I’ve been writing about this for a while now, but with every passing day — even without media hype — it becomes clearer to me that we are in the early stages of hard times beyond the most devout Cassandra’s ken. You can say that people saying things like this are turning this recession depression holyshit into a self-fulfilling prophecy. I say: “Mithridates, he died old.”
I’ve taken the existence of this thing (whatever you want to call it) as a given for a while now. The question increasingly on my mind is how are we going to handle it?I have a pretty good idea how April and I are going to handle it — the launch period of Our Little Business was like our own personal Great Depression, in terms of finance, stess and fear. We came through that tougher, stronger and more resolute on matters of Our Little Family. So, hopefully without hubris, I’m ready for whatever may come. April will plant our victory garden; we’ll both have or find work; and we shan’t want. Frankly, with my penchant for performing best (only?) in crisis, I’ve always had a latent sense that I was supposed to be around — and shine — during a time of great trial.
But when you ask “How long will these troubles last?,” I think that’s the wrong question. The question is how we as a society are going to respond. Because that’s what’s going to determine the duration.
I’m not optimistic.
Now I’m traditionally a positive guy. But as I’ve watched our generation grow up, I’ve seen a lot of privilege and entitlement and little test of our mettle. And as I see the response to the challenges now, whether in my own industry or in others, I see lots of finger-pointing and whining and little fight.
I look at the so-called “greatest generation,” and while I see some hype-erbole, I also see a lot of differences. The U.S. pulled itself out of the Great Depression with a Great War and lots of blue collar industry and manufacturing. I’m not sure how that translates into the War on Terror and the Information Age. We’re overall such a net importer and have such a shortage of skilled labor and such a glut of middle managers.
Years ago, Will Rogers said that “We’ll be the first nation in the world to go to the poor house in an automobile.”
I wonder if the New Shantytowns will have wi-fi.
Believe me, I want to believe in the pluckiness and resolve of The American People. I want life to be a Frank Capra film.
I just hope we’re up to it. Whether it’s a heroic turnaround or finding our new groove.
(Audio: Uncle Tupelo: “No Depression” from their final show.)