Last Christmas, my niece gave me a subscription to StoryWorth.  Each week she asks me a question to which I respond in order to memorialize my thoughts and feelings over the past 70 years.  A recent question was, “How has life changed since you were a child?” Well, that opened the floodgates and I’m sure she rue the day she asked me because she received a 9-page, almost 3,000 word answer. 

My blog, I Don’t Get It, describes itself as “musings of a 60+ year old conservative woman on political, social and cultural life in America.” Well, I thought my answer would be a perfect “musing” regarding the political, social and cultural life in America over the past seventy years.  So, here goes:

American life in 1951 and 2021 could not be more different.  I’m not one of those people from Brooklyn who laments the fact property values in Greenpoint where I grew up have gone sky high thanks to all the newcomers, location, etc., and yearns for the good ol’ days.  There was nothing “good” about living in an unair-conditioned, linoleum floored, sink-less bathroom, four-room railroad flat in a three-story walk-up with three other people in Greenpoint in the ‘50s.  I much prefer hardwood and carpeted floors in my own single-family home in the Pacific Northwest. 

But life in America has changed dramatically in the last seventy years and, in many respects, not for the better. 

Yes, we have technology where up-to-date information is now at our fingertips.  There is no comparison between a laptop and a set of encyclopedia. The internet is an incredible tool but it also has allowed people to express the most vile and disgusting thoughts and images while hiding behind the anonymity it provides.    

Cell phones — I keep mine primarily for emergency purposes while out and about (I remember having to use a call box on the freeway for emergency service in the ‘70s) but, for some, they’ve become appendages.  I find it bizarre that young people, in particular, are constantly on their phones while sitting next to friends or at dining tables. 

Medical advancements, better food choices and emphasis on physical fitness are all very good things. We’re living longer, healthier lives.  Cures for polio, different types of cancer, HIV, etc., are all great things.  Cigarette smoking, which was rampart 70 years ago, is, fortunately, not as popular today. 

Since the beginning of time, including the ‘50s, and up until very recently, there were two genders:  boys and girls.  Now, New York City recognizes 31 genders.  Sheer madness. 

Back then, we had real friends.  Now we have “friends” on Facebook who are no more than, in a lot of cases, mere acquaintances.  Decades ago, we actually spent the day playing with our friends in front of each other’s houses.  We’d get mad at each other, we’d make up, and we’d become blood sisters by pricking our fingers with a safety pin and mixing our blood.  We’d didn’t go around carrying knives and hurting each other because somehow we were “disrespected.” We didn’t sit around texting our friends – we went outside and met with them. 

Our parents didn’t have to arrange play dates with our friends.   In the summer, we went out at 9 a.m., came home for lunch at noon, went back out at 1 and eventually came back home for supper.  We were playing, running, riding our bikes, skating, going to the park or the pool and not sitting home watching television or playing video games. We weren’t zombies mindlessly looking at screens all day long. 

We weren’t coddled.  If we played a game, one team won, the other lost.  We didn’t get trophies for participation.  We were taught how to lose graciously.  The goal of growing up was to move out of our parents’ home.  Now, young people seem ill-equipped to be adults and 52% of 18-29 year olds move back with their parents after college.       

We were taught to respect the police. Now, we have a segment of our population that wants to “defund” the police.  Nowadays, the police are the bad guys.  It doesn’t matter what a person was actually doing when stopped by the police.  No matter what happens, it’s the officer’s fault.  The law is clear.  If you think you’re being unfairly treated by the police, you do what they say and then afterwards you can sue for whatever grievance you think you may have.  If the officer tells you to stop, you stop.  You don’t run.  You don’t resist arrest.  A lot of grief could be spared if people just remembered this. 

Women were treated with respect.  Chivalry was commonplace.  Now, millions wouldn’t even know the meaning of the word.  Men opened car doors for women and now don’t hold a door open for anyone.  I believe this all started in the ‘50s with Hugh Hefner and “Playboy” magazine which started the objectification of women in a very negative way when women became convenient sexual commodities. 

Moving forward to the ‘70s, we then had Gloria Steinem and her ilk pushing for women’s so-called “liberation” – from what, I have no idea.  How she was able to sell her movement to American women, I will never understand.  We started out with a large majority of women holding one of the most important roles ever created by God – mothering a child – to a society where those same women now have to, not only raise those children, do just about every chore in their homes BUT hold down a full-time outside job as well.  The idea behind the women’s lib con job was that women could have it all and demand a 50/50 split of childcare and housework while pursuing a job outside the home.  Well, that never happened.

There used to be a societal stigma attached to women who were pregnant when they got married.  I can’t recall even one woman from my early years who had a child out-of-wedlock.  With the introduction of birth control, women were supposed to enjoy unrestricted sex, removing that stigma, and eliminating men from their lives except when needed to be “casual inseminators.” Despite all the sex education that is apparently taught in schools, some women don’t seem to bother with birth control.  “Unwed mother” has been replaced by the ubiquitous phrase “single mother.” Women continue to express their “freedom” by expecting nothing from a man (including a wedding ring) because they were told they could do it all on their own – except, in most cases, all it did was insure that the woman and child remained in poverty.  In 1964, only 4% of white babies were born out-of-wedlock.  Today, the number is 30%.  Again, thank you Gloria!

On the flip side of personal irresponsibility which has resulted from all this, the 1973 United States Supreme Court case of Roe v. Wade is also a by-product of what was happening at that time.  The killing of innocent human beings – 62,000,000 babies since 1973 – has changed the way we look at the unborn.  It is now, in some cases, a means of birth control and a badge of honor if you are to listen to the Hollywood elite and their stories of choosing abortion over their careers.  And now, we have a (Catholic) President who supports unfettered abortion, including late term abortion (which, only a few years back, was totally opposed by almost everyone), and wants us to fund those killings, even though he was a long-time supporter of the Hyde Amendment which prevented the use of public monies for abortion.  How things have changed!

One of the greatest changes in America resulted during the administration of, in my opinion, the worst President in the last seventy years – Lyndon B. Johnson – and his “Great Society” which time has proven to be the major cause for the breakdown of the black family.  In 1964, black children born out of wedlock numbered 21%.  In 2017, 77% of black children are born to unwed mothers.  In essence, the Great Society subsidized unwed pregnancies and changed welfare from a government emergency rescue to a way of life.  Women were encouraged to have children without men in their lives.  Government housing benefits are not allowed if there is a man in the house.  Men, who have become inconvenient commodities, have been replaced by government checks.

As I mentioned, my answer was quite long so I decided to break it up and post it in three section. More to come…….