The truth is that I am a baby boomer. I grew up believing that there was nothing America could not do if we tried our best. If there was a challenge we would meet it. John F. Kennedy once challenged America to be the first country to land on the Moon and we did it.
America has always had this attitude and attitude of going to the next frontier. Whether it was in our early days as settlers, when families would go to that next valley over the next mountain range. The courage of people like Lewis and Clark epitomized our country’s state of mind that anything was possible. We were optimistic and idealistic.
Now for some inexplicable reason, some of our citizens and some of our leaders are reluctant to do anything now. Well, maybe we’ll do it tomorrow. Or the worst one is well, we’ll work to fix the problem when we have to, when something breaks. Even then there seems to be a form of malaise in the air, because even when there is an emergency, the attitude is to just leave the problem alone, as if it is someone else’s problem. Let the future fix the problem.
The truth is that we need to change this negativity and our failure to take responsibility and once again realize that we can do what we set our collective will to accomplish. If only we had the political will to do so. America is rotting from within and we need to take action, but no, we won’t. We have lost our way.
Maybe some of the baby boomers were spoiled by their parents. My parents and a lot of baby boomer parents grew up during the heart of the Great Depression. Things that we take for granted now were not available to our parents. Most did without most worldly material things, and when their children were growing up a lot of parents wanted their children to have what they did not have. Through the emphasis on possessing material things, like a second or third television or a third or fourth car or a second home, we seem to have lost our way.
The more important things like being really happy, having a successful marriage and feeling good about yourself seem to have gone by the way side along with many peoples sense of community. It became all about me. More and more people became drug or alcohol users, trying to find spiritual fulfillment at the bottom of a bottle or at the end of a needle. Marriages now have a failure rate rather than a success rate. Doing better than the Jones became more important than making your wife feel good about herself and acknowledging that she has feelings too.
These feelings of it being all about me or if it feels good do it, have contributed to the absolute failure of our political system. Our representatives are just a reflection of ourselves, we should not expect more of them than we do expect of ourselves.
There are other explanations as well as to why we are living in a state of denial and mediocrity, a malaise of pessimism. With the onset of the information age and new technologies, change is occurring so rapidly that some people aren’t ready for it. They want to call a halt to scientific and technological advancements and discovery. The new problems that we all face are a cause for a pause and sometimes a resentment that things are different. Progress moves us out of our comfort level.
As a result you have those who are willing to trust people in authority and science, but are suspicious of the captains of industry. But you also have those who like to think of themselves as individualist, who don’t like government to interfere into their affairs.
Along with an era of dramatic change, an era of disbelief and a return to superstition, anti-science and anti-reason has mushroomed. This era of disbelief is an equal opportunity belief system in that people who think of themselves as being on the left wing of the political spectrum and those on the right wing agree on disbelieving in things that they are uncomfortable with.
On the left you have those who don’t believe in having their children vaccinated. Also you have those who refuse to eat any food that has been genetically modified. There is no scientific evidence that vaccinations lead to autism, but you can’t change the minds of those who will claim they read otherwise on the internet. Regarding food, we forget how some of our food was created by cross breeding two existing foods to make things such as grapefruits and other fruits. But no without any scientific evidence thus far to prove to the contrary genetically made foods are evil and dangerous.
I remember my taking care of my Mom. The media reported how butter was bad, so I stopped using butter and used margarine instead. Then all of a sudden, a report came out saying that margarine was really bad for you. Boy did I feel guilty. We have heard other stories about eating eggs. Well, I’ve decided the heck with all of these contradictory reports. After all, they had to give those mice a million doses of whatever, to get their results. I decided that taking that many doses of anything would make anyone sick, so moderation became my mode of conduct.
Now, we have similar problems with people on the right wing of the political spectrum as we do on the left wing. They are in denial. They denied for years that any climate change was taking place. The new thing is yea, I can see climate change but man had nothing to do with it. Let’s get real, climate volatility is upon us and the river and the oceans are rising. So let’s stop denying it is happening and plan to deal with the new reality instead of being in denial and doing nothing.
Then there are the conspiracy believers. It’s all a conspiracy you know. We never landed on the Moon. There are too many conspiracies and too little space to poke fun at all of them. It is amazing really in that the one area of discovery, the last frontier, the frontier of space, some people don’t want to believe we landed on the Moon. I wonder what they think of our landing on Mars?
Then there is the denial of evolution. Some people actually believe that the earth is only six thousand or so years old and that man and dinosaurs lived on earth together, at the same time.
The point is that we need to believe in the scientific method and how it can lead to discoveries to better our lives. But these disbelief’s speak to a bigger problem and that is our lack of faith in what is real. I had my shots, my vaccinations, and I never had whooping cough. Now, children are getting sick, real sick.
We have experienced periods of insecurity and change in our past. People were and still are afraid of fluoridation. I still remember some extremely serious people who insisted the Russians are coming, the Russians are coming. Well, yes we did get a lot of immigrants from Russia, but I don’t think that is what they had in mind.
Gee, my Mom and Dad, saw amazing change, from the horse and buggy to radio, automobiles, dish washers, appliances that cleaned clothes and dried them, and they saw us arrive in outer space. Let us have the courage to move forward. Alan Shepard, John Glenn and others were on the tip of a rocket sent into outer space, and our astronauts took more than one step for mankind on the Moon. My parents really saw dramatic change and they were not afraid.
As Franklin Roosevelt said we have nothing to fear but fear itself. Let us leave our fears in the past.
America led the world in innovation, and we can again. We need to accept change, and embrace it, rather than be afraid of it and deny that change is happening. The one thing I liked about Ronald Reagan was that he was an optimist, and he made people feel better about America. Well, we need a shot of optimism, now. We need to be the doers that we once were. We can have a better future, but only if we would accept the challenge of the present.