Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Find the Faith, Baby
The Capitol from 4th and E. Capitol, in the rain.
In the wake of the vote on health care, a soft rain fell most of the day yesterday. It was a soothing rain, punctuated by an occasional crack of thunder. It felt, to me, as if the weather gods wished to bring cooling to help settle the energy of the final debates and the impact of the vote.
I hoped that the rain would encourage we humans to spend the day sitting with this historical moment. But no. Americans from the far right to the far left and everywhere inbetween set out straightaway after the vote, bitching, complaining, worrying, nitpicking and projecting a trajectory of doom. We were unable, even for one single day, to be with the historic nature of the vote.
It makes me sad. I believe that the GW Bush years were awful for many reasons, including the fact that during those years, the once characteristic optimism of the American people was ground down to dust, completely and utterly destroyed. We became so bitter, hateful, so hopeless and cynical during those eight years. I'm talking about ALL of us - lefties, right-wing, Republicans, Democrats - every one of us was so demoralized by those terrible years.
People say the downturn began during the Reagan years. I do think policy changes at that time launched the process of bringing the U.S. to its knees. But we were a happy nation under Reagan, and happy under Clinton as well. It wasn't until the GW Bush years that our national psyche became so angry, so full of bilious indignation.
We can't seem to let it go, even now under our great president. At our worst, we Americans are in a fury about everything. At our best, we worry and feel pessimistic about our future. I wonder how long it's going to take our national soul to come back to our cheerful outlook. Will we ever regain our positivity? Our happiness? We Americans are in a world o' hurt. Oh yeah.