Fandango’s Provocative Question #145

FPQ

Welcome once again to Fandango’s Provocative Question. Each week I will pose what I think is a provocative question for your consideration.

By provocative, I don’t mean a question that will cause annoyance or anger. Nor do I mean a question intended to arouse sexual desire or interest.

What I do mean is a question that is likely to get you to think, to be creative, and to provoke a response. Hopefully a positive response.

You may have noticed, if you happen to be a regular reader of my blog, that I have been pretty bummed out lately. As an American, I’m feeling as though I am witnessing the fall of the American democracy. With all of the gun violence, political extremism, and racial, cultural, and social unrest befalling my country, it seems as if our American cloth is being unraveled and the nation has lost its way. And that, to me, is heartbreaking.

My provocative question this week revolves around the legitimacy of my sense of doom.

If you’re American, do you concur with my assessment that our country is rapidly going to hell in a handbasket? Or do you believe that everything is hunky-dory and America’s light is shining as brightly as ever?

If you’re not an American, based upon what you’ve read, seen, and heard, do you feel that America has, indeed, faltered? Or do you think that America will weather this storm?

If you choose to participate, write a post with your response to the question. Once you are done, tag your post with #FPQ and create a pingback to this post if you are on WordPress. Or you can simply include a link to your post in the comments. But remember to check to confirm that your pingback or your link shows up in the comments.

27 thoughts on “Fandango’s Provocative Question #145

  1. Irene November 24, 2021 / 5:30 am

    I believe in you, dear neighbours south of the border! (or should I say north of the border? FUN FACT: Some parts of Ontario, Canada, are actually South of Michigan, in the United States, hehe)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Paula Light November 24, 2021 / 5:41 am

    I am also bummed and sometimes believe we are spiraling down, never to recover. But then I wonder if I think this way only because I’m older. Maybe there’s some truth to the jokes about older generations believing the next ones down are screwed up, dumber, lacking values, etc. There were no good old days for many minority groups and women generally. I just don’t know…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. pensitivity101 November 24, 2021 / 6:28 am

    It’s a tough question Fandango, and the UK is not much better. We see POTUS falling asleep or not knowing who or where he is, and BoJo is too busy singing the praises of Pepper Pig instead of dealing with the country’s present crises. Our leaders are just a bunch of muppets, and it’s scary as hell.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. rugby843 November 24, 2021 / 10:14 am

    The hell in a hand basket ref was used by my mother who died in 1976, our county’s birthday but I used it in a mail to my sisters this week. I do believe it is getting worse every day

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Marleen November 24, 2021 / 10:15 am

    ‘Now Is That Moment’: Bernie Sanders Argues For ‘Fundamental Review’ Of American Priorities · 6 days ago

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Marleen November 24, 2021 / 10:57 am

    Matt Stoller [guest on Rising]: Clinton-Era DEREGULATION, Consolidation Is Responsible For The Supply Chain Crisis · 5 days ago

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Mister Bump UK November 24, 2021 / 12:41 pm

    Here’a a provocative question straight back at ya: how many generations prior to you have said the exact same thing?

    In otherwords, what I’m asking is: is it US, or is it you?

    Liked by 4 people

    • Fandango November 24, 2021 / 10:19 pm

      You make a good point, Pete. I was around in the 60s and 70s during the Vietnam era and things seemed pretty fractured in the U.S. back then. But I think it’s never — in my lifetime, anyway — been as bad and, in my opinion, as hopeless as it is now. But maybe it is just me. For the sake of my country, I hope it’s just me.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mister Bump UK November 24, 2021 / 11:35 pm

