Bear with me for a moment while I rant. My head is going to explode. I wish there were something in the health bill about cleaning up brain matter after my noggin blows. God knows everything else is in it.
For those of you who don’t remember the late sixties and early seventies, it was a time of unrest to be sure. But it was also a time for the rebirth of personal freedom. We burned draft cards and bras. We demonstrated, held sit-ins, and did a bucket full of drugs. We also engaged in something called free love.
Free love, of course, resulted in a large number of draft card-less, bra less parents existing in a cloud of pot, and raising children. Those parents who rejected the materialistic world that their parents shoved down their throats would not allow their children to suffer as they had.
The clear attitude was to let the child experience total freedom as the parents never had been allowed to do. Damn the rules. Free their spirits. Children would realize, as did their parents, the insignificance of wealth and the boundaries of the American Dream.. How could they not choose the freedom to live in a cave, expand their minds, and sell flowers at the airport? They would carry on and ride that freedom train. They would become one with the earth.
Fast forward, to the late eighties and early nineties. Carrying on didn’t turn out so well. Now adults, the American Dream of wealth and prosperity was looking pretty good. Mercedes and a townhouse trumped a VW bus and a commune, and the race to make up for lost time was on. The bras were in again, as was a hunger for the good life. Their children weren’t going to suffer the disappointment of reality. They would have the best of everything, and damn the consequences.
The sacrificial span of time that followed was once again in defiance of a prior generation. Work, work, work for those $500 designer jeans that Buffy needed and that Mummy and Daddy never had as a child. Private schools only for Todd, and the necessary Volvo for transportation to the ski resorts during the winter break. Nannies, schools, and daycare raised the children, to keep up with the cost of basic survival…and the Joneses. “Need” was redefined.
Present day. Responsibility is shrinking with the dollar. The blame game is a fifth freedom. Nothing is anyone’s fault. Dignity and self pride are “Gone with the Wind”. The Bill of Rights now includes everything from health care to owning a home. Lies, shams, and bribery are accepted as necessary to compromise. Biased media influencing every walk of life goes unquestioned, mostly out of laziness to research further. We just don’t have the time.
So here we are, shaking our heads in disapproval for all that we have become. One person “offended” by something subjected to national attention and immediate reparation. Spending money we do not and will never have for “the good of the people”, because when we hear the justifications over and over, no matter how false they may be, they become valid. Idolizing recognition and fame of any kind at any price. Felons ruling the sports world. Addicts, child molesters, and foul mouthed bullies hailed as heroes. Our esteemed leaders not the least shamed by their personal disgraces, tax evasion, or hypocrisy of monumental proportions.
From the “free generation” to the “me generation” in a mere 40 years. It’s been quite a ride. Am I disenchanted? Not really, because somehow the basic values of this great country always seem to resurface. I’m good with it, as long as we learn from each generation. Am I encouraged? Hardly. Not yet. But the pendulum always swings back, and I’m thinking sooner rather than later we will see a “tea” generation. After all, it’s the beginning of a new decade.