A followup to the preceding post.
“Yes, we can change the world,” we sang over and over again in the 1960s and ’70s.
But we didn’t.
Sure, we made good music. Lots and lots of it. But the capitalists moved in quickly and, well, capitalized on our good vibes. We gladly traded free love for cash.
We didn’t really change the world much at all. In fact, the world is worse off today than it was when we were kids. We really didn’t give much thought to the kids of today or tomorrow, because we were too busy singing “Sha na na, let’s live for today.”
That “today” is now yesterday, and on this today, well, see the preceding post here about the Anthropocene epoch. Get used to that term, because you’ll be hearing a lot more about it as our species reaps the karma it has sown.
My generation could have changed the world. We had the momentum to effect great change. But we succumbed to the capitalist system.
Can we do anything about it now?
You couldn’t be more wrong.
You did change the world and for the better.
“Worse off” is a relative term, but overall, my world in far, far better than my parents’ world, and my daughter’s world is significantly better than mine.
In the 50’s, women had few rights. Blacks almost none.
In the 50’s there was at least one lynching each week.
In the 50’s ours was a very patriarchal society and the woman’s place was in the home.
In the 50’s birth control was “not tonight, dear, I have a headache”.
Yes, inflation has eaten into our cash. A dollar is worth a 1960 quarter. But our parents had the same problem because a 1960 dollar was only worth a 1930 nickel. In 1960 an executive salary was $60K – today it’s a starting wage. But in 1960 I remember my father celebrating a big raise to $200 per week. I just bought a new car, and the price tag was more than my parents paid for their first three houses combined. My grandparents bought in an upscale neighborhood in 1940 and bought a house on one acre in Houston for the unheard of price of $5,000.
But, I digress. Don’t confuse inflation with a metric for “worse off”. My daughter will likely pay more than $1 million for her first house, but she is just two years out of college and already making just north of $100K/year. I was working for 30 years before I broke $100K.
I’m digressing again, aren’t I?
OK, how are we “worse off” then the generation the we are following?
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I was talking about Mother Earth and how we sold her out, not about our material possessions and the various rights we have. Yes, some humans are better off today, but the planet itself is not better off than it was when I was a child. It is worse off. I suppose I should have made more of a link between this post and the preceding one.
I will alter the title of this post to reflect that.
“but the planet itself is not better off than it was when I was a child. It is worse off.”
In 1980 Los Angeles, on a clear day you could see a few hundred yards through an orange haze.
In the 1980s I recall Canada and New England choking with acid rain that was killing forests and etching buildings.
In the 1980s you didn’t swim in the Gulf Coast beaches because you would be covered in tar balls from the oil floating in the water.
In the 1980s the Houston Ship Channel was called by locals as the Houston Shit Channel because of all the untreated sewage flowing through it. (I remember the newspaper headlines when a live fish was found there).
So, again, how are we “worse off” than prior generations?
Well, DroneMann covered most of the ground I would have, and didn’t even get into gay rights or medical care.
Yes, life sucks for a lot of people, but 2000 years ago Jesus supposedly said “You shall always have the poor among you” (apparently even God couldn’t fix that!), and it will take much more than a small portion of one generation to change that worldwide. And the ‘peace’ generation WAS only a small portion of that generation, in only a few countries.
Yeah, we sang kumbaya, protested the war, did drugs, had sex (if we could get it!) and generally did a lot of adolescent rebellion things, but upon becoming adults the cold reality of making a living struck in. Plus, rens of thousands of us had to go off to war whether we wanted to or not. That left wealthy conservatives to get the education and become future leaders.
So no, our generation didn’t drop the ball; we never really had it and if we did, it was taken away by those with the power to do so. Considering that, it’s quite amazing that as much as HAS changed for the better was accomplished!
That said, the world is going to hell in a handbasket and creating an ‘every man for himself’ attitude with mistrust/hatred for just about anyone. Trump, of course, is the poster child for that.
And I must point out that when you say ‘my generation’, you’re just a kid and no one expected anything from your generation anyway, you silly girl! 😉
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I guess I didn’t make a clear link between this post and the preceding one. My bad. As I explained in my response to Steve, I was talking about the state of Mother Earth, not about the possession and rights we have acquired. So, I have altered the title of this post to reflect that.
The planet is sick. We could have done something to stop that, but we were too busy smoking dope, making music and, ultimately, selling out . . .
I’m not so sure that changes anything. We have made enormous strides in lessening pollution worldwide (well, China not so much) and still have far to go, but it’s been a pretty short space of time and that generation is only recently getting into positions of power.
But you are right that no one pretty much gives a jolly damn. “I’ve got my own life to deal with; let someone else fix the mess we got ourselves into.”