American optimism not obsolete yet

posted at 7:45 pm on July 8, 2011 by Tina Korbe

The first news of today was a disheartening humdinger of a jobs report, but it’s Friday evening and I’d rather not worry the entire weekend away with frets and fears about the economy and the ongoing deficit reduction talks (which might or might not net a plan to tackle the nation’s economic problems). So, when I came across this blog post on The Washington Post website, I couldn’t help but smile. The piece, by Post reporter and author Dale Maharidge, captures a few lessons Maharidge learned while traveling the country documenting the plight of the jobless for a number of books, the most recent of which is called “Someplace Like America.”

It’s evident to me that Maharidge and I wouldn’t agree about much in terms of what would help to solve the increasing problem of joblessness in America, but we certainly agree about one thing: The innate and irrepressible optimism that seems to characterize so many Americans across the country is an attitude to celebrate. Maharidge writes:

It’s very American to try to find the bright side. This goes way back in our history. I’m a student of the 1930s’ Depression and its literature. Tom Joad in John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath” saw a better future in the passage where Tom says he will be “Wherever they’s a cop beatin’ up a guy,” and people can build houses and grow the food they eat, and so on – it was an anthem to optimism amid bleakness. …

I’m encouraged by this positive attitude. In reporting our new book, “Someplace Like America,” … [o]ver and over, we found people who are changing their lives in a better direction. The message of “Someplace Like America” is that we all can learn from the people we documented.

As usual, citizens are ahead of politicians.

That last sentence Maharidge seems to write with a tone of lament, as though it would actually enhance American optimism if political activism (of the sort to encourage and solicit government intervention) automatically accompanied it.

But, to me, that last sentence is the capstone. Historically, Americans have rarely been known to wait for the government to give them the go-ahead to improve their lives. The history of the United States is peopled by pioneers, explorers, inventors. Always, the frontier appealed to the American consciousness and, even after we’d settled the vast space between one ocean and another, we found new frontiers — in space, for example, or, now, online.

Certainly, politicians need to catch up to the rest of the country, to recognize that what will spur job creation is, in a nutshell, smaller government — and that’s why countless voices in print, on air and on the Internet have called for action, for cuts, for caps, for general fiscal discipline from the president and Congress. The truth is, American optimism has already found an outlet in political activism, just not of the sort Maharidge would prefer — it’s called the Tea Party.

But until the federal government heeds the call to retrench somewhat, I’m happy to find something to celebrate in those intrepid, entrepreneurial Americans who live out the great experiment of self-government day after day by taking responsibility for their own lives, by living with discipline, by taking worthwhile risks and, above all, by choosing freedom over government favors.

 

 


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. The history of the United States is peopled by pioneers, explorers, inventors.

You forgot about John Huntsman on a Dirt Bike.

portlandon on July 8, 2011 at 7:49 PM

The politicians have had their time to ‘lead’ and the last century has been a disaster.

Now Americans are realizing that we are the leaders, and that our representatives that we elect are to represent us, not some elite class who feel they should run things into the ground. Americans will pick themselves up from this, and what we will have in a decade will not look like anything we have seen in the last century, but will adhere to the eternal principles the Nation was founded upon. Because we can screw up government must be limited. It’s taken a baseball bat pounding to get that into the heads of a lot of people, and the pain is far from over.

Soon, however, the bat will be taken away and then things will change very rapidly.

ajacksonian on July 8, 2011 at 7:51 PM

Life Of Brian – ALways Look On The Bright Side Of Life!
*******************************************************
*******************************************************

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LxQgXgS5G3c

canopfor on July 8, 2011 at 7:53 PM

Tina, I am trying like the dickens to have an ‘American optimism’. My faith in my fellow American’s is what is keeping me going. We can and must deal with this whole gosh horrible mess I have never seen in my very long years. God gave us this country, the Founders, and millions of military who gave their all to see to it our nations is still standing. The least I can do is keep the faith they did good. God bless America.
L

letget on July 8, 2011 at 7:59 PM

Tina, you need to stop haning our with Allah. He is being a very bad influence.

upinak on July 8, 2011 at 8:00 PM

Can-do,Improvising,resilent,pioneering
Americans!

