Posted by Brother Bob on 1 December, 2009 at 6:16 pm. 4 comments already!

A few months ago one of my Aunts passed away and I drove up to Jersey for the funeral service. At the lunch afterward one of my cousins was kind enough to give my brother and me a mix of some some CD’s he had burned. They were a compilation of the best of Stiff Records – a bunch of punk / new wave / underground music from the 70’s. It featured bands like Ian Dury and the Blockheads, Devo, and Elvis Costello.

Everybody has a favorite era in music – it usually coincides with when you come of age. I would get into this debate constantly with friends in Tampa who thought that the 90’s made the best music, or even the 70’s. I was forced to correct them, because as everyone knows, the greatest era in music was the 1980’s. The 80’s saw an amazing revolution in pop, the rise of MTV, the CD, and the beginnings of digitalization. From the ashes of punk, alternative rock and Thrash Metal would develop. The best of the best from earlier eras, such as The Stones and The Who would still hold their own against upstarts, and of course, we saw the rise of heavy metal. The decade kicked off with AC/DC’s landmark album, Back in Black, the start of the decade also saw the debut albums of the “Four Horseman” of thrash, Anthrax, Megadeth, Metallactica, and Slayer. One could add a fifth horseman if you want to consider the perennially underrated Overkill. Metal also branched out, not just with the heavier thrash, but also building on the groundwork laid by Kiss to give bring Glam Metal mainstream. And last but not least, this decade gave us the greatest album in the history of creation, Iron Maiden’s 1983 release Piece of Mind, which is well documented here.

I had always written off the previous decade with The Stones’ simple title of “Sucking in the 70’s”. But when I listened to this mix I came to realize something. The 70’s, no less than the decades before it, were a critical decade in rock music’s development. These bands broke new ground and influenced the greats who are my favorites, and without them my favorite era could not have happened. Music is always evolving and changing, and one band’s creation is not an end point, but a journey along a road built by their predecessors. It’s easy to take for granted the music that we hear from a certain era while overlooking all of that era’s predecessors and those who were our favorite bands’ influences. For example:

Buckcherry would never have been able to tell about a crazy b*tch if it weren’t for George Michael.

George could not have wanted your sex if it weren’t for Prince.

Prince could not have told us about Darling Nikki if it weren’t for The Stones.

The Stones could not have suggested spending the night together if it weren’t for The Everly Brothers.

The Everly Brothers could not have urged Little Suzie to wake up if it weren’t for the R&B acts that preceded them.

You get my point – it’s easy to see how things are today and accept it as the natural order of things. It’s easy to take for granted everything that took place beforehand and all of the hard work that created today’s conditions. The insights that I got from Stiff records got me thinking about us as a nation and society.

So how does this relate to America today?

Simply put, we have become a generation of trust funders. Things have been so good for so long that we have come to assume that we are entitled to a permanent state of peace and prosperity without any sacrifice whatsoever. Our parents and grandparents have worked so hard and sacrificed so much that we can’t possibly appreciate where we are today. It’s gotten to the point where we actually have to make up our own crises just to feel important. Think about this – when have we ever known an existential threat to our existence?

Disease? H1N1? Sars? Both of these disease killed thousands of people. But people die every day, and hundreds of thousands die from the flu every year. We’ve never had epidemics like we’ve seen in the past. And thanks to our evil health care system and heartless drug companies, we’re living longer and healthier lives than any time in history! I remember watching The Corporation some years ago (A schlocumentary on the evils of corporate America) and them complaining about “The Cancer Epidemic” that grips our country. Like it our not, our bodies were not designed to last forever. A big contribution to people dying of cancer is that they’re surviving childbirth, not getting killed by measles, polio, mumps, or whooping cough. For that matter, we have gotten to a point where we have learned to grow and distribute food to our population so cheaply and efficiently that our biggest problem is that we are consuming too much food. It amazes foreign migrants how we have a society so prosperous that our working class can be overweight.

War? Yes, we’ve lost thousands of brave men and women who have served in the various fronts of the Overseas Contingency Operation. Even our more recent wars, Korea and Vietnam both killed fewer than 60,000 Americans in each. And I am certainly not trying to make light of the ultimate sacrifice that our soldiers made, but compare these to wars past. World War II killed over 400,000 Americans, while The Civil war killed over 600,000. And these don’t even begin to compare to the millions who were killed in Europe and Asia in the two world wars to fight for their freedom. It’s no coincidence that the strongest countries in support of the Iraq War when Bush was building his coalition were the Eastern European countries that have recent experience living under tyrannical rule. But when was the last time any American had to truly fear that an invading army could conquer this country?

The economy? Everyone is entitled to a job! What we are going through now may be painful, but it is nothing compared to how many Americans suffered under FDR’s ruinous New Deal policies. For all that these programs “worked”, keep in mind that until the start of WWII during FDR’s presidency unemployment only briefly dipped below 15% twice. And it even got as high as 25%! Imagine about that one – one out of every people you know was unemployed and could not find a job – any job! And of course, although we hear so much about the Depression and the New Deal in history books, the 1890’s saw an economic downturn that also saw double digit unemployment. I still remember as a kid going to my grandparents’ home and seeing in their cellar cabinet stacks and stacks of canned food. This was the 1970’s, but they were old enough to have remembered The Great Depression.

