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The rise and fall… January 14, 2008

Posted by Michelle, with dignity in Uncategorized.

When looking at an issue historically, any historian worth their weight will address a problem socially, politically and economically.

If you’re separated enough by time from the situation, a historian might be able to address an entire civilization by those terms – like one might about the Roman Empire, or the Middle Ages, or even the Renaissance. It’s even possible to look at the Russian Revolution on those terms and say “here are these social, political and economic problems that gave rise to this situation.”

But, and this is probably because I’ve been trained to look back, not presently or foward, I have a hard time looking at where we stand right now and saying “here are the social political and economic problems that have given rise to the situation we are in here in the US right now.” I can’t look back and see what caused the political climate to be so moved by a woman tearing up (heaven forbid!), or by the fact that one candidate might not be a “good christian american”, and might be something else entirely, or why are we polarized by the issue of gay marriage or abortion? Why do we focus on these (seemingly huge, but honestly) minor issues in politics that are so menial and day-to-day? Why aren’t we, on the other hand, focusing on economic policy, creating a climate for success in all walks of life, foreign policy? Why are the small issues the ones to focus on? Why are we so focused on religion and religious issues and the emotional state of a woman in a state of stress?

Why do more people care about those issues than the fact that our economy is falling fast? Or that our dollar is so weak that canadian has caught up? Why are we so concerned with stem cell research that we aren’t even paying attention when a presidential candidate wants to talk about fixing the deficit, or overhauling health care for the people’s benefit not the corporations, or how to handle foreign issues without sending bombs and troops?

I am afraid to think about how I will one day look back at the climate of my 20’s – politically, socially, and economically – and have to teach that to future children and students. Will these kids stand up and say “What the hell were you guys doing, then?” Will I have to say “oh, we were text messenging eachother LOLcats?” or “We were too busy listening to our iPods”? Will I even get the chance to share it at all?

The Roman empire rose and it fell over thousands of years – the the US has only taken 250 years to make and destroy itself.



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