And,it can always be worse!
================================

It Could Be Worse-(Young Frankenstein)
***************************************

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9AFf0ysgNiM

canopfor on July 8, 2011 at 8:01 PM

I am the the eternal optimist. The glass is always half full.

NoFanofLibs on July 8, 2011 at 8:03 PM

One small problem:

America has never had a Fed Gov like this.

PappyD61 on July 8, 2011 at 8:05 PM

I’ll cling to my profound pessimism, thanks.

Cicero43 on July 8, 2011 at 8:06 PM

American optimism not obsolete yet

Get back to me after the 2012 election.

Lanceman on July 8, 2011 at 8:19 PM

Optimism? Hell, YEAH, we got optimism! Wanna know why?

Because as long as ONE American understands that by adding value to a raw material or semi-finished good through the manufacturing process, there is plenty of optimism for all of America.

See … there is no way (yes, NO WAY) to cause gains within an economy except by providing jobs.

And there IS no other job which can provide gains within an economy EXCEPT those jobs which are directly involved in the manufacture of goods.

I gots a million proven reasons as to why that’s true, all of them directly related to the growth of America, to the spirit of the manufacturer, whether it be the miller, the plow-maker, the harness-maker, the cooper, the steam engine manufacturer, the pistol and rifle manufacturer, the locomotive manufacturer, the car guys, et al, ad infinitum, AND the manufacturers directly involved the the support of the primary manufacturers.

Throw the inventor-manufacturers into the mix and you have the real, tangible, explosive heart, spirit, and soul of America.

If ANYone, ANYwhere actually believes for one split-second that those people can be dominated, suborned, belittled, embarrassed, or regulated to the point where they will no longer function, they have, to coin a phrase, got another think coming.

Pay strict attention to the manufacturers in America.

Not the Markets, not the Politicians, certainly not the Media in ANY form, not the Bankers, nor the Investment houses, nor the Insurers.

Why?

Because they PRODUCE nothing.

N-O-T-H-I-N-G.

And, as non-producers, they have, in the final analysis absolutely NO bearing upon the direction of the country’s economic health.

They are totally dependent upon the strength of the manufacturing sector.

Why?

Because no other economic entity can actually produce something from nothing EXCEPT the manufacturing sector.

They are generally a quiet bunch, usually content to be left alone with their whirring machines, and clanking engines, their humming machine tools, flaming foundries and noisy forges, doing what they are literally driven to do — make stuff.

They will outlast (or circumvent) the regulations, and impediments foisted upon them by governments of all forms; by insurance companies; by bankers; by the courts.

Where one falls, two more spring up to take that place, driven to achieve their dream of … making stuff.

And THAT my friends, is why there is perpetual optimism in the Land of the Brave, and the Home of the Free.

Now — if you will be so kind as to excuse me, I must make a run of material tonight, ’cause I’m working all weekend to finish a nice-sized order.

And then I’ve gotta go mow one of the pastures.

Manufacturing — it’s what MAKES dinner!

Farmer on July 8, 2011 at 8:19 PM

sorry, there are some differences. Demographics. Our “best and brightest” have “lead” us thru a time where demographics are raising all boats. Productive citizens.

Our “best and brightest” have misinterpreted the situation and think that their transfers from one group to another and their overall regulating of the system has produced great results. Sadly, no.

So we will grow old, not spend as much, save more, not be as productive, need more care…etc. etc. etc. The baby boomers feel entitled…just watch the commericals for having a vibrant retirement travelnig and doing this and that. That doesn’t work in the real world.

The younger generations are going to be pretty pissed. They’ve been promised a lot. They too have been promised stuff. Lots of stuff…get a college degree in self esteem and you will go far. That too doesn’t work.

I think there’s going to be some hard lessons to be learned….but maybe i’m wrong.

r keller on July 8, 2011 at 8:20 PM

canopfor on July 8, 2011 at 7:53 PM

“Life’s a piece of s***,

When you look at it…”

*whistles*

turfmann on July 8, 2011 at 8:21 PM

I stumbled onto the PBS show with Gwen Ifill hosting a round table. They all talk like kindergartener teachers. They are hoping everyone gets their No.2 pencils and fix the economy on Sunday.

