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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review September 24, 2012/ 8 Tishrei, 5773

Pessimists R Us

By David Shribman




JewishWorldReview.com | ere's what we believe: For most of our history, Americans--who planted colonies on inhospitable shores, rebelled against the most formidable power on Earth, settled a wild continent, built an industrial empire, broke the gravitational pull of the earth and landed on the moon -- have been a wildly optimistic people. Only in this new century have we come to believe the next generation's fate might be worse than ours.

Here's what's true: We're not that optimistic, and haven't been for years, even decades. For decades we've believed that those who follow us will have it harder than we had it.

This is the great American disconnect. We're living a myth, but then again, it is the myth that defines us -- and our politics.

Today, by a two-to-one margin, Americans believe the next generation will be worse off than we are. Some 23 years ago, Americans believed by a two-to-one margin that the next generation would be worse off than we were. Remember that the 1989 poll was taken only five months after the greatest optimist in presidential history, Ronald Reagan, had left office and when his hand-picked heir, George H. W. Bush, was still enjoying a political honeymoon.

As that legendary political commentator, Richard Farina, might say: Been down so long it looks like up from here.

In fact, in three decades of CBS News/New York Times polling, Americans have consistently held the pessimistic view. The only exception came during the last months of the presidency of Bill Clinton, which goes a long way toward explaining why the Democrats countered the "are-you-better-off?" taunts of the Republicans by putting the 42nd president on stage at their convention for what they knew would be a bravura performance.

The truth is that life is tough and always has been, even in the richest country on Earth, even in a land endowed with great resources, even in a nation peopled with workers strong in mind as well as body and empowered with grit, dedication and intelligence. History may be the story of humankind's great achievements -- the electric light, air travel, the microwave oven, the iPad -- but it is just as much the story of humankind's great disappointments.

When World War I, a needless conflict produced by heedless European leaders, ended, the Great Depression followed, the League of Nations fizzled and a Depression fell across the globe. World War II, the worst calamity in all of history, ended with freedom triumphant but within months the world settled into a debilitating Cold War that drained our resources and spirit and warped our foreign and domestic policies.

Then Communism fell, but soon the peace dividend disappeared, terrorism touched our shores, our freedoms were threatened by our enemies and by our own government, and then an incapacitating recession sapped our energies and dampened our hopes.

Yes, that's a short, oversimplified and relentlessly pessimistic history of the last century. It does not take into account the joy from new babies, the hope from new drugs, the ecstasy of new musical forms, the pride of Americans (black, disabled, female and gay) who won new opportunities and gained the respect denied to them by tradition, stubbornness, laws and simple hatred.

But the beginning of knowledge is the recognition of our true selves, and in fact Americans are both optimistic and pessimistic, bravely approaching the future -- but deeply afraid of its uncertainty.

It was rational to fear the effects of the Great Depression and to worry about the outcome of World War II. Today we know that both the economic and the geopolitical threat were defeated but those things were not known in 1930 and 1942, respectively, and there was ample reason to believe that deprivation and Nazism might prevail. Today we say we won those battles because of the irresistible power of freedom (in the marketplace, in the voting booth and in the mind), but those triumphs weren't inevitable. It was good, very good, that they happened, but it was never a sure thing.

All of which is why the conversation about whether we feel the next generation will have it better or worse is really beside the point, though maybe irresistible.

There is so much we don't know: Will Iran get the bomb? Will the economy return to robust health? Will the enemies we don't know be even worse than the ones we do know, and will one challenge be replaced by another, just as Nazism and Fascism were followed by Communism -- and just as the threat from the Soviets was replaced by the threat from al-Qaida?

And given so much uncertainty, it is natural -- rational, even -- to feel unsettled. Things are bad now, to be sure. Even Democrats acknowledge the Obama administration hasn't been able to make things right, to return us to the world we knew and the world we now think seems so sunny, forgetting of course the clouds of yesterday.

The question isn't our expectations for the next generation. The question is whether the current generation has the will to assure that the next generation has a fair chance to prevail over the threats it encounters.

The question isn't whether the next generation will live more comfortably, but whether the current generation has the imagination to find solutions to the entitlements crisis, the energy challenge, the cost of health care and the threat of weapons of mass destruction.

The presidential candidates are in a pointless debate.

Of course we feel the next generation will have it worse than we did, a sentiment fortified by this month's report that U.S. median income is the lowest since 1995. But we've been feeling that way for years -- and it shouldn't alarm us, whether we're Democrats struggling to defend the president or Republicans trying to use our unease to topple the president. The key to U.S. history isn't that we thought the future would be brighter, but that we did things to assure it would be. Use that as the prism through which you view the campaign, and your perspective will be markedly different.

