posts 16 - 30 of 38
greenflowers58
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 10

Distrust in Society

I think that today in this nation, I tend to see a lot of distrust in society. Like it said in the article, people tend to not trust something that hasn’t really given them a reason to; the newer generations grew up with such instability that there seems to be a greater chance of distrust. With all that is going on in the US right now, I believe it is more likely there will continue to be a distrust of society. There are so many disagreements and heated discussions about the state of our country that it is hard to trust your fellow members of society or the government because we have seen horrible things happen and don’t want anything to get worse.

I completely agree with @yelloworchids post when they say “As for Brooks’ question on whether we are living through a pivot or decline, I believe we are on the border of both.” They go on to explain that in some senses we are pivoting, such as the growing BLM movement and protests that showcase the underrepresented. But in other ways we could be in a decline, with a huge divide in views and values. Like Brooks said in the article, you can’t have such a great pivot in society without the trust of its members, which to me at this moment doesn’t seem very likely unless radical changes are made, and even then it is hard to see past the split of the members of our society in beliefs,etc.

When I hear these quotes about the United States being the “greatest nation in the world” or how it is a huge and amazing success story of a nation, I think about the way we were taught to think. From a young age I remember being told so much about how the US is so amazing and that other countries had nowhere near as much freedom as us, but as I learn more I realize that is not the truth at all. Plenty of other countries are in a better state than the US is right now. I think that growing up in this generation of uncertainty, it is harder for us to see this “greatest nation in the world” compared to older generations.

As I have been mentioning, I think this generation has grown up in a so-called “age of disappointment”. But @JGV said “but that doesn’t mean it's unique to my generation”, I completely agree that this isn’t the first generation of disappointment, but at the same time, no matter what generation you look at, it seems like at least one group of people was disappointed.

I have seen a lot of the “They have failed us” recently but I can also say that I have seen a lot about accountability; holding yourself and others accountable for things that one might have contributed to. But I think that goes along with the instinct of saying “they”, people don’t want to be part of a failing and disorganized system, so they take accountability when they play a part in it.

The killing of George Floyd and the pandemic play a big role in this idea of societal trust. They were opportunities of organization, unity, trust, etc. but the people didn’t hold up to the potential of these circumstances. We all know that the pandemic has gotten out of control and if everyone had just followed the guidelines and had the common sense to do what would be better in the long run, things would’ve been better now. I think that the killing of George Floyd was a point in which a sense of fear kicked in for a lot of people if it wasn’t already there, a fear of the things that are supposed to protect us and fear for our future. This fear leads to the distrust in our society.

purplenailpolish00
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 6

I have a complicated relationship with this country

I think that more and more young people distrust society for a multitude of reasons. We’ve grown up through the financial crisis, innumerable school shootings, wars, and know the gruesome details from living through it and from seeing it in the ever growing presence of the media. Almost every YA series in the 2010s was about rebelling against authority. Life echoes art. There have been headlines popping up recently about how gen z has the most individuals who identify as LGBTQ. Society in America is family-oriented and heteronormative-- that directly clashes with many LGBTQ people. Society has never accepted many people, so in turn, many people don’t trust society. I liked @yelloworchids description of our current situation, but as Brooks said, the cancer of distrust has spread to every vital organ. I’ve never lived through a pivot like the civil rights movement or gay liberation, but I think many younger people have a more pessimistic view about the future of this country.

I’ve never really liked America if I’m being honest, and I’ve never understood why that statement made so many people so angry. Not just politically; I visited my relatives in another country at a really young age, and BEGGED my parents to let me live there. But I think that overall a lot of people my age don’t have any memory of America being the noble hero it ‘used to be’. Like I said earlier, when we were growing up, we saw video of war on the news, we did active shooter drills, all of that, while having uncensored access to the internet. Technological advances make it easier to communicate with someone in another country than it has ever been. Gen Z realized at a certain point that America was behind many other countries in terms of day to day life and policy, due to this internet access.

