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Do you think Americans have lost their spirit?
Old 09-03-2011, 07:09 PM   #1
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Do you think Americans have lost their spirit?

Yes, we’re going through difficult times. Unemployment, political turmoil, natural disasters and lots of other bad stuff going on. While we need to take all this seriously, sometimes I think we’ve lost our ability to love life.

I’ve found myself going into a negativity spiral and fear I have lots of company here. We only get one life to live and while it’s necessary to focus on our problems, I worry we’ve forgotten how to smell the roses.

Perhaps we should dump some useless federal agency and develop a new one headed by Jimmy Buffett. Think about it: margartiaville.gov One focused on helping us love life again! Yeah, I’m joking but think this may be a fundamental problem. America’s not the optimistic place it once was.

Can we ever again experience the pride and enthusiasm we had when the first man landed on the moon? Or the excitement when the Beatles first appeared on Ed Sullivan? Or the reverence when Martin Luther King, Jr. first told us about his dream? Where’s our spirit?

I think our problems may be more of a loss of spirit than a loss of capacity to generate GDP.

The anniversary of 9/11 is upon us. The worst thing I ever went through as a citizen of the USA. Hope somehow we can regain our spirit for life 10 years later.
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Old 09-03-2011, 07:56 PM   #2
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Sadly, I think you are right.
A "moonwalk moment" would certainly be nice, but even then, we have become a country of widely diversified interests that even a major positive event would not touch all. Think about that 1969 moon landing and how many more issues we now have to distract us from a unified moment.
A once in a generation leader and prosperity for all would do it, but again it's not a time for breath holding.
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Old 09-03-2011, 08:08 PM   #3
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I thought the iPad was something related to American spirit. Is that not good enough for you?
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Old 09-03-2011, 08:10 PM   #4
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I thought the iPad was something related to American spirit. Is that not good enough for you?
Don't have an iPad. Perhaps I should put this on my "to do" list LOL!
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Old 09-03-2011, 09:12 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Purron View Post
Yes, we’re going through difficult times. Unemployment, political turmoil, natural disasters and lots of other bad stuff going on. While we need to take all this seriously, sometimes I think we’ve lost our ability to love life.

I’ve found myself going into a negativity spiral and fear I have lots of company here. We only get one life to live and while it’s necessary to focus on our problems, I worry we’ve forgotten how to smell the roses.

Perhaps we should dump some useless federal agency and develop a new one headed by Jimmy Buffett. Think about it: margartiaville.gov One focused on helping us love life again! Yeah, I’m joking but think this may be a fundamental problem. America’s not the optimistic place it once was.

Can we ever again experience the pride and enthusiasm we had when the first man landed on the moon? Or the excitement when the Beatles first appeared on Ed Sullivan? Or the reverence when Martin Luther King, Jr. first told us about his dream? Where’s our spirit?

I think our problems may be more of a loss of spirit than a loss of capacity to generate GDP.

The anniversary of 9/11 is upon us. The worst thing I ever went through as a citizen of the USA. Hope somehow we can regain our spirit for life 10 years later.
Attributed to Michael Jordan, although I've never found a link:
you're never as good as everyone says you are when you are at the top of you're game, and you're never as bad as you think you are when you're at the bottom. The US is going through a rough patch but things will get better. Our society and culture are unique and once we make up for our recent financial transgressions we'll find ourselves back on track.
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Old 09-03-2011, 09:17 PM   #6
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When I was a teenager, we would laugh at all the old people behind their backs, because they were always saying that "the world is going to h*ll in a handbasket".

Maybe now we are becoming like them. It is easier to see decline when one has a long observational time to provide a "big picture" frame of reference.
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Old 09-03-2011, 09:17 PM   #7
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Attributed to Michael Jordan, although I've never found a link:
you're never as good as everyone says you are when you are at the top of you're game, and you're never as bad as you think you are when you're at the bottom. The US is going through a rough patch but things will get better. Our society and culture are unique and once we make up for our recent financial transgressions we'll find ourselves back on track.
Beautiful MicahelB. I gotta have faith
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Old 09-03-2011, 09:24 PM   #8
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I think our problems may be more of a loss of spirit than a loss of capacity to generate GDP.
I think our problems may be the very human inability to appreciate today's problems in the larger context of history.

