"If you won't stand for something, you will fall for anything." -- quote attributed to numerous sources
Historically, when our nation has transitioned from one way of life to another, there has usually been some optimism about what was to come. That was true at the time of the American Revolution and it was true as we moved from an agrarian society toward the Industrial Revolution in the mid-18th through mid-19th centuries.
Even during World War II, the song "White Cliffs of Dover" with its lyric "There'll be love and laughter and peace ever after. Tomorrow, when the world is free," looked forward to a better day. It didn't quite turn out that way, as wars persist, but optimism kept us going with the hope that a new and better world was about to dawn.
Today we are gripped not by optimism but by a deep pessimism, even cynicism, that permeates virtually every layer of our culture. According to a Real Clear Politics Poll, more than 66 percent of those surveyed think this country is headed in the wrong direction, yet like a man who is lost but refuses to ask for directions, we keep barreling full steam ahead.
While politics has always been a rhetorical combat sport, the insults thrown by
A book by an "anonymous congressman," titled "Confessions of Congressman X," is scheduled for publication on
Given the behavior and history of so many members of
It was thought once that our leaders should possess good character. In this election, however, it appears voters will be forced to choose for president -- if they vote at all -- between a boastful, superficial, narcissistic, misogynist and a corrupt, entitled, shady, lying, unaccomplished woman who has ignored her husband's affairs in the pursuit of power.
Are these two candidates a reflection of our cynical and increasingly secular culture? They must be, otherwise so many voters would not have propelled them to the top of their respective parties. If we are willing to settle for less than the best, we can be sure that less is exactly what we will get.
Another character quality that is in decline is modesty. A new
Scriptwriters put words in the mouths of actresses that "would make a sailor blush," as the old saying goes. Yet, we are supposed to regard this as progress and equality.
Do I sound "old-fashioned"? There is something to be said about old things. Some things endure because they have proven to work for the individual and for society at large. Nations built to last generally do; nations allowed to rot from within do just that.