Our Long Slow Slide .. into the Drink

When I was a kid (growing up in Connecticut), our school took us on a class trip .. to Indian Well state park. Nice place. Lots of woods & water. Once there they cut us loose and simply gave us a time to return at the end of the day. Cool.

Indian Well state parkI went exploring with some friends. Wasn't long before we heard the sound of rushing water and found a stream.

[ It was actually bigger than a stream, but too small to call a 'river'. Maybe 10-feet across, half that deep. ]

Naturally, I wanted to head upstream .. to find where this sucker originated. Heck, maybe we'd even find a waterfall.

At one point, the only way to continue was to leave the river and head up the steep hillside that bordered the creek. There we could go around the impassable obstacle and rejoin the river later.

So I'm making my way thru the woods .. with the river down below some 50-feet, the sound of rushing water music to my young ears. Loving every minute of this adventure.

I'm walking on a steep slant.The ground is covered with a mixture of leaves and pine needles. When all of a sudden I started to slide. Not very fast, but inching toward the river .. which kept getting louder as I kept sliding closer.

My slide was torturously slow, but I couldn't stop. Desperately I sought something to grab hold of, but the branches were all out of reach.

The outcome was obvious. I was going swimming. =)

Sure 'nuf .. after a surrealistically long slide, I started gaining speed and ended up in the drink. Ker-plash! Wearing long pants and sneakers. The last 6-feet were off a ledge. So it was kinda cool going airborne .. like launching off a diving board.

I was able to keep my balance enough to stay on my feet. So I only got wet up to my waist.

On the National Skids

That sliding feeling. That helpless feeling of slipping slowly toward the inevitable .. that's the feeling I got when I read about this guy (Jared Lee Loughner, aka the 'Arizona Assassin') who shot a congresswoman in the head (Gabrielle Giffords) .. at point-blank range.

Then he started shooting everybody in sight. Even little kids. A 9-year-old girl died. Obviously a nutcase, but it's not like he's the only whacko out there.

Feels like our society is on the skids. Sliding toward the inevitable. Not very quickly, but definitely moving in the downward direction .. toward the drink of history.

••• today's entry continues here below •••

No doubt, there's an element of patriotism when we proclaim our country's greatness and extol its virtues. This is true no matter what country you happen to live in. Moreover, few Americans would argue that ours is still a great place to live. But it definitely feels like we're on the skids.

Use whatever national metric you like -- financial, economic, military, political, environmental, education, ethics, morals -- and you can plot the slide. Which is why Americans overwhelmingly disapprove of the job congress is doing. But shooting them in the head isn't going to help. That's not the answer.

Now it would be nice to believe this slide is only temporary, and that we'll be able to grab hold of a sturdy branch on our way down. Maybe we'll be able to reverse the current trend and head back up to new heights of glory & majesty .. from sea to shining sea. But that's not the impression I get.

water slideSeems like sooner or later America is gonna get wet. At least those without a life-raft deemed too-big-to-fail. It's just a matter of time.

Millions have already taken the forclosure bath and millions more are queued up.

[ Interesting how the term 'bail-out' has emerged in popular culture. It originally referred to the act of saving ships in danger of sinking. ]

I'm talking about a » direction. A feeling. An impression. A notion. A hunch. Can you feel it? That slippery feeling? .. like we've begun an excruciatingly slow slide into the relentless river of history.

Taken separately, the shooting at a supermarket in Tucson, Arizona was a horrible, tragic event. And that's what most analysts tend to do » analyze it as an isolated incident.

That's because the broader picture is much more distressing and disturbing .. especially when you look at it in context of recent historical trends. From a societal & national perspective.

The reasons for this slide are beyond the scope of today's post. They're obviously open to debate and depressing to even think about. Finger-pointing abounds.

Maybe I'm wrong. Hope I am. Or maybe I'm just getting cynical. But I see nothing between here and the drink that will slow our national slide. I see no branches we can grab hold of. Do you?

[ Hey, I'll be the first to admit that denial does have its perks. And maybe these societal cracks are difficult to see for those perched in their ivory towers. But from a street-level perspective, it certainly seems like our utopian jig is up. You must admit, it was sweet while it lasted. ]

Here's the real point I want to make » this gradual national deterioration can't help but have an effect on our society. The cracks will only get larger. The kooks more commonplace. Our slide seems certain to continue. Slowly. But continuously.

Historians assert that every great civilization will eventually decline (slide) and fall (end up in the drink). Without exception. Definitely feels like we're on the down-side. No?

[ We are, for example, the largest debtor nation in history. Of the planet. Ever. Seems downright immoral to burden our kids with all that debt. Does it not?

Tho Japan owes more as a percentage of GDP.

We can never pay back that much. So the Fed begins inflating. What other option do we have? ]

Gabrielle GiffordsThe shooting in Tucson seems like yet another confirmation. I'd rather not believe our end has begun, but these telltale signs are becoming increasingly difficult to ignore. (Demise is such an ugly word.)

Consider the scripture that talks about a house divided. Can you recall a time when our nation has been more divided?

Might not be a bad idea to learn to swim .. just in case. New skills in anticipation of a new day.

[ Doesn't it seem telling that we're currently at war in Afghanistan .. a land that has been called the 'Graveyard-of-Empires' .. fighting a war that most everyone feels is unwinnable?

A small fraction of the billion$ we're blowing on the other side of the planet would go a along way toward mental-health care for those here at home .. who obviously need it badly. Our national priorities suk.

Fact that an obvious nut wasnt being cared for suggests a financal ship-of-fools mentality in our culture/society. Ignore the problem. Make it go away. Launch the ship, so we dont have to deal with it.

You see them living on the streets. Many need mental-health help. Even these get none. Walking indictments on the values our system holds.

Meanwhile, Wall Street gets mad help. All it can handle. Why is that?

The financial meltdown revealed much about how closely Washington's pockets are aligned with Wall Street's checkbook, and how, for these favor$, Wall Street is awarded direct & (seemingly) unlimited access to the national Treasury.

In a world where corruption seems not only expected, but a prereq .. I ask you, is the moral man doomed? ]

Congresswoman Giffords took a bullet to the brain and lived. Wow. That's one tough lady. Godspeed, girl.

Happy Martin Luther King day. Enjoy it while it lasts. I have a dream, too. My country tis of thee.

For more along these lines, here's a Google search preconfigured for the query » decline and fall of the united states

UPDATE - Oh, look. The copycats have already begun.

UPDATE #2 (posted February 12, 2012) - I posted two follow-up entries that could be considered rated topics. See here:

  1. (posted November 11, 2011) » How Big is a Trillion? (or the Immorality of Leaving such an Enormous National Debt for our Children to Pay)

  2. (posted December 30, 2011) » Using Hitchcock's Notorious KEY Shot to Focus on Political Palms

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