria, where my cousin Pam lives, is in a Stage 3 Drought Emergency. It wasn't polite at the dinner table to announce what the tap water originally consisted of. . . I'll leave it at that. Fines by government won't produce more water.
The Once Golden State also continues its Grand Delusion it has no red ink in the State Budget. George Runner, nowadays a member on the State Board of Equalization, regularly lets his constituents know this remains Sacramento's Great Deception: the State has been running a deficit for many years now, and despite a better economic climate than a few years ago, still has structural problems with how it spends the taxpayers' monies.
Nationally, the Supreme Court (but not of the universe) has decided that what is biologically unnatural between people ought to be affirmed and be given the now meaningless name "marriage." The ACLU is acting as High Sheriff and ruthlessly forcing any opposed to its practices into jail. So much for Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Conscience, and Coming to America to Escape Religious Tyranny as the Pilgrims and Puritans did centuries ago in this very same land. Today the Tyrants rule, and that with an Iron Fist.
The Rule of Law has been replaced - courtesy of the Current Occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue - with the Whim of the Moment. A once great Constitutional Representative Republic is more like a Banana Republic. I oughta know, as I live in one now. And no one has the guts, in terms of a governing body, to Impeach the Offender and to courageously call a spade a spade and take care of *the people's* business. No. Because the Ruling Class and the Lobbyists hold the Balance of Power, and they don't wanna let go.
*This,* Ladies and Gentlemen, is what has been so discouraging to the citizenry of the United States of America. The people need to Repent before God and ask - no, beg - for His Mercy and Grace *now,* before even worse happens. The people need to unite, and not be divided before God so that the Tyranny of the present day may dissipate.
Just an expat outsider's view of what bedevils the United States of late.