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A diary on the reclist right now that signs of with 'It Didn't Used To Be Like This.'

All other points in that diary aside, that's pretty common meme in anti-US, anti-US policy comments and diaries.

But, pray tell, you never really see an example of 'when' that was when the claim is made, and so I ask, when was it again where 'it didn't used to be like that'?

Concerned where human rights in the US are right now today? Upon the founding of the country, we pushed West, nearly exterminating the indigenous people in US territory. We've been executing prisoners since then, too.

Concerned about civil rights today? Women could not vote until the beginning of the 20th century, and Blacks could not vote unencumbered until the 1960's. Women are still not free of abortion restriction. Gay people were barely acknowledged in the US prior to the AIDS epidemic.

Concerned about healthcare today? Nobody had healthcare they couldn't pay for until Medicaid and Medicare were established.

Concerned about military actions today? Please point me to the 'Pax Americana' period in US history. The only decades in a row I can think of with little or no foreign military intervention has a big fat civil war in the middle of it.

Concerned about social benefits? More people are on the various rolls of benefits than ever before. Having more jobs available in 1950 didn't mean those benefits were any better back then than they are now.

Concerned about jobs today? NAFTA was the most recent major decision negatively affecting them. Surely you can't point to the 70's and 80's as a 'good time' for American jobs.

Concerned about unemployment benefits today? In 2010 they were extended to as long as they ever had been. They weren't available at all until 1935.

Concerned about immigrant rights? Sure, they could at one point just cross the border, just process through Ellis Island...but there was NOTHING else for them, and rampant discrimination, poverty, and lack of social and financial support.

Concerned about torture today? Let's not kid ourselves that sleep deprivation or forcing people to nourish themselves is worse than 1. what happened in the Bush admin 2. what happened during the Cold War 3. worse than just killing people

Of course, all of the above doesn't mean that any other country was 'better' than us at any point, or that they have any more reason to lecture us than we do them (though you could certainly claim that because of our historical and current behavior, we have no reason to lecture anyone whatsoever), but I finish with the question I ask in the title:

It 'didn't used to be like this'? When was that, again?

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Comment Preferences

  •  apropos of nothing in particular (10+ / 0-)

    but i remember back in the day, ads would just about never cite a direct competitor.  then sometime in the early eighties, that proscription vanished and we got the cola wars.

    just one tiny example of how it really did not used to be like this.

    ; P

    Please don't dominate the rap, Jack, if you got nothin' new to say - Grateful Dead

    by Cedwyn on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 08:59:45 AM PDT

    •  Are the cola wars even there anymore? (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ian Reifowitz, Cedwyn, AoT, JBL55, Quicklund

      I don't see them citing each other anymore like they used to, as you mentioned.

      InB4 metawar on cola.

      I was gonna listen to that, but then, um, I just carried on living my life. - Aldous Snow

      by GoGoGoEverton on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 09:00:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  thought the same thing (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cedwyn, TFinSF, JBL55

      You know, I have thought the very same thing about the different beverage ads.  I always thought some trade law changed or something to explain that...but it is probably just a change in marketing philosophy.

      Remember when there were no hard liquor ads on TV?  Now I see them all the time. Was it just taboo and that has changed, or were there anti-liquor laws that ended ( like we now have for television cigarette ads)?  

      The sequester is the new Republican immigration reform plan. Make things so bad here in the US that no one will want to live here.

      by Mote Dai on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 09:11:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That one was a law change (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mote Dai

        I dont remember exactly when, but I do remember that one provision of it is that the hard liquor ads are not allowed to actually SHOW people drinking hard liquor.  Watch carefully next time you see one, you'll see them pouring liquor, or holding a glass, or licking their lips after taking a sip, but never actually drinking.

        "Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it... unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense." -The Buddha

        by Brian A on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 11:40:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  "Brand X" (0+ / 0-)

      I remember when companies used to call their competitors "Brand X" in ads. Here's a really interesting article from 1967, written around the time that the practice was starting to change and discussing why. I'd always thought it was because of a change in legislation, but from the dialogue in this article, apparently it was not.

    •  here's another: Detroit used to care about real (0+ / 0-)

      gas mileage in all their vehicles.

      LBJ, Van Cliburn, Ike, Wendy Davis, Lady Bird, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

      by BlackSheep1 on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 09:17:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  your diary could go on and on forever (20+ / 0-)

    alien and sedition acts

    japanese internment

    let's not forget world war 1, korea, and vietnam and why we were really there.

    cointelpro

    etc.

