During the first 100 years of this country, Americans were primarily an "I" culture. That makes sense. There was not a lot of time or resources to spend on thinking about others when you were living day to day. The 1870's saw the first rise of charitable organizations and societies in America. This began a period when citizens (not government) saw that giving of their time and resources was beneficial to society and worth the effort. This was a huge shift in the maturing of this country. It became a "we" culture. I am not saying that values such as self-reliance were not important, it's just that Americans began to realize that fellow citizens sometimes needed a little help. There was no government assistance until the 1930's, during the depression, with programs like Social Security. So while our forebears made a large leap culturally, what have the current living generations done to take that thought process to the next level? Absolutely nothing! Why? It will require an understanding and acknowledgment of inequalities that still persist. For a variety of reasons, right after WWII we reverted to an "I" culture, and it still exists to this day. It's all about "me and mine", and damn everyone else...and even worse...damn the generations that will have to live here when we are gone.
Bamboozled By Employer Subsidized Health Care
Prior to 1943, if Americans had a health issue, they went to the doctor and paid out of pocket. If they worked in the manufacturing industry there was usually a company doctor to treat employees. Anyone with a little money in their pocket could afford medical treatment. That all changed in 1943. Due to a lack of skilled manpower during WWII, and a wage freeze to protect employers, another benefit to attract employees was created. This was the first employee subsidized health insurance. Two things happened. First, health costs went through the roof, so than anyone without health insurance could no longer afford to see a doctor. Second, unless you had a job, you could not afford the health care premiums. Voila...health care in this country was tied to employment. This eventually led to the required creation of Medicare in the 1960's...and then the Affordable Care Act in 2012 to address premiums for those that are out of work...over 65 years after the problem was recognized. Under this system the federal government spends 40% of its budget on health care...and it is still ranked lowest in quality of all industrialized countries. Fact: The average annual cost of a health plan for a family of four is $21,342. Workers paid a quarter, and employers covered the rest. This system may be ok with anyone over 40...because we are to selfish...lazy...and stupid to do anything about it. However, tying health care to employment will go the way of the dinosaurs once we are gone.
It's The Environment...Stupid
Only in America can a presidential candidate allude to a future that is less dependent on fossil fuels and be criticized for it. Yes...fossil fuels drove the industrial revolution and made this country a superpower...however it's another doomed industry. Clearly, fossil fuel emissions have contributed to global climate change, yet again...anyone over forty tends to argue tooth and nail over this. They have a total lack of imagination in the whole area of energy production...similar to their views on the current health care system. This country could be a world leader in alternative energy production if "the people" demanded it. Instead...we let states like West Virginia...and Pennsylvania...and an orange colored fool...drive the debate. With all due respect the people in those states...visit a dentist...move somewhere else....and for god sakes stay away from the cousins! In fact...this country could afford turning a large part of Appalachia in to a forest preserve and no one would really notice.
We're Not That Great
So what have the generations born after 1925 really accomplished? We pat ourselves on the back because of our wizadry with rockets...personal computers...mobile phones...internet. Our hero's are Bill Gates...Steve Jobs...Jeff Bezos. I'm no luddite...I love all the tech stuff. However, their contribution to human development pales in comparison to the printing press, electricity or manned flight. What we really need now is a Guttenberg, Edison or Wright Brothers...instead we get...Elon Musk. I guess if you want to live on Mars...you're good. This country used to face big issues....put its best minds on it....and figure it out...because the people demanded it Now...we are to stupid and selfish to bother with it anymore...we are just speed bumps and impediments to a viable future. One can only hope that the millenials and Gen Z are taking notes on how not to run a century.