WAKE UP AND MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

During the past two and a half years, Garry and I have logged endless hours watching the current political nightmare unfold. I can’t count the number of hours spent analyzing “millennials,” folks approximately my granddaughter’s age. How disaffected they are. How they aren’t going to vote because “this has nothing to do with me” — a direct quote from my granddaughter.

I love my granddaughter with all my heart, but that just pissed me off to a fare-thee-well.

The world into which the now oft-dismissed “baby boomers” were raised — despite maudlin memes on Facebook — was very far from a perfect world. Classified advertisements for jobs were divided into “Help Wanted: Male” and “Help Wanted: Female.” It was legal and enforced. As for people of color and immigrants, their help wasn’t wanted on any page.

help-wanted-advert-1892

70 years later, the Help Wanted advertisements looked pretty much the same as they had in 1892. Photograph: Library of Congress Archives

Jim Crow laws were legal. Inter-marriage between races was illegal in all southern states and many northern ones. There was no Medicare. No Medicaid. If you lost your job, or your job didn’t offer medical benefits — and employers were not obligated to provide benefits — you were out of luck.

People reminisce about the 1950s and early 1960s as if they were perfect days for everyone. A world in which jobs lasted forever. Spanking kids was totally cool. No one was hungry. True-ish — but only if you were triple white.


Triple white = White collar. White skin. White picket fence.


If you were anything else, you lived a very different reality.

civil-rights-bill-passage-nytimesheadline

Did I mention that abortion was illegal? Illegal abortions were frequently fatal and effective birth control hadn’t been invented. It’s not that we didn’t have sex outside of marriage. Of course we did. Hormones, boys, girls, love, and passion were never different than now, but acting on these urges was far more dangerous. The ramifications of “getting caught” were perilous and possibly illegal, so we were sneaky. We had sex in cars, not beds.

We hid our social lives from “the grownups” who were also “the enemy.” Child abuse was not illegal. It was ignored or absolutely approved of. Beating your kids was “discipline.” Which is why I get enraged every time I read one of those Facebook “nostalgia” posts about how great it was to be able to hit your kids.

Hitting kids doesn’t make them better people. It just informs them it’s okay for bigger, stronger people to hit smaller, weaker ones.

January 22, 1973 woman could finally breathe a sigh of relief. We thought the days of back room abortion were finally over. Maybe yes. But maybe it was just a temporary reprieve.

January 22, 1973 woman could finally breathe a sigh of relief. We thought the days of back room abortion were finally over. Maybe yes. But maybe it was just a temporary reprieve. Photograph: New York Times archive

My generation — we old people — were out there manning the barricades. Marching for justice.

We changed the world. Not as much as we hoped, but some. We certainly tried. We fought racial and gender discrimination. While waiting for the law to change, we hid our homosexuality or trans-gender identities. Not doing so might do us in. We never gave up the fight, but time has had its way. We got old and most of us have put down the signs and stopped marching.

It’s your turn.

Selma alabama 1965 resized

The world got so much better and now it’s getting so much worse again. Looks like the stuff we fought for is going down the tubes.  I know you feel the world has failed to live up to its promises to you. Life is hard. Good jobs are scarce.

The truth is that life — real life — has always been hard. Good jobs were always hard to find. No one told me life would be easy. Did someone tell you that? If they did, they lied.

It’s time for your generation to step up to the plate. Put down your phone. Go fix stuff. Fight for a better life and a better world. Vote! That’s how change happens. If you don’t care enough to stand up for yourselves and your future, no one else will care. All the work we did will vanish. It will be the real 1950s all over again. I don’t think you will like it.

Then, as my mom used to say, you’ll really have something to cry about.

