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Why a Depression Will Be Good for America

By       Message Gene Messick     Permalink    (# of views)   7 comments

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Who welcomes our Recession changing to become a full blown Depression? There are some: those capitalists who always make fortunes off of human suffering. But what about the rest of us ordinary folks? Failing to go thru another Great Depression could actually be worse than avoiding it. Here's why.
Hardly anyone alive today remembers much about the Great Depression. My mother would have turned 100 six days after Election 2008. She and my Dad were products of one of the most formative periods in American history. It was a time of want, of need, and of pain. Why would anyone desire to bring such a thing back again?
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Well, if you really, really look non-judgmentally and deeply into causes which have propelled us into our own Economic Meltdown, you draw the inescapable conclusion that we have no way to avoid it. Depression was written into our future by Reagan, Bush, Clinton & Bush, Ltd.  We allowed them to bring this to us.
Set aside the euphoria of the Obama election, a wishful promise of Change, and an over simplistic notion that we can apply a quick fix to our problems.  What the ignorant GwB Administration has been doing, assisted by a clueless Congress, took 8 years to accomplish, not counting Pappy, Bill and Ronnie's 20 years of laying foundations for our Depression. That's twenty-eight years of willful neglect and destruction, an entire generation. It won't be fixed during Obama's 4 years, or even if we give him another 4.  
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If the new Administration had a provenly coherent plan with a cooperative Congress pulling in the same direction, PERHAPS a Depression could be avoided. To begin with, Obama has chosen Cabinet level "leaders" who have their own baggage, agendas and blinders. And that's not counting promised resistance in Congress from Republicans, Blue Dog Dems, greed-driven corporate lobbyists, and other short-sighted conservatives of all political stripes. Given the combination of these circumstances, Depression is inevitable. Don't take my word for it. Watch it happen.
So what good can come out of this horrendous mess?  What good came out of the Great Depression?  Radical change that could have been brought about in no other way. Facing the inevitable, we're on the cusp of a 2nd American Revolution. Like never before, as a nation, we're at a tipping point.
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Across the room from my computer are two tall windows in this ancient house surrounded by giant trees. On the walls of this upper room, I regard them as living paintings, and placed my computer so whenever I glance up, I see an ever changing view of the real world outside. These glances into Nature help keep me from being overly impressed with my own words.
Change is the only constant in Universe, no matter how we attempt to live lives that try to keep time from moving on. Change out my windows connects me with four seasons. Each has it's purpose, from the budding of Spring, to maturing of Summer, into golden days of Autumn, and on to the bleakness of Winter. But even now, as leaves have left a transparent network of gray twigs, I can see that buds of Spring are already setting. 
There's a natural cycle to our artificial economic world, as well. Whenever we grow it haphazardly, without care and concern for all whom it affects, it becomes so disfigured that it cannot survive, no matter how we cobble together props to try to shore it up.
As strong winds strip leaves from trees in late Autumn, clearing the route for regeneration, so does a Depression clear away debris that can no longer serve to sustain us. Certainly, the Great Depression did that.
My Dad was taught to be frugal, to use things over and over, to repair and restore. My Mother learned how to cook wholesome meals with less, to make and repair clothes, to stretch dollars beyond what was thought possible. The Great Depression was a teacher of worthwhile things for my parents, and they passed these lessons on to me. As our Economic Meltdown pushes me into poverty, I have tools, ideas and options to fall back upon.
On a national and global scale, the same holds true. By neglect and inattention, we have allowed greed and avarice and self-absorption to corrupt the things we need to sustain life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. As a society, we forgot to pass our hard earned knowledge on to future generations.
And so, because of our hubris and neglect, we set the stage for the corrective actions of a second Great Depression. I'm an eternal optimist. I believe that this second time, we as a people have the ability to do it right. Certainly we now have the technology to analyze, communicate and teach, which was not well developed the first go round. We have the experience of having been here once before, and can extract things that worked to move us forward as a nation, while also seeking better ways of doing things.
Actually, we don't have a choice. We have to find ways to do it. Failure will sink all our dreams. And as we know, on the third strike, if there is a third strike, we're out.
Our 2nd American Revolution can be one of consciousness changing, paradigm shifting, personal and national growth on an unprecedented scale. Another Depression is on its way to help us learn how to do it right, to clear away rubble as it occurs, preparing new ground for planting a sustainable future this time.
And maybe, just maybe, if we pay close attention and build a new world which sustains all of us equally, this time the blessings of an intelligent civilization will calm the forces which led us here.


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For 17 years Gene Messick studied and taught Design at NC State University and Cornell. Co-founding the Visual Design Program at NCSU, he established the Photography Program at Cornell, where he taught in the Architecture Department, most interested (more...)

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