Quote of the Day: Where in the World Are We?

 

I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore. —L. Frank Baum

This was a statement made by Baum’s character, Dorothy, in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. But I couldn’t help thinking that any one of us could make the same observation about life in the United States today.

Many of us have lived long enough to remember a different United States. It’s gratifying to glorify our past with Ozzie and Harriet images, professional baseball, our victory in WWII, and the respect other nations had for our country. We even realize that some of our memories are overblown, hazy stories that we recall or were passed down to us by family who loved this country and wanted to pass on their admiration for all that we stood for.

Yet we had much to admire and treasure: freedom, opportunity, and respect for the rule of law. We were a classless society, where anyone could succeed if he worked hard enough; a person could be flipping burgers one day, and with commitment and effort, run a franchise.

Anything was possible.

Today, however, we have little energy for reminiscing or for appreciating our circumstances. We are caught up in the miasma of Progressive greed and ineptitude. We realize that the foundations of our country are being threatened. We realize that we are in a battle for our very lives as American citizens. And we are still trying to understand the destruction that has taken place.

But many of us have taken the first step in responding to conditions on the ground. We don’t minimize the changes that have happened socially, economically, culturally, and in terms of governance. Almost every time we turn around, another person on the Right has been canceled or driven out.

Yet we are coming to terms with the reality of America today.

We are living in a different United States.

We choose not to be woke.

But we are wide, wide awake.

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  1. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Susan Quinn: We choose not to be woke.

    We do, but there are wokesters who want to ruin everything.  To wit:

    https://nypost.com/2021/12/08/woke-wannabe-critics-are-canceling-classic-christmas-movies/

    • #1
  2. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Stad (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn: We choose not to be woke.

    We do, but there are wokesters who want to ruin everything. To wit:

    https://nypost.com/2021/12/08/woke-wannabe-critics-are-canceling-classic-christmas-movies/

    Good grief. Those people need to get a life!

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  3. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

    Few were alive, if any before the modern liberal assault on the system.  Roosevelt and even Hoover were “modern” in that their views were aggressively top down.  But it was all still balanced.  The tipping came from broad illegal immigration mostly from Mexico and above, and of course from WWII and the Cold War and wealth and leisure.  There is a difference between those who choose to come, go through the problem of getting a legal visa, learning the language and waves of illegals from the same towns and extended families in great numbers.  When folks from profoundly different cultures had to accommodate it was organically different than the effect of these waves.  Non military Federal employment grew and the bottom up republic slowly died.   Then modern falling cost digital companies arrived, as did China.  Now we have a set of challenges to preserve freedom that we don’t know how to manage.      We’re too big and too diverse to enjoy freedom and be run from the top, so we either find a way to return to some form of the original constitutional idea or it’s all over.   We’re already seeing how our digital companies will behave when they don’t (think they) have to compete as businesses, moreover, modern mass manufacturing hardly exists in the US.  We can see what China will do or become if it doesn’t rot from the top faster than we do.  But we have to come to grips with it with or without China’s dominance, or the US Republic will end. 

    • #3
  4. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    I Walton (View Comment):

    Few were alive, if any before the modern liberal assault on the system. Roosevelt and even Hoover were “modern” in that their views were aggressively top down. But it was all still balanced. The tipping came from broad illegal immigration mostly from Mexico and above, and of course from WWII and the Cold War and wealth and leisure. There is a difference between those who choose to come, go through the problem of getting a legal visa, learning the language and waves of illegals from the same towns and extended families in great numbers. When folks from profoundly different cultures had to accommodate it was organically different than the effect of these waves. Non military Federal employment grew and the bottom up republic slowly died. Then modern falling cost digital companies arrived, as did China. Now we have a set of challenges to preserve freedom that we don’t know how to manage. We’re too big and too diverse to enjoy freedom and be run from the top, so we either find a way to return to some form of the original constitutional idea or it’s all over. We’re already seeing how our digital companies will behave when they don’t (think they) have to compete as businesses, moreover, modern mass manufacturing hardly exists in the US. We can see what China will do or become if it doesn’t rot from the top faster than we do. But we have to come to grips with it with or without China’s dominance, or the US Republic will end.

