Sunday, September 23, 2012

Has The American Experience Failed?

LuAnn and I talk about a lot of things but since we are grand parents and very caring Americans, we are concerned about our country and our problems. Driving down the road today, LuAnn made a very profound statement that has stuck with me all day.

She asked "Has the American Experience failed?" I googled that phrase and found some young people's view of the American Experience. I know, it's a liberal piece but those people are about 50-50 with us conservatives, we just happen to live near more of those conservatives here.

We have both studied history like most Americans and most people in the world. Many people we visit in foreign countries seem to know more about us that we do ourselves. Our forefathers came here for a new identity, a new start. Winckel became Winkle and LeBeaux became Bow. They brought their cherished traditions and many of them we still honor.

LuAnn's meat pie, my sauerkraut, so many traditions we kept. We gather together as a church and work together as a community like our ancestors did. Yet so many things have changed.

I could see dad and grandpa looking over our first harvest of the year. My corn went through 3 major stresses and still turned out a great yield and the price is more than they could have ever imagined. But the cost and way of living is so different. We hop into our car to go the grocery with things they never imagined but at a cost they never dreamed of. $4 for gas, and I can buy ethanol at that pump at the grocery made from my corn?

Our society is fast, so "advanced," we have seemed to have strayed from the reason our forefathers came here and set up this new experience. It's been a great one for me and I wouldn't change it for the world though I am sorry some things have happened like they have.

I may write more about this but I ask my readers, do you think the American Experience has failed or is failing? I have written for nearly 4 years now about the successes and the failures, mostly my own. I treasure your comments, email and views.

Here's your chance to post your views. An important election is upon us once more so it is important to go the voting booth knowing the issues and voting for what we believe in. Complacency isn't acceptable.

Unlike our Congress we need to come to a conclusion and do something about this. The time is now.

Thanks,

Ed Winkle

6 comments:

  1. I don't believe that it has failed yet, but I believe that it will, simply because, as a nation, we have turned our back on God. We also lack the common sense needed to maintain our greatness. Four years ago, we elected a man who had muslim roots, WHILE we were supposedly at war with muslim extremists. That certainly isn't a sign of intelligence.

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  2. The thing is that the American Experience is in constant evolution, and depends on the community you live in. The hippies living in San Francisco in the 60s had a completely different American Experience than the car workers in Detroit at the same time.

    So I am not sure what is your American Experience, mine is rather recent and not altogether very positive.

    On the material side, I found electricity, cars, food rather cheap. And rather bad too, for food. House building quality feels about the same as cardboard to me, as we are reminded every tornado season. But First Class mail, Netflix and Amazon alone redeem all that's bad in the U.S.! ;) College education seems to show both extremes of good (excellent cursus) and bad (cost of tuition). The wild places are gigantic and awesome, animals seem almost tame.

    On the moral and cultural side, I found some liberties, but also many hidden restrictions or disrespect for privacy, and a lot of arrogance regarding the rest of the world. I found many people sharing my same interests, but that was more relevant before the Internet, less so now.
    There's a fantastic folk music culture, Blues, Cajun, Zydeco or even Jazz, Rock and Pop. A nation that has the word "United" in its name but seems completely divided politically and unable to operate together for the greater good. People feeling unquestionably proud of their country, others feeling ashamed, and neither is right. A culture that values irresponsible greed more than anything, and calls it freedom of enterprise. A government that is a joke, with corporate lobbies controlling every law and decision, and laws at state, county and city level that disagree with the federal laws, not very "United".

    There is still a potential to do great things in America, and many people participate in such initiatives, but it is a minority and positive changes are painfully slow.

    I also recently got this increasing feeling that buildings and infrastructures are mostly old and decrepit, poorly maintained. I didn't expect a clean Switzerland when I arrived, and there's still the immaculate suburbs and city high rises, but there's lots of poor rural and city places around too, closed shops, abandoned buildings and car lots with grasses growing. And that's not something that happened just over the past 4 years or even since 9/11. This sorry state is probably what illustrates the most the American Experience for me, a feeling of past greatness, and a loss of power, soul and drive.

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  3. I am also worried about the future. This election is a crossroads for our country. I fear that most of the 47 percent and many more citizens are just not aware of the issues and don't really care. They stick to the meaningless tv shows instead of watching real news. I agree with the first comment here, a president was elected without the American people really knowing who he is and not knowing what kind of change he had in mind.

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  4. Thanks for the comments and thanks to the others who emailed or called!

    My American Experience is pretty well described here in the past four years. It's been a great one but "slowing down" in retirement has helped me see things more clearly I never took enough time to before.

    The main thing I hear from visitors is how vast the United States is. Trips run out of time quickly with the vast miles to be covered even with Interstate Highways.

    I have never heard comments like yours, Chimel but I know they are there, they make sense. I just don't hear them.

    The last few years have really wakened people up though as debt, war and US problems hit the world news. Our Congress can't even pass a budget bill!

    The problems are many and the answers are few. No one, and I mean no one wants to change the course needed because it looks too painful.

    I don't think we even know what pain is anymore but I am afraid we are about to find out!

    Ed

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  5. Sorry if I sounded a bit pessimistic, I should say I don't think that everything is rosy in Europe or the rest of the world either.

    The debt is certainly a huge weight to carry, I hope the "pain" will attenuate over the next 10 years, when it's supposed to resorb by 3 trillion dollars.

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