    Please don't dominate the rap, Jack, if you got nothin' new to say - Grateful Dead

    by Cedwyn on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 09:01:47 AM PDT

  •  Many Unpleasant Aspects of Our Times That We (12+ / 0-)

    had before were interrupted by the New Deal Anomaly.

    So while it did used to be like this (wealth concentration for one example), it wasn't always like this.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 09:02:20 AM PDT

  •  Excellent points. The good old days are right now (16+ / 0-)

    And that's true from a progressive perspective broadly, as well as from the specific perspective of groups that have benefited as our laws and our collective ethos has become more egalitarian. Are we perfect? No. Close? No. But are we better now than we were on those fronts.

    Hell, yes.

  •  a very simple concept (37+ / 0-)

    that too many need to learn: the ideal america is not something we have lost, it is something we have yet to attain.

    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

    by Laurence Lewis on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 09:06:43 AM PDT

  •  Briefly, during the Carter administration... (10+ / 0-)

    other than that, I can't think of a time during my half-century plus when human rights were a national priority.

    "Who is John Galt?" A two dimensional character in a third rate novel.

    by Inventor on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 09:08:31 AM PDT

  •  I think the late 1970s was probably the high point (10+ / 0-)

    ...in our freedoms, if you add everything up.  But that was a hard-to-sustain moment of revulsion against Nixon and Hoover and Vietnam and the rest of it.  taking the long view I completely agree with you.

    You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

    by Rich in PA on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 09:09:09 AM PDT

  •  One example... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    corvo, k9disc, Dogs are fuzzy, 4kedtongue

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/...

    Bush extradition strategy sparks anger

    America is recruiting nations prepared to pledge not to extradite its soldiers for trial at the new International Criminal Court, US officials said today.

    Romania and Israel have already agreed to refuse to send US peacekeepers to the tribunal, which prosecutes individuals for war crimes when national governments refuse to act.

    The United Nations Security Council agreed last month to give America a year's exemption from the court.

    The Bush Administration had wanted blanket immunity because of its fear of politically motivated prosecutions by the enemies of the US, but this was opposed by the rest of the council, including Britain.

    When did we have to worry about our generals being hauled before international war tribunals?  

    Here's another.  I shouldn't have to remind you of who Ariel Dorfman is.

    http://www.cnn.com/...

    Cheney and justice for torture victims
    By Ariel Dorfman, Special to CNN

    (CNN) -- Dick Cheney, it has been said, fears that "somebody will Pinochet him."

    [...]

    What terrifies Cheney (and perhaps should terrify his boss, Bush, as well) is that one morning he will be sipping his café au lait in Paris or strolling along the Thames in London or examining Picasso's "Guernica" in the Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid (would he recognize Iraq in that painting?), only to be suddenly tapped on the shoulder and escorted to a nearby police station. Politely, of course -- there would be no roughing him up, no extraordinary rendition, say, to North Korea, certainly no waterboarding in Guantánamo to get him to come clean, no one whispering in his ear, "If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear."

    And, after being booked, Cheney would be brought before a magistrate to be informed that according to international law, he is indicted for authorizing torture (he has acknowledged direct involvement in approving its use on prisoners detained after 9/11), an activity that is condemned in a covenant that the United States ratified in 1994. And then he will have the chance -- which none of his purported victims did -- of defending himself with attorneys and the possibility of cross-examining his accusers.

    It's true that the former vice president can avoid all this unpleasantness by simply staying within the borders of his own land and never venturing abroad, except perhaps to Bahrain or Yemen, nations that have not ratified the U.N. Convention Against Torture.

    What Cheney cannot avoid, however, is the universal shame and disgrace of being targeted and tainted by the word Pinochet, an infamy that, unfortunately, also soils the country where Cheney was born and which now gives him refuge and offers him impunity.

    By refusing to investigate, let alone prosecute, members of the Bush administration who stand accused by many human rights activists of crimes against humanity, the United States is telling the world that it does not obey the treaties it has signed or even its own domestic laws. It is declaring that some of its citizens -- the most influential of these citizens -- are beyond the reach of the law. It is joining a group of rogue nations that routinely torture and humiliate their prisoners and deny them habeas corpus.

    It is difficult to exaggerate how much this harms the United States -- a country that throws out the window thousands of years of progress in defining what it means to be human, what it means to have rights due to the mere fact of being human. A country that flouts the Magna Carta and destroys the legacy established by the fathers of American independence and violates the U.N. charter that the United States itself helped to create after World War II when the cry of "never again" rose from a wounded planet. A country that applauds the trial of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt and scorns the torture chambers of Moammar Gadhafi in Libya and deplores the massacres in Syria, but will not hold accountable one of its own elite. [...]