For example the 1968 "Summer of Love" and '69's "Moonwalk Moment" might've seemed pretty memorable to upper-class (probably white) (probably male) Americans. Not so much for most of America, especially the ones in Vietnam or in drug rehab or in a host of other social ills.

My spouse's father was a CBS camera technician at the Washington DC bureau during 1964-94. 1968-69 still stand out in her mind for the exceptional number of overtime hours he logged on all the tragedies, disasters, crises, and other newsworthy events of the decade. She hardly saw him for 18 months but he bought himself a new Cadillac with the cash.

You think life sucks? Read more history books. Suddenly the present doesn't seem so bad and the future's even better.
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Old 09-03-2011, 09:38 PM   #9
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I don't think I have a loss of spirit...as a matter of fact 9/11 made me become even more patriotic.

I think now that I'm older, I have a tendency to pay more attention to what is going on in my own little world. It doesn't mean I don't pay attention to or care about what's going on elsewhere....I think it's just that my priorities have changed.
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Old 09-03-2011, 09:41 PM   #10
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We have become too divided and seem to lack a common goal as a nation.
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Old 09-03-2011, 09:45 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Purron View Post
Yes, we’re going through difficult times. Unemployment, political turmoil, natural disasters and lots of other bad stuff going on. While we need to take all this seriously, sometimes I think we’ve lost our ability to love life.

I’ve found myself going into a negativity spiral and fear I have lots of company here. We only get one life to live and while it’s necessary to focus on our problems, I worry we’ve forgotten how to smell the roses.
I think we have plenty of spirit, at least I do. It's just that after years of being conned even the most gung-ho person becomes a little less naive, keeps his feet a little more solidly on the ground.


Don't forget that our country and world has changed greatly since our youth. Almost all Americans spoke English back then, and those who did not, were in a hurry to learn it. Almost all people had some legitimate economic role to play. Today, a considerable number will never be employed at a legal, private economy job.

Back then. there weren't either machines or low wage workers somewhere else who could many make things as well or better than highly paid American labor, and those guys don't go on strike.

If something comes along to galvanize Americans I will be amazed, and will be trying hard to avoid becoming a victim of this mass delusion myself.

Here is an interesting mind experiment-this board. In so many ways, we are a very homogeneous group- a strong interest in money, in lessening our work loads, in not having others have power over us. We all communicate in English, and have at least some years as successful workers or business owners. But is it easy for us to agree about much, to feel united? I'd say no, unless it is that we might become united in denouncing the lazy good for nothing bums who are not saving their money.

Maybe America is finally growing up?

People post their problems here. That doesn't mean that our individual lives are not pretty good. I can name 625,000 things that were more important to me than the Beatles or moonlandings. Beatle"s and Moon days and singing We Shall Overcome and Michael Rowed the Boat Ashore and California Dreamin was fun and made the opposite sex more accessible. It was definitely a cool time to be young, but then almost anytime is a good time to be young. Today's young people seem to be enjoying it well enough.

Ha
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Old 09-03-2011, 10:35 PM   #12
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OK, my two cents, partially fueled by a nice steak dinner (cooked to perfection by yours truly), a nice bottle of cellar aged Shiraz, set to nice music on the patio with DW...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Purron View Post
I’ve found myself going into a negativity spiral and fear I have lots of company here. We only get one life to live and while it’s necessary to focus on our problems, I worry we’ve forgotten how to smell the roses.
Well, I expressed a bit of shock/dismay recently when so many people said they were going to cut back on spending due to the recent market dip/blip. I plan to 'stay the course' with a relatively conservative WR - I'm not going to get all negative, I'm going to enjoy life.

