The first post for Traditional Graffitti was published on primary election day in New Hampshire. Traditional Graffitti is not intended to be just a political commentary site. I began writing this blog because I like many Americans am disgusted by the direction of our country.
I am recently retired, but while working, I had the privilege of attending a training. It was intended to assist me in understanding the different perspectives of the generations that make up our modern society.
This training had an unexpected side benefit for me. It reinforced my belief that across racial, economic and religious lines we shared common values, especially those, who were fortunate enough to be born in the 1950’s and 60’s.
Our instructor was a very patient African American gentleman born in the 1950’s. I listened attentively to his presentation and was fascinated by the topic and robust discussion that ensued, so I engaged him in personal conversation during the presentation breaks. We had discussions about our youth and how we interacted with our neighbors and friends.
Surprisingly, I found our experiences to be very similar. We spoke of leaving the house in the morning and enjoying outdoor games with friends until the evening meal then returning to play until the street lights were turned on. All of us knew, when the street lights came on, we all had to return home. Our neighbors knew all of us and were not timid in reporting any personal transgressions to our parents. Trust me, being reported by a neighbor for unbecoming conduct led to an undesirable final outcome. One which every child knew to avoid or quickly learned to avoid.
Corporal punishment was practiced by many parents during this time. This level of discipline was reserved for conduct, which demanded immediate intervention because it was socially unacceptable or immoral or in some instances dangerous. Physical punishment was not intended to be abusive, but to impress upon us that an immediate change of conduct was required. We all quickly learned its purpose. Do you know it worked so well that after a while the mere utterance of a simple phrase like “Wait till your Dad hears about that” invoked the same deterrent response and behaviors changed as if by magic without the need to strike, plead or bribe.
Conduct that was unacceptable or immoral was easily identified by all. Kids knew it. Parents knew and even the neighbors magically knew the moral code. There were 10 primary rules, whether we were Roman Catholic, as we were, or hailed from a protestant denomination as many of my neighbors did or were non church attendees. The rules applied to the reverent and the casual and even the non church attenders.
Divorce occurred and we had childhood spats, but they seemed less frequent and much less violent Childhood fights seldom involved anything that might be considered a weapon. Parents were encouraged to stay together for the sake of their children.
Yes, we were taught rules and they applied to adults and children and they formed a code of conduct and the code did not require that prescribed conduct always make the actor happy. Concern about others was built into this code. Why am I talking about this? It is not because I seek to impose my religious views on you. As I told you we had many religious groups in our neighborhood and some non religious individuals. What is my point in sharing this long winded tale?
We neighbors shared a common point of reference around these 10 rules, commandments if you wish and all neighbors enforced the code to varying degrees and all understood they had personal responsibility for their conduct and a duty to assist others in acquiring and following the code. (sometimes it seemed that I was assisted more frequently than I like to recall)
What was the reward? What prompted individuals to subscribe to a code and act in a manner that didn’t always result in conduct that made the participant feel happy or self satisfied? Why would anyone voluntarily without government enforcement choose to live by such a code?
The first reward was of this system was civility. Neighborhoods were not always conflict free zones, but there was an actual sense of community born of personal responsibility. We were a classless society in my neighborhood at least among the children. If I had a patch on my jeans because of rough play, no one cared. No one had four hundred dollar shoes. We all wore dime store shoes. When I talked with my instructor that day. I discovered the same rules applied in his neighborhood that applied in mine. We also discussed how through social engineering it has changed.
I suppose to a great extent it is our generation that is responsible for this breakdown in our society. We decided at some point that individual happiness was more important than following that simple 10 rule code of conduct. We even took it further we pushed to change the rules in the name of forming a great society and by our actions slowly facilitated the destruction of the nuclear family. We authored important sounding documents that spoke of universal human rights that filled volumes, but these collaborative efforts failed to achieve the clarity of those ten brief rules.
Oh, but as a result of our attempt at social engineering, today we are so much more tolerant. Now instead of living by a code voluntarily accepted by all in the neighborhood, we enlist the force of a vast paternal federal authority to make us not only accept conduct, which once was unacceptable, but now to promote that once offensive conduct and celebrate it as a new more enlightened normal. It doesn’t matter that many of us still silently consider much of what is being celebrated to be deviant behavior. We simply are uneducated and not aware of the benefits of this new modern world.