        Soon as I read your question I was reminded of a conversation I had just last week with one of my charity clients, about how you used to be able to go out and leave your door open etc. My contention is that such a time never existed.
        As people get older they generally think that the world around them has gone down the tubes. Whatever the country.
        Sure, public services are crap, but we pay less taxes. Etc.
        The problem with the US is that you have two sides which are very much polarised. Both Left and Right. It seems to me quite like Spain… before they went and had a civil war.
        The thing about Spain was that when a new government came in, it immediately got bogged down trying to undo what the previous administration had done. And that, by and large, doesn’t seem to be happening in the US yet. Butit looks like you’re wading through treacle.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. bushboy November 24, 2021 / 2:35 pm

    It’s down the toilet as I see the US from here just waiting for someone to flush

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Marilyn Armstrong November 24, 2021 / 9:38 pm

    It’s pretty depressing, you know? We all know there will be an end, but I didn’t want THIS ending.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango November 24, 2021 / 9:52 pm

      True. It’s very depressing. And upsetting.

      Like

  10. CARAMEL November 25, 2021 / 3:26 am

    I read your question….and it is a difficult one to answer as someone who has only visited the US once. When we were at school, we learnt that the England had acted in a grandiosely pompous way for centuries and committed all sorts of atrocities. We learnt that English along with other Europeans basically invaded America and through disease mainly, wiped out most of the population that had been there for many centuries. So, that in itself seemed like a major fail right from the start. It always felt like from then on the European invaders were the bad guys.

    Fast-forward through gold rushes, religious immigrants, beaver fur rushes, wild west gun slinging cattle driving, rail road building, sky scraper raising – along with mistreatment of people who had transported from West Africa, a particularly nasty civil war, a declaration of rights that would allow some people to go to extremes in their lifestyle (please forgive my rather vague knowledge of US history) and at some stage the US has become a “super-power” and is setting the economic model for the rest of the world, and all they hype that your dreams (mainly if your dreams center around material desires) can come true in the US.

    I am not sure which period of American history we are describing as glory days – when the nation shone bright. I am not comfortable with the commercial system at all, and the desire for more more more, I see it as a problem rather than a blessing. How it is that on average Americans consume more than seven times more than people living in India for example (in the UK we also use four times more than people living in India) and still feel they are hard done by is bizarre.

    I enjoyed our time in the US. There were some distinctive aspects of culture which made a big impression. There was a marked politeness and friendliness from people in shops and cafes etc. Customer service is almost creepily over the top. I found it hard to understand why a waiter would remove the half full basked of chips on the table and replace it with a fresh basket of chips – before our order had even arrived. The size of portions and especially desserts was frightening. The choice of flavours was enormous. The Chessecake Factory seemed to have every kind of cheesecake imaginable. Although that was interesting to see, I also wondered how much waste it resulted in.

    We saw people driving huge gas guzzling four by fours and not many people walking. The family we stayed with would prefer to drive rather than walk. We felt ill after all the calories they were trying to load into us, so we started to walk their dogs every day so we could feel less ill.

    We saw guns. I was completely freaked out by the police men sitting less than a metre away having guns on their hips. It was horrible to see a dangerous weapon in broad daylight in a public place.

    We went to the mall – and saw people dressed up in bling bling – I think it was particularly busy because it was the All Stars weekend. We saw that people would actually sit and watch Oprah. We found that amusing. Quite alarming was the mega churches we saw which looked rather like someone or more than one were cashing in on faith in a scarily commercial way (although this has been the case for centuries all over the world as evidenced by highly ornate churches full of gold and precious works even in destitute communities).

    We witnesses racism in various forms. We saw an incident when the son of the black family we were staying with was spoken to abusively in broad daylight by a white man and two women. We then saw the black family we were staying with deliberately cross the road when they saw two women wearing burkas walking towards them. We could not tolerate that. We deliberately went to speak to the two women and told them we were visiting from England and asked them about life in that city. We were the only two white girls in one restaurant which had a brilliant band that we danced to for hours. We had so much fun.