30 thoughts on “WAKE UP AND MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

  1. Maybe it’s the difference in our ages and birthplaces (and likely ‘religions’ although my parents were definitely not what you’d call religious) but the world i was brought up in i saw as definitely not perfect but knew where it was going, and as far as i was concerned, wasn’t all that bad (I was a baby boomer (just) from a working class ‘silent majority’ background). Now i see a world that has almost totally lost it’s sense of direction and is definitely not perfect, if anything it is getting worse – and today i hear from N Korea they have nearly finished their nuclear program and they say it is inevitable that they will have to nuke US cities!!

    I can only hope that one is more pure bluster from a regime that largely only deals in bluff.

    And that there is a world of any kind left to wake up to tomorrow 😦

    love

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s like a freaking 1950s nightmare. I feel like everything I ever accomplished is just sliding away. Assuming we don’t blow up the world or destroy our ecology to the point of no return, it will right itself — eventually. I don’t know if I’ll still be alive at the time. But in the meantime, it really is awful.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Usually i am all for taking a look at the ‘Bigger Picture’ – i thought broadening one’s perspective helped.

        Now i’m starting to see advantages in blocking the rest of the world out and just concentrating on the good things we have to hand – narrowing our focus somewhat. it may not help the world but i think it might help us! 😉

        love

        Liked by 2 people

  2. I can relate to that sense of the world slipping backwards. I am unfortunately old enough to have been part of the changes that are now being ripped out of the hands of our younger generation. As long as you do not separate them from their media devices they can watch the world evaporate around them and not realize it is about them until it is about them on a very personal level. I am waiting for someone to wake up and understand that it is the senators and congressmen that we put in mid term that determine the presidential election. But we are indeed preaching to the choir. I want to ask how is it not about “you” when someone say that, so I ask do you live in this country? Is your citizenship in another country? Other wise yeah it really is about you, it is about all of us. The 1965 Selma march kind of struck a nerve, my Dad was there. So what we are losing is personal and maybe that is the issue for this generation it is not personal for them. Okay that is my rant for the week sorry Marilyn.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This newest generation has always had life handed to them on a plate. They weren’t allowed to work until 18, no paper routes, no selling door to door, no odd jobs without a work permit. Play dates, controlled climate, the equivalent of padding the walls with cotton wool so they won’t get hurt. ‘No kid of mine is gonna work the way I did, nope.” So they don’t work at all.

    And they are letting things slide (“Let George Do It” seems to fit here) horribly, because they don’t realize they ARE the new generation. That is terrifying.

    And Trump ins his naive stupidity seems to be exacerbating the entire process of war. I mean, you have two marginally sane leaders calling each other names and sharpening their swords for war. And there is no place to hide.

    It may seem silly, or petty, but I’ve been putting up new curtains in the house. Now I wonder if I should even bother.

    Like

    • Is this Trump’s way of making us stop worrying about ecological disaster? Now that we are worried about being actually BOMBED with nuclear weapons, why worry about a world that’s getting awfully hot? If they drop the bombs, it’ll just be REALLY REALLY REALLY hot.

      I think some of these weenie kids are beginning to get around to working. Not with any enthusiasm and without any sense of “building a career” or anything like that, but cars and phones and clothing costs money and gradually, moms and dads are pulling the plug on them.

      It’s the apathy that I find so alarming. That whole “why should I care” attitude. Why SHOULDN’T they care? Aren’t we all supposed to care about our world? They don’t even have a meaningful reason why they have that attitude. I’m sure the helicopter parents didn’t help either.

      Garry thinks it’s cell phones. It’s all cell phones. When they got them — most of them were little kids when they got their first phones — they stopped even talking to other people. And many of them are discovering that they didn’t learn any of the basics of human communication. Just as we predicted.

      Liked by 1 person

    • And today, it might turn some girls into women. My granddaughter REALLY wanted to enlist, but she has a couple of physical disabilities and no one would take her. She tried every one of the services. Nope. Bad back, disastrous feet.

