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The Seeds of America's Decline

The fate of a nation is basically defined by the choices it makes, those on a national level, and those made by its citizens. I believe that our decline was seeded some decades ago when a pattern of personal choices were set.

A set of popular lyrics goes, "she wears short skirts, I wear T-shirts, she's the cheer captain, and I'm on the bleachers." It could be the cry of any young woman, lamenting  the fact that the man she loves prefers someone who wears short skirts, which reflect decadence, over the woman wearing T-shirts, which is so say the "cloth coat" American of an earlier time. And unfortunately, that's the case "even though she doesn't get your humor, and she'll never know your story like I do," which represents a "real" basis for love.

The cheer captain would be a good girlfriend for somebody. Probably a loud, physical, rah-rah type of individual, someone who is too intellectually challenged to understand the other girl (a lyricist). The problem comes when the "typical"  American young man goes for the cheer captain, just because she is a "cheerleader," rather than a producer. That is to say that the "wrong" boy dated her for the wrong reasons.

It is symbolic of the typical American's love affair with marketers who promise people the moon, rather than the people who actually produce the goods. Such choices of "popular" athletes and entertainers, over hard-working "geek" engineers and computer programmers, date back about fifty years, and appear to explain a lot of America's recent downfall.

So what would yours truly have done if he had been the lucky young man with the choice of dating the cheer captain or the accomplished songwriter who "aces" all her English (and most of her other) classes. In favor of the former might be her "captaincy," not in terms of popularity, but in terms of leadership ability. But as discussed earlier, the "short skirts" would be a big negative, if for no other reason that they would call into question that ability. Ultimately, the choice for a (published) author on investments, and an unpublished novelist, poet, and songwriter, would be in favor of the lyricist.

By way of disclosure, I (indirectly) made that choice years earlier (before she wrote these lyrics), by asking her father to be one of six endorsers of my book, "A Modern Approach to Graham and Dodd Investing." Unless the father were very different from her, I would not have entrusted this to a parent of the cheer captain.