I definitely agree with the “age of disappointment” label, but I don’t think life at this moment in time is significantly worse than any previous times, it’s just more visible. I think that many people feel like they’re outsiders to the system because they never reaped the benefits of this system, and can see more clearly that those who do benefit are few and far between. George Floyd, Beronna Taylor, Tamir Rice and so many more have everything to do with trust. . Police brutality and racism ties directly to trust in the state, as unaddressed racist incidents by police officers is government backed violence. COVID is another issue that decreases trust in the president specifically. Mr. Trump has repeatedly stated that we’re handling COVID better than many other countries, which is statistically a lie. This might have worked in a time before the internet, but fact checking is now easier, and many Americans know that they are being lied to.

I want to move to another country after high school, mostly because type 1 diabetes runs in my family, and I know for a fact I can not afford insulin in the united states. I watched my college student cousin ration his insulin and I don't want that to be me. It’s easy for me to make that decision, but I still worry a lot for this country’s future.


Murs1214
West Roxbury, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 12

The U.S's Moral Convulsion

Today does seem like there is currently much distrust in American society. We keep experiencing events where the institutions or leaders let us down that we usually look to them for guidance or safety. It also seems like Americans have very little faith in the government to do the right thing, and it also seems like we have little faith in each other to act in favor of the common good.

As of now, I believe that now we are in decline and unless society, as a whole, changes, this pattern will continue. As Brooks said, there needs a new order where trust is again bestowed in the people and the government. Seeing how divided the country is right now making it hard for everyone to agree on something. There are important issues that this country faces that need to be addressed sooner rather than later. Protests around the country show what the new society should encompass.

When people say that the US is the greatest nation globally, I tend to think about all of our country's wrong faults due to recency bias, but I still believe that the USA is still a great country. Every country has its faults, but people continue to come to the US because of the available opportunities. Every person sees their home country through rose-colored glasses and has some sense of pride. But that doesn't mean that success is guaranteed in America as you could get evicted or face an unlucky occurrence such racial discrimination. Being the greatest nation does not absolve the US of its faults; it emphasizes them. We face these problems every day, and it is our job to solve them for ourselves and others.

Overall, I agree with Yuval Levin's statement on high-trust eras and lower-trust eras. In a more morally conform society, it makes sense for individuals within that setting to see themselves as one with the government. When they can trust their leaders, they see themselves as part of a more significant cause that works together to solve their conflicts. However, in a distrusting society, people tend to think for themselves from an individualistic standpoint—distanced from authority. If they are accustomed to a government that consistently wrongs them, they would be inclined to think that their government is failing them.

Lastly, with the killing of George Floyd and Covid, I believe that these two instances were a test for America, and we, without a doubt, failed these tests. To back up that statement, our higher leaders continue to treat covid poorly as some do not even wear masks at times. For George Floyd, our police departments exposed police brutality and how racial privilege is crucial. As for fear, fear is very relevant today because if this is a possible indication of the end of America, I do indeed fear what the future holds in store later on.