    It didn't used to be like that.  
    •  Sure it did. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      puakev

      I don't recall the Dulles brothers or J Edgar Hoover bring put on trial.

      You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

      by Rich in PA on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 09:14:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Actually, that sort of reinforces my point. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        corvo, tardis10, PhilK, 4kedtongue

        Dulles and J. Edgar Hoover weren't ever wanted before criminal tribunes.  They weren't thrown in our face with such effectiveness.

        One major difference between what Dulles and Hoover did and what Bush (and, sadly, Obama, with the recent crap) was flaunt it to the world as if nobody would dare point out the hypocrisy of it.

        So I'll accept that as an agreement with my original statement.

        •  I think it shows progress (0+ / 0-)

          We have moved from an era of utter complacency and docility with regard to the power of the powerful, to an era in which that power is highly contested.  There's no sense, at least that I can see, in which we're worse off now.  

          You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

          by Rich in PA on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 09:53:45 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Tell that to the Unions who were busted... (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            tardis10, unfangus, Dumbo, BlackSheep1

            and that does go towards ggge's point, but it's cherry picking.

            All of it is cherry picking, my list above is cherry picked.

            But we have certainly lost some things - things that defined America - even if they just existed as an ideal or on paper.

            Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

            by k9disc on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 10:04:51 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Alas, we have lost our innocence. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              4kedtongue

              Now we know more, and that means we know we aren't the "good guys."

              Though it can be argued, quite effectively I think, that removing the plaques from our eyes is necessary for the process of becoming. What we are becoming might be something that is highly debatable, though.

          •  And the reason for this progress? (0+ / 0-)

            I think you're missing something quite fundamental.

  •  So, then (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    corvo, k9disc, hardhatmama

    to sum up, you're pretty damned comfortable with a history of genocide, slavery and imperialism, and continuing in that noble tradition passes muster with you?  Because being proud of it proves how "pro-US" you are?

    "You may very well think so, I could not possibly comment." ~ Francis Urquhart, pragmatic political philosopher

    by ActivistGuy on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 09:22:02 AM PDT

  •  Hey, it's always been a fairy tale, this notion (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Deep Texan, k9disc, JBL55, unfangus

    of the shining light on the hill, but no, it's never been like this.  Thousands of nuclear weapons on the planet, climate change, environmental disasters, food and water shortages, wealth inequality, drones, an unabashed agenda for world supremacy, police states with all the technology and weapons to back it up, etc.
    It's never been like this. Humans are humans, they've always been this way.   Read some quotes from Socrates and Plato.  But humans keep trying to one up themselves and they surely are doing that.

    "America is the Terror State. The Global War OF Terror is a diabolical instrument of Worldwide conquest."

    by BigAlinWashSt on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 09:28:36 AM PDT

    •  It has always been like this... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GoGoGoEverton

      Same story but with different characters and a setting.

      "If you don't judge my gold chains...I'll forget the iron chains"-- James "LL Cool J" Todd, GOAT

      by lcj98 on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 10:05:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Scale and speed are entirely off the charts today. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BigAlinWashSt, tardis10, unfangus

        The scale and speed of the State and the velocity of these problems on a planet with 7Billion people are entirely without comparison to any time in history - even 20 years ago.

        Incomparable.

        Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

        by k9disc on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 10:08:06 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I don't think there were nuclear weapons in 1866. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dogs are fuzzy, 4kedtongue

        Nor was the planet as close to climate change problems.  And there weren't over 7 billion people on the planet.  Humans are the same, the situation is more complicated.  And that makes it worse.

        "America is the Terror State. The Global War OF Terror is a diabolical instrument of Worldwide conquest."

        by BigAlinWashSt on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 10:55:08 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  ... (0+ / 0-)

          New weaponry, over-crowding and environmental conditions isn't a unique.  It has been an issue for a few centuries with varying degrees of severity.  Hence, same story but with different characters and a new setting.

          "If you don't judge my gold chains...I'll forget the iron chains"-- James "LL Cool J" Todd, GOAT

          by lcj98 on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 11:33:36 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Exponentially different. (0+ / 0-)

            And has been since the middle of the last century.  The world was expanding as the population was growing.  

            Geopolitical volatility and the means to instantly rain down destruction on a scale never enjoyed by the worst despots of the former centuries...and I mean TOTAL destruction.