Cindy Munford on July 8, 2011 at 8:21 PM

America died in 2008.

angryed on July 8, 2011 at 8:23 PM

Always, the frontier appealed to the American consciousness and, even after we’d settled the vast space between one ocean and another, we found new frontiers — in space, for example, or, now, online.

A desolate expanse of uninhabited wilderness heroically filled by courageous pioneers and gallant explorers…

Perceptron on July 8, 2011 at 8:25 PM

Well, I’m not going to pick on Tina because I get the message and understand the intent.

However, when the situation is this bad there is nothing but hope, determination and knowledge that there is nothing more than rising from the bottom or……. let’s not go there.

I don’t think anyone in DC truly understands what life is like for millions of Americans. It’s obvious they don’t and cannot. The truth is they don’t want to acknowledge what they’ve done to their fellow citizens.

Wax on about the “Indomitable American Can-Do Spirit.” It all sounds so romantic, doesn’t it?

In reality, it’s a bit$h. Living it is a bit$h.

In the end, what does this mean? It means that the overpaid slugs in DC, or any other sector, are depending on us, the little people, to effect the necessary change.

We did it with the election of Reagan. Millions of people benefited not only in the US but in Europe as well.

Why is it that we are ignored and maligned until we are really needed? Why is it that no one listens until we are in dire straights? Why is it that we are required to do so much for those who offer us nothing and benefit greatly?

I pray every day that we can do it one more time. My most fervent wish is that this time the lesson will be learned.

The bottom line is this: Stop waxing on about how “great the American spirit is,” and start speaking out – balls out. Stop telling us how ‘terrific’ we are, depending on us, and begin the assault on the Left, the DC insiders and this administration.

Cody1991 on July 8, 2011 at 8:29 PM

r keller on July 8, 2011 at 8:20 PM

Our “best and brightest” have misinterpreted the situation and think that their transfers from one group to another and their overall regulating of the system has produced great results.

If you pay attention to “the best and the brightest” it is impossible for you to have any view other than one tainted by “the best and the brightest”

Choose reality, instead. It’s a much better picture, and you can actually DO something with it.

Farmer on July 8, 2011 at 8:29 PM

I’m 61 years old and have lived through several bad times in America, one being the Carter Years Malaise with double digit inflation and gas lines around the corner. We got through it thanks to God and the leadership of Ronald Reagan, as well as the strength of the American people. Yes, times are tough today but dang it, American Exceptionalism lives…in the lives of the folks in Joplin, MO and the people in Minot, ND, as well as many other places in our great country. We can do this, Folks! As we say down here in southwestern New Mexico…Cowboy Up! Stay strong and stay involved…don’t let the bastards grind you down.

StarLady on July 8, 2011 at 8:31 PM

Once enough of the population is mentally retarded enough to vote for Obama (or any Democrat) the first time around…it’s over. It’s really, really over when close to 50% of the population still supports this turd burger after what he’s been pulling the last 3 years. ‘Jackass’ & ‘American Idol’ & ‘Oprah’ are where over half this country lives…mentally, emotionally and physically. We’re screwed and the minority of level-headed people left are just going to have to suffer the consequences that they’ve seen coming for the past 40 years. Just look at the moronic booger-picker sitting next to you at the stop light the next time you are driving around town…and realize this tool can and does vote and voted for Obama…then give up.

AUINSC on July 8, 2011 at 8:36 PM

Cody1991 on July 8, 2011 at 8:29 PM

The bottom line is this: Stop waxing on about how “great the American spirit is,” and start speaking out – balls out. Stop telling us how ‘terrific’ we are, depending on us, and begin the assault on the Left, the DC insiders and this administration.

You’re missing it ALL, dude!! Pay attention to what YOU do, not what somebody else SAYS!

The American Spirit is vibrantly alive, fine as frog-hair, and itching to grow!

Ronald Reagan had it absolutely right when he told us that HE had FAITH in US!!!!

