I think what this country really needs is one of those good ole timey depressions.
Let me qualify that statement by admitting that I'm twenty-five and in the glowing prime of my grape picking years, I'm already poor, and I once seriously considered trying to hop a train in College Station, Texas.
Basically, if a depression is going to hit at some point in my life I'd prefer it to be now. Hell, it is not like Social Security will be there when I'm old anyway.
I know a depression wouldn't be all hobo stews and pies stolen off windowsills. Business will fail, families will splinter, many good and decent people will sink into horrible and permanent despair.
But at this point it almost seems inevitable, and I'd like to think that a depression would serve to build some American character, toughen us up, teach us some common sense and do something about the selfishness that has become engrained in our national fiber.
Our "culture" has already decayed so much that no fewer than a dozen talking heads are required for a football pregame show. The smartest, most cutting show on television is a cartoon that once featured Saddam Hussein sodomizing Satan, and someone, somewhere, has felt the compelling need to remake Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds.
Our country is awash in unoriginal excess. Exploitation has replaced imagination. Greed has supplanted innovation, and it all feels worse than being pecked to death by a million CGI seagulls. At least in the depression there won't be as much funding for idiocy.
Even before AIG executives celebrated being bailed out by the taxpayers by going on a luxury retreat, I was repeatedly assured that the coming presidential election would be the most important of my life, with consequences that would reverberate through all eternity.
So naturally both candidates have gone out of their way to say nothing of any insight or value, and the national attention span has instead fixated on Tina Fey's Alaskan accent. Although everyone sure seems excited to get some of that "change" that's been going around.
It's not just that the candidates have judged the American people too stupid to participate in an honest, constructive discussion on the economic crisis.
It's also that they seem to have decided that we lack the collective guts to stand up and hear the whole wretched truth about how rotten and hollow our economic system has become. We're not only spoiled and ignorant, but cowards as well.
An America in depression would be forced to get its hands dirty. It would have to learn some foresight and reflection. America would have to grow a backbone.
Maybe the country needs a depression like a person needs a cold splash of water to wake up in the morning. Maybe we can't find the road back to secure prosperity until we are staring at it far in the distance.
I think I'll go tie a bandanna on the end of a stick and just start walking. It's better than just sitting around, depressed.
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