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The Sky is Falling. And there's nothing you can do about it.

citizen059citizen059 hello my name is citizenI'm from the InternetRegistered User regular
edited June 2008 in Debate and/or Discourse
So this article popped up today.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080621/ap_on_re_us/out_of_control

If you'd like to read it, open the spoiler:
By ALAN FRAM and EILEEN PUTMAN, Associated Press Writers
Sat Jun 21, 3:14 PM ET

WASHINGTON - Is everything spinning out of control?

Midwestern levees are bursting. Polar bears are adrift. Gas prices are skyrocketing. Home values are abysmal. Air fares, college tuition and health care border on unaffordable. Wars without end rage in Iraq, Afghanistan and against terrorism.

Horatio Alger, twist in your grave.

The can-do, bootstrap approach embedded in the American psyche is under assault. Eroding it is a dour powerlessness that is chipping away at the country's sturdy conviction that destiny can be commanded with sheer courage and perseverance.

The sense of helplessness is even reflected in this year's presidential election. Each contender offers a sense of order — and hope. Republican John McCain promises an experienced hand in a frightening time. Democrat Barack Obama promises bright and shiny change, and his large crowds believe his exhortation, "Yes, we can."

Even so, a battered public seems discouraged by the onslaught of dispiriting things. An Associated Press-Ipsos poll says a barrel-scraping 17 percent of people surveyed believe the country is moving in the right direction. That is the lowest reading since the survey began in 2003.

An ABC News-Washington Post survey put that figure at 14 percent, tying the low in more than three decades of taking soundings on the national mood.

"It is pretty scary," said Charles Truxal, 64, a retired corporate manager in Rochester, Minn. "People are thinking things are going to get better, and they haven't been. And then you go hide in your basement because tornadoes are coming through. If you think about things, you have very little power to make it change."

Recent natural disasters around the world dwarf anything afflicting the U.S. Consider that more than 69,000 people died in the China earthquake, and that 78,000 were killed and 56,000 missing from the Myanmar cyclone.

Americans need do no more than check the weather, look in their wallets or turn on the news for their daily reality check on a world gone haywire.

Floods engulf Midwestern river towns. Is it global warming, the gradual degradation of a planet's weather that man seems powerless to stop or just a freakish late-spring deluge?

It hardly matters to those in the path. Just ask the people of New Orleans who survived Hurricane Katrina. They are living in a city where, 1,000 days after the storm, entire neighborhoods remain abandoned, a national embarrassment that evokes disbelief from visitors.

Food is becoming scarcer and more expensive on a worldwide scale, due to increased consumption in growing countries such as China and India and rising fuel costs. That can-do solution to energy needs — turning corn into fuel — is sapping fields of plenty once devoted to crops that people need to eat. Shortages have sparked riots. In the U.S., rice prices tripled and some stores rationed the staple.

Residents of the nation's capital and its suburbs repeatedly lose power for extended periods as mere thunderstorms rumble through. In California, leaders warn people to use less water in the unrelenting drought.

Want to get away from it all? The weak U.S. dollar makes travel abroad forbiddingly expensive. To add insult to injury, some airlines now charge to check luggage.

Want to escape on the couch? A writers' strike halted favorite TV shows for half a season. The newspaper on the table may soon be a relic of the Internet age. Just as video stores are falling by the wayside as people get their movies online or in the mail.

But there's always sports, right?

The moorings seem to be coming loose here, too.

Baseball stars Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens stand accused of enhancing their heroics with drugs. Basketball referees are suspected of cheating.

Stay tuned for less than pristine tales from the drug-addled Tour de France and who knows what from the Summer Olympics.

It's not the first time Americans have felt a loss of control.

Alger, the dime-novel author whose heroes overcame adversity to gain riches and fame, played to similar anxieties when the U.S. was becoming an industrial society in the late 1800s.

American University historian Allan J. Lichtman notes that the U.S. has endured comparable periods and worse, including the economic stagflation (stagnant growth combined with inflation) and Iran hostage crisis of 1980; the dawn of the Cold War, the Korean War and the hysterical hunts for domestic Communists in the late 1940s and early 1950s; and the Depression of the 1930s.

"All those periods were followed by much more optimistic periods in which the American people had their confidence restored," he said. "Of course, that doesn't mean it will happen again."

Each period also was followed by a change in the party controlling the White House.

