Getting old(er) is so cool sometimes, especially looking back and finding an appreciation for how you got from there to here. Being on the road, moving forward to a destination, it's usually the immediate scenery and situation that is your primary concern. Reviewing the journey, looking back, can lead to powerful insights. You can see the evolution of your choices, and begin to understand how wisdom is only possible through experience.
I was reading the synopsis and reviews for 'Watchmen' ... "Set in an alternate universe circa 1985, the film's world is a highly unstable one where a nuclear war is imminent between America and Russia." I thought, America vs. Russia, I've seen this movie before ... but it wasn't an alternate universe, it was this one. At the time Olympic boycotts, naval incidents, KAL flight 007 and SDI were just headlines to me. Being on the road, it was hard to imagine that the destination those events would lead up to would be the fall of the Berlin Wall.
In 2009, twenty years after the demise of communism in Central Europe, we have a top box-office movie with a sub plot of the United States struggles against the Communists, who represented the antithesis of the American ideal. Communists were a popular choice for fictional bad guys, from Boris Badenov to 'Red Dawn'. Prior to that, the Nazis were the bad guys in everything from 'The Great Escape' to 'Rat Patrol'. Now, of course, we have Islamofascists and terrorism ... Hollywood even updated 'Casino Royale' so that James Bond is battling a terrorist banker, instead of a Soviet labor union treasurer like in the original Ian Fleming novel.
With all this experience behind me, and available for my analysis, you would think I could easily figure out who the bad guys are. The bad guys have historically been people like the fascists, the communists and radical Islam ... you know, the people who want to promote "the needs of the group" to a higher priority than "the rights of the individual." If the interpretation of my experience is correct, the bad guys are indeed easy to spot.
We've got ...
... environmentalists, who want to dictate the type of light bulbs I use and eventually, no doubt, my posture when urinating ... all for the benefit of "the planet."
... multiculturalists, who want me to be open and accepting of all other cultures, while criticizing and demonizing my own all in the name of "diversity" ... which seems a bit incongruent with "unity", though, of course, I'm not oppressed enough to have a valid opinion.
... hollywood, who wants me to accede the moral high ground in the name of "political correctness."
... the main stream media, who want me to accept their bias as fact because they represent "objective journalism" and they know what's best for me.
... Obama and the Democrat Congress, who want to take away my earnings, individual freedoms and American principles to 'pitch in', 'solve this crisis' and 'give back' the "disproportionate share" I took from the economy.
It seems so obvious to me who the bad guys are, but apparently I am wrong.
Another way to identify the bad guys is to see who is being punished, who is being portrayed as evil or who is being pushed to the margins of acceptable society. When I look at it from that perspective, it's clear that the bad guy is me. I'm being punished with taxes, and if I raise my son to be productive, he too will be punished. If I disagree with Obama's policies I am, apparently, un-American and "wishing and hoping for economic failure." And people who disagree with the Democrat power grab, like the House Republicans, are quickly marginalized.
It looks like I'll need a few more years to figure out how I managed to go from productive, law-abiding, tax-paying American citizen to greedy, puritanical, tax-avoiding bad guy. I'm hoping it will all make sense to me again in 2012.