Once upon a time in America…
Once upon a time in America, the air was clean and sex was dirty… the government could be, and was, trusted to look out for the people…our armed forces were the best in the world…the police were our protectors…a man’s word, or handshake, was all that was needed for a contract between them…that was once upon a time in America.
Now, it seems that things have been put topsy-turvy. Very few people trust the government…sex is almost forgotten with the advent of electronic gadgets, and our demographics show that clearly…the military is not just being decimated, it is also being shamed and wussified…a contract today has to be reviewed by very sharp lawyers to make sure that neither side is cheating, or being cheated…every man and woman that dons a police uniform immediately becomes a target for some wannabe outlaw looking to make a name for himself.
Once upon a time in America we led the world in automobile production and innovations. Not so anymore…the “big three” which was General Motors, Ford and Chrysler, have gone elsewhere for the most part. Detroit is but a shadow of its former great self. As a matter of fact, you have to really dig to find out which auto manufacturer is owned by what other auto manufacturer. What was once called a “foreign car” is now made in this country, while vehicles that used to be made in the USA are now made in foreign countries.
As a student of history it appears to me that wherever the British Empire was, and lasted for any length of time, the Brits left a legacy of language, politics and manners. The United States has never been an empire-building nation so it’s difficult to describe what we might have left behind in countries that we conquered and occupied. Now, before you say anything, yes, we conquered Germany and Japan. We helped them get back on their economic feet and we now have them as economic competitors, and we did not keep them as spoils of war.
Once upon a time in America the school systems across the country taught, along with the three “R’s”, some geography, some music appreciation, some shop for boys and home economics for girls. If you were smart enough to get into college you soon learned that it was a place that trained you for the real world. Some of that training invariably was discussions about the most contentious of subjects, such as music, religion, politics and sex. Now, so I’m told, college students must go to a free speech zone, after they obtain a permit to utter that free speech.
In my youthful days we listened to the radio and moved pins on maps to see how the war was going in Europe or the Pacific. Today, our kids may suffer indignities by just wearing the uniform of their country…and some of them are murdered for the same reason.
My cousin died when he was 22, flying in World War 2. He was a navigator on a B-24 and coming back from a raid on Ploesti in Poland, the aircraft was hit and went down in the Adriatic Sea. He was severely injured during the crash and died the next day and was buried at sea. Today, in America, we have men and women of around that same age, who need “safe places” because someone wrote something in chalk on the sidewalk…or because they were “offended” when the Star Spangled Banner was sung and the Pledge of Allegiance was recited. The recent spate of people not standing for these is, at least to me, indicative of the gradual-but-growing disrespect for this nation, from people who can express their distaste simply because they live in this country! That’s irony for you.
Once upon a time in America, a great man, a black man, said, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” Now, almost 49 years later, we have black and white hatred, with groups being pushed to the brink of anarchy by people that can only be described as rabble-rousers. Some of these people have no regular jobs, or they’d be at work instead of rioting in the streets, or getting undeserved time on the TV news. Some of these people probably have not paid income tax in years simply because they haven’t worked in years. Personally, I will lay the biggest share of the blame for the divisiveness that’s growing in this country at the feet of the current occupant of the White House, Hussein himself.
Once upon a time in America, the news and the mail was delivered by horseback, then trains, airplanes and then on television. We had people like Edward R. Murrow, Walter Cronkite, Chet Huntley and David Brinkley and when they said something you could take that to the bank, it was that solid. We respected these folks because they reported the news, they didn’t try to make it, or make it about themselves.
Today, in my not-so-humble opinion, there’s no such thing as a journalist anymore. We have people who are personalities, celebrities, but not objective journalists.
Once upon a time in America…may never come again. So very sad.
Image: By Unknown – http://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/factsheets/factsheet_media.asp?fsID=1537, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18893803