Back Home: A Changing America

Me and boys 080614Having just been “back home” in the US, I can report that it’s still the same.  But I do wonder what kind of country I will be leaving my grandkids.

It’s easy to hear expats in Panama complain about life back in the US: the Bush so-called “Patriot Act” which Congress and Obama have not only supported but interpreted in even more anti-patriotic ways offering up traditional US American freedoms as trophies to terrorism in the name of “national security”; how the US has become a country living in fear [FDR: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”; how curt and militaristic the airport “Welcome to America!” has become when you go “back home” to visit; and “Obama Care” – if one more person tells me how “bad” or “good” it is I will throw up on the spot!  There are those who still believe that a black man riding on a white horse would save the US from self-destruction, and those whose life revolves around FOX “news” [Yes, it’s available in Panama.] who think that had McCain, Palin, Romney (and who was his running mate?) had been elected, the US would be so, so much better.  Palin’s foreign policy experience [Remember?  Even though she’d never had a US Passport she “could see Russia” from Alaska.] would have trumped Obama/Clinton’s bungling.

Some folks love romping in this stuff like pigs in the mud, and others, while still concerned about life in the US, it’s direction or lack thereof, and the implications for grandkids, just enjoy being away from it all in Panama.  Bob Adams, who has a great Web site called, says that if you’re coming to Panama to live as an expat you need to pack all that negative, political stuff that has nothing to do with your new life in Panama and leave it back where you came from.

But there is no question that things are changing in the US.  I found this article about Clinton’s potential White House bid that included some very interesting material developed by the highly respected Pew Research organization …

In March this year, Pew published a social trends survey which concluded that the Millennials were “forging a distinctive path into adulthood”. They did not join political parties or churches, lived largely beyond the corporate world, and were mostly broke but still had hopes for their future.

“Now ranging in age from 18 to 33 ½,” the report found, “they are relatively unattached to organised politics and religion, linked by social media, burdened by debt, distrustful of people, in no rush to marry – and optimistic about the future.

“They are also America’s most racially diverse generation. In all of these dimensions, they are different from today’s older generations. And in many, they are also different from older adults back when they were the age Millennials are now.”

Pew found that 50 per cent of Millennials now describe themselves as politically independent, but if they do back a party, it will be the Democrats. They hold “liberal views” on issues such as same-sex marriage and the legalisation of marijuana. Forty-seven per cent of children born to Millennial women are born out-of-wedlock.

They seem to be living differently and adopting different views and values partly because they have had to: they are the generation launched into a global recession with an unprecedented amount of college debt and few job prospects, the first generation to realise that the American Dream is going to remain just that.

They do not want to drive big cars or buy suburban mansions; they repopulate cities (when they can afford to leave the nest at all) and ride bicycles.

Perhaps most significant is that they are adapting to America’s rapidly shifting racial balance. Whites will cease to be an overall majority in America sometime around 2045. That projection is behind the anti-immigrant, right-wing rage of the Tea Party and its related militias. But it bothers the new generations of pink, brown and black Americans less and less.

In short, it is the Millennials who have helped consign the Republican politics of division – “Vote for us or your daughter will marry a black man!” – to the dustbin of history.

It has been calculated that Millennials will not have the majority of votes for another 20 years, and so will not have control of Washington until 2035.

But they have been a rising power since the first of them turned out for Barack Obama in 2008, and their share of the vote will go up in every cycle. [Charles Lawrence THE WEEK]

4 thoughts on “Back Home: A Changing America

  1. Dick, Having lived in Latin America for a few years (awhile ago), I realize that when one leaves one nation for another, we , generally, take our problems and attitudes w/ us. We have friends who were convinced that if they only changed their childrens schools, their church, and their neighborhoods, their children would change. They moved and nothing changed. So when Bob Adams says to leave all of that negative baggage behind, it is “Easier said than done”. The US has changed since we were young. Some changes are positive.Some- not so much. Thanks for posting.

  2. “In short, it is the Millennials who have helped consign the Republican politics of division – “Vote for us or your daughter will marry a black man!” – to the dustbin of history.”