Wardo
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 11

US Moral Convulsion

Reading this article was very interesting, having to open up and reflect on how I think and those in my generation think was really interesting because I had never really had a clear reference point to go off of, I didn’t know how my experiences molded me, and if my mindset was different from the norms. I feel however it's very difficult to judge how other people act, because I feel as though people operate how they do towards society because of how they grew up. I feel as though when you enter the world as a child, you have a basic sense of trust in society, more specifically those around you. Humans are obviously social beings so there's an automatic trust in the people who are in your community, however I feel as though over time that trust can also be diminished and lessened. With things like racism, LGBTQ rights, women’s rights, and other societal issues being put into light, people are learning whether their societies are or aren’t built for them. And as people witness, perpetrate, or become victims of racism, homophobia, and misogyny, they’re either going to put more trust into the american society that protects them, or less trust into the society that exploits and attacks them. I feel as though we are definitely living in a decline. On the surface, as a young man who is a person of color, racism is always frowned upon in school and programs, and the communities you are put into make racism seem like a thing of the past and that only older people were racist, but when you step into the real world, their kids are being brought into the world and are gaining prejudices and racists ideologies. A Lot of this next generation is also growing up racist, and the cycle won’t ever end without proper teaching, but proper teaching can always be overrun by a stronger influence. So the US is definitely in a decline, it's encouraging however to see that younger children, and students are becoming activists for their rights during BLM movements, and it shows how the next generation is focusing on civil issues and fighting to gain equality. However it's also really saddening to see the next generation at things like BlueLM and ALM rallies that are created solely to undermine Black Lives activists, this further supports that the US is declining, because people are going out of there way just to isolate themselves from others, and are forcing themselves to be blind to historically rooted civil rights issues. This is also why when Brooks writes that “the United States is the greatest nation in the world” I can't help but say, wow. In this white man's nation, the education system, justice system, and economy have all been built to support white people. The US has continued to be a continental super power as well as an economic landmark, but for a nation coined as the “Land of Opportunities”, it doesn't fulfil its name to the best of its abilities. Though many are finding opportunities and making better lives for themselves, a mass majority of people in the US right now are living in the “age of disappointment”. This is because they have to live in fear that they are going to be killed by those sworn to protect them, or that they won’t get a job because of the sound of their name, or what bubble they fill in under race. Because the US economy encourages multigenerational poverty, and that even at their poorest, they’re going to lose their home, neighborhood, or community to rich investors who have, “a better vision for the community”. Because they can’t get proper nutrition, due to food deserts and the high accumulation of fast food in their area. Though this hasn’t been my situation, I am growing up in the “age of disappointment”, and many people are getting disappointed when they realize that this land of opportunity is actually a land of loss and conformity. And as I mentioned earlier, people have an ingrained sense of community and responsibility to each other, so that is why I feel like this is an incorrect perception of the communities actions. If you have a higher trust in society and something has just happened to you, I feel as though you would be way more inclined to feel as though someone has failed you, because your trust in society has left you with this feeling that you were entitled, however if you never had much trust in society anyways, if it failed you, you would be more inclined to go out and do something on your own hence BLM movements and such forming. COVID and George Floyd are parts of this as well because COVID has really given people the opportunity to sit down and reflect on many societal issues, so when George Floyd’s unfortunate death had occurred, people were finally fed up. People are going to continue to fear for their lives, however if you have no guarantee that the law is going to protect it, you have to fight to gain rights for yourself. So the fear and uneasiness of being black, in America has led to the creation of young activists and for the next generation to be oriented toward change that will support their black community.

Wardo
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 11

Test?

Originally posted by Murs1214 on October 14, 2020 20:22

Lastly, with the killing of George Floyd and Covid, I believe that these two instances were a test for America, and we, without a doubt, failed these tests. To back up that statement, our higher leaders continue to treat covid poorly as some do not even wear masks at times. For George Floyd, our police departments exposed police brutality and how racial privilege is crucial. As for fear, fear is very relevant today because if this is a possible indication of the end of America, I do indeed fear what the future holds in store later on.

I feel like it's quite insensitive to call the death of a man a test, It's not as though the death of George Floyd had a hidden agenda to try and unify the US. However I do understand where you're coming from, because people could've chosen to stand in solidarity against a corrupted justice system, instead the US was further divided.

Murs1214
West Roxbury, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 12

I see what you mean but that's not my intention saying test

Originally posted by Wardo on October 14, 2020 20:29

Originally posted by Murs1214 on October 14, 2020 20:22

Lastly, with the killing of George Floyd and Covid, I believe that these two instances were a test for America, and we, without a doubt, failed these tests. To back up that statement, our higher leaders continue to treat covid poorly as some do not even wear masks at times. For George Floyd, our police departments exposed police brutality and how racial privilege is crucial. As for fear, fear is very relevant today because if this is a possible indication of the end of America, I do indeed fear what the future holds in store later on.

I feel like it's quite insensitive to call the death of a man a test, It's not as though the death of George Floyd had a hidden agenda to try and unify the US. However I do understand where you're coming from, because people could've chosen to stand in solidarity against a corrupted justice system, instead the US was further divided.

When I meant test I meant it figuratively. So to speak with 2020 being so bad, the death of George Floyd was a surprise way to expose how our nation's higher up roles would react to how our citizens would react to it (meaning the further police violence used after). Otherwise I agree with what you were commenting.

