18 April 2013
By Laurie A. White
All of us at one point or another have heard the phrase, “The WWII generation, was the greatest generation that has ever lived.” Men flocked to army recruiting centers to enlist in the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines. Men and women as young as 18, were willing to leave their wives, husbands, mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, and friends in order to fight one of the most evil regimes in the world. America pulled together and did whatever needed to be done in support of the troops, and to keep the American economy going. Women gave birth to babies knowing that there was a great chance that their husband would never make it home. Women also went to work to help assemble the warfare needed to defend our country. Some women even oiled up their baseball glove to participate our great “American Pastime,” so a little part of America would still be revered, and people could still spend an afternoon at the ballpark. The Women’s Baseball League also served as an escape from the daily news articles and radio broadcasts reporting the status of the war. Americans united, holding flags, showing support to our troops while on leave, many women stayed faithful to their husband in order to keep that family unit together, for the sake of God, and for their children. People united when they learned of a loved one or neighbor who had died in combat, and still supported the troops, regardless of how grim the news may have been. The soldiers were fearless. They had 2 objectives, win the war, and come back alive so they could reunite with their families, meet their children who had been born while they were off fighting, and work to build a stronger America.
That brings me to America in the year 2013, a time where there are hundreds of cable stations and networks to choose from, a time where rock stars and movie stars are revered as gods, a time where voting for your favorite singer on ‘American Idol,’ or ‘Dancing with the Stars,’ is just as, or even MORE important than voting in the city, state, and national elections. It is a time where girls land their own reality series and become famous just for getting pregnant at 16 years old. It is a time where partying, getting drunk, sleeping with one or even 2 people at the same time is considered “cool.” It is a time where social network media is the place where people connect with friends, past loves, or people they were never really close with, and think that over half of them really give a crap about what is happening in their life. It is a time where people flock to the stores and wait in line for hours, sometimes days, in order to be one of the first to own the latest and greatest computer gadget, i.e. Smartphone, laptop computer, iPod, iPad, the latest and greatest video game……..you get the point. It is a time where athletes are paid millions upon millions of dollars to play a sport that they have loved since childhood. It is a time where Super Bowl Sunday is considered a “National Holiday” to many, and many pastors will cancel their Sunday night church service, because their flock has their hearts, minds, and souls on the “Big Game,” rather than their duty to God. The halftime performance is given as much press attention as the game itself, and many of these performers will do as much, or even more (remember Janet Jackson’s, “Wardrobe Malfunction”) that they can possibly get away with, so they can have just a few more days of press coverage, and maybe make the cover of “People” magazine.
Over half of American families believe in the importance of “higher” education. That is not to say that I don’t believe that higher education is not beneficial, but I do believe that society has put more elevated importance on a college education than need be. It is almost impossible for a high school graduate to land a job making more than minimum wage. Therefore, they must take out thousands of dollars in financial aid, or student loans, in order to get that degree, which will land them that interview, which MAY land them that job that pays no more than 30,000.00 or less, in a year. In turn, they have a job that barely enables them to live a comfortable life on their own, and thousands of dollars, plus interest, in the money they now owe for their student loans. On many occasions, they are not using one theology, idea, or study that they spent thousands of dollars for the “privilege” to learn. In fact, they are now learning from the employee manual, and from the day to day tasks of the job they are now doing.
On the day of college graduation, many students have not gained much educational knowledge, because many students have forgotten more than they have learned. However, they have gained the knowledge of how to take a shot, how much alcohol they can consume before they throw up (that one is learned by trial and error), that there is truth to the statement “Liquor before beer, never fear. Beer before liquor makes you sicker.” As a matter of fact, that statement will remain with many people who have challenged it, for the rest of their lives. You are considered one of the lucky ones if you never had to face an unplanned pregnancy, become a victim of rape, date rape, or had contracted an STD that will have to be monitored for the rest of your life.
Many of us older folks look back at our college days with a smile on our face. Not because of the great professors we had, not because of the great education we received, but because how much freedom was at our feet. We laugh about how much we were able to drink at night and feel fine by 2:00 the next afternoon, only to repeat the same excess of alcohol consumption that we did the night before. Many of us had nights where the alcohol blinded our ability to think things through, and we woke up simply ashamed of what we had said, or what we had done.
What I am trying to say, is that with all of these distractions, would this generation psychologically be able to handle another world war? In the midst of an economic breakdown and another Great Depression, would this generation be able to handle and endure the struggles they may have to face? What about another war where they institute a draft, and whether a 19 year old male wants to go or not, would he be conditioned and hardened enough to withstand both the physical and psychological barriers that he will face? Would the women be able to handle the psychological challenges they will face when their boyfriend/husband goes off to war?
Many Americans are unaware of their basic Constitutional Rights. They don’t have a grasp of history, and what can, and ultimately WILL happen when government infringes on those rights. They have been programmed by the media propaganda that’s being fed to them, television and reality shows that entertains them, music that encourages one’s natural desire for lust and sin, sports teams that take up hours of their free time, the social networks in which they have developed false friendships, and the video games that they are glued to for hours on end. Why WOULD someone take the time to study on their own, to research what’s being reported, and to read books on history? With all of these distractions, who has time to DO that?
In closing, I challenge you to ponder the following questions: Have Americans (as a whole), lost their ability to STAND for something, in which they will not fall for ANYTHING? Are they willing to step outside that VERY square box our society has bought into, in order to stand on their beliefs? If so, are they prepared to withstand the backlash they will get from many of their family members and friends? Sure, there are some who stand on the principles they believe in, but that SOME should be the majority, if not, ALL of the American people, and I’m afraid that if we do not have a majority soon, we will lose the freedoms all of us enjoy. The previous questions now bring me to my final question: IS the World War II generation the greatest generation that ever lived? Were the people of that generation simply better people, or are they revered as the greatest generation because they did not have all of the distractions that society has today?