Candidates love to say American elections are about the future. But our own history and our own polling data shows us that they are not about what life may be in the future but whether we have the capacity to control the present -- and thus to mold the future. That's what Campaign 2012 is really about, or should be.

Comment by clicking here.

David Shribman, a Pulitzer Prize winner in journalism, is executive editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.


Previously:



08/20/12 Obama remains a puzzle even as he asks the American people for a second chance
08/13/12 With Ryan, Romney upends the conversation
08/06/12 The real Romney remains hidden behind other people's opinions
07/30/12 What summer is for: How August can matter, and how Romney might use it
07/23/12 The Independent son of independent Maine promises to shake up Washington
07/16/12 The Rambler American
07/09/12 The Telstar revolution: Fifty years ago, a 3-foot orb was sent aloft and spawned a new era in communications
07/02/12 It's got only four electoral votes, but Romney and Obama will be fighting for them
06/25/12 A little noted rebellion over a lonely stretch of land helps tell the American story
06/18/12 You're nothing special: Luck is what you make of it . . . and what it makes of you
06/11/12 Anybody can talk authoritatively about the presidential election. Here's how
06/04/12 Candidates love to ally themselves with admired presidents, in sometimes unexpected ways
05/29/12 Americans aren't in a new burst of patriotism but they are in a new burst of appreciation for the military
05/21/12 Inside out: Almost nothing about this year's presidential election conforms to conventional analysis
05/14/12 Lugar grew into an elder statesman, which is why he'll be leaving the Senate
05/07/12 50 years later, MacArthur's farewell to arms continues to inspire
04/30/12 The likability factor: We're going to find out how important it is in these troubled times
04/23/12 Romney's four battles: With the nomination essentially in hand, he must turn to new challenges
04/16/12 For GOPers, expect the frustration to build, not abate
04/09/12 The political battles you cannot see
04/02/12 Romney's roadmap: Doing better in Democratic states may complicate his fall campaign
03/26/12 Romney struggles with same GOP forces his father faced long ago
03/19/12 The writer and the president
03/12/12 Romney could learn from his rivals after Super Tuesday
03/05/12 The GOP race continues, and Republicans continue to grouse about their choices
02/27/12 The turnout threat: when voters vamoose
02/20/12 The Winter's Tale: Republicans are engaged in a 'problem play,' full of psychological, and real, drama
02/13/12 Which Ike to like?
02/08/12 A tale of two elections: Voters today are making their most profound choice since 1912
01/30/12 Whither the GOP establishment?
01/23/12 The Democratic coalition is breaking up
01/09/12 The verdict that wasn't
01/02/12 These are the keys to who will persist
12/19/11 Another Gingrich rebellion
12/12/11 A defining fight for the GOP
12/05/11 A distinct lack of enthusiasm
11/28/11 For GOPers, the winds are beginning to pick up, the horizon is darkening
11/21/11 Today's polarized politics . . . blame FDR and the political scientists
11/11/11The sporting life
11/07/11 Ron Paul, true believer
10/31/11 Why Cain isn't able
10/10/11 GOP starting over
10/03/11 The Forgotten War of 1812
09/26/11 The way we live now
09/19/11 The crisis this time
09/11/11 But what will it mean?
09/05/11 A horse race column: Who might win the GOP nomination and how it might unfold
08/29/11 The vacuum calls
08/22/11 Passion and politics: How Barack Obama and Mitt Romney got crowded into the same dangerous corner
08/15/11 Eleanor's little village
08/08/11 The agony of August
08/01/11 The politics of the impossible: What a country this might be if the political class served the broad interests of the majority
07/25/11 Pennant fever grips 'Burgh
07/18/11 Exemplar of an era
07/11/11 On summer
07/04/11 The soul of the party
06/27/11 What the Secretary said
06/20/11 Romney has big advantages over his rivals, but they will be coming after him
06/06/11 One question each
05/30/11 The 14-week challenge
05/23/11 Delay tactics
05/16/11 Republicans are waiting
05/09/11 Bin Laden is dead. What does it mean?
05/02/11 From nobodies to nominees
04/25/11 The founders left slavery for future generations to settle, and we still haven't fully come to terms with it
04/18/11 From audacious to cautious
04/11/11 Dreaming of space
12/12/10 The GOP takes control
12/06/10 DECEMBER 7
11/29/10 GOP presidential hopefuls already are lining up local supporters in what is now a red state
11/22/10 Burning down the House
11/15/10 Institutions of higher learning are finally beginning to teach important lifeskills
11/04/10 The war has just begun
11/01/10 Echoes of a speech 40 years ago this week still resonate today
10/25/10 50 years ago America chose between two men who were dramatically different --- and eerily similar





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