I have faith in us!!!

I been through a bunch of these recessions, INCLUDING the Lyndon Johnson’s, the A-rab one, and Carter’s and Ford’s and every single one since 1964.

AS A MANUFACTURER.

And I’M STILL HERE! MANUFACTURING!!!! (and doing a little horse-farming, too)

Don’t you DARE to presume to tell me about The American Spirit and what it’s health might be, puppy.

I AM THE AMERICAN SPIRIT.

And I’ and my ilk will survive this latest assault and come out of it stronger and more productive than ever.

Count upon it.

Farmer told you.

And Farmer don’t lie.

Farmer on July 8, 2011 at 8:37 PM

AUINSC on July 8, 2011 at 8:36 PM

Yep. The fact that this creature was ever elected jarred my faith in this country’s ability to survive. It’s like electing Caligula and moving him and his sister into the WH.

How far we have fallen. It’s grotesque.

I’m not giving up until 2012.

Cody1991 on July 8, 2011 at 8:46 PM

AS A MANUFACTURER.

And I’M STILL HERE! MANUFACTURING!!!!

Farmer on July 8, 2011 at 8:37 PM

What is it that you manufacture?

Perceptron on July 8, 2011 at 8:48 PM

Farmer on July 8, 2011 at 8:37 PM

Unfortunately, HA doesn’t have an “Ignore” feature. However, I have one of my own, and you are officially residing there.

Cody1991 on July 8, 2011 at 8:48 PM

in space, for example, or, now, online.

Very bad/sad day for space today!

Schadenfreude on July 8, 2011 at 8:57 PM

canopfor on July 8, 2011 at 7:53 PM
“Life’s a piece of s***,

When you look at it…”

*whistles*

turfmann on July 8, 2011 at 8:21 PM

turfmann:Lol,you is bad,hehe!

canopfor on July 8, 2011 at 9:09 PM

What is it that you manufacture?

Perceptron on July 8, 2011 at 8:48 PM

In my time I have started and owned companies which made heavy forestry machinery, sail and power boats, aircraft and electronic warfare systems components of advanced composites.

I now make equine equipment, and am about to introduce the first item in my line of agricultural equipment.

Why do I “waste” my time on here?

Because if guys like me don’t tell guys like you, you’ll never know who we are, what we’ve done, and you’ll never know just how free and independent you can be.

And you’ll never know just how tough it IS being free and independent, either.

Farmer on July 8, 2011 at 9:33 PM

In my time I have started and owned companies which made heavy forestry machinery, sail and power boats, aircraft and electronic warfare systems components of advanced composites.

I now make equine equipment, and am about to introduce the first item in my line of agricultural equipment.

Thank you.

Why do I “waste” my time on here?

Because if guys like me don’t tell guys like you, you’ll never know who we are, what we’ve done, and you’ll never know just how free and independent you can be.

And you’ll never know just how tough it IS being free and independent, either.

I didn’t think we knew each other that well.

Perceptron on July 8, 2011 at 9:46 PM

Cody1991 on July 8, 2011 at 8:46 PM

Well, I’m not giving up on the idea of America (1776 style). Just the fact of American (2011 style). Even if we get this toilet stain out of the WH in 2012…I still don’t think we can save it…physically. But we can still all read the constitution and cry over what we lost.

AUINSC on July 8, 2011 at 10:03 PM

I didn’t think we knew each other that well.

Perceptron on July 8, 2011 at 9:46 PM

I rest may case, having made my point.

:-)

Farmer on July 8, 2011 at 10:20 PM

As the “Optimistic Conservative,” I could hardly fail to agree with you, Tina. Optimism isn’t false hope, it’s knowledge of what works and faith that it does. I am not optimistic about Obama or the Democrats changing their stripes. It would be ridiculous to be so. But I am optimistic about character, strength, and virtue making the difference they have always made in the past.

Here’s the thing to never forget. If human history were fated to run in the same old ruts, every time, without fail, America would never have happened. But it’s not. Americans have bucked the tide of history before, and we can do it again.

J.E. Dyer on July 8, 2011 at 10:56 PM

I rest may case, having made my point.

