I was having a cup of coffee the other day when my mind wandered onto the question as to what would it be like growing up in 2014 America? Next month marks my 84th birthday since I was grew up in Depression America. But, what would it be like being age 18 in the current world of America?
1. In my childhood, Republicans and Democratic congressmen clashed, but for some strange reason they also ate lunch together and even played a softball game with one another in the summer. Think of it, opposing political opponents who joke, played cards at night over a beer, and still were friends!
2. The president was Franklin D. Roosevelt, cousin of Theodore Roosevelt, a Republican. Imagine two cousins who were on opposite sides of the political spectrum? Heck Franklin even married Teddy’s niece, Eleanor. Today, people within families vote and think together, a thought that would fill me with dread. I was raised to think, to think and decide, based on what I thought, not what neighbors or relatives wanted me to think.
3. Imagine growing up with two presidents who lacked any sense of global policy. Both stumble from one disaster to another. Quite a difference with Franklin Roosevelt who had a comprehensive policy to rebuild America from ground zero, and a policy to halt terrorism in the world. It must be confusing to young Americans growing up with presidents lacking policies, let alone being able to explain them to the American people.
4. I spent my childhood in the Depression,and then was a teenager during WWII. How do I explain that even during the Depression, I had hope the future would be better. I wonder how it would be to grow up in 2014 America in which one worries that there will be no future?
5. I wonder what it would be like growing up with machines in my hand that were the focus of my life, rather than people?
6. I spent my growing up time playing ball with friends or wandering the streets of New York City without the company of parents, I was free to wander and wonder. I wonder what it would be like to always have a parent driving me to play or not allowing me to be me?
7. Frankly, I prefer a world in which I was working at age 8, but a world in which I was an independent person filled with the wonder of youth, and enjoying the freedom to dream the impossible dreams of life.