I think youbet said it well (paraphrasing, and going by memory), there are some things we may only get to enjoy now, at our current age and physical well being, if we cut back now, we may pass up that opportunity forever. Let's not let any negativity of the moment affect our overall enjoyment of life.

Actually, it's a bit funny I'm responding in this fashion. I am about as far from a Polyanna as you can get. I am cynical and skeptical of just about everything (sometimes to my detriment), but maybe the balancing there is I won't submit to too much negativity?


Quote:
America’s not the optimistic place it once was.
My MegaCorp went through a bubble/bust after a very long and prosperous history. They held a big 'cheer-leading' event one day. I just shook my head - give me something to cheer about - don't just tell me to cheer.

I absolutely do think, that with the right leadership (not being partisan here, it is lacking on all sides), that we could have something to cheer about. But it isn't going to be easy - it's going to take something like a Steve Jobs-Apple-1997 confluence of events to turn this around, I'm afraid.

Quote:
Can we ever again experience the pride and enthusiasm we had when the first man landed on the moon? Or the excitement when the Beatles first appeared on Ed Sullivan? Or the reverence when Martin Luther King, Jr. first told us about his dream? Where’s our spirit?
While I can relate to each of these, I know that a significant % of contemporaneous peers (that spelling was not easy after the wine and some Jack Daniels for dessert!) were completely ignorant/ambivalent of these events. I had a casual friend call me to 'chat' right as Neil Armstrong was stepping onto the Moon! I doubt it is different today.

Quote:
The anniversary of 9/11 is upon us. The worst thing I ever went through as a citizen of the USA. Hope somehow we can regain our spirit for life 10 years later.
I was very affected by the attacks, even though there was no personal connection. I actually hate the term '9/11' - that's just a date. These were cowardly attacks on innocent people. It takes positive energy and intelligent co-ordination and skills to construct a building. Vandals can destruct it easily. The vandals were cowards, the builders were everyday heroes.

I think we need to turn inward for Spirit. We can achieve greatness if we stop looking for someone to hand it to us. It's like 'respect' - you don't just 'get it', you have to earn it.

PS - about that steak: It was threatening rain, and DW didn't want to risk starting the grill. You can get a great steak with pan frying in a hot cast-iron skillet, but getting the crunch on the outside and still rare on the inside is tricky. So I followed a tip from Cooks Illustrated - bring steak to room temp, dry and salt, put in 275F oven for ~ 15-25 minutes until 90F internal temp. Then pan-sear on medium-high heat (not blazing high, like I normally do), about 2 minutes per side, plus sear the edges. Rest for 5 minutes. Beautifully rare on the inside, a nice sear on the outside and just a very, very thin line of grey-medium cooked steak in between (with just pan-sear, you get a thicker gray line of in-between as the heat transfers to the cold center). What's to be negative about?

-ERD50
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Old 09-03-2011, 11:23 PM   #13
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I wouldn't worry too much about it. Great things happen here. They will again.
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Old 09-03-2011, 11:35 PM   #14
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I am an optimist. Things will get better. They always do, eventually. I've learned that no matter what happens in the world around me, I have to live my life and make it the best that I can. Sure those events like 9/11 affect me, in fact I suffered some serious depression due to that event, but life goes on

If its the little things in life that make it worth living, then the big events shouldn't have the power to bring you down. Even the poor, downtrodden and oppressed enjoy family and friends, they smell the flowers and make of life what they can. Sometimes, I think, Americans forget that we have it pretty good and our bad times are the envy of the rest of the world and our good times are beyond their wildest dreams.
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Old 09-03-2011, 11:55 PM   #15
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We have become too divided and seem to lack a common goal as a nation.
I have no nostalgia at all for those old days when we were so undivided that dissent would get you ostracized, beat up, deported or jailed. Now we are more tolerant, and that's a good thing. Having a common goal might be okay if you share my goals, but it's not so hot if I must share yours.
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Old 09-04-2011, 12:03 AM   #16
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I don't think that we have lost the spirit. Time has change and we are adjusting to the changes and trying to figure out how to react. It's so much different now then when we were young and full of spirit. I still remember watching Neil and Buzz landing on the mood on my friend's color TV cause we didn't get a color TV until 1971 when my dad retired from Army of 32 years of service and got shot in his last tour in Vietnam force him out with 100% disability. We also got a private phone line so I could talk to my girlfriend and have phone chat (I thought was racy but lame in today's term) without our nosy neighbor interrupting our conversation.

