"Are we going through some sort of national midlife crisis?
Why is [the current] generation different from that of our grandparents?
We’ve taken the spoils that our forebears won for us and squandered our inheritance on iPhones and TVs. On houses that would’ve made even the richest in generations past blush with the embarrassment.
We’ve taken “conspicuous consumption,” once a behavior to be avoided at all costs, and made it into a virtue.
We’ve taken capitalism, an engine of growth predicated on rewarding the hardest working and most creative among us, and corrupted it into a rigged game of three card monte through cronyism and financialization.
...we’ve let it go on autopilot for nearly an entire generation.
The results have been as bad as history would have predicted.
...Our middle class has been systematically gutted, our rural communities left to wither on the vine both economically and socially, and our political class has partitioned themselves away from the people whom they are elected to represent, happy to bicker from their DC perches rather than associate with the lower classes in anything more meaningful than a photo-op.
...Our efforts determine the America that our children will inherit.
It is the sacred duty of each of us to ensure that that inheritance is worth receiving.
...Let us raise a standard to which the wise and honest can repair.
Generations of great men and women have both raised and maintained that standard, handing it to their sons and daughters in turn.
Happy Birthday America.
We’ve got work to do tomorrow.