The World Today – and Where We Were Just Yesterday

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by Gary Spina

 

The technological age we enjoy today began with the government satellites that orbit the earth making it all possible.

When you consider how dependent upon technology the modern generation of Americans are, you can begin to understand how many of our young people see no danger in a big central government regulating everything we do. In fact, the only lifestyle our children and grandchildren have ever known depends upon big government. Our modern world is too big, too expansive, too beyond any one person and we need the government to keep it all going, and keep us all.

Did I forget to complete that last sentence with the word “safe”?

A person born in, say 1945, for example, may see things differently from the youth of today who have no memory of life without cellphones, text messaging, instant messaging, SKYPE, DVDs, wide-screen televisions, radios, computers, iPads, GPS locators, and all those violent, sadistic video games they soak into their brains. Consider how completely, totally, utterly dependent they’ve become upon electricity and upon all the electronic communications that the government is so eager to regulate and tax. Consider how so many young people are so willing to vote on Election Day for liberals and socialists who promise big government oversight of all the things in life they cannot live without.

Things were different in 1945 when the United States population was just short of 140 million people. We’re told that was the population total, but beyond that number, the demographics are skewed because without computers back then, the methods of census-taking were decisively flawed. And so today we are left with various sources giving us various demographics.

So, what’s the big deal about accuracy anyway? We have computers today yet we can only estimate the population of illegal immigrants, the percentage of our gay community, the homeless, and the hungry.

Generally, in 1945, over a third of Americans lived a rural country life, and farming employed almost half of our work force. Many farms and many homes had no electricity and no indoor plumbing. If you owned a radio back then, it was a luxury, and if you had no electricity, you ran your radio off a battery as big as a truck battery. Even if you had electricity, it wasn’t until 1970 when tractors essentially replaced working farm animals. Life was simple and it was all most people ever knew.

Families tended to be closer back then, maybe because the technology to communicate over long distances was yet in its infancy.

Many people grew their own crops, hunted their own meat, and fished the creeks and lakes. If you lived close to the ocean, you were blessed. People had root cellars and they preserved their meat and fish by salting, curing, drying, and smoking. If they drove a car or truck, their gasoline or diesel may have been stored out by the side of the barn on stilts and towers in raised storage tanks so the fuel could be gravity fed from hoses and nozzles into their fuel tanks.

They did not lay awake at night wondering what would happen to their food supply or their heating system in the aftermath of a terrorist attack on our nation’s electric power grid. They did not worry about catastrophes to our military’s electronic systems or anyone hacking the Internet. Their lives were not dependent upon their laptops and their home computers and their ability to email or text. Their accounts in the local bank or in the stock market were not stored electronically, nor were their automobile, home, and life insurance policies

But today, modern technology is the answer to a liberal’s big government dreams – and schemes.

Today we are so covetous of the latest and the most outrageous technology we are will to accept odious intrusion of our privacy. Our most personal secrets are stored somewhere in “the cloud” where others have access. And we are vulnerable.

Our daily activities and our lifestyle have grown beyond any one individual. Now we look to government overlords, the director of the Federal Communications Commission, czars, cabinet secretaries, bureaucrats, Congress, the president, the courts, the United Nations, the World court, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and all things big and powerful to keep our wild global lifestyle running without interruption.

But there are some of us who remember the 1940s and 50s – even as the world around us is struggling to keep up with what’s happening to our computers, cellphones, and iPads – even as the government is regulating, licensing, and taxing the carbon we exhale and the methane from our cow and sheep flatulence. And don’t think for a minute they are not eyeing us along with our livestock.

But as long as they give us our electronic toys, we accept the unacceptable. And someday soon, when the first human is cloned, we will no doubt accept that affront to God and creation – that unpardonable sin – and somehow the government will find a way to tax even that.

We are confused. The government has taken over our schools, and they’ve changed even the language we speak, and things are so big, and we are overwhelmed. But maybe that is exactly how it is all designed to be.

