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Taking a bumpy ride

There are too many things I just don’t understand. Born to the demographic known as the Baby Boomers, I was in grammar school during the tumultuous 1960s. Luckily I missed the 1960s counter-culture movement of the hippies. Not to mention its politically active siblings the Yippies and all the trouble they caused.

That summer of love my late colleague Leon Emo so loved to describe and relive I spent being grounded for a very bad report card. Junior high was a cruel time for me.

Reading about the 1960s isn’t a good way to experience it because the written accounts aren’t reliable. The romanticized or demonized versions of this period can’t be trusted to express the fear and animus created during that era.

Many of our country went from the 1950s modest, short-haired, hard-working population of God-fearing citizens to an unruly 1960s mob. An influx of recreational drug use and excessive alcohol consumption can be blamed for part of it. A lack of trust in the government and its excessive use of force contributed to an already tense period of our history. Something similar, can be argued, is still happening.

I often wonder what trajectory this country would have taken if President John F. Kennedy hadn’t died in Dallas. I often wish I had a time machine that would enable me to experience our country had JFK lived to serve a second term.

How would all the young lives lost in Viet Nam have changed the world we live in now? What kind of people would their children be who grew to maturity without the benefit of parents taken from them and their families? I would like to have seen that America.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau “Boomers,” are people born in the post-World War II era from 1946 to 1964. I reached the age of majority during the bi-centennial celebration. The same summer the well went out. In spite of that I really miss my 20s.

I saw a funny post from one of our former Tribune graphic artists on Facebook this week. She worked for us while in the late 1990s while attending Fresno State. She celebrated her 40th birthday with the associated mock-depression and angst of lost youth.

In my return post I attempted to enlighten her with tales of how another 20 years will make her feel. My hopes were to entertain while reminding her how brilliant she is and she should enjoy this gift we call life. There are far too many people in this country whining about their lot in life instead of embracing the parts of their existence that are amazing.

“I cried because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet!”

That quote is how my mother taught me to deal with disappointment and angry feelings when thing didn’t go my way. Too many people rail because they don’t appreciate what blessings they have and feel life owes them more. Our parents and their parents before them going back many generations lived through truly horrible times.

People once routinely died from diseases that modern medicine has all but eradicated. Access to doctors and medicine was limited by both geography and finances. Many horrific diagnoses were treated by sending the patients home to die. We should be more appreciative of the wonders of modern medicine.

Also it isn’t good enough that we have the freedom to worship any god we can envision. There are people who won’t be happy until everyone else follows their chosen dogma.

Discussing religion and politics is a sure way to ruffle the feathers of some of your fellow birds. Many of my opinions on the subject might cost my beloved newspaper its subscribers so I try to keep those thoughts out of this space.

One view I am comfortable discussing has me asking why some religions adhere to a dress code. I don’t disagree with the reverence shown when one attends church services in simple attire. Expecting parishioners to attend services in modest apparel feels like a manmade policy. I often wonder what Miley Rae Cyrus and other trashy celebrities wear to church.

While I don’t claim to understand the all-mighty I find it hard to believe the Lord cares if a Jewish man wears a yarmulke. The many holy restrictions on women’s attire imposed by other faiths only make sense to me if God is a misogynist. Since the Bible says we are all made in God’s image he can’t hate women, it is a ridiculous idea. The prohibition of cutting ones hair or shaving ones face is a mystery to me as well.

If I want to stir up controversy, discussing contraception is a sure-fire way to accomplish that. In this day and age large families are too expensive to be a viable option. Feeding, clothing and educating a houseful of offspring is a recipe for financial disaster. And yet many believe preventing pregnancies and practicing safe-sex is considered a sin.

Viewing life as a financial balance sheet has created a great deal of disagreement between the various political factions of late. That thought process has led us to elect a highly successful and controversial businessman to the highest office in the land.

The term “buckle up, buttercup,” is being used to advise people that this administration has a different, not near so politically correct, version of how things should be done. Sounds like fairly good advice.

Have a great weekend.

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