America Where Are You?

"Modern" used to mean "better". Does it still?

High attendance built our churches.
High attendance built our churches. | Source
More stars, more people, does it come with more problems?
More stars, more people, does it come with more problems? | Source
Government of the people, by the people, and for whom?
Government of the people, by the people, and for whom? | Source
Did skyscrpers go high, while public morality went low?
Did skyscrpers go high, while public morality went low? | Source
Schools used to discipline, teach civic responsibility, and even inspire learning and wholesome competition and values.
Schools used to discipline, teach civic responsibility, and even inspire learning and wholesome competition and values. | Source
Hard work used to be the norm.  Why is it that so many are standing around while the few do the work?
Hard work used to be the norm. Why is it that so many are standing around while the few do the work? | Source
If a society loses its basic values, does it continue to exist?
If a society loses its basic values, does it continue to exist? | Source
I wonder, and at times I even grieve while longing for something I see as valuable qualities which once made us great....or at least better than now....in our own eyes.
I wonder, and at times I even grieve while longing for something I see as valuable qualities which once made us great....or at least better than now....in our own eyes. | Source
The mountains are still majestic, but is America fading?
The mountains are still majestic, but is America fading? | Source

Oh, yes we can see the good and the bad. We have always been able to. But is the good "gooder" and the bad "badder"? Or is it that a larger population is both?

What has happened to American values? Are they becoming lost, or just harder to find and identify?

Sodomy used to be sodomy. Rape used to call for the death penalty. Honesty meant a man or a woman being as good as their word, not just something they had to put into writing and sign before witnesses.

Marriage was at least "....until death do us part" and children were so routinely born in wedlock that Hawthorn's "Scarlet Letter" was morality prose about something truly exceptional, while "single parent" was a reference to a widow or widower.

Provident living meant that you provided for yourself and your family (all chipping in together when necessary) rather than Congress putting people "on the dole".

Church attendance was a regular feature of the Sabbath, and pensions were a livable reward for faithful service and hard work.

Teachers were well up the social ladder of respect, even though terribly underpaid, and priests, rabbis, and all clergy were revered as normally beyond reproach.

Being a Senator, a Congressman, and especially a president, was a position of enormous trust and honor, and being a judge conferred a sense of incorruptible character and adherence to the law of the land.

Doctors were saviors, nurses were much more than scrub maids, and scrub maids were the epitome of hard workers right along with farmers and farm families.

Then? Somehow I think "a love of money", "materialism", and the scratching, clawing, "climb to the top" regardless of the cost, took over and the good ideals of capitalism were replaced by the "I'll get mine" of selfishness.

Owners and stockholders lost contact with workers and the concept eroded which dictated that capitalism works best when the vast majority benefit and can even buy the products they make and produce.

Now it seems that every time a person turns around, someone is gouging them with jacked up prices, hidden charges, and fees that make "Free plus Shipping and Handling" a joke except to the unaware.

Credit used to be something you earned, not something you bought with those same hidden fees and interest we used to know as usury akin to bondage.

"The quiet life" was something to look forward to after 45, and a generally gay life meant that people were happy....not necessarily out of the mainstream.

Obese meant suffering from a medical condition, or a condition brought on by laziness, hardly something any but the few had to deal with.

Were there cheaters, snake oil salesmen, con artists, adulterers, and charlatans? They existed, of course, but they were the exceptions to the standards and values of the vast majority of Americans who despised them and their lack of conscience.

If we all had to return to our natal town or village, would the old folks welcome us as returning heroes, or shake their heads at what we have become?

__________

© 2014 Demas W. Jasper All rights reserved.



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12 comments

TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

TIMETRAVELER2 2 years ago

This is a powerful piece and one that gives pause. I'm sure many of us feel as you do. I have tossed this subject around countless times in my own mind and have come to the conclusion that I am glad to be old because what this world will be in the future is not something I wish to live to see.


catgypsy profile image

catgypsy 2 years ago from the South

They would definitely be shaking their heads in disgust. I couldn't agree with you more and it truly saddens me that we have become this way. I think it's one of the reasons the world is so stressed out. Great hub.


Perspycacious profile image

Perspycacious 2 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond Author

Thanks for taking the survey/poll, too.


aviannovice profile image

aviannovice 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

Sadly, America has not changed for the better. Yes, values have erode, but there are some that still hold their heads high, live a good life, and treat others as they wish to be treated. Life was simpler back in the old days, and it can be simple again. We just have to stand up for what is right and just. I'm with you.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 2 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

Sadly the changes have come over a long period. Mark Twain commented on many of these same things. Hopefully the present situation will wake up up for the need to change.


Alphadogg16 profile image

Alphadogg16 2 years ago from Texas

This was a great piece, personally I think things are only going to get worse. No one us accountable/responsible for their actions, instead of resolving things, it's just labeled, Society appears to be enamored by Hollywood rather than real life. When Dennis Rodman & Ted Nugent are deemed news worthy, you know America is in a state.


Perspycacious profile image

Perspycacious 14 months ago from Today's America and The World Beyond Author

Deb,

Americans are coming up on another chance to "stand up for what is right and just." 2016 is one such chance to do so.

Look at the candidates and see who is "offering something for free" that we will all have to pay for? Who is claiming skills they do not possess? Who is backed by selfish donors who intend to ask for favoritism? Who has charisma oozing from their pores, but uses it for a selfish grab at the power they want us to give them? Who can make the tough decisions that can lead us back to doing what is right and just?


Perspycacious profile image

Perspycacious 14 months ago from Today's America and The World Beyond Author

dahoglund - Being lulled to the idea that "someone else is responsible" can be to blame for what we are becoming. We no longer teach our high school students a class on Civics. someone thought it wasn't important to test for that basic knowledge anymore.


Perspycacious profile image

Perspycacious 14 months ago from Today's America and The World Beyond Author

Alphadogg16 - Perhaps that is the first thing we must do: accept that we are all responsible for today's America, and that we are all responsible to change anything that needs to be changed.

Those who complain, and then do nothing, are responsible for leaving things the way they are, and putting the brakes on America's ability to change for the better.

Lately, Hollywood has been giving us a lot of cheap, degrading films in the name of "entertainment" with sex and violence its coin of the realm, and greed regardless of the cost to society its seeming goal.

We can and we must do better. The future can be better than the past, but only if we all pull together and opt for higher standards than what we have settled for lately.


Perspycacious profile image

Perspycacious 14 months ago from Today's America and The World Beyond Author

Alphadogg16 - Perhaps that is the first thing we must do: accept that we are all responsible for today's America, and that we are all responsible to change anything that needs to be changed.

Those who complain, and then do nothing, are responsible for leaving things the way they are, and putting the brakes on America's ability to change for the better.

Lately, Hollywood has been giving us a lot of cheap, degrading films in the name of "entertainment" with sex and violence its coin of the realm, and greed regardless of the cost to society its seeming goal.

We can and we must do better. The future can be better than the past, but only if we all pull together and opt for higher standards than what we have settled for lately.


Perspycacious profile image

Perspycacious 5 months ago from Today's America and The World Beyond Author

Look at the comment to "Deb" (aviannovice) in terms of this election cycle.


Perspycacious profile image

Perspycacious 3 weeks ago from Today's America and The World Beyond Author

Certainly these feelings played a large part in Election 2016 reults

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