            The ability to know EVERYTHING about EVERYONE and the means to use that information against ANYONE at ANYTIME.  Hoover was an amateur compared to the revolving door spooks we have now.

            Ellsberg was and is considered a hero for revealing secrets the government didn't want revealed.  Some of those same people who claim him as a hero today spit on the likes of Manning and Snowden, thus taking Ellsberg's name in vain.

            Pundits / reporters spoke truth to power and wrote broadsides which led to food inspections, the end of child labor, and brought down the likes of Joe McCarthy.  Now pundits simply pay fealty to their government sources and enjoy professional conclaves with the very people they're supposed to be holding accountable -- and worse, shit on the few HONEST reporters out their risking their necks (literally) in order to inform a thankless citizenry.

            All while the planet has been irrevocably changed by humans.  No, these times are slightly different in character and scale.  

  •  But it didn't use to be like this! (4+ / 0-)

    I mean, seriously,

    (a) the last nightriders were out in Arkansas in the Seventies.  We don't have those any more.

    (b) it's been, what, a decade since the last lynching!

    (c) we gave up on supporting the apartheid government in South Africa, and instead support the majority-led, democratically-elected government there.

    (d) we can no longer count on all but a tiny fraction of legal immigrants being White.  Now we allow BEIGE PEOPLE into the United States

    (e) Non-white people can VOTE!  And they can marry non-non-white people!

    Seriously, it didn't use to be like this...

    And that's a good thing.

  •  remembering a time that never existed (6+ / 0-)

    In my local paper a week back I read a commentary by a ThinkProgress blogger along these lines.

    He was responding to Snowden's comment: "We managed to survive greater threats in our history...than a few disorganized terrorist groups and rogue states without resorting to these sorts of programs."

    He then went on to delineate, by decade as far back as the Civil War,  all the times that the US has violated the rights of people in the name of national security.  

    He pointed out that doesn't mean he supports that but he cautioned that we shouldn't be falsely remembering a time that never existed in history.

    •  Was this it? (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      glynis, JBL55, unfangus, Joieau, WakeUpNeo

      America: Choosing security over liberty since 1798

      The ending wraps it up nicely:

      This isn't at all to say that the NSA or the Obama administration should get a free pass on allowing these surveillance programs to grow and flourish under their watch. Nor is it meant to make light of the fact that the government now has the ability to copy and store the billions upon billions of pieces of information it intercepts indefinitely in databases for future use, something previous administrations could only dream of. Not nearly enough debate has gone on in the harsh light of day over just what freedoms we are willing to exchange in the name of security. But in conducting that debate, we would do well not to delude ourselves into falsely remembering a time when the United States was innocent of breaking the trust of its people in the name of protecting them.

      That time never existed.

      “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

      by Catte Nappe on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 10:35:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Technology has enabled far stronger control of... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    just another vet

    ...the masses, now more than ever.

    One need look no further than Daniel Ellsberg's recent commentary--or, for that matter, speak with folks 55+--to get a better understanding of where this was coming from.

    Back during the Vietnam War, the My Lai Massacre was a national disgrace. Over the past couple of decades there have been countless events equal to that.

    There are many other realities here that I could discuss, but I'll end by making one final statement: Income Inequality, which is greater now than it's ever been since reliable metrics were first implemented to measure those stats (in 1917), is just one systemic example of a wide variety of "ills" that are unlike anything modern America has ever witnessed. The cascading effects of that--with five corporate gangs running our country these days: Big Ag/Big Food/Big Retail, Wall Street, the Military-Industrial-Intelligence Complex, Big Pharma and Big Energy--are prevalent THROUGHOUT our society.

    In our country, where the police are more paramilitarized than ever--BY FAR--it's just a symptomatic outgrowth of the growth of the power of the MIIC within our society.

    Folks equivocating away these greater truths are merely in denial of history.

    Comparisons between the SCOTUS' twisted decision on the VRA this week versus America, pre-1865 (i.e.: slavery, etc.) would be another example of a false equivalency.

    There's an "argument" here (not really, but it IS made), that nowadays, 99% of our society is, "literally," living in debt servitude to the 1%.  

    False equivalency does run rampant; just like it does in your post.

    We're in different times. We face far different nightmares now than we did in times past. Each period is unique; but egregious transgressions against humanity continue. They simply morph from generation to generation.

