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A Malaise Speech for the Current Time
Back in 1979 then President Jimmy Carter gave a talk to the nation saying that America was experiencing a Crisis of Confidence. In that speech he mentioned the need for energy conservation, which, as we all know now, most of the public seemed to want no part of. The speech went on to be labeled the "Malaise speech", even though that word was never used in it.

Now, nearly four decades later, America once again appears to be experience what might be called Crisis of Confidence II, and may actually be more worthy of the malaise title because during the first one people were at least going out to dance nights away in discos. Today it seems no one, or at least very few, are in the mood for too many good times. This even though many fairly pricey restaurant are pack a great deal of the time. The recent defeat of healthcare reform, rather sarcastically referred to as Trumpcare, went down to defeat last week. Who was reinforcing the need to see its defeat? I guess it was the general public, as they did not wish to see our new President assume dictator mode, as many had been fearing since he first announced his candidacy. Now more than ever it is important to be wise in our convictions. There is much that should be done that I still don't believe the public has the will to really take up.

While much has been said about the need to rein in the power of Wall Street and large multinational corporations, up until now most fledgling protest movements, such as Occupy Wall Street, were noble failures at best--with the exception that it did bring on a dialogue about the subject of immense inequality brought on by the fact that the interests of Wall Street have consistently superseded those of Main Street for at least three decades with no end appearing in sight. To many folks the election of Trump only added fuel to the already blazing fire. Out of the ashes of discontent appeared Bernie Sanders, who for all intents and purposes was probably the only candidate who proposed the sensible change yet was largely ignored by the corporate controlled media. Had he been given adequate coverage, he possible could be our President today. But would he have to face the same level of obstruction in Congress that President Obama did? Probably so, as the men and women composing said Congress have their bread buttered on the corporate side.

Meanwhile, many substandard urban neighborhoods are even worse off today than they were at the heights of the civil rights struggles half a century ago. There are many areas with not a decent grocery store, leading to them being labeled as food deserts. At the same time relentless gentrification has forced many modest income yet decent folks out of the neighborhoods their families had occupied for generations. If Chicago is a prime example, and I believe that it is, nearly all the housing being built in the past 35 years has been pricey upscale condos and townhouses that the average Joe and Jane couldn't even begin to afford. The poverty in our cities is probably just the same as it was many years ago; the main difference being that it is much less visible. This may be good in some ways, but certainly not so good in others. The primary movers and shakers within our cities are without a doubt doing everything in their power to make sure that little if any so called "affordable" housing is being built. And the real estate moguls and developers have tremendous clout over what gets built and what doesn't. For a great on this, I heard a talk over the weekend about a book titled "How to Kill a City" by Peter Moskovitz.

Stories of folks trying to get by on minimum wage or even less have become legendary, as many are forced to work multiple jobs and at times even that isn't enough. The fear people have for others of the species have also become pervasive, leading to loss of social interaction despite the ascendance of so-called "social" networks such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. And yet the social stigma against those on the lower rungs of the income scale is as pervasive as ever. This implies a general attitude such as "I have, and if you will just go get a job you can have as well". It really isn't all that simple, and there are many destitute folks who actually are working. They just don't earn enough to get by, let alone live the good life.

Do we have the belief that with positive application will come positive rewards? Probably not by too many. There are a significant number who are now waking up to the idea that they have been had for the past few decades, and what is likely to happen when that number becomes the majority?

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A Malaise Speech for the Current Time - by beechnut79 - 03-28-2017, 12:08 PM

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