This past week I took my children on vacation to the beach. While we had a great time, it also exposed me to an aspect of the United States I usually don’t see—the decay that is eating away at the country.
I live a large city. All of my neighbors and co-workers are college educated. In my demographic, everybody is doing pretty well financially. The worst thing that I’ve seen is that when people are laid off, it is now much harder to find a job again. People wait months rather than weeks to get re-employed. But overall, my neighbors and co-workers are insulated from what is happening in the rest of the country.
My beach vacation exposed me to that portion of the country. Typically, when we visit the beach we drive a bit further and rent a beach house far away from the boardwalk. Because my youngest son is nine months old and travels poorly, we opted for a nearby beach that I had visited once before as a teenager and stayed in a hotel along the main strip. This gave me the opportunity to witness first-hand what is happening to lower middle class and the poor in this country.
The most obvious change is that there has been a dramatic change in the level of diversity. When I was a teenager, the beach was nearly 100% white. The diversity, such as it was, consisted of a handful of blacks. Whites still comprised about two-thirds of the beach goers, but now there were also lots of Hispanics along with smaller numbers of Muslims, Asians, and Indians. Of course, there continued to be a small number of black families.
The Hispanics were notable because it was very apparent that they were poor. Many of the families did not have bathing suits—they were in the ocean in their street clothes. It was especially awkward for the women as a blouse and long skirt are less than ideal beachwear. While I am certain there were poor families in the beach in my youth, I don’t recall anyone so poor that they could not purchase a bathing suit.
The Muslims were also an interesting addition. I noticed several women walking along the beach covered head to ankle in dark clothing walking on the beach in 95-degree heat. If they were wearing burkinis that allowed them to go in the water, I would understand but I can’t understand how a beach vacation was pleasant for these ladies.
It is no secret that Americans are getting fatter—the average woman today now weighs as much as an average man in 1965. But that change is as evident in the city as it was in the beach. What is more apparent at the beach is how tattooed Americans have become.
Gone are the days when women got small, unobtrusive tattoos on their ankles or on their butt. Virtually every woman is now heavily tatted. Tramp stamps are the norm and lots of women now have elaborate tattoos that run around their legs or abdomens. I saw at least two women who had serpent tattoos that snaked the entire length of their bodies. The sad part is that these women were otherwise attractive.
Extreme diversity and abundant tattoos are one thing, but there is nothing that indicates spiritual bankruptcy like drug abuse. The most disturbing thing that I witnessed was the high number of people who were strung out on something. Everyone that I saw looked like they were intoxicated by something other than alcohol or pot. All of them were young. All of them were white.
I saw one young woman slowly rotating in circles with her hands on her temples in the middle of the day. There were small groups of people who seemed to have no awareness of their surroundings. I am not a drug expert so I have no clue what these young people were taking but my guess would be meth.
The fact that so many young people have lost hope and turned to drugs as an escape is an alarming phenomenon. It is an indication that nihilistic consumerism, the prevailing “philosophy” of our day, is unable to fulfill the deepest needs to people. As the family continues to be attacked and the last vestiges of the patriarchy stamped out, the number of people who take drugs to escape will only increase.
A final observation is how careless people have become. Every evening my wife and I took our children for a walk along the boardwalk. The boardwalk has a separate path on side for bicycles and skateboards. The idea being that the boardwalk would be used by pedestrians and the bike path would be used by vehicles with wheels for safety purposes. Some people choose to ignore this obvious rule, but they drove their bicycles slowly so they were not a safety hazard. But there were lots of exceptions. Lots of cyclists and skateboarders rode very quickly on the boardwalk.
Most of these were teens so they could be excused for their reckless behavior. After all, I did my share of stupid things as a teen. But there were also adults who should know better. One man in his late 20s decked out his bike with lights and drove quickly on the boardwalk weaving dangerously in between pedestrians. He was not collecting money or performing. Here a grown man was jeopardizing his safety and the safety of others merely to attract attention.
In another incident, we had to pass through a two lane tunnel on the way to the beach. I was in the left lane when a car in the right lane suddenly swerved into my lane almost crashing into our car. My wife glanced over to find out what was happening with the driver. It turned out that it was a middle aged woman who was snapping a selfie as she was going through the tunnel—no doubt to post on Facebook. Again, one could barely excuse a teen for endangering lives to take a selfie, but there is no excuse for a grown woman to do the same.
With the exception of diversity, which is a weapon used by the elite to divide, conquer, and rule the population, each of the things I saw on my beach vacation indicated that the foundation of America is rotting. Ancient Rome became great because of the vigor and austerity of its people. Once Romans lost their founding virtue, the Empire collapsed.
Similarly, the United States became great due to the unstoppable confidence, work ethic, and deep faith of Americans. However, after years of neglect, the rank and file of America has lost its way. Can the spirit of a people be restored once it is lost? I don’t think so. Barring some sort of great upheaval, it is likely that the US is headed for the same fate that befell Rome.