    Today, however, there are some very extreme problems staring us in the face; problems that many/most societies have either never dealt with, or they haven't dealt with these types of issues in decades, generations, centuries or millennia...or, in the case of climate change, in tens/hundreds of thousands or millions of years. A GREAT deal of that problem, whether folks wish to acknowledge it or not, has been created by unbridled growth and greed, over many generations.

    Much/most of what we're witnessing, regarding the effects of unbridled growth and greed, are indeed unique--and on the surface, not necessarily attributed to that greater truth.

    (In the 1800's slavery was a clearcut symptom of this, too. Today, virtually the entire world is a slave to fossil fuels. Hundreds of thousands, if not many millions, are dying every decade because of it; due to wars related to this reality. We're entering into an era where wars over other natural resources (water, food/crops, etc.) will be commonplace, too. But, it's the quickest example/comparison I could cite to closeout this already-too-lengthy "comment." Over time, the names/"problems" change, but the greater reality remains the same. Again, much of this--as it almost always has in human history--circles back to greed.)

    In the U.S.--and throughout most of the world--I believe that we're living in an era that some are now referring to as "Inverted Totalitarianism." While not a pleasant-sounding term, it is an accurate description of matters, IMHO.

    "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

    by bobswern on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 09:32:26 AM PDT

    •  Nonsense (4+ / 0-)

      The My Lai Massacre?  I was alive then...yeah, I'm one of those old folks...and I remember my elders saying "That's awful.  They should be prosecuted.  You're right.  You do realize that such things were not infrequent during the Second World War?  They were atrocities back then, but we never heard about them."

      Perhaps, just maybe perhaps, the reason that such atrocities are now seen as common is that...um...we know about them?  I mean, I hate to say this, but our general knowledge of what's happening in the world is dramatically better than it used to be.

      Slaves to petroleum? Ignoring the number of people who live in third world conditions, that's a sickening bit of self-centered moralism. Help me here: a nation where deforestation was proceeding apace so that people could, you know, eat.  (And where there was virtually never clean water) is now one of the world's great economies, whose population is rapidly progressing towards developed status, and it uses petroleum instead of wood...and that's a bad thing?  How can you say that?  Have you no shame?

      Seriously: have you no shame?

      •  You're off the rails...absurd comment...focuses... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        unfangus

        ...your response upon many things I simply didn't mention in my comment...which was only that: a comment. No, what's pathetic is our country's (and the developed world's use, in general) use of massive amounts of fossil fuels, while billions in other countries live hand-to-mouth, on a good day. Get a grip!

        What's even more pathetic is our "great" country is nowhere near the forefront of non-fossil fuel development. It's a travesty and the implications of it are part of what you do describe in your comment.

        "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

        by bobswern on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 10:04:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  The fallacy is saying because they had cannons (0+ / 0-)

      and gallows instead of the internet and the NSA means that it's  not an incorrect conclusion to speak of 'it didn't used to be like this'.

      I was gonna listen to that, but then, um, I just carried on living my life. - Aldous Snow

      by GoGoGoEverton on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 09:48:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Actually, if you read this part of my comment... (0+ / 0-)

        ...I agree with that (your) sentiment when I state ...

        ...We're in different times. We face far different nightmares now than we did in times past. Each period is unique; but egregious transgressions against humanity continue. They simply morph from generation to generation...

        "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

        by bobswern on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 10:06:29 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Then I don't see how it's a false equivalency (0+ / 0-)

          like you stated. We're talking qualitative terms.

          I was gonna listen to that, but then, um, I just carried on living my life. - Aldous Snow

          by GoGoGoEverton on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 10:10:14 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Unless I'm misunderstanding you... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            unfangus, Joieau

            ...you're saying (if I may put words in your mouth): "Things are no worse now than they were, then. And, in fact, things were worse then."

            I'm saying that: "Making comparisons between eras leads to false equivalencies." Also, IMHO, a strong argument may be made today that greed has brought us to the point where, much like since 1945 (and the dawn of the Nuclear Age and the threat of nuclear war looming over society), we're dealing with issues that are destroying the Earth--and life as we know it--for everyone, permanently. (And, rather quickly, too, since "that button's already been pushed.")

            "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

            by bobswern on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 10:22:05 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  You did misunderstand. I'm not saying 'worse then' (0+ / 0-)

              but I'm also questioning whether or not it was really 'better' ever if you don't cherry pick this or that year, this or that policy. And I'm confronting those making the comparisons in terms of 'it was better than than now'.

              I was gonna listen to that, but then, um, I just carried on living my life. - Aldous Snow

              by GoGoGoEverton on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 10:31:01 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Surely you recognize that (0+ / 0-)

            it's far more quantitative than qualitative. Sure, we know more since the intertoobs - that's qualitative. But the stakes are most definitely quantitative, and ultimately so.