Lobster9
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 11

Moral Convulsions

I think that in the United States today the majority of people distrust society. Especially younger people who've grown up at a time when schools had specific procedures that we would follow if there were to be a school shooter. It's really scary to be in a classroom when your teacher is going over lockdown procedures and you can just sense that your teacher is scared. You hear about school shootings in the news time after time and eventually you become numb to the harsh reality. Then one day in school you're going over the procedures and that feeling you become numb to become so real it's frightening. As much as you try not to think about it there's always a valid fear in the back of your mind “ What if that happened at my school”. For me it's been kind of difficult to trust society because you see all of the bad things that are happening around you and they only seem to be getting worse. Sometimes it feels as though other people aren't as worried as you are; and that makes it worse because you feel like society doesn't care as much as you do and all they care about is making money and making sure the economy is good and not keeping people safe. It makes it way harder to have trust in society when you don't think that everybody has the same goals. Trust in society stems from all of the problems that we are facing and how our government and people around us handle those problems. Right now I think we're kind of living through both the pivot and decline, but I'm hopeful that we can start building off the pivot that we're going through right now and create an incline. I'm hopeful for the future and I think that if people continue to feel the way they do about society, that action to change it will come sooner than later.


When I hear the phrase the United States is the greatest nation in the world I don't agree, I think that people who value capitalism and the economy over the experience of the people living in that country, those people are the ones saying that America is the greatest nation in the world, not the people struggling to get by. I don't agree with this statement because I think a lot of other countries are faced with the same type of problems we are and they handle them way better than we ever will. In terms of the Coronavirus some countries were able to have their leaders listen to the scientists and believe what they're saying, and those countries have had less deaths than we've had. It's important to note that even though some say we're the greatest country in the world, we can't even agree how to fight the pandemic. The country is divided, some people refuse to wear a mask and others are trying their best to stay home and stay socially distant so that they can do their part to stop the spread. It's crazy to me that people can still say that the United States has the greatest nation in the world when they see all the problems that we're having right now related to the pandemic and racial inequality.


I definitely agree with what Brooks said both our generation growing up in the “age of disappointment”. With all of the tragedies that have happened in my lifetime I think I've become a little numb to them. I used to hear about school shootings and be shocked in disbelief but now I hear about them and I just think about how sad it is, it's almost become something that society has accepted as a thing that happens, when it really is a huge problem that is killing our nations youth. The lack of racial equality in our country is so disappointing and I think that in itself is enough to say that our generation is growing up in the “age of disappointment” so many people don't feel comfortable in their own homes because of their skin color and that's not okay. If America's “the greatest nation in the world” why are we still having these problems? Recently I've become even more disappointed with our nation, we see all of these protests going on to try and fight back and give the people some say in what's going on, and we still see such little Justice that it's hard to believe that anything we do can really make a change. George Floyd's killing plays a major role in the age of disappointment, the police officers who murdered this man have still not been convicted. One who had been charged with just being released on a million-dollar bail, this is so incredibly disappointing because our justice system it's just not working anymore and hasn't been working for a while and I think people are finally starting to realize it and that's what's leading to the moral convolution.


penguinsintherain
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 10

An Age of Distrust and Disappointment

Right now it definitely does feel like there is a general distrust for society. It often feels as if society and its leaders are failing us, leading to distrust. It sometimes feels like we are constantly surrounded by lies especially by those in power and feels like we can’t trust each other because we are all so split on what we believe.


I agree with @yelloworchids that we are on the border of both a pivot and decline. I would like to think that there is time for us to turn things around and after seeing individuals come together to create change in movements such as the Black Lives Matter movement as well as seeing future leaders step up I definitely have hope. However, I think it is completely possible that we could be heading into a decline as well. Our democracy feels as if it’s starting to crumble, we can’t trust the government, and we are facing a pandemic that has killed thousands of Americans. It often feels like we are moving backwards when it comes to racial justice, lgbtq+ rights, and gender equality when we should instead be making progress.


When I hear “the United States is the greatest nation in the world”, I’m not really sure how to feel. It’s frustrating that lately having pride for your country seems to mean that you have to disregard its flaws. I don’t think the American mindset of our country being the greatest (and therefore above other countries) is a good one to have and I feel like it is setting us up for failure by excluding so many perspectives. Saying “the United States is the greatest nation in the world” should also include “for white straight christian men”, as there are still so many systems in place that continue to oppress those who do not fit that description. While I do have some sense of pride for this country, I do not identify with many of the recent actions of and within our nation and I think that saying that we are the greatest nation is certainly a stretch.


