A comparison between the 1960’s and the 2010’s.
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The recent shootings in Dallas and Minneapolis, along with the resulting protests and police assassinations, makes us wonder if America is spinning out of control. Racial disparity is the highest it has been since the 1960’s when our cities burned and people died. If the 60’s taught us anything, violence can easily erupt despite the best intentions for peaceful and nonviolent protests.
Today, we live in a land of political correctness where it is acceptable to say “Black Lives Matter,” but not “White Lives Matter” or “Blue” or any other color. We also seem to conveniently overlook the fact whites are killed more than blacks by the police by a wide margin of 2:1. Maybe this is because our president is African-American and insists on such correctness.
According to Gallup, our morality is steadily declining. To illustrate:
* Many years ago, declaring bankruptcy was considered a disgrace, now it is commonplace and a convenient way to avoid paying your bills. Over the last 100 years, bankruptcy in the United States has slowly climbed. It began to accelerate in 1980, when there were less than 500K filings, and skyrocketed to its height of +2M in 2005. True, bankruptcy will affect your credit and future ability to use money, but it has become the escape hatch of choice for people inundated with loans or bills. Declaring bankruptcy may get you out of the hole, but it certainly will not help your creditors.
* Divorce was considered scandalous for many years. Attitudes change though and the 1970’s marked the decade where the divorce rate began to skyrocket.
* Pregnancies out of wedlock were also considered a family disgrace. Since the 1960’s though, it has steadily increased. For example, in 1980 18.4% of all births in the United States were to unmarried women; in 2007 the rate was nearly 40%.
* Premarital sex, which was long considered a taboo, accelerated dramatically in the 1960’s, from 22% to 74% in 1991.
* Being unemployed was considered a black mark against a person, particularly if you were fired. Not so anymore, primarily due to the financial instability of our economy.
* It used to be, the very idea of accepting charity from anyone was considered an embarrassment. Not so anymore. Today, over 100 million people accept federally funded welfare.
* Female-headed households has grown considerably since 1960 at about 8% of households to 23% by 2000.
* Whereas attending church was considered a natural part of life years ago, attendance has steadily declined since the 1960’s.
So, what caused these changes? During the 1960’s, it was a revolt of the attitudes and values of our parents. Likewise, in the 2010’s, the Millennials are trying desperately to distance themselves from the Baby Boomers, including lifestyles, work habits, and politics. For example, the Millennials now embrace extreme sports and high living, and consider the rise of Craft Breweries versus traditional American beers. They also despise micromanagement and want to be more entrepreneurial. As to politics, they avoid capitalism and embrace socialism, probably because they do not understand the difference between the two. Rational political dialogue is replaced by visceral shouting.
During the 1960’s, places like Chicago, Watts, Newark, and Selma became icons of disturbance in our country. Likewise, in the 2010’s, it is Ferguson, Baltimore, Dallas, Minneapolis, New York, Atlanta, and Oakland.
The 1960’s was a decade where a counterculture of drugs emerged; where people like Timothy Leary encouraged young people to “turn on, tune in, drop out,” and people like Dr. Benjamin Spock encouraged parents to give their children more freedom and independence as opposed to discipline and teamwork. It was a decade where our music changed, and the words accompanying it reflected the mood of the young people, of protest and social change. And thanks to the space race of the 1960’s, our technology changed in leaps and bounds, and the electronic media became a dominating influence in our society. Likewise, the 2010’s saw the rise of drugs, particularly heroin, significant changes in music, and a growing addiction to technology.
In both decades, parental attitudes and values were challenged and a new libertine era of permissiveness was born. We have lost respect for our government, our institutions such as schools, churches, the rule of law, and the concepts of conformity and teamwork. Although we didn’t realize it at the time, we tried to reinvent America with youthful exuberance. However, as long as we remain governed by the U.S. Constitution, the ship will somehow right itself.
Evidently, this is something we must suffer through every fifty years. The next revolution should take place in the 2060’s, assuming the country hasn’t been overthrown by then.
Keep the Faith!