Saturday, January 31, 2009

A One Home Economy?

After almost 30 years of the Reagan Era, we are certainly entering a new era in the United States. If the Reagan years were defined by blind faith in free market and arrogant foreign policy, what will the Obama Era usher in?

Although it may be a harrowing transition for many Americans, I think this era will be defined by a humble, back-to-basics lifestyle and sustainable living. I'm imagining a future where Americans are more resourceful, and less inclined to solve their problems by heading to the mall. The Reagan Era encouraged us all to be vigorous consumers; the Obama Era will nudge us toward growing our own foods and exploring self-sufficient ways heat and electrify our homes.

I'm imagining a future where people re-acquaint themselves with their neighbors, and get more involved with their community. The Reagan Era started with the ME decade; the Obama Era will nudge us towards more collaboration, and a desire to be rooted in one community year-round; a future where people are occupied with month-by-month nurturing; the kind of nurturing the anchors a person to an area for all four seasons.

This time of year in Jefferson County, there are so many communities that are on the brink of being ghost towns, not to be defibrillated until Memorial Day. I'm talking about the areas where seasonal residents occupy a home for a few months, and then head back south by Labor Day.

For the last three-four decades, it has been a status-symbol for middle-class baby boomers to own two homes, their winter home and their summer home. But the Obama Era might encourage people to own just one home; to cut down the travel expenses, to consolidate their property expenses, and to reduce the various pecuniary hassles of living in more than one state.

Maybe the Obama Era Americans will re-claim their grit and we'll see families willing to live through long, cold winters. Maybe there will be a slow down on the trend of young populations migrating and settling in the South and West. Maybe having a summer home will be considered an arrogant extravagance. Maybe the ties of the community will inspire people to remain by their neighbors year-round.

There will always be cottage-country in Jefferson County – there are some parts on the Lake Ontario shore-line that are downright uninhabitable during the winter months. But small town communities may actually, once again, become a Norman Rockwell painting of winters past, with neighbors humbly living all four seasons together.


JJ said...

Personally, I don't get the whole snowbird thing. I can't really enjoy a spring and summer unless I've lived through a North COuntry winter. Humans needs all four seasons. Humans need to hibernate and, yeah, be a little depressed for a few cold months each year. Not having those winter months will screw up with your head.

Anonymous said...


RWiley said...

I am with JJ on the snow bird thing. Florida is for people who are never happy where they are. Their state sport is road rage and their favorite desert is Katherine Harris.