    I so agree with you, @iwalton. I’m in the middle of VDH’s book, The Dying Citizen, and at this point he is focusing on the dying middle class. His arguments complement your points very well. And I don’t know how we will find our way back. Thanks. 

    • #4
  5. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    I Walton (View Comment):

    I so agree with you, @ iwalton. I’m in the middle of VDH’s book, The Dying Citizen, and at this point he is focusing on the dying middle class. His arguments complement your points very well. And I don’t know how we will find our way back. Thanks.

    Split. Succession didn’t work because  succession was largely racist,  now it would be the opposite of racism.  Size adds nothing but national security so defense is the issue and DOD is being destroyed rapidly so it has to be a clear option as soon as possible.

    • #5
  6. Ansonia Member
    Ansonia
    @Ansonia

    I don’t remember a better America, maybe because I’m only almost 65. My memories from my earliest years are all of people failing to recognize and appreciate how good and easy their lives were. The people who were around me and taking their blessings for granted certainly weren’t happier than people are today.

    My kids and their spouses (they are 39 and early-40-plus in age) uncomplainingly work many times harder than my parents ever did. They’re vastly much better to and for their own kids than my parents ever were to and for me or my siblings. My kids and their spouses are also a lot kinder to each other than my parents were to each other or than (to be honest) I was to their father or he was to me. My kids are also more credentialed than their parents (though not as credentialed as my parents were) and one of  them, my daughter, is genuinely better educated. One of my two kids, my daughter, also attends church with her spouse and 3 small children every Sunday, and finds money, time and energy to contribute to her church. The way my kids live makes me sometimes wonder if we don’t believe too much of what we read.

    Speaking of people believing too much of what they read (or being unaware of what’s being omitted in what they read) that’s my concern about my son. He isn’t as naturally shrewd as his sister and had a lot less parental attention given to his education while he was growing up. (By the time he came along, I was selfishly and stupidly focused on me. He paid for that.)

    My son leans and reads left. He’s convinced that January 6th was an insurrection, or close to it, and that Trump deliberately incited the chaos. I’m suspecting he lacks information. But, right now, I would only be able to tell him I think I vaguely remember reading timelines of what happened and when on that day that would cause him to question his mental picture, and that I also think I remember reading that Trump requested more police to be on hand for the 1/6 rally, and that I think I remember reading that Nancy Pelosi has or had some kind of authority over the Capitol police. I can’t tell him where I read such things, because I don’t remember.

    Will someone on Ricochet please help me by telling me about articles I could reread and share with him ? I want to respond to (examine and pick apart) an article he sent me. It’s “Trump’s Next Coup Has Already Begun”, by Barton Gellman, published recently in the Atlantic. The help would be greatly appreciated.

    • #6
  7. She Coolidge
    She
    @She

    Susan Quinn: Many of us have lived long enough to remember a different United States.

    I’m 67, and perhaps because I grew up in a third world country, and because my own (UK) first world country only removed the last vestiges of WWII rationing and privation a few months before I was born in September of 1954, I do remember a different world.

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    And I don’t know how we will find our way back.

    I think the key to that is learning to do more with less.  And I don’t mean in a climate-changey, social-justicey sort of way, but rather in a more human-scale sort of way.  When I think about the small house in Bethel Park PA that we could afford and buy in 1965 (a full–very small, very pink, and very retro–bathroom upstairs, and a tiny powder room downstairs.  Three tiny bedroom upstairs off a landing too small to change  your mind on,  and an uninspiring living room, dining room and kitchen downstairs, I know that it couldn’t possibly pass muster today as viable space for a family of five–as we were soon to be.  And yet somehow, we made do. And survived.

    The virtues of “making do,” I think are, in this 21st-century, a lost art.  And something we ought to be re-investigating.

    • #7
  8. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    We all have our own personal memories about whether earlier times were better or worse than current circumstances. I think, though, when we look at our cities, counties and states, we see a seriously deteriorated rule of law, if nothing else: riots and public violence and destruction are ignored; mandates far beyond anything the government has imposed before; blatant lies coming from all levels of government; open borders; fecklessness in terms of foreign relations–the list goes on. I am grateful to know that there are young people out there like your kids who are still religious, following the moral tenets that are so much a part of our Judeo-Christian heritage.

