I would not want to have children in today’s America.

mirandalambert

When I was a little girl back in the ’60s, life was good.   There was a sense — even among children as young as I was — that America was a good place: prosperous and powerful, but also with a large, healthy middle class, a strong public school system, an effective safety net and strong labor unions that kept the vast majority of people from falling into poverty, institutions that actually worked, and a sense that the President of the United States would always be a man of high moral character and compassion for others.

Community was important.   Libraries, public schools, the post office, and the infrastructure in general were there to serve the greater good, and they did their job well.   No one questioned their existence.  It was unheard of for people to complain about having to pay taxes to support the community or to have nice things like public schools, fire departments, libraries, safe and well-kept roads, Social Security for the elderly,  federal grants so kids could go to college, poverty-relief programs like Medicaid or food stamps,  and national or state parks.   The rich — of which there were only a few — weren’t that rich:  in the 1950s, the wealthiest 1% paid 91% of their income in taxes (now they pay only 35% and that number is about to drop even more under the Trump tax plan).   If anyone complained, you never heard about it.   Everyone assumed that it was only fair the wealthy pay more in taxes, because the common good was seen as more important than the few wealthy being able to buy  yet another mansion or yacht (or use their vast sums of money to influence politicians and buy votes).

Politicians and leaders were generally seen as trustworthy and benevolent.  A few were not, but they hid it well (or were slapped down quickly) if they weren’t.   If they broke the law (like Nixon with Watergate), there were consequences — and they apologized and gracefully stepped down.  Most seemed to care about the average American.   Both Democrats and Republicans seemed supportive of public institutions that helped everyday people and worked to build things instead of tear everything down.   As the sixties turned into the seventies, measures began to be taken to clean up the environment, and formerly polluted rivers and cities began to heal themselves as new regulations were put into place that put people over profits.  The EPA was established.

When something bad happened, you had faith that the President was someone who was able to comfort and identify with the people’s pain. You could rest assured that whether Democrat or Republican, the president was a person not only of high moral character but also of high empathy.

Where I lived in the New Jersey suburbs, I was pretty much sheltered from all the social changes until the very late sixties or early seventies.   I heard about hippies on the evening news, but they seemed like some sort of fascinating exotic creatures to me, very far from my own sheltered childhood reality of homework, kickball, and Barbie dolls.   The Vietnam War seemed like something happening on another planet,  a terrible but abstract thing I never had to worry about.

I was too young to realize that women did not have many choices or that racial segregation was still being practiced, especially in the South.    As the civil rights movement began to change society, all it meant for me was that my school became more integrated.   Since I lived in an all-white part of town, having a few non-white students around made things more interesting.  If there was any pushback, I wasn’t privy to it.   Gradually, my grade school textbooks began to have photos of black and Hispanic kids in addition to the WASP-y looking people that populated the textbooks of my first and second grade years.   In 1972, we sold our home to a black family, and I found out later the neighbors’ reaction was pretty negative, but we had already moved away by then so their reaction didn’t matter.

As the women’s movement came along and women began to chafe at their limited roles as housewives and mothers, there was a more negative effect on me personally.   As a preteen,  I needed my mother (or thought I did), and her suddenly leaving my dad and spending so much time away from home and embarking on a career made me feel, well, as if she no longer loved me.  Of course, my mother’s narcissism — which was the real problem, not her feminism — has been written about here many times, but this post isn’t about that.

In spite of the problems ’70s-era feminism caused for me (or seemed to cause), as I got a little older I embraced it.   The world seemed wide open with possibilities and choices.   It was exciting to stand on the brink of adulthood and know I could be anything I wanted to be (things didn’t quite work out that way, but again, that’s another topic that has more to do with my individual background and poor choices).  What’s important is that back then, the future seemed like a carnival of brilliant colors and endless possibilities.