I do feel like I have grown up in “the age of disappointment”, which Brooks argues has created a “crisis of trust”. Especially recently it feels like the news is always another disappointment, major or minor. We’re forced to watch our leaders ignore injustice after injustice, and watch as the people who were supposed to protect us instead do the opposite.


I agree with Yuval Levin that we are currently seeing ourselves as outsiders to the system. Right now our country's leaders have done nothing to prove that they will fight for all Americans, making many of us feel separate from the people in power. I think there is a sense of wondering what we can all do, but the “we” does not include those in power, rather it is simply about the people.


This year COVID and the killing of George Floyd, as well as many other instances of police brutality and murder, have only created more distrust in the nation. I agree with @anonymouse that this time has really demonstrated the extent to which our government and other institutions have failed us. While some countries have handled the coronavirus as best as they can, we have instead let thousands of people die and things just continue to get worse, as our leaders seem to not even take it seriously. On top of our leaders failing us, law enforcement has failed us too and racial inequity and the racial divide is more prominent than ever. I think fear is behind part of our leaders’ inability to act and fear also hangs over us all as we wonder what our country’s future will be.

Earl Grey Tea
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 15

What's Next?

I think the lack of trust that exists in American society today has affected the ways people are operating in this moment. I’m not surprised after seeing all the data Brooks presented proving that American society is becoming increasingly distrustful. America is divided right now, and misinformation is being thrown around left and right. It’s almost impossible to know what to trust from the media. We’ve also understandably learned to be cautious in listening to what powerful politicians have to say, not just Trump. Perhaps this is a good caution to have, but it nevertheless leads to our society being a low-trust society. We’ve also learned that high-trust societies like China have statistically handled the pandemic much better than low-trust societies like us because they are willing to quickly sacrifice something of their own for the common good, trusting that everybody else will do that same.


So much is happening in the present that I sometimes forget there will also be a future. Brooks asked a very open ended question in his article: Are we living through a pivot or a decline? I agree with what @yelloworchids said: “Depending on how our government takes action and how effective we are in social change, our future could go both ways.” I think this is why the coming election is being called one of the most important, if not the most important, election in our country’s history. Whoever we have in charge has a great deal of influence over the country, and I think we’re in a very fragile state right now where we can either crumble or come back stronger than ever. The push for social and racial justice in movements like Black Lives Matter is only getting fiercer the longer we ignore it.


It’s difficult to blare out my pride for the U.S. when I know that, although our country has had many achievements, we are at our core a jumble of systems and institutions that work amazingly for some people, but are just more of a maze for many others. It’s especially hard in a time like now, or the climax of this moral convulsion as Brooks puts it. George Floyd has certainly become a symbol of a society where no people, especially black people, are safe.


I do think I have grown up in the “age of disappointment,” a crisis of faith and trust. We are beginning to see that many things that were set up for our generation turned out to be detrimental- a globalized economy that hurts the working class, the internet which pulls us apart more than it brings us together, and a trust in privileged people that limits the opportunities of others. We constantly hear about hate crimes, shootings, and police brutality. Depression and suicide rates are far more common than they should be.


I agree with Yuval Levin’s argument that people in high-trust eras are far more willing to help out, while people in low-trust eras are quick to place blame on their system. It is strange to picture how such a society works, since I’ve lived here most of my life; we are outsiders to those systems. Certainly, Levin’s argument came to life when the pandemic hit and high-trust societies did much better than low-trust societies in handling it. China, one of the best examples, is back to normal now because the citizens and the government alike came to a strict agreement and trusted each other. In this case, they were asking, “What can we do?” In America, not only do many of us not trust the president all that much, he also doesn’t trust many of us in return. Some of us trust CDC guidelines; some of us don’t. We won’t trust everything our family and friends tell us, just in case. Now, America has arguably done the worst job in the world at handling COVID.


COVID and the killing of George Floyd have marked the climax of this moral convulsion. We’re living through a perfect storm- a pandemic, an amplified outcry for systemic change, and a failure of leadership. These events are the height of any tensions building up in the past ten years. Many people have reasons to be afraid. For example, black people and many others disproportionately affected by COVID have a right to be afraid, and it almost seems as if our president is monopolizing on this fear. We need different leadership if we want to see a pivot instead of a decline.


