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Many of us feel like the world is unraveling. Is it?

Wavelengths By Jim Kempton
Wavelengths
By Jim Kempton

By Jim Kempton

In this time of political uncertainty, there is a sense that everything—our society, our political system, our country—is falling apart. Before we buy into that notion though, we should look at the facts. I know it is a really unfashionable thing to do these days. But just humor me for a moment. It might make us all feel a little better. The question, which has been posed in every election since Ronald Reagan first asked it, is: Are we better off than we were?

The answer is, thankfully, we are. This is not romantic, wishful thinking. This is a simple review of the facts.

Take immigration—many people say there is a new giant wave of Latinos pouring over our border. But compared to 15 years ago, the trend has, in reality, reversed. The number of immigrants from our southern border is actually shrinking. We’re losing undocumented residents.

Thanks to 24-hour television coverage, many fear a massive crime wave sweeping the nation. But over the last decade, violent crime across the nation continues to decrease. Although this year crime was up a small percent in some areas, it has been going down continually and significantly for the last 20 years. Overall, crime is at a 30-year low.

How about international stability? There is the perception that the world is an exploding powder keg. The reality: war-torn nations on four continents are finally making peace. In Europe, multinational full-scale war in Serbia (which threatened the peace of the continent) is quiet. Only a decade or two ago, Latin America claimed extensive internal warfare in Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, El Salvador and Nicaragua. Today, none of these conflicts are active. Rwanda, Tunisia, Ireland and Spain have (at least temporarily) curbed their violence.

Wars across the globe have nearly ceased outside of a small section of geography in the Middle East. And even there, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan now only include a few thousand American troops down from hundreds of thousands who saw combat and 2.5 million in all who were sent to the conflict.

There is more good news. Life expectancy for all Americans is at an all-time high. Quality of life for black Americans is on the rise. Employment is below 2006 levels. Cancer is down. Illegitimate births have dropped significantly. For the four years between 2009 and April 2013, there were no Islamic terrorist attacks at all. In 2008, our nation went through the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression more than 85 years ago. Since then, General Motors has paid back their government loan with billions in interest and the economy has gone from losing 800,000 jobs a month to steadily putting a few hundred thousand back in. The stock market is enjoying a steadily robust and continuous climb past 2008’s crash.

Not all is rosy, of course. Dragons of crisis lurk, inevitably. Nonetheless, things are better. It may be early, but come Thanksgiving, we should count our blessings and not fall for the siren calls of fear. Chicken Little may think the sky is falling. But look around—the world really is a better place.

Jim Kempton is a writer, surfer and optimist who believes we live in the best possible world. And then worries that he might be right. 

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comments (5)

  • Obama and Hillary are corrupt!

    “For the four years between 2009 and April 2013, there were no Islamic terrorist attacks at all.”

    Really? Perhaps you were sleeping during that period for there was the June 1, 2009 Little Rock recruiting office shooting, the 11/5/2009 Ft. Hood shooting (were the 16 killed and 33 wounded just “work place violence?), the Marriot and Ritz-Carlton bombings in Jakarta on July 17th of 2009, the 10/28/11 Wahhabi Islamist attack on the US embassy in Bosnia, and the attack on our consulate in Benghazi on 9/11/12 when Hillary failed to provide adequate security for our personnel and lied about the causes for the event. This doesn’t even take into account at least 52 other Islamic terrorist attacks that took place in almost 20 other countries including France, Sweden, Germany, Russia, and China during the time period you listed.

    With the caveat that we’re truly blessed to live in America and that we live a better quality of life than perhaps 99% of all people who have ever lived, let me suggest that Jim is spiking the ball a little prematurely. Our labor participation rate has tanked, we have about the same number of people on food stamps as the total population in Spain, and Obama will have doubled our national debt by the time he leaves office. Simultaneously, he has whittled our military down and put politically correct experimentation above military readiness. While he insults and alienates our allies, China is expanding into the South China Sea, and Iran, Russia, and even Yemen threaten our shrinking Navy. Good heavens, our soldiers are even held at gun point, on their knees, and our feckless Sec. of State, John Kerry, thanks Iran for such behavior.

    The rule of law is under assault as we have had a President and Attorney Generals who refuse to enforce it. Thus, Hillary Clinton can break the law at will and the AG declines to prosecute. Obama’s IRS targets conservative groups even releasing the personal information of some of these groups to their political enemies and again, the AG will NOT prosecute even though the IRS acknowledged they illegally released (they paid damages) the information.

