Here is my American Experience in all generalities. Stop reading if you don't like looooooong posts.(this was your warning***). This is despite who's been President. I'll leave personal things like family situations and specific (self based) events out of it for the most part but not always. I grew up in the 80's and 90's. Born in '81. I remember Gator logo's, awful punk-rocker hair, stone-washed bleachy looking jeans, tideye(sp?), the rise of MTV's dominance in the Music industry (and the since conversion to reality-based/pop culture-based viewing). I remember the first Nightmare on Elm Street, with Robert Englund. I was young when I saw it, so it left lasting, and lasting, and lasting Nightmares. But......everything was all good when I woke up. No razor bumps. Sports-wise, as a Yankee fan, you'd think I had it spoiled. Not in the late 80's, early 90's I didn't. Consistent losing seasons. Mattingly, Maas, Sax, Reggie Jackson. Nope, the Yanks weren't doing nuffin' until I passed puberty and beyond. Basketball's my sport. I play it, I live it and love it. I remember the first time Jordan firmly established that he'd, from that point forward, just straight up just shit on his defenders. The Bulls/Lakers Finals. Goodnight Magic Johnson, hello Michael Jordan and his era of uber dominance. I think that I have to have seen hundreds of that Basketball card with Jordan posting Magic up. Jordan dunking on Patrick Ewing. Ahhhh, I could taste it. (no h*mo) Jordan got branded up with Nike's name. I have never owned a pair of sneakers since Jordan's era that were not Nike. I don't like actual Jordan's, though. I think most of them are ugly, and I don't do high-tops unless I'm in a League game. I like Air Max's, etc. (low cut kicks). But, Jordan was an athlete in the 80's and 90's, and here in 2010 on the 4th President since his dominance, (2 R, 2D), he is thought to have reached his first Billion. Through turbo uber taxation, Bush facism, Clinton/Obama Socialism & Marxism, a small boy who went to School in North Carolina was able to achieve his American dream. I remember Matt Damon won his fame through an amateur film festival with his buddy Ben Affleck. Now, they lose count of their beach homes. Benny went from ripped holy jeans to pretty boy red carpet never respected his uh, masculinity much personally. My Uncle opened a Pizza shop in the era of Bush 2, end of 1st term. He's had Republican & Democrat congresses, a recession, fascism and socialism and a destroying of the constitution. He opens his third shop in May. The YMCA, (not for profit) must somehow be scammin' for a profit. Their Gym, if you're not somehow subsidized or corporatized with a deal, costs roughly $40 a month. Planet fitness is $10 a month, or $20 which includes tanning and a free guest. I'm guessing somewhere in there for the ole' Y, there's someone living their American dream off of it. I started work early. 13. Couldn't get my working papers until 15, but that didn't stop me. I spent every fucking dime, within a week, of my paychecks from age 13 until after college. Minimum wage was $5.15 an hour back then. Wasn't bad for a kid with no car, etc. I got a cool job once at a place called Hoffman's Carwash. I was promoted to a Supervisor position, and became a familiar face in the joint. A Regular wash was like $12, inside and out, but we were the supreme facility......... not a mom and pop but a big chain. I think last time I went there, it was like $15 for the same service. I worked there from like '99 to '02. I went recently, they're still popping off 1,000 car days on the first nice day after a snow storm. ("Salt Eats Cars!"). I've paid federal income tax since my first job on the books, after getting my papers. It would be something (when I was 15ish) like I paid oh, I dunno, $800 or whatever in Federal on my W-2 and got a $300 return. (spent..........instantly!!). My taxes through three Presidencies now have been "roughly" the same, percentage wise, and what I mean is I make a fuck-ton more money but it looks and feels like about the same chunk goes out each year(relative), and the return looks the same. (I'm working closer and closer to no return though, the last 2 years, so I can earn the interest on my OWN money). When I go to the store, buying a pack of gum "feels" like the same as it always did, financially. I do, however; wish I had a car towards the end of high-school (late 90's) when gas was like $0.99! But when that went up, everyone I know pretty much adjusted and budgeted differently. Not that people didn't struggle, of course, but this is just one American's experiences. What does kind of suck is that if it weren't for Mayweather and Pacquiao, Boxing would be dead. Where's that next Tyson-type Animal? Found him! Not boxing though, MMA. For fight fans, look into Shane Carwin. 12-0, ALL first round knockouts. Wowza!