No, we have not lost our spirit. We were feed bunch crap such as PC thingy to drown our spirit. Government telling us what's bad for us and what to eat, not to smoke, not to drive fast...etc. Not to mention how to properly raise our own children. I had some woman with nerve to call cops when I spank one of my kids for knocking down display in a store and refused to put it back. If I did that as a kid, my old man would have kick my butt with his combat boot, literally.

As long as I'm not comparing myself with others, I'm a happy camper. I have more that what my parents had. Also, I appreciate everything that I earned and have to enjoy unlike my ungrateful kids. I haven't lost my spirit especially when I'm at my hunting cabin fishing and cooking franks and baked bean on the open fire. Life is good until I have to come back to the city for work.

Here are some thoughts to chew on.

Dennis Gartman’s, The Gartman Letter, on the difference between going to school in 1957 and 2010:
Scenario 1:
Jack goes quail hunting before school and then pulls
into the school parking lot with his shotgun in his
truck’s gun rack.
1957 – Vice Principal comes over, looks at Jack’s
shotgun, goes to his car and gets his shotgun to show
Jack.
2010 – School goes into lock down, FBI called, Jack
hauled off to jail and never sees his truck or gun again.
Counselors called in for traumatized students and
teachers.
Scenario 2:
Johnny and Mark get into a fist fight after school.
1957 – Crowd gathers. Mark wins. Johnny and Mark
shake hands and end up buddies.
2010 – Police called and SWAT team arrives — they
arrest both Johnny and Mark. They are both charged with
assault and both expelled even though Johnny started it.

Scenario 3:

Jeffrey will not be still in class, he disrupts other
students.
1957 – Jeffrey sent to the Principal’s office and given a
good paddling by the Principal. He then returns to class,
sits still and does not disrupt class again.
2010 – Jeffrey is given huge doses of Ritalin. He
becomes a zombie. He is then tested for ADD. The family
gets extra money (SSI) from the government because
Jeffrey has a disability.

Scenario 4:

Billy breaks a window in his neighbor’s car and his
Dad gives him a whipping with his belt.
1957 – Billy is more careful next time, grows up normal,
goes to college and becomes a successful businessman.
2010 – Billy’s dad is arrested for child abuse, Billy is
removed to foster care and joins a gang. The state
psychologist is told by Billy’s sister that she remembers
being abused herself and their dad goes to prison. Billy’s
mom has an affair with the psychologist.

Scenario 5:

Mark gets a headache and takes some aspirin to
school.
1957 – Mark shares his aspirin with the Principal out on
the smoking dock.
2010 – The police are called and Mark is expelled from
school for drug violations. His car is then searched for
drugs and weapons.

Scenario 6:

Johnny takes apart leftover firecrackers from the
Fourth of July, puts them in a model airplane paint
bottle and blows up a red ant bed.
1957 – Ants die.
2010 – ATF, Homeland Security and the FBI are all
called. Johnny is charged with domestic terrorism. The
FBI investigates his parents – and all siblings are
removed from their home and all computers are
confiscated. Johnny’s dad is placed on a terror watch list
and is never allowed to fly again.

