The Recorder - As I See It with columnist Jon Huer: our collective New Years resolution

People make personal New Years resolutions, take stock of their lives, and decide to become better human beings in the year to come. In ...



People make personal New Years resolutions, take stock of their lives, and decide to become better human beings in the year to come. In this great American tradition of aspirations to improve our personal lives, I would like to turn this annual exercise upside down and try to make it a “collective” resolution: Let’s try to leave a better “America” to our posterity as a whole. So, instead of improving our personal lives, which is laudable in itself, we should want to improve our nation as our legacy to posterity.

To do this, we must take stock of what we are about to bequeath to our future generations. Naturally, questions abound in this quest. The most obvious and urgent simply because it’s as ubiquitous as the air we breathe: How should we feel about our children getting more social food from the ever-tantalizing “reality shows” of the world. television than their parents or their history? Is television the symbol of greatness for their parents’ generation? How would our next generation handle the celebrity cult we’ve created and perfected for them, so that they have no idea what’s real and what’s imaginary, thinking these celebrity ‘models’ really love them and will lead them to happiness and fulfillment?

What about social networks? He is the king of our lonely and depressing world that drives adults and teens to suicide. Do we believe that our next generation, armed with this instrument, would be smarter citizens, better neighbors, and kinder to each other within the family than we are? Or, don’t we know deep in our hearts that the next generation, raised by social media and smartphone nannies, would surely be the most unloved and least informed of all generations? And the government is pledging billions of dollars to “extend” the “benefits” of the Internet across America to make sure that every corner of our lives is spared it. With the bandwidth extended, more misery and misinformation, not less, would surely follow.

Should we feel confident and happy in our hearts that our children will inherit the capitalist system whose worst flaws we have perfected – the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer? Are we happy that our next generation is conforming to the system more obediently than we are, making a big parody of our so-called “political system” as a counterbalance to economic injustice?

Then there is the incredibly dishonest and suspicious American society. Would our children be more socially aware citizens and voters, or smarter consumers, despite ever more sophisticated political propaganda and corporate advertising, who take advantage of their ever weaker ability to recognize and resist? We can still leave them immune to COVID-19, but are we leaving them completely naked against the political and commercial deceptions that are becoming increasingly difficult to recognize and resist?

Would they remember what “America” ​​meant to those who lived and died for its ideals? Or, what would happen to the Great American Experiment for Freedom and Justice for All? Most overwhelming of all, for which our posterity will never forgive us, we have sown the seeds of constitutional fascism, the first in our history, but which will be the final chapter in the book of American exceptionalism.

Indeed, what are we planting now for the future of our children? Hollywood fantasy? Disneyland’s fake love? The Madison Avenue hoax? Wall Street cannibalism? The self-immolation of consumerism? Will our next generations be happy with what we have developed and perfected for them, so that everything we have inherited on our own, from Hollywood to consumerism, is much more attractive and addicting to our children? Would they be better citizens and neighbors and their lives happier than ours? How is it that we received our legacy from the “Greatest Generation” (the book by Tom Brokaw) and are about to bequeath it to the “Dumbest Generation” (the book by Mark Bauerlein)?

Is there anything we can do as individuals to stop our degeneration from progressing? The answer is no: America’s present and future ills are not individual phenomena and therefore cannot be solved by individual remedies. Your own kindness does not make Sin City a holy city. Only massive national actions can resolve national degeneration. But such a Great Awakening is not yet to come, for we have sunk too deep into our own cultural quagmire. The viral pandemic, instead of awakening and uniting our collective spirit as we once hoped, only teaches our children to arm themselves and take to the streets for whatever they ‘n’ do. not like ”.

America’s national demise was not built in a day. It took decades of neglect, indulgence and laziness, mostly since the end of World War II. Over twenty generations of Americans built the “Shining City on a Hill,” and now only three generations of deregulated America are dismantling it, click by click.

As we declare and decide to be better human beings and celebrate the Happy New Year, America’s ship still sails on her unexplored route, which promises to be stormy and turbulent. What collective resolutions can we take, together as a generation, to leave the nation to a better posterity than the one we have inherited? Perhaps deciding to clear your mind long enough to raise such a question is already a resolution of heroic proportions?

Jon Huer, Recorder columnist and professor emeritus, lives in Greenfield. He is the author of a dozen books of social commentary, art criticism and political economy, including “The Dead End” which TIME magazine called “an important and brilliant book (on) the wish of. America’s national death ”.



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Newsrust - US Top News: The Recorder - As I See It with columnist Jon Huer: our collective New Years resolution
The Recorder - As I See It with columnist Jon Huer: our collective New Years resolution
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