Murs1214
West Roxbury, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 12

Originally posted by purplenailpolish00 on October 14, 2020 19:54

COVID is another issue that decreases trust in the president specifically. Mr. Trump has repeatedly stated that we’re handling COVID better than many other countries, which is statistically a lie. This might have worked in a time before the internet, but fact checking is now easier, and many Americans know that they are being lied to.



I agree with what you said about covid because there was also proof that the pictures of "Trump working" were all set up and taken within the same hour. In other words to prove your point, it is hard to trust Trump especially because he tried to falsely make himself look good and also to the fact that he left the hospital with covid just so he could wave to his mask less supporters.

sizzles
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 11

Waves

Originally posted by leafinthewind on October 14, 2020 00:16

I think that a lot of people distrust society and each other. The pandemic has shone a light on many tragic events that otherwise would have been swept under the rug. Police brutality has been brought to light even though it has existed all along. People are feeling more let down than ever by the injustices committed by the police, a group of people we trust with our lives. I agree with @anonymouse that there needs to be reforms made throughout the country in order to promise equality to all people.

A lot of people today have very low expectations of others and that’s really sad.

In the article, we read about a woman named Valentina Kosieva, who survived a lot of hardships in her life. She sheltered some anti-communist soldiers and was nearly killed by the Reds. Her husband was killed in 1937 after he was sent to Siberia by the Soviet police. She ended up as a refugee and her son was killed by Nazis. After World War 2, her people were exiled and since then she has lived a secret life. She has faced an extreme number of tragedies and it is surprising that she survived.

When people say that the US is the greatest nation in the world, I think about all of the faults that are obviously wrong with our country. I still believe that the USA is the best country in the world. Every country has its own faults but people continue to come to the US because of the opportunities that are available to them. Every person sees their home country through rose colored glasses and has some sense of pride. My parents immigrated to the US and made a life for themselves and became very successful. Being the greatest nation does not absolve the US of its faults, it actually emphasizes them. We face these problems every day and it is our job to solve them for ourselves and for others.

I haven’t been alive for a long enough time to tell if we are in a pivot or a decline. You need a wide view to see a large period of time and the trend is not very obvious when looking back. In order to see such a large trend, you have to live through and experience the time in question.

Whenever you study the span of history, you discover certain trends that are not unique to one race or nation, but to the entirety of the human race. It was extremely wise of @leafinthewind to express that they needed more life experience to observe the true moralistic trends of American society. It is intriguing to hear Brooks’ claim that the United States is currently in a moral convulsion, and that this phenomenon happens every 70 years or so. The fact is, human beings will always question morals and the overarching societal opinion on justice and civic duty.

As the old adage goes, there’s nothing new under the sun. There are time periods that are more ‘conservative’ and ‘liberal’, and they weave in and out of each other in a continuum. I believe that values can be attributed more to acculturation, as opposed to a response to real-world events. The members of Generation Z would’ve been activists even if George Floyd’s murder and the pandemic had not happened. This is due to the fact that we grew up enjoying TV shows with diverse protagonists, watched our country elect its first Black president, and were twice removed from the infamous segregation era. Our everyday lives, actions, and gestures would have been more aligned with activism than the previous generations’--regardless of any big events.

In addition to the values that our society has been directly targeting us with, we have also grown up with an access to knowledge that no other generation has experienced or enjoyed. We tailor the algorithms we use to fit our needs. It is an empathy deeply rooted in narcissism: we want to listen to people we can relate to. However, we also leave room to listen to people with different opinions in order to learn and discuss more ideas. In short, the United States is not having a moral convulsion. We are simply watching the effects of intentional acculturation coupled with customized learning and entertainment steadily shift our future.

pizza
Posts: 13

To Trust Or Not To Trust

In this moment with a pandemic, a rise in awareness of climate change, and a rise in awareness of social injustices, people are driven by the distrust in society. These problems are implemented on us, as citizens, in which we are unable to do anything, but to blame others for the faults. Like what the article stated, we have a tendency to “see ourselves as outsiders to the systems—an outsider mentality that’s hard to get out of” because we have an instinct of saying “They’re failing us” instead of “What can we do?” I agree with this because putting blame on others is easier and quicker than taking the responsibility to do something. Other times, when we do want to do something about it, our voices are drowned by people in power, or in this case, the one percent and political figures. It feels as though we are helpless and always putting ourselves in positions where we are going to be let down. It makes sense why we would have a feeling of distrust among all of us; this generation grew up on disappointments and technology where words get by quickly.