This period has seen intense interest in the presidential primaries, especially the Democrats' five-month duel between Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton. Records were shattered by voters showing up at polling places, yearning for a voice in who will next guide the country as it confronts the uncontrollable.

Never mind that their views of their current leaders are near rock bottom, reflecting a frustration with Washington's inability to solve anything. President Bush barely gets the approval of three in 10 people, and it's even worse for the Democratic-led Congress.

Why the vulnerability? After all, this is the 21st century, not a more primitive past when little in life was assured. Surely people know how to fix problems now.

Maybe. And maybe this is what the 21st century will be about — a great unraveling of some things long taken for granted.

If you don't feel like reading it, the basic plot is this: everything in the US is bad right now, it's even worse in other areas of the world, and it may not get better, ever. McCain can't help you. Obama can't save you. Woe be unto ye who enter this world. It might even be the end of times. Yada yada.

Now, being an optimist myself, I read this article and "WTF" is the first thing that comes to mind. Are we just expected to throw our hands up in despair, lie down on the ground, and wait for something bad to happen to us?

Also, the article talks about a poll claiming that most people surveyed share this pessimistic world view. Where did they find these people, and how can I avoid them? I mean, I know about all the shit that they're talking about here, and I don't know about you guys, but I just get up every day and live my life the best I can. I'm certainly not rich, some months we struggle to get by, my family and I. But I'm generally happy with my life as it is. Am I supposed to be depressed all the time, or what? Did I not get the memo?

And doesn't a constant stream of negative news sort of further this view anyway? Kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy? I know I have to take my daily news in small portions, because, damn...the doom and gloom will really bring you down if you don't take the time to recognize the good things that happen every day, too.

Is this another case of "if it bleeds, it leads"? Is this just another example of a news media that's so fixated on what's wrong with the world, they can't see what's right?

I mean, it's one thing to report bad news. It's another thing entirely to throw it all together in one article and cry out "O, Woe is Us!"

Am I missing the point here, and I'm a complete moron? D:

Answers to these questions, and more, on tonight's eleven o'clock news. :P

citizen059 on

Posts

  • KenninatorKenninator Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Everytime ever has been the most depressing point in history for the people living in it.

    Bad stuff happens all the time. I don't see any reason to think more bad stuff is happening.

    Kenninator on
  • KageraKagera Imitating the worst people. Since 2004Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Frankly the world isn't over until The Simpson's series finale.

    Kagera on
    My neck, my back, my FUPA and my crack.
  • The Man with No NameThe Man with No Name __BANNED USERS regular
    edited June 2008
    If Obama doesn't become President, then its all over.

    The Man with No Name on
    :whistle:
  • DeciusDecius I'm old! I'm fat! I'M BLUE!Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Dear USA,

    Those of us in the rest of the world seem to be doing ok, but we're sorry to hear about your woes. Don't worry, every cloud has a silver lining.

    Signed,
    Those other countries

    Decius on
    camo_sig2.png
    I never finish anyth
  • TheStrangerTheStranger Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    It's always the worst time in history...

    20 odd years ago we had 'stagflation' and the Cold War
    40 odd years ago we had civil unrest and wars in SE Asia
    60 odd years ago we had world wars and fascism...

    Every generation has challenges.

    TheStranger on
    "Those who live by the sword die by the sword.
    Those who cower from tyrants deserve their chains."
    -unknown
  • RichyRichy Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Everything in the article is true. Well, except maybe the polls, I haven't checked those. But the facts are correct.

    I wouldn't say it's the worst time ever, though. I mean, the 1340s-50s were pretty bad, what with the Black Death wiping out 60% of Europe and showing no sign of slowing down no matter how many Jews we killed. I think the American Natives are still a little sour about that whole "colonization of the New World" thing, too. Oh, and remember that time we fought in The Great War? Man I really thought that was the war to end all wars. Imagine my surprise when the next one broke out.

    In conclusion, things are bad now, but they've been bad before and will be bad again.

    Richy on
    sig.gif
  • QuidQuid Definitely not a banana Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    I gotta say I think the Great Depression was just a touch worse than now.

    Quid on
  • GodfatherGodfather Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    This article is such bullcrap. How is this different from every other doom-and-gloom headline? If we've learned one thing it's that the human race always comes through no matter what.

    Always.