:-)

Farmer on July 8, 2011 at 10:20 PM

You had a point? ;)

Perceptron on July 8, 2011 at 11:58 PM

American optimism should be dead. We’ve squandered our freedom, rejected our natural rights, and transformed our military into an instrument with which to facilitate liberal delusion while third world lunatics surpass us as the world’s super power. My parents’ generation has stolen the food from my grandchildren’s plates and taught my generation that it is virtuous to be lazy, entitled, and useless. Our schools, when they teach our children at all, tell them to believe that it is racist to think rationally. Why would I be optimistic?

vermin on July 9, 2011 at 12:02 AM

Misstrhe point , I think. The lack of optimism isn’t just because the economy’s in the tank. Would be that it were allthat simple. It’s because this nation itself has gone over an irretrievable cliff;culturally, morally, and politically. Obama, a transparent Marxist, no longer a media-made mesiannic image, but an openly arrogant bully who loathes this nation, it’s constitution, and its free citizens, and yet remains loved by a majority (or near majority) The family, God, family values, personal responsibility and decency have been relegated to the history bin. Victimhood, aculture of death and sexuality. copled with eco-worship and accepted dependency have replaced personal stability, initiative, and pride.

Our politicians in both parties are little more than manipulative deceivers and entrenched elites whose goal seems to be the maintainance of their power -whether they be number one or two doesn’t seem to bother them.
The terrible economy is but a symptom a far deeper corruption of this nation’s very soul, and frankly, more money, jobs, or less taxes won’t solve that!

Don L on July 9, 2011 at 4:53 AM

Y’now, if I had to count on any of you doom-sayers, and nihilists to help pull this country out of this hole its in, I’d be flat outta luck, wouldn’t I?

Fortunately, there’s a whole lots more people in this country of a more optimistic bent than are exhibited in this thread.

You folks are letting the TALKERS put you into deep funks.

QUIT THAT!!!!

Quit yer whining, and your “poor me”, and “poor them” and your “poor us” exhibitions.

ENOUGH!

They put straps on boots to pull yerself UP with.

DO THAT!

Honest to Pete — you’d think I’d landed in the middle of a pessimists convention, to hear the way some of you talk.

If you’re sold on your doom-and-gloom view, well … okay.

But try not to get run over by those who’re pushing the pessimism outta the way. It’s only a year and a half and the troublemakers are GONE.

A lousy year and a half. Eighteen months. Roughly 547 days.

That’s barely enough time to get ready!

And THAT’s why I’m optimistic about America’s future, and you should be too.

Save this. Throw it in my face on Jan. 21, 2013.

We;ll see who’s got this right then, won’t we?

Farmer on July 9, 2011 at 9:57 AM

Farmer on July 9, 2011 at 9:57 AM

I am with you, bro. There are plenty of companies with tons of cash on hand, just waiting for an economic environment that says, “America is open for business.” And there is huge pent-up consumer demand for goods and services, by people who only need a few paychecks in order to start buying all the stuff they’ve been putting off while unemployed. There are tons of properties on the market at fire sale prices–opportunity is *everywhere*.

If the new president says,

**there will be no new taxes,

**there will be no new health care costs for employers, bc Obamacare is going on the ash heap of history,

**there will be no higher electricity costs, because we are going to put the EPA back in its box, policing air and water pollution, period, not setting back-door energy policy,

**fuel costs will be coming down because this president has just announced plans to make America a net energy exporter in ten years . . .

well, smell the smoke and get out of the way. Don’t bet against America–we are still the greatest country on earth.

smellthecoffee on July 9, 2011 at 10:55 PM

I am very optimistic about this country. We had to endure carter to get Reagan. We must now endure ofailure to get to the next phase. This country is great has great people in it. Congress sucks ass and has for the past several decades. We are learning now that we the people need to really watch over congress and fire all these socialists. We will pull out of this with some scars, yes there will be casualties I may be one of them as this administration and congress are killing business, but others will pick up the flag and move forward and undo all the crapola that has been done.

ColdWarrior57 on July 10, 2011 at 3:29 AM