We live in levels of prosperity that a few hundred years ago could only be afforded by the aristocracy. Your average person has better options for health care, entertainment, diet, and security that your average feudal lord. We take this for granted now, but a greater percentage of households own items such as cars, air conditioners, and refrigerators than past generations did. In fact, in terms of ownership of what we now see as basic goods, a poor person in 2001 can afford more than your average person in the 1970’s. For all we hear about stagnant wages, living standards have never been higher. And for that matter, while wages have not risen compensation has. The big culprit is rising health care costs, and no, handing control of the industry to an institution that is completely incapable of controlling costs or managing a budget is not the answer.

So where does this leave us now? We’ve had it so good for so long that we find the need to invent crises to find something to worry about. Look around the mainstream media and you see it’s everywhere. We’ve allowed the religious cult of Global Warming, er, Climate Change to lead to all kinds of hysteria. Climate Change has been around for many years, and in the old days (someone else wrote this but I can’t recall who) we had a different term for it – weather. Now we’re getting hysterical cries to throw trillions of dollars at a problem whose science has been proven to be bunk, and that’s when it’s not based on outright lies. We’ve even gotten to the level of stupidity of calling it a national security threat.

We’ve become so willing to believe that peace and prosperity are the natural state of things that we were willing to hand over control of our country to a senator with no real accomplishments. What little we knew about him from his associations and voting record revealed that he was a left wing radical, but we elected him anyway for nothing more than his ability to read aloud words that other people had written while being telegenic. And now we’re paying the price for it. Unemployment is in double digits and won’t be improving any time soon. Any first year Economics student who understands the laws of supply and demand knows that when you make something more expensive you get less of it. So what do the jet fuel geniuses running our country do? Increase regulation, threaten businesses with strengthening the labor unions, and threaten all Americans by confiscating more of their income to pay for his health care schemes or to go into the pockets of con artists like Al Gore. It’s beyond the comprehension of our leaders that making it more expensive to hire workers would actually lead to higher unemployment. Of course, when the administration decides that paying back Big Labor is more important than creating jobs by raising the minimum wage, nobody should be surprised when unemployment surges, especially among low wage earners. There is a reason that the bureau of Labor and Statistics announced that teen unemployment has hit a record high of 27.6%.

Around the world, our country is becoming a joke. Our president talks like a teenager who, as Mark Steyn said, has listened to too much John Lennon as he airily proclaims his desire for a nuclear free world. In the meantime, North Korea and Iran are laughing their arses off as they continue with their nuclear programs. Obama is so intent on bowing before tyrannical regimes that he can not even bring himself to condemn the oppressive regime run by Iran’s Mullahs. While our press fawns over his “brilliance” in remaining silent, the people of Iran have a different opinion of our president. Our allies have learned that they can no longer trust us – Poland and the Czech Republic saw him betray their leaders who stuck out their necks for us with the missile defense plans. I’m sure that the Hondurans loved Obama’s talk about how “No nation should dominate another” as he allied himself with Chavez and Castro’s efforts to do exactly that. The Japanese press is calling his last visit a disaster, and France has even begun to step up by trying to lead negotiations between Syria and Israel. Remember the good old days when the only way France could make itself relevant on the world stage was to oppose the US? Ah, the good old days..

To paraphrase a line from The Dark Knight, “He’s not the president we need; he’s the president we deserve.” In this shallow, materialistic American Idol era where we have no appreciation for the sacrifices generations before us have made President Obama perfectly personifies what we are becoming as a society. And before you say, “Wait a minute! I’m among the 32,000,000 who voted for McCain – I don’t deserve this!”, remember that as conservatives we have our share of blame in this, too:

  • When the historical anomaly of 9/11 allowed the Republicans to gain power in the 2002 and 2004 elections we failed to hold them accountable. They thought that they could behave as badly as they wanted and that we would put up with it as long as they proved that they were the party that took national security seriously.
  • We held them accountable in 2006 and deservedly ejected them, but it would have been better had we gotten in our leaders’ faces while they were still in office. We’re doing it now.
  • The Tea Party movement is out in force now, but we should have been doing it a few years ago. Contrary to what Jeanine Garafolo thinks, we didn’t march because we are racist, no more than all of the Bush haters who pretended they were marching because they opposed the Iraq War (as opposed to just hatred for Bush) are racists for not marching today. We just didn’t know how bad things would get.
  • We didn’t run for office ourselves, while the liberals were feeding off of their blind hatred to stir up their base and get involved.
  • We didn’t push candidates who could have won higher office, which was how we wound up with a weak candidate like McCain. The only candidate who had the backbone to challenge the MSM’s natural disdain for the GOP was found in Fred Thompson’s running one of the laziest presidential campaigns in recent memory.

This is what has given the Democrats a just thin enough majority that they will now be able to ram their ruinous health care bill up our collective a**es. Hopefully we’re putting enough pressure on lawmakers to block it from becoming law, but at this stage I am not optimistic.

So that’s where we are now – stuck with a President who is unqualified,incompetent, shallow and narcissistic at best, and at worst actually a tool that the radical left can use to push through fundamental changes that will ruin this country. For all of the hope and change we were promised, the Obama Administration reminds me of another great line from The Dark Knight. It was a line that got lost in the shuffle of many other great quotes, but it came from The Scarecrow at the start of the movie:

“Buyer beware. I told you my compound would take you places. I never said they’d be places you wanted to go.”

We’re finally waking up, and hopefully it’s not too late.

Now you’ll have to excuse me while I go listen to the Repo Man soundtrack.

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