Without a doubt, it is clear that this generation that we are in (Gen Z) is revolutionary. Our passion towards mental health, climate change, and social justice is at its highest which makes us living in a pivotal point in U.S history and, may even, in world history (due to technology). Brooks has made rebuttals that America is in decline, but he also acknowledges the damages made in the past six years with the presidency of Donald Trump. Even though we are seeing the differences between two political parties widen more than ever, I think it is also enlightening to see the urgency everyone has to this year’s election. Since the opinions towards Donald Trump within Gen Z are not as favorable as other generations, we are seeing so many new young voters making a difference in the upcoming election. In my perspective, I see a lot of divisions, but these issues that are happening around us are bringing us together.

Disagreeing with @leafinthewind, I personally do not believe that the US is the best country in the world. However, I do agree with @leafinthewind’s statement that “every country has its own faults but people continue to come to the US because of the opportunities that are available to them” because I do believe that the US is able to offer a different opportunity and lifestyle from other nations. It just seems unrealistic to declare the US as the best nation when we do not even come first for anything important to living. I do want to acknowledge the point where Brooks made that “America was the greatest success on earth, a nation of steady progress, dazzling achievement and growing international power” because America has come a long way in such a short period of time for a large nation and being known to other nations for our specific way of living is honorable. We may be progressive and preach freedom, but we cannot let that mentality get over our head as being the best.

It’s not a surprise that we are exposed to everything from all over the world which makes it disappointing to hear every moment in history every second. I think the “age of disappointment” happens in every generation, but it just seems more prevalent now because of how fast we are able to retrieve information. I personally believe I grew up on disappointments more than others, but that’s just the downside of life. Labeling us “the age of disappointment” just makes it more hopeless for most of us, but I believe that we can grow from these disappointments and gradually regain that hope and trust.

Covid and the death of George Floyd “accelerated every trend” of moral convulsion and “exposed every flaw” in the US. The unnerving thought that people in the US still believe wearing a mask is a choice already proves our distrust towards each other. The exposure of racism in the country towards Asians when the pandemic started and racism towards Black Americans was getting out of hand where people no longer see the good in people. The trust towards officials (more specifically, police officers) is broken every time another Black individual is dead. Fear towards each other when we see an individual not social distancing, fear towards a person with a weapon, and fear towards the privileged makes the trust narrower than it originally was. Trust is something that we have to earn from each other, but it can easily be broken with just a simple mistake.

pizza
Posts: 13

Originally posted by Fidget on October 14, 2020 15:46

Everything is getting more expensive, whether it be college tuition, housing, food, etc. In the past people would be absolutely assured a nice job, with a nice house. That is not a guarantee anymore. This is not the American dream, as it is so often described as. When I hear “the United States is the greatest nation in the world” it nearly makes me want to start laughing, because I just do not see it. This is classic nationalism that this country suffers from, where we are taught and are to believe that we are the superior, and the right. Is it the greatest at making 12% of the country feel unsafe and even in danger around police officers? Is it the greatest at having the most school shootings, and general feelings of being unsafe at school(there is a reason we have lockdown and safe mode drills)? This country is, as I said before, nothing but a whisper of the promise land it once was. After failing nearly every group of people other than straight white men, it is a wonder how this country lasted its 400 years.

I really sense the disappointment that @Fidget points out because America is known for its "American Dream" that clearly has its limits when newly immigrated people come here. Nationalism in this country is not as idealistic as other nations from what I can tell. People are proud of the country's success and the people around them, but how can we be proud of each other when we do not even have trust for one another? I think these hypothetical questions that @Fidget has also pointed out, especially the school shootings, sum up my childhood and experience in school. Kind of outrageous to feel unsafe at a place for learning and being alert of those around us as being potential threats to us.

vintage.garfield
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 11

The Lies of the Government

I believe that people are acting in the present as they are because of distrust in society. Americans specifically have lost faith in their government as they’ve uncovered the lies from President Trump and the authorities who promised to protect the well-beings of the people. With the two major political parties having complete opposite beliefs in major social issues such as gender, race, and economic class, many citizens themselves have realized that the rich do not care about them and only care about power, thus losing faith in their government and its systems.