            The issue became quantitative the moment we dropped nuclear WMDs on Japan and started an arms race even the warriors termed MAD. The power to kill every human (and higher mammal plus lots else) on the planet 400-plus times over with the simple push of a button definitely changed things. Forever. Who would deny it? Worse, it was at that same time when we the people - populations, not leaders or armies or factions or groups - became the targets of all their war-gaming.

            That hasn't changed just because newer, more lucrative ways of causing mass suffering have been emphasized, even as talk about the human-engineered Extinction Event has faded from the front pages. They won't push that button until they've bled this planet dry, but when they're done, the game really is over. There will be no future generations to challenge the dragons of their age. We'll be done.

            That has never been the case, in all of history. Humanity no longer gets to think in terms of personal survival or regional destruction, hope their children will do better someday. When the current game is over so will we be, along all we ever tried so hard to accomplish, all that we ever hoped to be or become.

            It really didn't "used to be like this."

  •  First: We had a better PR firm 'then,' lol (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    k9disc, tardis10, unfangus, Dogs are fuzzy

    Second: Since we had to at least try to live up to the PR of the time that stated we were a shining city on a hill flashing out the beacon of freedom and justice, we at least tried to appear not to be bad guys.

    That pressure reined in a lot of stuff. But it seems like after Iran/Contra and certainly by the Bush years we had lost all shame.

    To the point where now even some good people try to defend the horrible stuff America does. Even here on Dkos! In part at least because they bought the PR and still think of America as "The Good Guys."

    Thanks for pointing out that we are not. That we are a flawed nation run by flawed human beings. That do terrible stuff.

    We can look at the realism you highlight as "hating America" as some are doing here today....or we can take it as the eternal clarion call for each citizen to stand up and yell (as Snowden did) when we see our country heading down the wrong path...again.

    Thank you for making this argument for loud and aggressive activism and loyal opposition to the excesses of our government, no matter who is in office!

  •  Why didn't you just say anti-American? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    unfangus, Dogs are fuzzy, Joieau

    That's what you meant, right?

    Well, we didn't have 2 wage earners needed to exist.

    We didn't have negative savings.

    We didn't have college kids going 5-10 years in debt for an education.

    We didn't have omniscient secret police - our guys make Hoover look like Mr. Magoo.

    Police didn't have tanks.

    Free speech zones didn't exist.

    We had habeas corpus.

    We did not officially torture as policy.

    5 companies did not own our media.

    Spies had to be deployed on stakeout to know where you were at and what you were doing.

    Elections didn't cost billions of dollars.

    Corporations could not legally participate in elections, now they sponsor them.

    The US Army could feed itself.

    We were not deployed in 100 some odd countries.

    That's off the top of my head...

    I hear you about waxing poetically about a past that really doesn't exist, but your list is totally cherry picked, and it's cherry picked to excuse authoritarian overreach that has made this country unrecognizable from 20 years ago.

    Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

    by k9disc on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 09:49:41 AM PDT

    •  You didn't hear anything and (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      glynis

      you probably didn't read anything either if you wrote this:

      I hear you about waxing poetically about a past that really doesn't exist,
      and it's not an excuse, it's an observation. More authoritarian thought-policing that are even willing to put thoughts and words in another kossacks' diary when it's not outrageous enough to be outraged at.,

      I was gonna listen to that, but then, um, I just carried on living my life. - Aldous Snow

      by GoGoGoEverton on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 09:53:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I gave a substantive response to your diary. (0+ / 0-)

        And WTF does this mean:

        More authoritarian thought-policing that are even willing to put thoughts and words in another kossacks' diary when it's not outrageous enough to be outraged at.,

        Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

        by k9disc on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 10:15:08 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  your history is skewed (0+ / 0-)

      You are cherrypicking the progress of the 20th century that is eroding now to inform your perspective.  Things were much worse before this time period.  

      yes, one must keep fighting to hold on to the gains as the generations that made them die out and later generations took them for granted.

      That's the way the pendulum swings.

  •  Bell Curve... going down? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BigAlinWashSt

    I think we're tanking, and tanking hard.

    Economically, for sure, but socially as well.

    We might have expanded rights for certain groups of people and that's awesome, but we're disconnected and there is no real sense of community.

    We hit Peak America in the late 60s, I believe, and then our hope was assassinated with the killings of RFK and MLK. We're on the downside of our bell curve.

