Stonekettle Station: Inheritance
Jim Wright knocks another one out of the park:
I’m unlikely to change their minds, they will most certainly not change mine.
We simply view the world in fundamentally different ways.
It wasn’t always so, but we’ve changed, they and I.
I went out into the world and I saw things and it changed me – and I’ve written about it in an essay that’s one of the most widely read of anything I’ve ever written. Those things I saw, those experiences, changed my viewpoint, yet despite all – or maybe because of it – I’m still an optimist, I still believe.
They remained in the same place, but time changed them too. See, they have reached a point in their lives where they’ve become pessimists. They used to be pretty optimistic people, but not anymore, now it’s all doom and gloom and the end of the world as we know it – and will be until a Republican sits in the White House once again or Obama destroys the world, whichever comes first.
They long for the good old days, back when America was apparently awesome and everybody was happy and safe and satisfied and knew their place – everybody who matters anyway.
Specifically when that glorious past was, what time between the Great Depression and World War II and Korea and Vietnam and the decades of terrorism and the last ten years of war, I’m not quite sure. I’ve lived through fifty-one of those years myself and I don’t know what the hell they’re talking about. But they’re back there somewhere, those good old days, and they were awesome.
Nothing I can say will convince them that the good old days were certainly good for a few folks, but emphatically not for many, many others – especially those who were told to stay in their place on the other side of the tracks or in the ghettos or in the segregated South. Nor can I convince them that despite the continuous sleet of dire pessimism and doom that falls like a cold wet smothering blanket from the bleating hysterical media they watch day in and day out, America isn’t nearly as bad off as it has been at various points throughout its history – and it’s a damned sight better off today for more people than nearly any other place on the planet. Considering that they’ve spent most of my life telling me how goddamned shitty they had it back in the day and how much better kids nowadays have than they ever did, you wouldn’t think this would be a point of argument – but, of course, it is.