Slowly, ever so slowly, we are being herded into big cities and into the urban sprawl – never to return to our family farms and ranches. In urban America we find mass transit and fewer highways – all in an effort to discourage us from driving automobiles that pollute the air. We are lied to about global warming. Most of our open spaces — land, both public and private — farms and rangeland, forests and wilderness areas have been taken from us. We cannot even grow our own home gardens without government interference and regulation. New Environmental Protection Agency regulations restrict and control what we can grow even in our own gardens for our own consumption. Our gardens are now officially “Brownfields” and are regulated as “Urban Agriculture.”

In the EPA’s 2011 guidelines we learn we must take soil samples before we plant a garden. We are instructed about watering, pesticides, fertilizers, and chemicals. We are restricted if our gardens are near machine shops, car washes, junk yards, wood preserving companies, or any house or structure with lead-based paint. And they instruct us about soil clean-up:

“If results indicate that the existing soil is not safe for gardening activities and you are planning to plant in-ground, remediation may be necessary. Work with your state environmental agency’s Voluntary Cleanup Program to determine which remediation technique would be most effective for your site. Consider cost, accessibility, the timeframe needed, environmental effects, and effectiveness for agriculture before choosing a remediation technique (RUAF 2006). Techniques most applicable for agriculture projects include physical (excavation, installing geotextiles, soil washing or soil vapor extraction) or biological (microbial, phytoremediation, or application of soil amendments).”

It all kind of makes you miss the old days. I suppose back then, without electricity or indoor plumbing we were considered “poor.” But “poor” is a subjective term, and unlike today, most people back then never considered being poor a permanent state of existence.

How did it all become so twisted up?

I would bet that, if a boy today understood how beautiful America was back then, he’d be willing to give up his electronic toys and gadgets. Maybe going back to basics, he wouldn’t have much, but he wouldn’t need much and he wouldn’t want much.

He’d be a boy, an American boy, in a Godly world of simple morality and common sense — the way being an American boy was meant to be.

And maybe it would be the evening of November 30, 1956. The harvest is in, the fields lay fallow, the wind is icy cold and the skies are dark and moody. Before coming into the house, the boy hides his pipe and tobacco in the old hollow tree behind the garage. He comes in through the door, into the warm kitchen where Mom’s homemade stew is simmering on the woodstove.

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At supper all the talk between Pop and Grandpa and Uncle Mitch is about the Floyd Patterson – Archie Moore fight on the radio later that night.

And later, after supper and the supper things put away, the boy sits with Pop and Grandpa and Uncle Mitch and Grandma all gathered at the kitchen table, the men sipping the good stuff and Grandpa smoking his pipe.

The table is pulled close to the shelf where the radio is broadcasting the fight out of Chicago Stadium, and all of it – the blow by blow – all the live drama coming across in a scratchy transmission as everyone huddles around the table in subdued tension.

The men are drawing deep breaths or holding and catching their breaths and hanging on every word of the man calling the fight. There’s the noise of the crowd, and you can almost hear the pop – pop — popping sound of the gloves hitting home – the blur of speed and power — Patterson slamming Moore with body blows that take the wind out of Moore – Patterson bobbing and weaving throwing lightning-fast punches.

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Pop! Pop! Pop! Now Mom comes from somewhere at the stove or at the icebox to join the others at the table. And now it’s the 5th round and now Uncle Mitch is on his feet shouting and Pop and Grandpa are cheering wildly — and Mom yells a guttural “Yes!” and balls up her fists as Patterson drops Moore with a powerful left that comes out of nowhere!

And suddenly Grandma who has been holding it all in has tears flowing down her cheeks and smiling joyously at the same time because the young Floyd Patterson is going to be the new and youngest heavyweight champion of the world — and he’s always been her “Gentleman of Boxing” even before the rest of the world would know him by that nickname.

Back then, that November night in 1956, the only worry we had in the world was whether Archie Moore would get up off the canvas.

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