    And all of the positive thinking in the world is not going to stop it.

    Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

    by k9disc on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 09:53:40 AM PDT

  •  Don't forget about waterboarding (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GoGoGoEverton

    From Wikipedia:

    After the Spanish American War of 1898 in the Philippines, the U.S. army used waterboarding, called the "water cure" at the time. It is not clear where this practice came from; it probably was adopted from the Filipinos, who themselves adopted it from the Spanish.[104] Reports of "cruelties" from soldiers stationed in the Philippines led to Senate hearings on U.S. activity there.

    Ancora Impara--Michelangelo

    by aravir on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 10:06:22 AM PDT

  •  This is like the 5th diary like this (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Joieau

    and I don't get it.  What point are you making?  "Times are bad and they used to be even worse, so pipe down about the bad times now!"

    "When I was 12, we had to walk to school in snow drifts 6ft high, without shoes...  This generation!"

    Progress has been made because people weren't satisfied with the status quo, because they pushed for change.  

    •  Some day you and others will realize that (0+ / 0-)

      on yous guys are saying this:

      so pipe down about the bad times now!
      Because I certainly didn't say that, nor imply that it should be. If you piped down about 'the good old days' because there really weren't any, and focused forward, that'd be OK.

      I was gonna listen to that, but then, um, I just carried on living my life. - Aldous Snow

      by GoGoGoEverton on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 10:34:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Wait (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Joieau, 4kedtongue

    you picked out one sentence from the other diary and wrote this, and that's supposed to refute what the other diary is saying?

    This diary doesn't even address the main point of the diary that you're dueling with.

    Come on, Gogo, you can do better than that.  You just built a giant

    "America is perfect and has never done bad things in the past"
    strawman and burned it down.  Piece of cake.  This is way below your skill level.  Take on the main issues of the other diary.  Do a real and challenging debate, man.  That's the kind of thing we need, not this low hanging fruit kind of stuff.


    "Justice is a commodity"

    by joanneleon on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 10:47:47 AM PDT

    •  My diary was not meant as a reply at all to (0+ / 0-)

      that one, which is why I wrote exactly that:

      All other points in that diary aside, that's pretty common meme in anti-US, anti-US policy comments and diaries.
      My diary should not be taken at all as an eval of that diary, but as an eval of that meme which was certainly not central to their diary at all. It's some sort of historical exceptionalism that isn't accurate.

      I was gonna listen to that, but then, um, I just carried on living my life. - Aldous Snow

      by GoGoGoEverton on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 12:49:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks GoGo. I've been getting more and more (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GoGoGoEverton, sviscusi

    steamed at these statements regarding this so-called loss of American Exceptionalism.

    and these people SHOULD and most likely DO know better than to think we as a country had some moral standing over the world, so I've been assuming this is all pie fight-based bullshit.  anything to poke the eyes of the president and his supporters.

    This comment is dedicated to my mellow Adept2U and his Uncle Marcus

    by mallyroyal on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 10:51:34 AM PDT

  •  what's changed is perceptions (3+ / 0-)

    The world used to respect us and look up to us; now they don't.  The world used to trust us and support us (at least passively) when we used our big stick; now they don't.  Likewise we used to be able to believe we were one of the good guys without being accused of ignorance and/or narcissism; now we can't.

    Our history is far from spotless, but by and large people were willing to forgive our mistakes or at least believe we were capable of better.  Not anymore.

    •  I sort of feel like we were generally the same (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Visceral

      country, with different leanings towards isolationism at times. It was just that, for most of our history, there were big bad guys...and now that there aren't anymore, our flaws stick out.

      I was gonna listen to that, but then, um, I just carried on living my life. - Aldous Snow

      by GoGoGoEverton on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 01:04:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  For the second time today, I quote Will Rogers: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    unfangus, GoGoGoEverton

    "Things ain't what they used to be and probably never was."

  •  A song I wrote when my teenage kids were bitching (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    unfangus, GoGoGoEverton

    A song I wrote when my kids were bitching about how my generation messed everything up ...

    EVERYBODY'S TALKIN'
    Everybody's talking about the troubles in the world:
    Heedlessness, decadence, poisons in the soil
    I'm not disagreeing - it looks real bad to me
    But human beings been misbehaving in every century

    Even if you don't believe that Moses talked with G-d
    Or said some magic words and made a snake out of a rod
    He told the people, "behave yourselves - I'll be back in a couple of days"
    As soon as he was out of sight they commenced their low-down ways

    Jesus has his hands full with the police in his day
    Even the common folk didn't care much for what he had to say
    Even if you don't believe he was sent here from above
    Still, why'd they go and kill a guy who went 'round teaching love?