    We saw people standing by the side of the road with signs saying they were looking for work. The family we stayed with said they were probably in Texas illegally. We saw palatial mansions in some parts of the city. We saw a Starbucks on almost every block. We saw a double drive-through Starbucks. I used the restroom in one cafe and found myself looking at a full length mirror when I sat down on the toilet. Everywhere else, the cubicle doors seemed to have a large gap underneath (big enough for someone to crawl under) and not tall enough (someone could easily have peeped over the top).

    I could go on and on. Before I visited the US, my main impression was that the US has some of the most beautiful natural scenery in the world. But while I was there, what I saw most of was evidence of intrenched commercialism and people going crazy over basketball players and famous music stars. I never had felt comfortable with immense wealth or glorifying people. We saw a lot of hospitality and generosity, but also a lot of waste. I saw a woman throw away a whole cheesecake at the end of an evening because everyone was so full up they could not eat any more. That mix of excess and waste was everywhere we went.

    In the past I used to follow with interest cases in the Supreme Court that seemed to overturn the ignorance and discrimination that had existed for many decades in the US. Then I think I started watching the ECHR a little more as it effected many of the charities I have worked with.

    One thing that has always seemed a little odd to me, is an inflated sense of nationalism (I don’t like any improper sense of “superiority” and I think it can be dangerous). I think it is a serious issue that in any country, people can feel that because they have prospered materially (sometimes by mistreating other people) it is a sign of their righteousness and divine blessing. That is extraordinary that people can feel so vindicated and successful just because their wealth has increased.

    There is no doubt that the US does have some stunning natural wonders. But I think there has been a painful history when it comes to social issues. I am not surprised that there is so much division nowadays – that is widespread, and not just in the US. But the US is so much bigger, and weapons are more prevalent, and the mix of strong feelings and faulty attitudes are so barbed at this point.

    What is the future of the US? I think this is more of an international question. The future of the economic system as we know it is in the spotlight. A system that wants more more more no matter the cost is not sustainable. People are objecting to that. Religion has already become weakened in many lands because of a disturbing record of crimes and hypocrisy and for misleading doctrines – and yet there are still many people who have a sincere faith and live by good principles and who want that to be a force for good. But religious institutions have dabbled in a risky game by aligning themselves in politics. Politics has always been a turbulent force. In some cases, appearing to make decisions and implement order and changes to benefit the mass populace, in other cases succumbing to being a facilitator of corruption to allow the rich to become richer. Because politics is so tightly bound to economics there is sometimes frustratingly slow movement in matters of justice.

    I would expect to see in the US and around the world more turbulence as economic concerns heighten emotions and lead to more dramatic decisions. America has a history of mining resources – gold and other valuable assets. So what will political entities try to mine next? I think it is clear governments can sense areas in which they are losing authority because people are so divided. I expect them to try to unite people under some “noble” cause.

    Volatile times ahead in the US and everywhere else in the world. It is going to take strong conviction to avoid being swept up by hysteria and propaganda and to remain peaceable with the hot tempers on display. I personally would prefer to hibernate and wake up in a world where people’s main concern is looking after this beautiful planet and its creatures, and life is not about amassing more and more, but about sharing and giving. A world without divisions that cause so much pain to people now. A world where weapons don’t exist and where people would never imagine wanting to harm someone else.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango November 25, 2021 / 2:55 pm

      Thanks for your very considered answer, Mel. I appreciate you taking the time to respond in this way, and getting a perspective from someone who is not American is always interesting.

      America has gone through a lot of difficult times in its history. You pointed out some, both historical and current. But I took particular note of your comment, “One thing that has always seemed a little odd to me, is an inflated sense of nationalism.” I agree, and in my opinion, the reason for that is because of what every school kid has drummed into his or her head. It’s the notion of “American exceptionalism.” It has gone to our heads and many Americans are having a tough time realize that it’s a big lie.

      Like

  11. Carol anne November 25, 2021 / 12:11 pm

    Yes. America is doomed. There is so much hate, political unrest, racism, division, its truly heartbreaking. XX

    Liked by 1 person

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