I'm going to ramble a bit. This is sort of a meta diary in response to a most excellent diary about the decay of the US Civilization. The hallmark of a great diary is it sparks meta. I agree with just about all of it! We're on some tough times. I agree with all except the final notion that we're deeply in decline.
I'll start, I guess, by talking about my family....
My father's grandfather came to the new world from a war torn Europe...became a bootlegger to make ends meet. Made spirits in a still in the marshes of Muskegon with his sons and sold it to Al Capone's men not too far across the Big Lake. His youngest son, my grandfather, became a carny....
...he married my grandmother at a very young age who fell on hard times because her father worked in a factory on the East side of Michigan making airplane parts until he got a head injury on the job and then somehow died outside the building. Since he died outside the building the company refused to pay a cent and my Grandmother at 16 had to drive her father's body in the back seat of the car across the state to home where her family now had nothing.
So my father grew up poor.
In America. In the 1950s and 1960s He grew up finding items in the city dump to sell. His brother hunted muskrat and pulled wild rice to help feed the family.
The air from the factories and foundries along Muskegon Lake rendered the air red and heavy with soot and particulates, and dumped toxic substances into the waterways people drank from. You'd go downtown in a white shirt and come back in a brown shirt.
It was that polluted. The air.
In the mid to late 1800s, Muskegon was a wealthy lumbering town. Until most of the entire state was clear cut. All the old growth forest gone. Virtually all of it. The whole state, clearcut in the span of 40 years.
Rivers raked of mollusks and clams to make buttons, thousands of tons of them pulled from the rivers until they were all but gone.
Back in the early 1900s.
All of this of course was during the supposed rise of the American civilzation. Lumber to build this growing empire clearcut entire states, buttons to make clothing for a growing population of folks with money sucked the rivers dry of clams and wildlife.
This was during the rise of the American civilization.
We dammed up rivers and straightened others out. We threw factories up like crazy and electrified the entire nation with coal burning power plants.
The thing is.............
.................I don't know when the heyday of America was.
I don't know when I'd point to and say "THERE! That was it."
Sometimes our nation rose in economic growth, but exacted horrible environmental damage. Sometimes we made great strides in civil rights while sending tens of thousands of young men to die on the other side of the world for what? Sometimes we made incredible strides in rights for the poor while our economy took a nosedive.
Bridges have crumbled before. And they will crumble again.
America is at a crossroads. Not a death spiral.
We're not going to be the most powerful nation on earth forever.
Neither was England and look at them....now they have universal health care instead. Win some, lose some.
The world is changing in dramatic ways, all around us. We are in the midst....in the MIDST....of a global revolution on many levels. Not just social, but technological.
Recently a company created a printer that prints 30 feet of solar panels in 60 seconds. Electricity production is on the cusp of decentralization. With 3D printing, manufacturing is on the cusp of decentralization. Robotic and computer technology is making robotic workers a possibility, robotic cars, electric cars, renewable energy........
..........and we're right now watching the fireworks of an epic battle as the old world is getting picked apart, irreversably by the new. America won't be all white like it was. Electricity won't be generated like it has been. Manufacturing won't work like it did.
We're barreling into a tremendous shift in our world.
American civilization isn't falling apart.
It's being reborn.
What's it being reborn into?
I don't know. Nobody knows. And that's what's so scary. The big game board is shaking up and even the powerful know it.
Now is the time, RIGHT NOW, to push the direction of history where we want it to go. RIGHT NOW. Because we live in interesting times. Not end times. Homosexual couples can get married in America. A Black man is President. We are world leaders in a reduction of CO2 emissions.
The world is changing.
Of course the powerful will push back. They always do. And they'll puff themselves up to look insurmountable. And they will be...until they fall.