    Don't forget the sodomites and their hospitality
    Decadence and degradation ain't caused by MTV
    Even if you don't believe they were angels but merely men
    Still, ravaging harmless travelers is an outrage and a sin

    But you don't need to read the Bible - just look at ancient Rome
    Didn't they pour an ocean of blood out from the Coliseum?
    In the Mediteranean they cut down the trees - eroding all the soil
    Leaving baron hills - not good for much but growing wine and olive oil

    Humanity's stupidity started way back in the cave
    It could go on long after I'm gone and buried in my grave
    But when the millions turned to billions and destruction moves so fast
    In the 21st century it's hard to see how any of this can last

    Cause even if you don't believe the climate is heating up
    Even if you don't believe a world war could errupt
    Even if you don't believe the human race is doomed
    I hope you believe in miracles - we're gonna need one here real soon

    Everybody's talking about the troubles in the world:
    Heedlessness, decadence, erosion of the soul
    I'm not disagreeing boys - it looks real bad to me
    But human beings been misbehaving in every century

  •  It used to be Republicans... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    unfangus

    ...who condemned criticism of American policy as "anti-American," but now it's Democrats too. Democrats used to mock Republicans for being all "America Fuck Yeah!" and now some of those Democrats have embraced the Republican position of America-cannot-be-criticized.

    How nice to feel so patriotic to condemn criticism of America as "anti-American." I'll take this opportunity to remind myself the wisdom: "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel."

  •  Canceled a reply to that same concluding sentence (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GoGoGoEverton

    I was working towards the same point (using a different example) but I decided to cancel it. I am glad I did as I see now you did a fsr batter job making this point.

    The fact is history is full of shit and shit is stuck to every nation's history. Wallowing in that shit, or pretending we are covered with shit when out grandparents were not, does not accomplish much.

    What does accomplish much is recognizing the world is full of shit and diligently working to de-shit it a little bit. Then you hand the trowel to your sons and daughters and they de-shit it some more.

    Repeat the cycle and that is called progress.

  •  When we believed the lies... (0+ / 0-)

    In the days before we each individually realized that our history and current times were not what our politicians and maybe most of the people around us claimed, we may have thought we were living something like the American dream.  In our minds this past time may still seem like a better, fairer time, maybe when we were growing up, especially if our family was white and not poor, and we had little contact with anyone whose story was different and no knowledge of the dark side of our history.  People around us may have seemed mostly good, and our families and teachers may have been decent people who encouraged us.  We probably totally believed that if we worked hard and were good students, we would be very successful and happy, because life was fair.  We didn't doubt that our country was everything it claimed to be, and we were proud of it.

    Then at some point we woke up to the shameful parts of our history and the injustices; if we didn't wake up to them, we would probably be Republicans and not here arguing about this diary.  I think that on an emotional level this period within our separate lives, when we were either ignorant or bamboozled, seems like a time when things were better.  Intellectually, if we really look at those supposedly good old days, we can see that we just didn't know then all the unspeakable things that were happening, so many of which have been listed here.  So the time when things seemed better was really only personally better, because we were oblivious.  If today we were to avoid all news and focus on personal activities we loved, we could again kid ourselves into believing that all is well.

  •  Back in the 1960s & 70s (0+ / 0-)

    when I was growing up, it really seemed like things were  changing for the better and were going to continue in that direction. There seemed to be so many major breakthroughs and successes, with MLK and equal rights legislation for African Americans and to get women equal pay and people taking Rachel Carson's book Silent Spring seriously and Carter talking about the need to reduce our dependence on fossil fuel.

    But then in the early 80s, when I was in college, suddenly there was this new trend of everyone switching their majors to business or finance so they could make more money. And although the students I talked to about it shook their heads and said, "Yeah, I know, I'm selling out," they went down a different road.

    And Reagan got elected and Family Ties' Alex Keaton became a role model. And today when I google some of the people I was friends with "back in the day," sometimes I see that they are still now "working for the enemy." One was going to law school so he could "make a lot of money" (his own words), and I found online that now he is working in environmental law ... as a defender of the corporations that have been accused of harming the environment.

    So even though I feel like things today are going to hell in a handbasket, I agree with the diarist that they have never been good. But having grown up during a period when it seemed things were going in the right direction, albeit briefly, it's left me with the feeling that all my life since, things have been going downhill.

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