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So What Did I learn in 2012?

Tim's year-end wrap-up.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)

The year 2012 is about to pass into the history books. I don't even think the Ripley people would believe it. The elections obviously commanded our attention, from primaries, to conventions, to debates, and to the final elections. Closely tied to it was the economy, unemployment, energy, and the turmoil in the Middle East. The Summer Olympics in London was a welcome distraction, but it was short lived. As we are nearing the end of the year, I want to reflect on what I personally learned. Think of this as my year-end wrap-up report if you will.

2012 taught me this is no longer my grandfather's United States, or my father's for that matter. In fact, it's a lot different than what I was taught as a lad. It seems the obvious is no longer obvious. Our priorities have changed from what I believe are cultural differences. First, Latinos are now the number one minority, followed by Asians who hopscotched the blacks to the #2 position. Single women now outnumber married women, and gays seem to be more openly accepted. All of this sounds simple, but represents a dramatic change in our demographics and, as such, a change in national attitudes.

Everything seems to be drifting on the wind, including our moral fiber. What was right is now wrong, and vice versa. It would be easy to say the country has become morally corrupt, but who is to judge, the young or the old? Obviously this didn't happen over night. It has been slowly moving in this direction for a long time; e.g., instead of the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman, we now openly discuss homosexual relationships; instead of celebrating the family unit, it has become splintered; instead of the Baby Boomers retiring as their predecessors did, few can afford to, making for a crowded job market; rewarding incompetence now seems to be a way of life, and; lying and deceit appears to be an acceptable form of behavior as long as the end justifies the means. Such things greatly influence our priorities and behavior.

I learned the division of the country has become even more pronounced along ideological and class lines. We always knew there were differences, but it became glaringly obvious during this election year. The void between left and right has grown to Grand Canyon proportions, with very few moderates remaining to take a stand. Political discourse can be better described as visceral as opposed to intellectual.

Nevertheless, I have learned the country now believes entitlements are a right, not a privilege; the citizens believe a redistribution of the wealth is fair, and; that spending more than you have is a perfectly acceptable form of fiduciary behavior. I admit it took me a long time to figure this out, but I now "get it." In the past, I assumed this would head us down a dangerous path to bankruptcy, but evidently the country is not concerned. Then again, we have always been a nation of reactionaries as opposed to planners.

Perhaps the most notable thing I learned this year was the citizens of this country have become overtly self-aware, meaning a person can separate him/herself as an individual from their environment. We've seen this for many years on the roads as people drive as if they were the only ones on the highway. However, it has become more pronounced in our society and I attribute it primarily to our extensive use of personal technology. We see it in shopping malls and stores where people walk in front of you as you are examining merchandise. They are not interested in what you are doing, only what they personally want to do. This is also becoming more common in business as people lack sensitivity to others working around them, thereby inhibiting harmony, and we also see this in our discourse where we no longer know how to properly carry on an argument. It is no small wonder that "Teabagger" has become a part of our vernacular, even if it is misapplied.

It would be easy to say I learned a lot about the power of the media this year, and how it is an instrument of the government to manipulate the masses, but this has been going on for quite some time. I could also comment how naive the American public has become, that they are lazy and prefer the spin of the media as opposed to checking the facts themselves, but we already knew this.

Despite all of this, I cannot help but wonder if we really are any better than just 50 years ago? Or 100 years for that matter. Sure, the technology has changed a lot, and the world has gotten smaller and more dangerous as a result, but the problems remain essentially unchanged: the world population is still growing too fast, war has certainly not been made extinct, we still suffer with malnutrition and economics, and we still do not have cures for cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and a litany of other diseases. Not to worry though, there is nothing our smart phones cannot overcome for us.

One final note, I would be remiss if I didn't recognize a handful of the people who passed away in 2012, people who helped shape our lives in one way or another:

Neil Armstrong, Peter Bergman, Pedro Borbón, Ernest Borgnine, Robert Bork, Ray Bradbury, Andrew Breitbart, Helen Gurley Brown, Dave Brubeck, Gary Carter, Dick Clark, Gary Collins, Greg Cook, Don Cornelius, Judith Crist, Richard Dawson, Phyllis Diller, Angelo Dundee, Donald "Duck" Dunn, Nora Ephron, Chad Everett, Ben Gazara, Andy Griffith, Larry Hagman, Marvin Hamlisch, Levon Helm, Sherman Hemsley, Celeste Holm, Whitney Houston, Daniel Inouye, Davy Jones, Alex Karras, Herbert Lom, George McGovern, Russell Means, Sun Myung Moon, Oscar Niemeyer, Joe Paterno, Johnny "The Needle" Pesky, Darrell Royal, Warren Rudman, Steve Sabol, Earl Scruggs, Ravi Shankar, Carroll Shelby, Amarillo Slim, Arlen Specter, Chris Stevens, Donna Summer, Jack Twyman, Gore Vidal, Mike Wallace, Andy Williams, William Windom. and Richard D. Zanuck.

If you do not know who some of these people are, you should do yourself a favor and look them up. If you didn't see your name on the list, consider yourself fortunate. I know I do.

Happy New Year everyone!

"We'll Meet Again"

FADE TO BLACK

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Copyright © 2012 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

rick barasso December 21, 2012 at 01:35 PM
You are such a sad man. Sorry, all your candidates went down in flames. Sorry, minorities and women are not treated the way they were "50 or 100 years ago". Sorry, you feel the need to continue to harbor your racist attitudes. Sorry, your biggest concern for "our enviroment" is people's driving habits. Sorry, you feel the media is lying when they don't agree with your perverted views. Sorry, you want people to fact check, but when you have been "fact checked" and caught misleading your readers, you remain silent. Sorry, your concerns for the health of Americans is ignored by the party you choose to support, with their lack of interest in science, opposition to affordable healthcare, and cut's to funds for science, research, and healthcare. Sorry, you can only see one side of "entitlements" and ignore the fact the rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer and the middle class is shinking, as corporate welfare is increasing, thanks to your party's failed "trickle down" economics. Most of all I feel sorry for people like yourself, who see nothing but the bad. People who are sad, peranoid, and ridicule the idea of hope. In the words of your fellow "Teabaggers", if you don't like it here, there our other options. (unlike your people, I couldn't get myself to say "get out")
rick barasso December 21, 2012 at 01:35 PM
Oh, HAPPY NEW YEAR!
-Ed Harris- December 22, 2012 at 12:59 AM
Tim, I guess the part of your story that confuses me the most is that you write your narrative as if you really didn't see this coming. Fiction only can last so long until people wake up and see it's just fiction. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy a good novel now and again but I don't go my whole life thinking what I read in the novel was the truth. The rest of the world moved on long ago and all we did was long the ago. In fact, the great experiment of Democracy in this country has finally arrived at the "we're all grown up" stage. Here, let me quote a lovely verse (ironically enough) from the King James Version of the New Testament. "when I was a child I spake as a child but now as a man I have put away childish things". Very Ironic when you think about, definitely a verse King James forgot to edit out with the slew of others he omitted. The country grew up and left fairy tales for pre-school reading time. By the way, Happy Holidays and have a very Merry Winter Solstice!
Jim Watkins December 25, 2012 at 04:02 PM
Interesting perspective on the year of 2012. It certainly seems the country has changed over the past few years. I think the pendulum swings back and forth. Hope it swings back to the right a little more sometime soon.
Cisco December 28, 2012 at 04:06 AM
The sorry man is you barasso.

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