    On immigration (and on the rule of law), Obama acknowledged at least 22 times he didn’t have the authority to grant executive amnesty, but did it anyway. It should also be noted that any decrease in illegal immigration is in truth a reflection on the poor state of our economy.

    Then, there is the mess Obama has made of our health care system. His signature legislation has been an abysmal failure…just as predicted. In addition, he lied to the American people because he knew he couldn’t get it passed if he told the truth.

    America is now divided to a degree not seen since at least the race riots of the 60’s and our divider in chief, as well as the media, played a role in this decline. Having perhaps the most corrupt politician ever nominated for president (I can’t think of anybody worse), Hillary Clinton, who has described millions of Trump supporters as deplorable, denigrated Sanders supporters, and whose staff has insulted Catholics, promises to be no salve for a hurting nation.

    Remember also, in our own back yard, the loss of San Onofre due to the interference of Barbara Boxer who back stabbed the 1500 workers as well as the
    citizens of the state in order to carry water for an activist fringe group.

    Finally, we do have a great nation and all is not lost, but the Obama monarchy has been an unmitigated disaster and to follow it with more of the Clinton corruption may prove to be an act the rule of law cannot survive.

  • “Ireland and Spain have (at least temporarily) curbed their violence.” Whats is this referring to???

  • Mr. Kempton once again nailed it. Just before reading Jim’s latest piece I read a recent article in the venerable Economist correctly proclaiming our current era as “post truth”. It’s true— for some perverse reason, over time, the GOP has abandoned conservatism and it’s roots in favor of an “alt right” nonsensical view of the world as failing in every way. A continual stream of what formerly would have been considered unpatriotic gibberish oozes out of every significant GOP pore. The Economist writer coins today’s era as based on feelings not facts. It seems very true. Critique of our economy, the President, foreign and domestic affairs, and science are solidly related to the “feelings” of the observer. One does not need to go beyond reading editorial comment and letters to the ed to see it. ——Kempton Rules!

  • @ Chris Evans

    “…the GOP has abandoned conservatism and it’s roots in favor of an “alt right” nonsensical view of the world…”

    Speaking of post truth, yours is a perfect example. The GOP may not be as conservative as it once was, but “alt right”, a leftist pejorative case of collective straw man argument? How so? It is the liberals who have dragged the country far to the left…so far in fact, Harry Truman and FDR wouldn’t even recognize their party. Would Kennedy or Johnson champion homosexual marriage and adoption? Would any of the aforementioned presidents approve of the confusion over which bathroom to use? The use of the military for social experimentation where fighting capabilities take a back seat to political correctness? Force the military into gender sensitivity training? How about the non-sense of safe spaces, trigger warnings, and the attack on free speech that the left promotes? Would a President Truman place his stamp of approval on partial-birth abortion or wink at the selling of babies’ organs like one would part out an automobile?

    Your statement: “A continual stream of what formerly would have been considered unpatriotic gibberish oozes out of every significant GOP pore.”

    Who is it that takes a knee to the National Anthem or saluting the flag? Is that liberals or conservatives? Which party is the “blame America first” party, the one who on college campuses always finds time to criticize America? Which party almost nominated a socialist? Which party enables those who denigrate our police forces and pays thugs to disrupt the rallies of the opposing party? Which party does the current president belong to, the one whose wife claimed that for the first time (upon her husband’s election) she is proud of America? The one who dismisses American exceptionalism and suggests America has much to answer for regarding the middle east and Latin America?
    This is the same couple that sat for 20 years through Reverend Wrights anti-American tirades, launched a political career in the living room of a domestic terrorist, and it was Obama who chastised pastors at the National prayer breakfast for events that occurred 800 plus years ago while excusing the atrocities committed today and against Americans by Muslim terrorists.

    My folks were life long Democrats but like former Governor of Georgia, Zell Miller, said, the Democratic party left him prompting his book, A National Party No More. The Democratic Party has become the party of the extreme, the fringe, where no idea is too asinine to champion and where an entitlement mentality reigns. The party where the usual response to any question or statement is to yell “racist, bigot, homophobe”! Even liberal commentator, Kirsten Powers, has written a book on the left’s attack on free speech.

    It is ironic that you appeal to an article that claims “today’s era as based on feelings not facts” and then go on to present zero facts. Your are the example of everything you point out in your editorial, perhaps an indication of how deep the indoctrination has been in our schools and universities.

  • dave davidson was right on.

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