In 2017, things are vastly different today than they were forty years ago.    I don’t even feel like this is America anymore.  We are a country under siege by a corrupt group of selfish, compassionless, greedy criminals and their financial donors who pull all the strings to funnel ever more money away from the rest of us and into their own pockets.    They are actively trying to tear down the institutions that made us great and built a strong sense of community back in the postwar years.   Everything that helps families and children is being gutted.   Democracy is a thing of the past.

They are trying to legislate a repressive, authoritarian form of evangelical Christianity that would not only roll back hard-won rights and freedoms of women, minorities, and LGBTQ people, but also marginalize and punish those same people.  It seems like what they really want is a return to the Gilded Age, only with an ISIS-like religious theocracy in place of the Constitution.

Incredibly, they are shoving their oppressive religion down everyone else’s throats and infiltrating the highest reaches of politics in the name of religious freedom.   I’m afraid we are dangling on the precipice of becoming a totalitarian state which wouldn’t look too different from Gilead in The Handmaid’s Tale.  At the very least, we are on the brink of civil war between the Trump-emboldened far right Christian extremists and white supremacists and everyone who believes in liberty, justice and freedom for all.   Violence is glorified and even after last week’s mass shooting in Las Vegas, certain Republicans are actually blaming the victims of the shooting for not doing enough to defend themselves instead of placing the blame where it belongs:  on the need for stricter gun laws.  Talk about gaslighting!

If all that wasn’t bad enough, we are in real danger of being decimated by nuclear war.  Our own government (aided by Russia) has declared war on us from within, but oh no, that’s not our only problem.   Our president — a conman and pathological liar who would have already been in prison 40 years ago — is engaged in a schoolyard pissing contest with North Korea’s dictator, and is threatening and abusing us all by making veiled threats about nuclear annihilation on Twitter.    I cannot trust this president to do the right thing.   In fact, I’m pretty sure his intentions are malicious.  I really do feel like our own president has declared war not only on the most vulnerable Americans, but also on those who still value decency and compassion and community.

It’s ironic to me that Trump is rolling back laws that require employers to cover contraception and women’s healthcare, since Trump’s America is not any place I would want to bring a child into.     If I were of childbearing age, I’m pretty sure today I would choose not to have children.    I worry about my own two kids, who are just starting their adult lives in this new, mean version of America, a collapsing empire now infested by unspeakable evils we couldn’t even imagine a few decades ago.   I actually hope my kids remain childless until (and if) things get better.

This country that held so much promise as I entered adulthood has been gutted from within.  All I can see is a dystopian nightmare future.   I would never want to foist it on an innocent child.  I feel very sorry for kids being born today.    I don’t understand how anyone with a soul would want to have a child under this oppressive, toxic, uncaring, hateful, and dangerous regime.  They will never know the same America that I knew.

 

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About luckyotter

Recovering from BPD and C-PTSD due to narcissistic abuse from childhood. Married to a sociopath for 20 years. Proud INFJ, Enneagram type 4w5. Animal lover, music lover, cat mom, unapologetic geek, fan of the absurd, progressive Catholic, mom to 2, mental illness stigma activist, anti-Trumper. #RESISTANCE
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9 Responses to I would not want to have children in today’s America.

  1. happymustang says:

    Great article! I can identify with all of it, & boy this fellow sitting in the “Woebegone House” is scary. I think he’s only out for himself & also is very incompetent as far as being President of the U.S. goes. I think there’s many “antichrist” figures on Capitol Hill too. Hungry for greed & power. And all trying to manipulate each other to get what they want. Hopefully they’ll screw up & fall flat on their evil faces. I hope so.

    Liked by 1 person

    • luckyotter says:

      They really are like antichrist figures. If I believed in End Times, I’d say America is Babylon and Trump is a major demon (he’s too bumbling and needy to qualify as Satan — that might be Putin!)

