Saturday, November 15, 2008

Wrong Turn At Albuquerque


For anyone who has been either underground or in a coma for the past ten years or so, suddenly surfacing today would be quite a shock to the central nervous system. Such a shock would likely drive the mole back to the dark of the hole and the coma patient into cardiac arrest, thus finishing the job left undone by whatever precipitated the coma in the first place. Suffice it to say that America bears little resemblance to the country I knew a scant ten years ago and is completely alien to my recollections from thirty or more years ago.

Growing up on Long Island was an experience I do not hold as the exclusive pleasure of the region, as I'm sure that there are many like me across the country who feel equally blessed by their own childhoods. I write here, however, of that which I know from personal experience and would welcome comparative narratives from any reader who cares to engage in such. My tome is of morality as I knew it then, as an inhabitant of childhood nirvana.

We had parents who struggled to get by, but nowhere near on the scale that we do now. Dad worked and Mom ruled the home, and when the weekend came, they had neighbors over to enjoy the finished basement with the bar and the music. The magic was on holidays, particularly the Christmas holidays, when the parents would be in the basement and we kids would be out running in the snow and dark, enjoying the holiday lights, while being safe from anything we as parents today fear.

There were no predators skulking in the dark waiting to abduct us and kill us. They may have existed, but they were too afraid of capture. Back then, they would have received a severe beating at the hands of the revellers in the basement, with no chance of litigious recourse to recover damages for their injuries, had they survived.

Back then, bad guys wore black hats and it was accepted philosophy. They were immediately recognizable and even they acknowledged their role. Somewhere, though, we have made a wrong turn. Today, every hat is beige, and even a criminal of the most heinous nature is something of a sympathetic figure.

For someone like William Ayers to be viewed as an upstanding member of society and hold tenure as a "respected professor" at UIC is confounding to me, and I have been awake all this time. I see the accolades bestowed on people who once would be considered toxically detrimental to America, and I shake my head, but at least for me, it has been a gradual process.

There can be no doubt that America has made a wrong turn. Some might refer to it as a left turn. I would be inclined to agree.

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2 comments:

Wild said...

Woody. I offer to you Isaiah chapter 5. It's all there.

JerseyRay said...

As I look over my shoulder into yesteryear I recall that J Edgar Hoover was castigated because he wore womens undies. But at least he put bastard bombers like Ayers in jail for a long time. He didn't make professors out of them.