Thoughts on Life, Art, Photography, Technology, Teaching and Travel…..
Things have changed so very much in this country over the past 50 years. I just returned from Easter service at my Catholic church where this Irish Catholic has attended mass since moving to Eastern North Carolina back in the mid-80’s. The church was packed with people standing in the aisles and all the way out to the entrance door. You only see this phenomena on Christmas and Easter and our Pastor Father Frank made note if it in a tactful way during his homily. I’m 60 now and have many memories of going to church with my family up on Long Island, NY back in the late 50’s and 60’s.
My first observation as I scanned the packed church was that I don’t think I saw one woman or girl with a hat. Now that may seem like a small thing, but it just struck me for some reason as a symbol for just how much things have changed since growing up in New York back in the 50’s and 60’s.
I grew up in the typical “Leave it to Beaver” type family with two younger brothers a sister and a loving Mom and Dad who are still together to this day after 60+ years of marriage. We ate dinner together most every night and when I got out of line (which was quite often) my parents would essentially, in no uncertain terms… kick my butt. We knew right from wrong – that is we were taught there was a difference between right and wrong and not attending mass with my family was not an option no matter what excuse I could come up with.
It was a simpler time and life was not nearly as stressful as it is in 2013. I was able to be a kid with no real worries until going to college in the early 70’s and then I had to grow up really fast when I enlisted in the Army right after graduating. A magical and relatively stress free childhood ended for me in Basic Training as I entered the next phase of my life…adulthood.
Young people have to grow up so much faster these days. It seems they have lots more stress and challenges in their lives and are forced to “grow up” very fast, due to such factors as social media, divorce and the literal bombardment they get of adult/political content in television and the internet. Our country is also intensely polarized on many levels whether that be young vs. old, left vs. right, gay vs. straight, Christianity vs. secularism, etc.
These emotional, political and intellectual challenges have created an American culture of defensiveness, entitlement, fear and distrust that impacts everyone both young and old. This is not the country I grew up in and I don’t believe all the changes (for the most part) have been positive for America. Of course the Civil Rights movement and ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act for example) have been great and positive strides, but it seems we have lost a sense of unity, confidence, faith and pride as Americans. It’s almost to the point now where it is politically incorrect to be patriotic, have faith and love America. I mean there are now Elementary schools banning the term Easter and Christmas for fear of hurting someones feelings. One person complains and everyone suffers. It’s getting ridiculous and political correctness is totally out of control and adding to the anxiety level and frustration of a great many Americans.
How did we get here? I can go on and on and delve into my political beliefs in more depth which are in themselves politically incorrect, but it’s Easter Sunday and all I want to do in this post is share my observations. I believe a good many of our political leaders on both sides of the political spectrum are more concerned about power, prestige and serving themselves than the people who voted for them. Our country is in trillions and trillions of dollars in debt that is not sustainable, yet the taxing and spending continues crushing the middle class. I am very concerned and sad for the younger generations who are going to be burdened by this crushing debt and can’t find viable employment – unfortunately many of them don’t even realize how its going to impact their lives in the years to come.
All I can say this Easter Sunday is I hope and pray things begin to turn around in America and people start waking up to what is happening economically, spiritually and culturally to our country. If we don’t, America will no longer exist as we know it. Now I realize there are many people who want this to happen – all I can say is…be careful what you wish for.