It has become something of cliché that every decade have a name that describes the major feature of the people's attitudes and actions.
The Fifties were the decade of the American Dream. The men and women who had won the Second World War had returned and integrated themselves back into society and gained a decent level of employment due mostly to the phenomenon of the GI Bill, the last great act of the American government towards its veterans. Theirs was a new world of decent wages, excellent education (for the white Americans, at least), money for new cars and new homes. It was a time of vast optimism for those who were allowed to participate. Thus, has often been called the decade of the American Dream.
The Sixties saw America become divided over a war ten thousand miles from our shores. It was the first war that Americans watched unfold as they sat safely eating their TV dinners in front of the flickering images of their sons and neighbors, zipped up in black body bags, being tossed aboard helicopters for the beginning of the long trip home. As is true today, the youth of the nation, those who hadn't as yet been indoctrinated into the sect of patriotism and obedience, took to the streets to protest the slaughter of their brothers and school mates as well as the mass murder of the population of Vietnam, itself.
One of the paths that their protests took was to reject the morality and lifestyles of their parents. Where sex was seldom spoken of in the Fifties, it was almost flaunted in the Sixties. Where "good girls" were expected to save their virginity for marriage, casual sex was accepted as normal and a positive form of personal interaction. Generally, the dream of those who grew up in that era was for a world in which love and peace among all people would develop from out of the horrors of the war both in Southeast Asia as well as in the streets of America. It was, for many, a time of hope for the future. It has come to be remembered for that hopeful outlook in the face of tyranny. The Sixties, thus, become known as the decade of Peace and Love.
The Seventies will always be known as the Disco years, and I can imagine no better description nor greater insult for that inane time.
Sadly, that small lingering hope left over from the Sixties for a better, more caring world was eliminated as these so-called hippies grew into adulthood and were seduced by the greed and selfishness of the Reagan Regime. The idea of everyone being brothers and sisters was replaced by the Nazi Right's divisive and hateful ways. No one cared that tens of thousands of mental patients, the majority being comprised of Vietnam veterans, were tossed out onto the streets of our cities to fend for themselves, all in the name of "smaller government". No one cared when mouthpieces for the Right-wing administration tried to cheat our children by declaring that serving catsup in school lunches would constitute a vegetable. No one cared that the government had finally been so completely bought by Corporate America that neither the government nor Corporate America saw any reason to keep their screwing of the American people confined to backrooms and moved it out into the open. America never awoke from its self-induced sleep to express any concern for the ownership of their government caring far more to see the answer to that most inane of questions; Who Shot JR?
This decade would go by many names; the "Me Decade", the "Decade of the Dollar" among many others. It was a time that whet America's appetite for simple wealth through the mindless bumper sticker mentality of "He Who Dies With The Most Toys Wins" (although its corollary of "He Who Dies With The Most Toys Is Dead" never spoken). Idiocy such as the TV series Dallas and Knots Landing and Miami Vice and all the other programs that relied on the public's new found belief that obtaining wealth in any manner possible is good only deepened the cesspool that America was blithely and blindly sinking into.
Frankly, the only name I would give to the Eighties would be the "Slumbering" Decade.
The Nineties began on a truly miserable note with the Village Idiot the First allowing the world to be dragged into a murderous war protecting the profits of the oil industry and the obscenely wealthy families who ruled the Middle East's dictatorships. He gaily slaughtered hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians in his campaign to keep the world addicted to oil at any cost. He then ignored the reality of the economic collapse that his policies, or lack of policies, had allowed to occur. His final days were spent denying the fact that the nation was in another recession caused by the greed and senselessness of the Right Wing's long discredited "Trickle Down Theory" (a process that I have always agreed caused a trickle down effect but the color of what trickled wasn't green but yellow).
The Nineties was really never given a moniker, per se. For the few who gained wealth riding the back of the real workers, it would probably be termed, as some economists have done, the "Go Go Decade". For the majority who still worked two or three jobs while pleading with life's fortunes to protect them from any medical bills or other catastrophes that would drive them into a life in the streets, the decade would probably be called "Just More Of The Same". Perhaps we'll just take our cue from the Nazi Right and call it the "Decade of the Starr".
