I admit it, I’m a Baby-Boomer. And when I grew up, everything was sensible … or certainly seemed to be. Families were just, well … families. Dad, Mom, two-point-four kids, and maybe a dog or cat. Dad worked while Mom ruled the home & daily lives of the youngsters, and probably had to also feed the dog because the kids always forgot. Everyone just sort of expected to do better than their parents had done before them and America was the best darn country in the world.
I grew up a happy kid, blessed to be in a secure family and didn’t want for anything of worth.
Honesty was the best policy. If caught with your hand in the cookie jar, whether at home or in public life, there was a price to be paid. People worked to improve their lives, and in the movies the good guy always won (and got the girl) or at least died a heroic death (in which case he didn’t get the girl) while saving the world from utter destruction.
People didn’t reflexively turn to the teat of big government when their personal lives fell apart. The adults had been through that before. The parents of my generation had grown up during the decade that became known as the Great Depression (and not because it was great).
They sucked it up, hung together, tried harder – and got through. Not always pretty, but always real. It had logic. It worked. And there was an underlying but palpable faith in their futures. It was the natural order of things.
So what the heck happened? When did we (to mix metaphors) “jump the shark”? When did common sense become so uncommon? When did shared values become it takes a village to raise the next generation? And why does that latter phrase really frost me?
It may be that the term “village” begins to evoke uneasy feelings of governmental rules & regulations, versus natural common sense among neighbors. “Village” is, after all, just a word for a bunch of folks living near each other. But labeling it a village instead of, say, a neighborhood, formalizes it. And formality promotes structure, which creates habitual behaviors, which nurture formal rules to live by … which bring us to various forms of government.
City, county, state, federal, one-world … holy moly. It’s gotta stop! Why do we allow so many layers of bureaucracy telling us how to live?
I also think the term it takes a village is disturbing because it assumes the village knows what’s better for the kids than their own parents, a thought which is ludicrous on its face. There simply can’t be enough laws to tell people how to live, trying to construct a nation of well-balanced citizens. Sure, you could set out to create a march in lock-step citizenry made up of subjects of “the state” (sorry, village); but those citizens would be mere puppets for the dictator du jour.
Common sense; the rules of thumb of life, are a bottom-up sort of thing from the people, not top-down from above.
Don’t get me wrong. When a lot of folks live in close proximity, there needs to be some law and order. But not at the cost of humanity. Not at the expense of “love thy neighbor.”
The city of Santa Clarita was founded a mere 30 years ago, but if you attend a City Council meeting (or catch it on local access TV), you can tell from the terminology and mind-deadening procedural processes that to get even the simplest things accomplished there are layers of official ritual to wade through. It’s become a mini-Sacramento. They’re aping Washington D.C., and we all know how ineffective that swamp is, so deeply mired in bureaucracy and double-dealing having nothing to do with the will of the citizens.
Why, it’s enough to give politics a bad name!
People, families and neighborhoods work due to common sense born from life lessons learned. Can we demand less from our various levels of government? I believe not. Don’t let any level of government do your thinking for you … think for yourself.
Steve Cook, Canyon Country