Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Long time coming, long time gone
I think that we have made some decidedly good choices here in the land of the free. They just have long term digestion cycles. And we are having some unintended consequences and a bit of indigestion in the process.
Most of these choices are of recent origin. I think that the sixties are when we began to make the changes which caused the whole series of conundrums that we are now facing.
It was an odd decade for certain. Folks my age like to point out the freedoms that we gained. I will even grant them that point. The end of the Jim Crow laws and the entry of women into the greater world was a big plus. The opposition to the Vietnam war brought the close to a poorly thought-out and poorly managed piece of stupidity.
But what came with these "wins" was a series of changes that temporarily crippled our society and will take generations to repair, but that repair is possible. The changes were the right thing to do, but the execution and the downstream effects still hang on.
Banishment of the Jim Crow laws were morally correct. But the desire to disenfranchise the recipients of this change will take another fifty or so years to fully implement with all the concomitant pushback we continue to see. The folks that were granted political equality will continue to struggle for social equality.
Women's rights were necessary and just, but we will have to take some time to debone the changes to the industrial workforce and come to grips with the undershoot and overshoot of the differing aspects of this change (eg sexual and reproductive issues, fully implemented equality etc.). A lot of the employment issue that we see today wouldn't exist under the old system of male at work/female at home. But I would like a smart woman working next to me rather than a stupid male.
Ending the war in Vietnam was the first cracks in the empire. We keep trying, but having seen the problems in Vietnam and the long-term uselessness of the war allows us now to better address the continuing attempts at empire by the elite. We have learned much about how to challenge our government, they have learned much on how to defuse that challenge.
We haven't failed at any of these things. We just haven't succeeded yet. The doing will take another couple of generations. The rich and powerful will fight back bitterly at any challenge to the perquisites, privileges, and prerogatives. The poor and unequal will try to take what is rightfully theirs.
Keeping the lid on while we come to a working solution will be a lot of work.
at 5:00:00 AM