Then I grew up. I realized we have a pretty decent system of agreeing how to deal with our differences, and sometimes war and imprisonment are necessary. But in the last few months, it seems like those childish ideas are the ones getting voted in. So I made this comparison between now and 40 years ago.
- Considered communism as a potentially viable government system for the USA.
- Supported protests against lying and war mongering government that was building toward nuclear war.
- Pretty much nihilist and self-centered moral compass.
- Called older people “the establishment” and thought they were out of touch.
- Advocated for the reform of marijuana laws and jailing of people for minor and harmless crimes.
- Pretty sure the lies coming out the White House were the “tip of the iceberg”.
- Questioned the legitimacy of the President (unelected President Ford and Vice President Rockefeller).
- Uncomfortable with patriotic celebrations like the bicentennial.
- Wondered if there was a conspiracy in the government, a secret hidden government.
In between now and then, up to just a couple years ago, my trust in government grew, I understood the complexities of compromise and economic trade-offs and that conspiracies are usually not true, or are quite transparent and get discovered within a matter of years, not decades or centuries. Most elected officials are honest and try to do what they say. That’s still true. Much of the above seemed childish and uninformed when I looked back on it, up to just last summer.
The difference today is half of the government officials are publicly saying they want to destroy the progress we’ve made in the name of some unclear political agenda. So that leads to the comparative list for this year:
- Understand that socialism is what we actually have and we’re a leader among the other free countries with a mix of democracy and socialism and a republic.
- Support protests against a Republican party that supports dictatorships currently killing children and taking over weaker countries.
- Have an ethical system (basically “moral realism”, if you want to google it).
- Don’t use the word “establishment” anymore. People of all ages can be corrupt and violent and self-serving and ignorant. Older people, as well as younger, are supporting foreign governments, defending their self-centered morals, and labeling others instead of getting to know them. Many of them adopted the attitudes from above, attitudes I had when I was 17 years old.
- Drug laws have actually progressed, more people are getting high and not getting busted, but the privatized prison system has become a version of debtor’s prison out of the Dark Ages .
The rest of list from above had pretty much dropped out of memory, until this last few weeks. I hope that reverses again soon. We have made such progress toward a healthier and more inclusive world, one that works for everybody. Let’s not throw it all away.