Divided - Children, Parents And Nation
Date: Saturday, November 18 2006
Divided - Children,
Parents And Nation
By Jim Mortellaro
It's been a long time since 1953, when I first began to perceive life as it really is. In that year, I was exactly ten years old. Dad bought his first car. We lived in the country (Bronx, New York in that year, in that part of the Bronx, *was* the country).
Life was good. OK, so there was Senator McCarthy, the Korean War and crooked politicians (business as usual) but my age, my family culture and life precluded excessive worry over those issues. To me, my worst nightmare was how to tell Mom I really didn't believe in Santa Clause. That happened in 1947. Actually, I never believed in Santa. But that's another story. Besides, compare then with now and those of you who go back that far will admit that things then, were a hell of a lot better than things now.
In those times, in my first decade, anyone who wore a badge was to be respected. I said "Sir" and "Mam" and words like "Thank you" etc. I was polite. I was being educated in a parochial school taught by the Marist Brothers. Actually, I lied. I also had to worry over what was a mortal sin and during confession each Saturday, had to go through the rules in order to determine how to confess one sin over another.
That too, is another story. But I got over it. I grew up and began to mature.
Politics, politicians and government however, did not mature. Unless you consider deterioration as maturation. I began to realize that politics and politicians, government and those who governed, were, are and always would be, crooks. More and more, the news media uncovered greater numbers of politicians who took bribes or broke the law in sundry ways.
These men were punished for their crimes. Not like today, when politicians who were indicted for various crimes now hold seats in government which, in past times, would have precluded them from working at cleaning spittoons and les bole de toilette. Not so today, eh?
In 1953 our nation was united. True, there was Republicans and Democrats. Young people as is the culture of the young, were liberal. Or they were liberal in the face of their parents being Conservative. That's the way it was and that's the way it is. But we were educated. We had information. And when I write, "They were educated ... " I mean to say they understood current events to a much greater extent than young people do today.
As an example, almost every kid I knew could recite the names of the president and his administration. Almost every kid. In school, we were required to read a newspaper designed specifically for kids. I found out after reading these weekly newspapers, that I began to become current with events at that time. In fact, I began reading print news media, magazines and books. This began in school, when the system exposed young people to news channels. When it dawned on us that we could keep up with current events merely by doing a little reading. After a while, it became habit, habit which lasted all our lives. We are the Baby Boomers.