That brings up to the year 2001. In the process of entering the new millennium, we have also entered into a time of shameless selfishness and en even greater posture of pure and unadulterated greed. No longer do people understand that we all pay taxes according to our ability because the money that is acquired (I just can't bring myself to say "earned") and taxed is the price we pay to live in a nation so singular and powerful that we need fear no outside power, save those that are created as straw-men by the weapons manufacturers. We pay taxes not because of some Faustian nightmare of a monster government that sucks the very life from America's taxpayers but because each of us simply is in debt to every other American for the freedoms and future we hold dear.
It is our solemn duty to pay the taxes necessary to maintain safe, clean schools for our children, schools in which the best and the brightest teachers are recruited and retained through a salary and benefit package equal to the skills and talents that these dedicated individuals bring to the task of educating each successive generation.
It is our duty as Americans to provide assistance to those Americans who cannot provide for themselves. It is our responsibility to provide for those parents who cannot both work full-time and still be a major influence in the lives and education of their children. It is our duty to protect those who's mental capacity is such that they cannot efficiently care for themselves.
It is our duty to provide sufficient funding for those government agencies that determine the safety of food and drugs and products we use in our lives. We are thus charged simply because the corporations which produce these goods have only a profit in mind and, as has become obvious, will allow little to stand in the way of gaining that profit. Only a strong central government, one that wields strict and enforceable laws and regulations, can force compliance over profits.
As the wealthiest nation on earth, it is our duty to provide every single citizen with the best of medical care so that they may be capable of joining in the day to day to effort to make the world a better, more just place to live. With the wealth of this nation, the heartbreaking sight of a child slowly dying from a disease easily prevented and cured if only his or her family could afford that care must become a relic of our miserable past.
Knowing that we must be held responsible for the protection and futures of our children and those least able to defend themselves, what is the reaction of the loudest of us? Knowing that the wealth that they hold is directly due to the trillions of dollars borrowed by the government during the regime of Reagan and his puppet masters and that this debt is still draining off hundreds of billions of dollars from the federal budget, what is the whine and the whimper of those who should be happily paying off that debt? Knowing that the God they claim to worship demands that all of his followers happily help those who are in need without a thought of judging their worth or their station in life, how can those who have gained wealth alone comfort themselves when they see children or the elderly in pain and in need?
How are these questions answered? With an economy that was growing without pause (before the Village Idiot the Second stole the office of the President and began destroying the economy in order to force a tax cut for the wealthy through Congress in order to restart the same economy he had ruined), what was the prevailing mood of those who had far more than they needed? The cry was always, "That's MY money and I want it back!" or "Because the nation has provided a time in which I can so easily become rich isn't a reason for me to have any obligation to pay that back in any way because the money is MINE!".
No where could you hear any voice suggesting that the nation was in a once in a generation position to improve the conditions in our schools and repair our transportation infrastructure. No where did you hear a voice demanding that debt accumulated in the Eighties and Nineties be repaid so that the nation could never again waste precious financial resources in repaying those trillions. No where did you hear a voice demand that any funds that appear to be surplus be used to insure that two of he greatest social programs ever enacted, Social Security and Medicare, be fully funded and even improved for decades to come. No where was voice raised for sharing the wealth that every American labored to create.
In sum, there has no voice raised save in selfishness and in an effort to benefit to no one but those with the power to grasp and jerk anything that might, in any small way, of gain to those without that power.
People, the government just BORROWED $38 BILLION DOLLARS in order to pay for the insane tax cuts that the Village Idiot the Second passed through a Congress dominated by 100 Republicans. Has any voice been raised against this lunacy? Of course not. Otherwise, those in power would not be able to steal even more wealth from the futures of our children.
There can be no other honor for this generation of dirty, greedy little gnomes than the "Mine Decade". Nothing else can capture the depth to which this nation has sunk and nothing else will allow future generations to celebrate either the complete reversal of these horrors or just more and more greed and selfishness until the planet is used up and the environment is no longer capable of supporting the vast number of abusive passengers.
So, join me in celebrating the proclamation announcing that this, the 21st decade, is now and forever will be known as, the "Mine Decade".
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