      There’s no way right wing “Christians” who insists Trump is some sort of God-anointed leader who is ushering in a “Christian America” is anything God would condone. I think these people are Pharisees and have been deceived. Nothing this president or his minions are doing is Christian in any way. Dominionism is a toxic and abusive theology (a cult, really) that has no biblical basis; the only reason it exists is as a way they can Christianize their power and greed.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. bobcabkings says:

    Reblogged this on cabbagesandkings524 and commented:
    I’ve tried to think of something Lucky Otter missed in this, but can’t.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. nowve666 says:

    I was seven-years-old in 1950. My teen years were in the ’50’s. The decade of Happy Days. As a middle-class white kid, I was very sheltered but I took it upon myself to shed a lot of the shelter my family tried to surround me with. I spent two years, between the age of 13 and the age of 15 in a full-on nut house. I managed to get to know people from other socio-economic backgrounds. I also had my first experience of being a “teenager” as they first came into existence in the ’50’s. I remember getting my first “cool” jacket (envied by my peers) and listening to rock and roll. I also ate my first hero sandwich (Subway for you West Coasters) and my first pizza. While it was fun being part of a demographic that was officially considered an important group of consumers, I soon noticed the difference between the squeaky clean ideal Happy Days kids and the duck-tailed JDs (juvenile delinquents) and, finally, ideally, the Beatniks. The Hippies seemed exotic and far away, Lucky? I embraced the Beatniks whole-heartedly by dropping out of school and getting a job and an apartment in New York’s East Village. Well, white kids were still very sheltered but I would have none of it and I experienced my of Life in the raw as documented in my blog (https://kiasherosjourney.wordpress.com/2016/07/31/part-ii/).

    I returned to my safe home and finished high school and then college “in the nick of time” (as Taylor Swift puts it). I read Ayn Rand and became a conservative. The 91% tax rate for the super rich struck me as screamingly unfair. I really believed the assumptions that wealth was something earned and deserved. I got active in conservative politics and even ran for New York State Assembly for the New York Conservative Party (which also endorsed Goldwater). Unlike many, I think Ayn Rand is a good writer and I re-read her novels repeatedly over the years and have managed to refute her ideas. https://kiasoapbox.wordpress.com/2016/08/16/social-darwinism-of-ayn-rand/ (If only Paul Ryan would read this.)

    I saw a television movie called “Katherine: Portrait of a Revolutionary” which was a partially fictionalized account of the life of Diane Oughton of the Weather Underground. This interested me in the real thing. The Weather Underground, or WUO as they came to call themselves, published a stunning book analyzing how the American history and capitalism/imperialism we grew up in really played itself out. I found myself shocked by the revelations. I, like you, Lucky, always thought Americans were more or less the “good guys” of the world. Why no? We were constantly told that we were throughout elementary and high school. Pretty good trick of our educators when “we” took possession of a continent by means of genocide and developed it by means of slavery. In the 60s, Mai Lai was in the news and I had already experienced shock at the fact that “our boys,” boys I was still in school with, committed atrocities. I was brainwashed enough to find this information rudely disillusioning.

    So, unlike you, Lucky, I didn’t have such a high view of American politics and American presidents. I think Reagan’s presidency was an important turning point. Not that everything was roses until then. We had the guilded age. Rights of the vulnerable are/were a fairly recent phenomenon. Until FDR and the New Deal, the poor in America had a hard time. The New Deal finally got us some economic security. The America we both grew up in has FDR to thank. Of course, FDR was really only saving capitalism. There was a massive pro-communist movement around the time of the Great Depression and the New Deal won back the loyalties of many citizens. I see the presidency of Reagan as a black mark on our history. Reagan was the beginning of the end of good things we took for granted.

    I see the United States in the decadent phase of capitalism. (We were lucky enough to grow up in the golden age of it.) I see Trump as a perfect personification of the decline of capitalism/imperialism. I don’t see him as so much an anomaly as the logical outcome of our history. Where will it all lead? You got me there. I’m fascinating my seat belt and preparing for a bumpy ride.

    Liked by 1 person

    • luckyotter says:

      Thanks for sharing all this! I think some of the differences in our perceptions are merely functions of age. I bet if I was a few years older I would have been joining the hippies and figuring out how to attend Woodstock, lol! I admired them, but yeah, to my sheltered child perspective, they did seem far away and exotic, like people from a faraway country. Oh, how I envied them!