    Really? It was Republicans who pushed the Civil Rights Act over Democrat opposition to become law. Check out how Al Gore Sr and his senate colleagues voted. And the KKK has historically been an arm of the Democrat Party. Look up the definition of “Klanbake” sometime.

    A lot of politics is mudslinging and 180 degrees different than the historical truth.

  3. Candidobserver,
    I agree with you. Until bleeding heart liberals choose to learn the truth of history, and not what politicians want them to know and believe, the name calling and mud slinging will continue unabated. After all, if you can’t tell the truth, why say anything positive?

    Interesting comment … might also apply to “right wingers” but I guess I’m not sure what it has to do with post about Millennials. I agree, I thought the “daughter marry a black man” was kind of irrelevant, since I don’t think anyone cares who marries whom, color, race, sexual orientation, etc. That’s not to say racism is still entrenched in many areas and ways, as we’ve discovered the past few days when a teenager is shot SIX TIMES … siX! … for being at the wrong place at the wrong time. But Pew Research finds what it finds: it is what it is. Regards, Richard

  4. WOW.
    “That’s not to say racism is still entrenched in many areas and ways, as we’ve discovered the past few days when a teenager is shot SIX TIMES … siX! … for being at the wrong place at the wrong time.”
    WOW. Really?
    Maybe just maybe he was shot after smashing his fist into the cops face and then trying to take the cops gun and then trying to run away from the cop and then when that failed he bum rushed the cop. Just maybe.
    There was the case of an unarmed white man shot by a black cop the same week. Do you know his name? Are white people rioting there? Is the White House sending any of their representatives to his funeral?
    His name was James Whitehead. Look it up. If you do, you will find that the cop was fired. That’s all. Just fired. Even though his fellow officers said he should be on trial for murder. Double standards anybody?
    Nothing is nearly as black and white as we would like things to be if we look at BOTH sides of an issue.

    Oh yeah, by the way, Sara Palin NEVER said she could see Russia from her house – that was taken from a skit from Saturday Night Live. You are just repeating the same old tired lie from over 6 years ago. Don’t feel bad, a lot of “objective professional journalists” have repeated the same lie over and over for the last 6 years also.
    just saying – Nothing is nearly as black and white as we would like things to be if we look at BOTH sides of an issue.

    Al, thank you for the correction on Palin. You are right, she never said she could see Russia from her house.

    The basis for the line was Governor Palin’s 11 September 2008 appearance on ABC News, her first major interview after being tapped as the vice-presidential nominee. During that appearance, interviewer Charles Gibson asked her what insight she had gained from living so close to Russia, and she responded: “They’re our next-door neighbors, and you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska, from an island in Alaska”

    Two days later, on the 2008 season premiere of Saturday Night Live, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler appeared in a sketch portraying Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton, during which Fey spoofed Governor Palin’s remark of a few days earlier with the following exchange:

    FEY AS PALIN: “You know, Hillary and I don’t agree on everything . . .”

    POEHLER AS CLINTON: (OVERLAPPING) “Anything. I believe that diplomacy should be the cornerstone of any foreign policy.”

    FEY AS PALIN: “And I can see Russia from my house.”

    Henceforth, invocations of Sarah Palin frequently employed the line “I can see Russia from my house,” rather than the words she actually spoke, “You can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska.”

    As to the question of whether one can actually see Russia from Alaska, Governor Palin was correct: such a view is possible from more than one site in that state. A Slate article on the topic noted that: “In the middle of the Bering Strait are two small, sparsely populated islands: Big Diomede, which sits in Russian territory, and Little Diomede, which is part of the United States. At their closest, these two islands are a little less than two and a half miles apart, which means that, on a clear day, you can definitely see one from the other.”

    Also, a 1988 New York Times article reported that: “To the Russian mainland from St. Lawrence Island, a bleak ice-bound expanse the size of Long Island out in the middle of the Bering Sea, the distance is 37 miles. From high ground there or from the Air Force facility at Tin City atop Cape Prince of Wales, the westernmost edge of mainland North America, on a clear day you can see Siberia with the naked eye.”

    Neither of these viewpoints offers the observer much more than a glimpse of a vast, desolate expanse, however. [SNOPES.COM]

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