    I will leave it to others regarding Jan. 6 sources. I think the media for the most part created a dishonest picture. I’m sure that some Rico members must have written some helpful posts. Thanks for chiming in, @ansonia.

    • #8
  9. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    She (View Comment):
    The virtues of “making do,” I think are, in this 21st-century, a lost art.  And something we ought to be re-investigating.

    I think you have something here, @she. Although we have a large house, it’s paid for and I have absolutely no intention of leaving. Our cars are old and paid for. We have made few changes in our house since we’ve lived here. We have little interest in getting “the latest” of anything. And unlike the courage you show for remodeling, the very thought of changing anything and the disruption it would cause makes me faint. We’re not stingy with ourselves, but we live fairly modestly, compared to others. I may be blind to our excesses because we’ve become accustomed to them. Maybe you’d write a post on “making do” and how it might contribute to a brighter future?

    • #9
  10. Ansonia Member
    Ansonia
    @Ansonia

    She (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn: Many of us have lived long enough to remember a different United States.

    I’m 67, and perhaps because I grew up in a third world country, and because my own (UK) first world country only removed the last vestiges of WWII rationing and privation a few months before I was born in September of 1954, I do remember a different world.

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    And I don’t know how we will find our way back.

    I think the key to that is learning to do more with less. And I don’t mean in a climate-changey, social-justicey sort of way, but rather in a more human-scale sort of way. When I think about the small house in Bethel Park PA that we could afford and buy in 1965 (a full–very small, very pink, and very retro–bathroom upstairs, and a tiny powder room downstairs. Three tiny bedroom upstairs off a landing too small to change your mind on, and an uninspiring living room, dining room and kitchen downstairs, I know that it couldn’t possibly pass muster today as viable space for a family of five–as we were soon to be. And yet somehow, we made do. And survived.

    The virtues of “making do,” I think are, in this 21st-century, a lost art. And something we ought to be re-investigating.

    What’s lacking, most of all, is the motivation to make do. My husband and his sister didn’t pay a penny for their college educations. Their parents paid, and planned for years to pay, for that. Their house while growing up, which had one bathroom, was very small for the 4 people it contained. 

    • #10
  11. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    We are conditioned to pursue and maintain affluence. It’s the American way!

    • #11
  12. Ansonia Member
    Ansonia
    @Ansonia

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    We are conditioned to pursue and maintain affluence. It’s the American way!

    Well, we’re conditioned to live, and be seen living  affluently. The people deadly serious about pursuing and maintaining affluence might actually be inclined to live more modestly than others with the same income would think necessary.

    But yes, we make sick trade-offs. Putting acquiring money ahead of making sure our kids are well educated, when we already would have enough with more careful living, for instance. I think there’s been an increase in people making sick trade-offs since, say, the 1950’s.

    • #12
  13. She Coolidge
    She
    @She

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    Maybe you’d write a post on “making do” and how it might contribute to a brighter future?

    I’ll think on that.  There are some very good comments and food for thought in that regard on this thread.  There’s got to be some middle ground between my late and very dear friend Bernie, who loved to tell the world that I’d given him the highest compliment possible when I said–during a conversation a few of us were having about how we weren’t too proud to stop by the side of the road in affluent neighborhoods on their special trash collection days and score useful pieces of furniture or other items with some life left in them–that, “When Bernie finally throws something away, not only does nobody want it, but most of the time you can’t even tell what it was;” and people who routinely chuck perfectly serviceable, and sometimes very expensive items away without a second thought merely because there’s a newer model on the market or because they have a fetish about staying up to date.  I think the “throwaway culture” is, to a large extent, what I’m talking about.

    • #13
  14. She Coolidge
    She
    @She

    This is the Quote of the Day. December’s sign-up sheet is here.  Please sign up today!

    If you’re new at this game, it’s a easy way to get your feet wet and start a conversation; if you’re an old-timer, you already know the ropes.  Either way, we’re looking forward to your post.

    Another ongoing project to encourage new voices is our Group Writing Project. December’s theme is “Winter Lights and Dark Winter Nights.”  If you’d like to weigh in, please sign up for Group Writing too!

    • #14