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  4. My hippy era (we were teens in the 70s and 20 in the 80s) cousin lives next door to what she scathingly calls “those millennials” . I’d never heard the phrase, but her remark was based on my query about the deterioration of a really lovely old (historic yet) home and garden. “Millennials don’t ‘do’ gardening…even mowing or weeding apparently, nor do they see the benefit in hiring someone to do it for them.” I have nephews and nieces who are millennials and it’s horrifying to watch them really not give two sh*ts about anything but their most immediate fixation/need. I have eight nephews and nieces – five girls, three boys and not ALL of them are that way, the two eldest (girls) are both industrious, hard working and have their eyes on a better future for their future children. They have marched and voted and they do their part to be involved. The next in line is a boy/man and he is a bit self absorbed and single minded, but he’s going to college to get a degree and apparently has a bead on the future (sort of). The next is a girl, who for a time, tried to mimic her elder sister and fit in, but like me (in my time) she’s the oddball in the bunch and is now living at home with her parents (she’s 23 or 24) and working at a secretarial job. She was within grasping range of her b.s. in business too. Her just younger sister is married and has a degree in communications. HER choice of spouse embodies the millennial sadly, he doesn’t ‘like’ to work, he dabbles at studying but without any aim or purpose really and if he fails? Hey.
    His wife will bail him out (apparently how he thinks). Then we run into the ones who are as you described in your post – it doesn’t concern ME, it’s not MY problem, why should I bother.. attitude. These are the 2nd and youngest son of one of my siblings. These two young men (the one is over 21, the other is still a teenager, so he gets a bit of a pass, he MIGHT turn around) seem to believe that playing video games and looking at crap on You Tube and Facebook constitutes a totally acceptable way of living. My sibling is really worried about the youngest, he says the boy is very athletic, but trying to pry the X-box out of his hands and get him interested in doing anything other than play games is nigh on impossible. The kid will graduate high school, but like his elder brother, that might be the sum total of his accomplishments. Neither young man CARES either, which is horrifying. The last one is a girl, older than the teenaged boy, but younger than the 2nd son. She is on a church based mission right now and she has firm plans for her future. College, a degree and a useful life. She sees that working to make a difference for the world is a great thing.

    Sorry that was so lengthy but apparently you pushed some sort of button with me. If I were to seek a cause in why the majority of millennials is the way they are, I’d say it’s because WE (grandparents) made things easy for their parents, perhaps too easy, because in my opinion the parents of the millennials didn’t know how to parent correctly and thus we got millennials. They never had it ‘bad’, so they don’t appreciate how good they’ve got it. They’ll find out. Too bad they are the ones that will drag the rest of us down with them in the search.

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    • I remember hearing my son say he never wanted to work as hard as his father or Garry!

      Now, as the clock has turned and HIS clock has turned, he works at least as hard and probably harder because he didn’t get a degree and it takes a lot more effort to get half the result he would have gotten with an education.

      Eventually, they will all get jobs. They will have to, unless they are planning to live on the street — and they are all far too accustomed to comfort for that. It’s the apathy, the “it’s (whatever IT is) not my problem” that worries me. It’s an ugly world out there. Generations of kids whose primary goal in life is buying gadgets is appalling. If they REALLY don’t care, no one else will care, either.

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  5. I extracted one promise from my granddaughter. She will always exercise her vote, even if she just goes in and verbally declines it. I told her I would come back and haunt her if she didn’t.
    Leslie

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This appears to be the generation that gives new meaning to the nuclear family–sort of like the Waltons, all smooshed together in one house, going from job to job and back, while mummy and dads cook and clean and dust them.

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  7. I don’t think we’re losing our gains as quickly here, for reasons of cultural difference that I find endlessly fascinating. Or maybe, as was suggested by Rich Cohen in his Vanity Fair interview with Margot Robbie, “Australia is America 50 years ago…”. But one of the things i think does make a difference is that voting here is compulsory. We – anyone over 18 – HAVE to care, at least enough to show up and think about it enough even if it’s only to write ‘to hell with the lot of you’ across the ballot paper.
    I don’t consider this an infringement of my civil liberties. Democracy is a privilege for which must all take responsibility,

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