Friday, May 17, 2013

Apocalypse Now??




Last night I talked with my best friend from the Army back in the 70s. We were talking about the future and he was more depressed than a cat in a room full of rocking chairs. He said we can't pay off the debt--"we" meaning all of us Americans--and he started to bring up all the troubles around us. I hadn't thought of this before but I am in the middle of reading the Gulag Archipelago:  a book of almost 1400 pages about Russian labor camps and the politics of the Soviet era in the Soviet Union.

I asked my friend, "If you lived in Hamburg Germany in 1943 and looked around you at the firebombing and and the black cars that came in the middle of the night to take people away who never came back and you knew Jews and others were being slaughtered by the tens of thousands per month what would you think then? What would the future look like? Would you think the German economy would be one of the strongest in the world and that Germany would be one of of the freest and most peaceful nations on earth within 20 or 30 years? No you what you would think the Apocalypse is coming and it's got a come soon just like you hear from misguided preachers and from TV and talk radio.

"And what if you lived in Japan in 1945. Your country has a completely wrecked economy and two smoldering nuclear waste sites with more than a hundred thousand dead in each one. What would you think that with that economy come back to be the third strongest in the world with that country have better health in general than most countries on earth?"

No there is no way you would think that.  

But it is true.

And here we are with the most abundant food the best healthcare and still one of the strongest economies on earth ever in his history and some people can do nothing but BITCH.  

You might think because I read about Soviet gulags that I would be as depressed and worried about the apocalypse as Survivalists in Idaho. But it's the reverse.  Reading about the horrors of the Soviet Union--the horrors it visited on its own citizens--and reading about the slaughter that was World War II and how little any of the armies, even ours, cared about its soldiers that I am so thankful I live in America RIGHT NOW.

it's true about people in every country in the world at every time in history that those who have the best circumstances bitch the most. Who files the most lawsuits? Rich people. I've served in both the Air Force and the Army. In my experience airmen bitch way more than soldiers. And I'm sure Marines bitch less than either the Air Force or the Army. So it just makes sense that the bitchiest country on the planet would have the most food the best healthcare and and still think the world is coming to an end.

If you still believe that you are stuck in the worst place in the history of the world in the hopeless situation please shut off your television and turn off talk radio and ignore Facebook for a while. Read what life was like in Moscow in 1937 or in Berlin in 1945 or in Beijing in 1970 or in Nagasaki in 1945.  Those people could have been hopeless.  They weren't.  They rebuilt their shattered world.  

Each one those places is 1000 times better than it was at its worst.  And if you are a Believer, how much worse that you profess eternal Hope and can't be as optimistic as non-believers in in the rubble of World War II.

We live in a great country and those who think otherwise should find something else to fill their fantasy life.