      Interesting about Ayn Rand. I never embraced her philosophy but I have to admit, I did enjoy reading The Fountainhead (in spite of hating all the main characters) and found it very hard to put down! I had more trouble getting through Atlas Shrugged.

      91% does seem like a VERY high tax rate, and I suppose it was, but it was structured in such a way that the rich would remain rich, just not AS rich. Maybe it was too high, but what the rich pay now isn’t nearly enough. And they want to pay even less. The point is, it was accepted that this is what a civilized country does, and that the greater good benefits us ALL. It benefits the rich too, because with a healthy middle class and less poverty, people can buy more goods and services, so the rich actually make more in profits. It’s trickle UP economics instead of trickle down economics, which has never worked. (I’ll probably write a post about this soon)

      Yes, we are in for a bumpy ride. If it wasn’t all so depressing, I might be excited to see what happens next. Hopefully (fingers crossed) everything works out in the end, and good prevails over evil. I just don’t have high hopes right now. I agree with you that Trump is a symptom and not the cause of all this. We have been very sick as a nation for a long time (I believe it all started with Reagan) and now it’s critical — CODE RED! Hopefully it’s not terminal.

      Like

  4. dennis says:

    Ah, so it *is* turning into L’amerika. (Like Gilead, only instead of faux-christianity, the ruling cllass are a swarm of curse-chanting initiated ***witches*** – all of whom are battling for supremacy so that they might be worshiped by their underlings.)

    Note: the name comes from a Doors’ song. Morris-son is ***very*** popular among ***witches*** – cf ‘the electric shaman’.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Lisa says:

    I have children and I wish for their own sakes that I could not have my children due to the way if the world. Raised by a adoptive narcissist who allowed her son to abuse me…. I had no idea how to be a parent much less how the world really worked. Just woke up beginning of this yr with my own childhood and it was a hars pill to swallow. I felt like I was set up for failure and I was inevitably a failure for my children. Its a sad sick world. My oldest paid the price for my choices which was to be molested by a man I dated and then we had the enjoyment of five years in court three trials and finally him getting sentenced to eight and a half years to life. I could write a book just about that 5 years and probably another five books for my own childhood. I wish my children could be children but there is no way to do that anymore.

    Liked by 1 person

    • luckyotter says:

      You have to let go of the past and not beat yourself up. Acknowledge your bad choices, but realize if you were abused you probably couldn’t help yourself at the time. But today you know and can change. I have similar problems since for so many years I was making absolutely terrible choices that I now know affected people I love, including my kids, and it’s painful to realize the truth. Sometimes I just want to crawl into a hole and die. But I also know the things I used to do are things I no longer do. That sort of behavior (which was me reacting to being abused) is behind me and I am working at repairing my relationship with them, and we are all healing. So don’t be too hard on yourself.

      Like

  6. dennis says:

    The only sort of person who ***can*** do well in ‘the modern world’ is a ‘witch’/ s’path. Note that even for ‘secular witch-equivalents’ who score thirty or more on the PCL-R, It’s much of a gamble; but for them, it is indeed a gamble.

    They know the game is rigged; and because their ilk rigged it, they have a profound degree of insight into how to ‘game the (corrupted) system’ so as to prosper in ti.

    This also gives those not s’paths two choices: become as s’paths themselves, or be devoured by those who choose ‘correctly’ and embrace evil (ponerization, as per Lobaczewski)

    Note that if one cannot (or chooses to) not embrace ‘Normalism’ in its purest form, there is ***only*** loss: loss due to being preyed upon as a lazy, inept, and stupid ‘national comrade’ who chose not to become a secondary s’path; or the loss due to being removed from the bosom of humanity as a ‘community alien’ and being destroyed ‘to keep the home fires burning’ (in the ovens/crematoria of places like Berky/Birkenau).

    Like

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