According to Sam and Jim Commenting on things that irk us off, make us laugh out loud or just seem too weird too believe According to Sam and Jim: America's (Mostly) Still Okay

Friday, July 13, 2012

America's (Mostly) Still Okay

Last night Kathleen and I saw a little bit of what’s right with America and it made me feel a whole lot better. Watching the news these days or reading the newspaper can just about convince a person that there is nothing right with America. But last night’s Music in the Park concert at Olympia’s Sylvester Park convinced me once again that there still is a lot right with this country. I only wish we could have taken Sam with us.

On a beautiful, sunny summer evening Kathleen and I sat in our folding chairs on green lawn underneath shady trees, munching tuna fish sandwiches, fresh Washington cherries and apples and washing down chocolate macaroon cookies with lemonade, as the Olympia Jazz Senators kicked off Music in the Park’s 33rd year with some really excellent music. For a whole hour Kathleen and I were able to sit back and forget the horrors of war and famine and pestilence in the rest of the world and the rampant wildfires, flooding and (dear God) the political B.S of people running for office in America.

I don’t know about Kathleen, but I for one, really needed that refreshing hour of jazz. I recently read an editorial opinion in The Olympian by syndicated columnist Leonard Pitts Jr. in which he talked about how America has lost sight of how great it can be. Pitts laments that chanting , “We’re number one” and holding a foam finger in the air (and running around with flags draped over one’s shoulders at the Olympics?), when we are in fact no longer number one as far as much of the world is concerned, is totally unwarranted. Pitts does say, however, that he doesn’t think we’re doomed, that, “The nation (America) has always risen to the challenge of greatness when it had a goal, a purpose to unite behind, a thing to get it done.” Pitts mentioned going to the moon, Civil Rights, WWII and other times America has, in his opinion, risen to greatness.

Like many things in life, perception is half the battle. If you perceive a thing as bad, it probably will be. That’s your reality, your truth. An unfortunate aspect of your stinkin’ thinkin’ is that nobody can convince you that you might be wrong either. Teenagers are especially prone to stinkin’ thinkin.” I know, I used to be one. As an adult, I am disturbed by movies like The Hunger Games, a fictional account of an annual event in which one boy and one girl aged 12 to 18 from each of the twelve districts of a post-apocalyptic world are selected by lottery to compete in a televised battle to the death. Such movies play on the fears and perceptions of young people way worse than Frankenstein or Dracula used to do to the youth of my era.

And now, a new television series called “Revolution” is scheduled to hit NBC in the fall. Set in a world where all forms of electricity have been shut down for 15 years, “Revolution” tells the story of the survivors living in a post-power world.

Syndicated columnist David Brooks tries to make the case that part of the malaise that might be attacking today’s youth is the apparent fact that wealthy kids are receiving more benefits from their parents being wealthy than poor kids are receiving from their parents being poor and there is an ever-widening gulf between the two. Maybe.

My hope is that today’s youth, rich or poor, will discover as youth have throughout the ages: that there are some things right about America and those things should not be lost in revolution; they are worth saving. My generation learned that after the Vietnam War protests. Besides, if real life actually mimicked movies and television, love probably would conquer all anyway. You know, make love not war? Bill and Melinda Gates just want you to take birth control measures so you won’t overpopulate the world. Do you know how long people have been worrying about overpopulation?

Three bags of poop on the pessimism in America these days. Don’t worry, be happy! Relax. Take a chill pill. Get over yourself.

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