Our government distributes posters and “enlightened literature” cautioning us against our overly judgmental foibles and instructing us how to act properly, so we too can celebrate and rejoice in this new more tolerant world we have painstakingly engineered.
Our children are taught that all types of family arrangements must be celebrated even if studies suggest they are not a healthy choice for raising the young. We live in a society designed for true moral equivalence. No way can be better than any other and all are deserving of equal respect and laud. To think otherwise would be “heretical”. After all these new arrangements make the participants happy, at least until the arrangement becomes personally unfulfilling or inconvenient. Statistics about societal problems produced by these transient family units, well they just don’t matter. These findings are inconvenient impediments to the great new social message and interfere with a participant’s immediate social or sexual gratification. The loss of a few million children to adverse outcomes is just a small sacrifice at the altar of secular humanism.
After all our schools must be sanitized and remain free of all judgments. There can be no pressure to assimilate. Instead of a societal melting pot, teachers now speak about our society as a glorious green salad. Organized religion is now deemed to be the source of all historic evil. All mention of it is to be banished from the public square and certainly deserving no place in our superior enlightened society. A mention of religion might be offensive to some one or some group. What are the consequences of this new enlightenment?
We have neighborhoods, where strangers live next to each other without social interaction for years. Moral decay and a general lack of civility now serve as the new norm and replace the antiquated code of conduct. If you don’t believe in the new code, you are just a hater, misogynist, bigot or worse a bible thumper intent on imposing your outdated beliefs on the enlightened. Yes, welcome to our new tolerant society.
We have replaced public discourse with safe zones, so no one has to listen to another or be offended by their moral rants. How long will it be until this hate speech is punished by mandated retraining? For now we are satisfied to merely take your goods and ostracize you for the sin of intolerance.
Why am I incorporating all this in a story about common generational values? It is because we have lost our moral compass and veered far off course as a nation. We aren’t more tolerant. Sure we no longer have blue laws. (Anyone remember the horrible days of Sunday store closings and Sunday family dinners?) We now condemn the very core values that built this society.
But we must be tolerant and tolerance means acceptance and celebration of these new norms. Unlike the old norms, which were voluntarily adopted by the populace, these new norms must be interpreted and enforced by the power of a central government. So the voluntary code of the neighborhood is replaced by a tyranny of the new enlightened majority. Long live the New Enlightened Order!
Any mention of God or morals in the public square is now a violation of the establishment clause. The phrase separation of church and state does not appear in the constitution.(feel free to look it up, if you doubt me) The first amendment, which was intended to be used as a shield to prevent the government from establishing a state religion is now being wielded as a sword to deter the free exercise of religion by its people.
Don’t worry though, there will be no establishment of any religion because the exercise free speech and especially religious speech in a public setting might offend someone, who disagrees with you, so the government will make certain you remain unoffended free from exposure to this type of moral corruption.
So in my training I learned we once had a common moral code. I learned it crossed racial and religious and ethnic lines and now I have been told how foolish and unenlightened anyone who clings to that code is.
Our President in a rare moment of candor referred to some Pennsylvanians and I guess me and those of my generation as “bitter clingers”. He thought he could slip this one by because he was among the new faithful in California and his comment went relatively unnoticed. His intended smear has become a label I wear as a personal badge of honor. I as those Pennsylvanians am not ashamed of my upbringing, my religion, those 10 rules I strive to live by or my traditional nuclear family. Yesterday I watched a political party celebrate socialism,wealth redistribution and the final legitimization of this government enforced new order.
While I say thank you to the democrats for sharing their enlightened perspective with me. I intend to remain a “bitter clinger”. I am one who adheres to those 10 rules. Hey Democrats. at least one of those antiquated rules addresses not coveting thy neighbors goods. Another rule commands individuals not to steal. Forceful taking even by the government, to equalize or redistribute goods or close an income gap is still just good old fashion theft.) Just because I have less doesn’t mean I should use the force of government to take something from others.
I believe free will is still a universal God given right. If my creator allowed me free will, even though my exercise from it might cause me to deviate from his divine plan, then I think my fellow countryman lack the moral authority to take that right from me!
Think about that, New Hampshire Democrats. Maybe it is time to learn a basic tenet about a free people from this sorely uninformed ,religious, “bitter clinger”. Free people need equal opportunity not free stuff redistributed from the bounty of others. Remember New Hampshire residents “Live free or die”.
All these memories and words because of a reflection on how generations have different perspectives. Let’s do this again tomorrow!