Despite my extremely negative feelings towards authorities and society as a whole, I do believe that we are living through more of a pivot than a decline. I agree with @JGV that Brooks is incorrect with the statement that there has been a perfect moment in history. As seen through countless stories about dystopian societies, it is obvious that there will never be a society where everyone is happy - there will always be some conflict no matter how big or small. The more the conflict is avoided or hidden, the greater the impact of it will be when it resurfaces after many years. This is what is happening in the present day and has happened over and over again, as political scientist Samuel P. Huntington has observed. With COVID-19 and Americans having to turn to the Internet for work and entertainment, we’ve become more conscious of social injustices and have more time to reflect and discover more and more that the government is hiding from us.


To many Americans, the United States could be seen as the greatest nation of the world, but that is simply not true. Many of our institutions have been built off of racism such as the police as we know today which originated from the role of catching enslaved people and there is still gender inequality, racism, classism, and much more. Our country was founded by white men, the majority of which owned enslaved people and some of which abused women. Our country brutally murdered and even ate African Americans for fun. So when Brooks says that “For centuries, America was the greatest success story on earth, a nation of steady progress, dazzling achievement,” I had to laugh. For the straight white man, maybe it was, but literally everyone else - women, Asians, Natives, African Americans, etc - had to fight for their rights.


I agree with the statement that I’ve grown in what Brooks considers as the “age of disappointment.” As mentioned before, COVID-19 has had a large effect on this. With social media making it accessible to a majority of young people, we’ve gained the ability to view situations in many different views and not just what we see outside or what the media or government tells us. Because of this however, we’ve become so desensitized to catastrophic events due to continuously being disappointed in our country as we as a country become known for school shootings, social injustices and hate crimes, and terrorist groups not being reprimanded and even applauded.


I agree with Yuval Levin’s statement on high-trust/ lower-trust eras and how the way we see ourselves depends on our trust. It's understandable that citizens would see themselves as connected with their authorities in a high-trust era because that is when things seemingly goes well and both parties seem to have a good relationship. When individuals feel betrayed and failed by the government, they would feel like the outsiders because whatever the government is doing does not seem to benefit them and therefore it seems that the government simply does not care for its citizens.


Added on to the distrust of the government, COVID-19 and the murder of George Floyd create a larger gap between the government and its people. These are situations where the government acted poorly and let millions of Americans suffer from their mistakes. It also made many Americans fear for their lives when the authorities spewed hate and lies. Examples of this are the multitude of videos showing heavily armed police attacking peaceful protesters and anyone (even children and the media) with rubber bullets, tear gas, and even driving through crowds while the president threatens the lives of these peaceful protesters. The hypocrisy of the government is also becoming more and more visible, especially with the recent event of Trump getting Corona virus and receiving the best healthcare and applauding himself despite him downplaying the severity of the virus (even after warnings from medical professionals) and him disapproving asking the Supreme Court to overturn the Affordable Care Act, which would deprived millions of Americans from health insurance.

eastbostonsavingsbank
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 11

yikes

I do agree that people nowadays are acting like they don’t trust society and the government, especially that United States citizens are currently only looking out for themselves and their families only, pushing away the needs of the greater population. People are becoming less and less considerate of others and their well beings, like buying a multitude of resources that are unnecessary and taking them from those who really need them. It is becoming more and more embarrassing to be a United States citizen as more injustices come to light and we realize how tragic the decline we're living in is, and people's true colors are revealed based on how they react and feel towards the movements that stem from said injustices, especially those related to race. In the Atlantic article Brooks says that the United States was the “greatest success on earth, a nation of steady progress, dazzling achievement, and growing international power”, which although is not a lie, does not hold up in this current time amidst the pandemic. Because of the pandemic our economy has suffered greatly and we as a society are not any closer to being back to normal than we were in May, the opposite of how it's going in places like China where the people have much more faith in their government. I think we are living in an age of disappointment because although it is amazing what people my age are doing in terms of social justice, the fact that systemic racism is still even an issue is very disappointing and I think @ goob made a good point that "The news has become a constant bearer of tragedy, whether it is relaying the events of police brutality, school shootings, or the negative effects of social media."

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