Scenario 7:

Johnny falls while running during recess and
scrapes his knee. He is found crying by his teacher,
Mary. Mary hugs him to comfort him.
1957 – In a short time, Johnny feels better and goes on
playing.
2010 – Mary is accused of being a sexual predator and
loses her job. She faces 3 years in State Prison. Johnny
undergoes 5 years of therapy.
So True!
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Old 09-04-2011, 07:26 AM   #17
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A "moonwalk moment" would certainly be nice, but even then, we have become a country of widely diversified interests that even a major positive event would not touch all. Think about that 1969 moon landing and how many more issues we now have to distract us from a unified moment.
At that same moment in time, I was serving in Nam and "back in the world", the Manson murders, Stonewall riots and even events as Woodstock (view it positive or negative as you wish) were going on.

I didn't even know about the moon landing until a few days after it happened, and I didn't see any video to actually see the event until a few years later - long after I had returned to the world.

Every point, has a counterpoint; nothing is perfect.

IMHO the "problem" today is that there is too much information, available 7x24 and as it happens. We know what is happening and are impacted by mostly negative reporting on all media outlets.

The other thing is "prime time" has been taken over by trash TV (e.g. "what's Snooky doing"), "The Housewife's of X", etc. with cheap productions rather than quality (That's why I normally watch only PBS, Discovery, and the like).

It's just a different mindset today of a lot of folks trying to compare themselves to those that they see on TV and feel bad if they cannot live in the same manner. Heck, my "goal" was set by watching Dick Clark and dreaming about all those Catholic girls in their uniforms (BTW, I married one ).

That, along with the constant bombardment of bad news on the economy ("how much did your 401K lose today" vs. "What the heck is a 401K? - I have a pension") just feeds a lot of depression, IMHO.

Add to that the opportunity for folks to express their opinions on every subject on-line and start arguments with some faceless entity has really stired things up a bit.

It's a different world. At least somethings have changed for the good, such as the respect for our soldiers over back in "my time", when I was shunned (even by family) when I returned. I guess folks finally "got it", that the soldiers to are sent to conflict and the people responsible for the conflict are different roles all together.

Just my $.02.
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Old 09-04-2011, 07:28 AM   #18
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One average.... I don't think we are losing our spirit.
I think there is great concern and anger.

Obviously there are quite a number of people that were recently financially ruined. Those people are hurting and it is not a small number. They are down. The only ones that are losing hope are those that are too old to recover (approaching retirement and lost big).


I believe the biggest crisis we are facing right now is one of trust of our elected officials.

The people who wrecked the economy and precipitated this crisis (banking crisis) got away with it and many got rich in the process. Some people see the stimulus spending and bailouts as unnecessary hand outs to the rich and poor.

Our system looks like it favors everyone but middle class workers... those that play by the rules, work hard, and pay their taxes!!!

This SS and Medicare issue is likely to the the last straw for many middle class voters. They already feel like their 401ks were emptied out by wrongdoers (the result of their actions).
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Old 09-04-2011, 07:42 AM   #19
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Losing our spirit is a symptom, though I agree it's becoming (become?) part of a self-fulfilling prophesy. But there are fundamental problems we need to face up to, spirit helps but alone won't make the difference. I believe we will "get better," but it may be painful and the world will look very different then. The (government) money and effort we spend trying to restore the society of the past 50 years will be wasted. The author himself doesn't pretend to know exactly what the future will look like, but he makes a compelling argument as to how it will have to be different. He says it will probably take 20-30 years FWIW. Not gospel, but an interesting read IMO.
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Old 09-04-2011, 08:02 AM   #20
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As I put it to a friend during a discussion on perspectives "Everyone sees life through the lens of their own experiences".

We have never had it so good in our lives. We live in a nicer home than either of us ever dreamed of while growing up. And it's paid for! If the car dies we have the cash to just buy a new one.

I work with a couple of people who didn't have indoor plumbing or electricity until they were in their teens. I've never known a world without that.

In contrast, Google "Farm Security Administration Photos" or "Dorothy Lange" and you'll see photos of hardship during the 1930's Depression. Despite all the issues this country has I think few would say that we're worse off now than then.

So perhaps some of the enthusiasm of ten years ago isn't there now, but things have been a lot worse. So overall I'm optimistic.
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