~ He's a heavyweight. I remember as a kid, a WWF pay-per-view was like $25 or $30. Now I get MMA PPV's for $44. This is over 4 Presidencies as well. Here's a side note, and by this point you're realizing I've had too much caffeine . My philosophical theory on why Gangsterism and being "Bad" became "Popular" in the main-stream. It was the Perfect Storm of Pop Culture Icons all hitting it big at once. It wasn't the flukish, random Madonna or Cindy Lauper, they were outkasts before this legitimizing. It was these elements: Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre put out Snoop's Gangster Rap debut ("rollin down tha street, smokin endoooo...sippin on gin and juice!! laaaaiiid back, with my mind on my money and my money on mah mind!!). Then Tu-Pac, Biggie Smalls, etc. These men basically mainstreamed what was ONCE more "underground," which was Gangster Rap. That's one element of the storm. Next, was when WWF (WWE) started becoming uber-popular. Like a smash, smash hit. It was early to mid nineties (I realize the 80's has history, but they really booned as an industry in the 90's). So, not only was every kid watching and loving this shit, but it became that the bad guys, became the icons. A total 180 from Cheering the Hogans and booing the King Kong Bundy's. Stone Cold told his "boss" "eff you!" with two middle fingers. Icon. Bad guys used to be booed, now they started getting cheered. Degeneration-X started doing "Suck-it!!" as their tag line. I don't know how many kids in my school subsequently starting using the gesture, but it was more than 40%, lol. Being "Bad" flipped, and instead of Hogan, Jim Duggan, Superfly types being cheered, it was Million Dollar Man, real snake-types being cheered. The Movie Scarface did NOT help. And neither did its over exploitation from posters to video games. If you listen to 50-Cent music ever, he takes a lot of his "G" lingo and knowledge DIRECTLY from this movie. Shamelessly. Next, in the perfect storm of main-streaming bad, as "good," was the loosening of FCC on what TV and Radio can say. Saying "ass" became ok, etc. I don't hate on this, but it's happened and you can say alot more on regular TV now. And then. the internet. Now, you didn't have to show up face to face to actually purchase porn anymore, if that was your thing. Nooooo.....you're an anonymous username with noone seeing your (physical) mailbox filled with Playboys, either. The rise of the "bad girl." Pammy Anderson main-streamed breast implants. (this is by no means me complaining). "Hot chicks" from shows like baywatch then started fusing themselves with Pop Music, appearing in videos and despite being referred to as bitches, strutting their shit like they LIKED it. This was the perfect storm, ladies and gentlemen. Document this as history. In high-school, now, the guy with the most clout isn't the Big Athlete, it's who's the most "Street," s0n! This is the New* America! -end tangent. So where was I? Oh, yes. My friend is unemployed. Instead of this ruining his life, he had a few bucks saved and his Government is also protecting him for the mean-time while he finds his ass a job. (Unemployment is giving him $350 a week). His girl's a Nurse. The Country is working for him, the way it worked for my Aunt back in the 90's. He and she paid taxes while employed, they fell off, their Government didn't let their circumstances destroy their lives, and now they're back on the pony. They paid into a system that's paid them back. Even money, in theory, because they averted disaster. (loss of living space, etc.). The Presidents and the Congresses change, but I've got to tell you. It doesn't bring me down. Before discovering political message boards, I had no idea people were at each other's necks like this when they get involved in politics and political discussions. I guess it's easier to become uncivil online. It's also easier to get miffed and pissed off when you read things, that may or may not even be true. In my life experience, this is not what people typically do. Politics is rarely mentioned in my day to day, in the physical world. People are good neighbors for the most part. They talk about sports, their kids, their vacations and their random horrific sitcoms But no, not in this little corner of the world. Conservatives are evil to the Liberals, and vice-versa. I don't like it or practive this dynamic in the real world, but I tell you, it's pretty fucking entertaining to do while I'm at the office. And yeah, I do do my work also thanks. People are so spiteful it's ridiculous and you'd hope they're mostly kidding. lol. I dunno. I'm just saying, my American experience is that my friends, family, acquaintances and co-workers all basically say this: fuck politics. It's hard to see that attitude around here, it's rather "fuck the other side!" And I participate. For fun, mostly, but I participate. My ACTUAL real life views are a little part of both sides, but on here I like to peeve the right more because they just seem more irritable and shit, less personable (but it IS just a forum, I don't pretend to REALLY know them from a hole in the wall). Maybe, just maybe, I shouldn't feed into this fad. I dunno. It just doesn't bug me though, I think it's fun. Y'all skurred of the Gubbamint, or skurred of the Militia! types, do not phase my morale. Peace, have a nice day, go and fuck someone, hopefully for you!