    Godfather on
  • CantidoCantido Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Quid wrote: »
    I gotta say I think the Great Depression was just a touch worse than now.

    So why does John McCain want another so so badly?

    Also...

    Obama/Kamina '08 anyone?

    Cantido on
    3DS Friendcode 5413-1311-3767
  • electricitylikesmeelectricitylikesme Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    You know I view spiralling gas prices as a positive thing, since it means maybe, just maybe, a government somewhere will find a way to make doing something about climate change also match up with reducing our dependence of fossil fuels and Middle Eastern oil.

    Though I too, share the view that if McCain wins because Obama wasn't assassinated Kennedy-style, then I may become more pessimistic because what the fuck America?

    electricitylikesme on
  • SkutSkutSkutSkut Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Bring on the Dsytopian Future. I call latex for my gang.

    SkutSkut on
  • Fuzzy Cumulonimbus CloudFuzzy Cumulonimbus Cloud Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    You know I view spiralling gas prices as a positive thing, since it means maybe, just maybe, a government somewhere will find a way to make doing something about climate change also match up with reducing our dependence of fossil fuels and Middle Eastern oil.

    Though I too, share the view that if McCain wins because Obama wasn't assassinated Kennedy-style, then I may become more pessimistic because what the fuck America?
    Yeah. I don't know what I will do if McCain gets elected. :|

    Fuzzy Cumulonimbus Cloud on
  • KageraKagera Imitating the worst people. Since 2004Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Decius wrote: »
    Dear USA,

    Those of us in the rest of the world seem to be doing ok, but we're sorry to hear about your woes. Don't worry, every cloud has a silver lining.

    Signed,
    Those other countries
    You realize the article DID include problems throughout the world, not just Amero-centric ones.

    Godfather wrote: »
    This article is such bullcrap. How is this different from every other doom-and-gloom headline? If we've learned one thing it's that the human race always comes through no matter what.

    Always.
    Well to be an anal-retentive bitch it probably won't always pull through.

    Kagera on
    My neck, my back, my FUPA and my crack.
  • CantidoCantido Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    You know I view spiralling gas prices as a positive thing, since it means maybe, just maybe, a government somewhere will find a way to make doing something about climate change also match up with reducing our dependence of fossil fuels and Middle Eastern oil.

    Though I too, share the view that if McCain wins because Obama wasn't assassinated Kennedy-style, then I may become more pessimistic because what the fuck America?
    Yeah. I don't know what I will do if McCain gets elected. :|

    Me?

    Obama is elected - stay in Air Force, pursue work in the currently developing Cyber Command.
    McCain is elected - still go to airforce. Save for Hybrid, GFTO afterward and go to Europe.

    Cantido on
    3DS Friendcode 5413-1311-3767
  • MandaManda Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Want to escape on the couch? A writers' strike halted favorite TV shows for half a season. The newspaper on the table may soon be a relic of the Internet age. Just as video stores are falling by the wayside as people get their movies online or in the mail.

    Has ... has anyone told them the writer's strike is over? Or that you can still "escape on the couch" thanks to Netflix? Or would that rain too much on their parade?

    Manda on
  • CouscousCouscous Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Manda wrote: »
    Want to escape on the couch? A writers' strike halted favorite TV shows for half a season. The newspaper on the table may soon be a relic of the Internet age. Just as video stores are falling by the wayside as people get their movies online or in the mail.

    Has ... has anyone told them the writer's strike is over? Or that you can still "escape on the couch" thanks to Netflix? Or would that rain too much on their parade?

    The vast majority of newspapers are pieces of crap that can die in a fire.

    Couscous on
  • VoodooVVoodooV Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    You know I view spiralling gas prices as a positive thing, since it means maybe, just maybe, a government somewhere will find a way to make doing something about climate change also match up with reducing our dependence of fossil fuels and Middle Eastern oil.

    Though I too, share the view that if McCain wins because Obama wasn't assassinated Kennedy-style, then I may become more pessimistic because what the fuck America?

    Yeah I'm of the same opinion. The higher gas prices get, the sooner we'll get away from fossil fuels. It's still going to take a long while, but if gas prices were to lower back to where they were pre-bush. We'd just get complacent again.

