This is the brilliantly penned answer to that question.
Watch the show man. I can’t recommend it highly enough.
I will, have it bookmarked to remind me.
No problem, my man.
I will argue with the commentary in that clip – though not the diagnosis. I’ve lived long enough to see both pre- and post-Internet worlds, and in my VERY humble opinion, I feel there’s a connection to our standing and the immediate access of information. People used to study, they used to learn things – useful, esoteric, and even downright trivial, but they LEARNED. And they learned by seeing and doing. Sure, you can take an Internet trip to, say, Hamilton Ontario. You can even take a tour of the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry Museum. But you CAN’T get the information on WHY the Rileys willingly died on a beach in France 71 years ago, just from the Net. And you can’t understand that these guys who did this, weren’t supermen. They were you and me, shipped half a world away, who charged into the teeth of German machineguns both before, and after, leading what many would consider a dull and boring life in the steel mills. You can see pictures of B-17s, but you can’t feel the metal under your fingers, smell the hot oil and exhaust smoke, and listen to the roar of the engines that permeated freezing flights lasting 6,7 or 8 hours at a time.
We’ve stopped learning. We’ve become a “why do I need to know that, I’ll just Google it” nation. Politics is too hard. Issues are too hard to understand, tax codes too byzantine, concepts like gun control and gay marriage too far removed to demand our understanding, especially when Wiki is just a few keystrokes away.
I will stand by the concept that America CAN be great. But as someone once said, “Politics is a contact sport”. So is world affairs, and international relations. “If we fear there’s a one in a million chance that somebody MIGHT get hurt in a consulate, why open it?” Because no peace treaty has been signed on Skype. No political decision has ever been made via Twitter. And no collection of bloggers, no matter how impassioned, can ever pass a law.
We were great. We CAN be great. But we need to rediscover that being great takes EFFORT. And no reality-TV addicted, YouTube-wandering population will make that effort.
But (at the risk of sounding a bit brown-nosey) I do see those qualities of making an effort and learning through doing, here and there, especially here. I hope your generation takes the challenge, and uses the Internet as a tool, not a be-all and end-all of existence. Do that, and America WILL be great again.
My generation is lost. I, however, am not.
But seriously I enjoyed your long-winded speech, Mr. Erickson. Keep ‘em coming!
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