    VoodooV on
  • citizen059citizen059 hello my name is citizen I'm from the InternetRegistered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Well, I'll admit that I'm not all that worried about where our energy comes from in terms of the environment...I don't believe in man-made global warming/climate change/whatever, and really it seems like energy technology in most of the really modern countries (US, European nations) has progressed to the point where a lot of the pollution of the old days has really been eliminated. (Going back and reading that, I really seem to say "really" a lot. Sorry.)

    But I wouldn't mind seeing some alternative sources that are affordable and efficient. If someone can come up with something that works, doesn't cost a ton of money, and is readily available for public consumption, I think it'll work out well. I'm like any other consumer; I'll use what serves me (and my wallet) best, because at the end of the day I have to balance my own personal budget just like anyone else, and I'll use whatever serves me best, not the rest of the world.

    It'll all have to happen in spite of government though, not because of it. (Not a huge fan of big government)

    That said, y'know...this article just kinda hit me, because like people in this thread have already mentioned...what's really new here? Why is it that every generation has people saying "this is the worst it's ever been"?

    What's up with that one guy in the article saying that the US has been through worse, and always rebounded...but this time...this time, we might not?

    I mean, short of a giant asteroid wiping out the planet, what's it going to take to bring down our country, or any other in this world that's reasonably well off?

    citizen059 on
  • Mike DangerMike Danger "Diane..." a place both wonderful and strangeRegistered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Kenninator wrote: »
    Everytime ever has been the most depressing point in history for the people living in it.

    Bad stuff happens all the time. I don't see any reason to think more bad stuff is happening.

    Mike Danger on
    Steam: Mike Danger | PSN/NNID: remadeking | 3DS: 2079-9204-4075
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  • BallmanBallman Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    My dad has some friends that insist that the US government is going to march in, take away our rights, and turn the place into a military state any day now. They've sold their house, moved to the sticks, and live in a makeshift bunker with livestock, years of dry goods and water supplies, and lots of guns. Every time they crawl out of their hole to visit when I'm around, I get to hear hours of stories about how the world will be destroyed tomorrow. I've learned to really hate that kind of mindset. I'm convinced that many older people just want the world to end soon so that their generation can be the "most important." Ugh.

    Ballman on
  • electricitylikesmeelectricitylikesme Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    The whole "fighting for the last word" deal is pretty much nothing new. I mean why do people want the rapture to occur within their lifetime? Exactly the same deal - because they're afraid of death, so if the world ends as the bible says then they don't really have to die.

    That said if I had to pick a "world ending" time of history I'd choose any one of the periods when bubonic plague roamed Europe. I mean, seriously - entire fucking townships just disappeared. Cities lost 2/3 of their population. Tell me that isn't apocalyptic right there - hell - that is an apocalypse if you think about it.

    electricitylikesme on
  • Venkman90Venkman90 Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Humans

    Not knowing how fucking good they have it since 6000 BC

    Ignore the media, they thrive on misery, things may not be as good as they were in the late 90's early 00's but fuck it, onward we soldier.

    Venkman90 on
  • ElJeffeElJeffe Moderator, ClubPA mod
    edited June 2008
    I'll start worrying when we're approaching the heat death of the universe. Short of that, we'll bounce back.

    ElJeffe on
    I submitted an entry to Lego Ideas, and if 10,000 people support me, it'll be turned into an actual Lego set!If you'd like to see and support my submission, follow this link.
  • Chaos TheoryChaos Theory Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Mankind has only been able to wipe itself out utterly for half a century, out of its (give or take) hundred thousand year history. So I wouldn't personally cite precedent or anything-- and we have a lot of years coming.

    Anyway, as for as our little generation goes: we're sitting hell of pretty right now, to be honest. There is not much to complain about. But there is shit brewing that could be a huge issue: Peak Oil and global warming stick out in my mind, the most.

    In all, I kind of regret it, but it seems like my generation won't bear witness to anything remarkable... but I'm going to hope so (I didn't say it had to be bad). Who knows, maybe people will wise up and we'll have that legitimation crisis in a big way.

    Chaos Theory on
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  • GungHoGungHo Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Though I too, share the view that if McCain wins because Obama wasn't assassinated Kennedy-style, then I may become more pessimistic because what the fuck America?
    Hunh? Are you saying you want the guy assassinated or that you'll be upset if
    Cantido wrote: »
    Obama is elected - stay in Air Force, pursue work in the currently developing Cyber Command.
    Cyber-Command. LOL. They're such dorks.

    GungHo on
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