Sometimes I don’t feel bad when I don’t open e-mails from my Dad, but a lot of times it’s just a conservative forward. I don’t know what possessed me to open the e-mail tonight, but here’s what it said (I don’t know the original source):
By today’s standards none of us were supposed to ever make it.
|HIGH SCHOOL — 1957 vs. 2014Scenario 1:
Jack goes duck hunting before school and then pulls into the school parking lot with his shotgun in his truck’s gun rack.
1957 – Vice Principal comes over, looks at Jack’s shotgun, goes to his car and gets his shotgun to show Jack.
2014 – School goes into lock down, FBI called, Jack hauled off to jail and never sees his truck or gun again. Counselors called in for traumatized students and teachers.
Johnny and Mark get into a fist fight after school.
1957 – Crowd gathers. Mark wins. Johnny and Mark shake hands and end up buddies.
2014 – Police called and SWAT team arrives — they arrest both Johnny and Mark. They are both charged with assault and both expelled – even though Johnny started it.
Jeffrey will not be still in class, he disrupts other students. (We’re going to ignore the fact that this should be a semicolon and not a comma.)
1957 – Jeffrey sent to the Principal’s office and given a good paddling by the Principal. He then returns to class, sits still and does not disrupt class again.
2014 – Jeffrey is given huge doses of Ritalin. He becomes a zombie. He is then tested for ADD. The family gets extra money (SSI) from the government because Jeffrey has a disability.
Billy breaks a window in his neighbor’s car and his Dad gives him a whipping with his belt.
1957 – Billy is more careful next time, grows up normal, goes to college and becomes a successful businessman.
2014 – Billy’s dad is arrested for child abuse, Billy is removed to foster care and joins a gang. The state psychologist is told by Billy’s sister that she remembers being spanked herself, and their dad goes to prison. Billy’s mom has an affair with the psychologist.
Mark gets a headache and takes some aspirin to school.
1957 – Mark shares his aspirin with the Principal out on the smoking dock.
2014 – The police are called and Mark is expelled from school for drug violations. His car is then searched for drugs and weapons.
Pedro fails high school English.
1957 – Pedro goes to summer school, passes English and goes to college.
2014 – Pedro’s cause is taken up by state. Newspaper articles appear nationally explaining that teaching English as a requirement for graduation is racist. ACLU files class action lawsuit against the state school system and Pedro’s English teacher. English is then banned from core curriculum. Pedro is given his diploma anyway but ends up mowing lawns for a living because he cannot speak English.
Johnny takes apart leftover firecrackers from the Fourth of July, puts them in a model airplane paint bottle and blows up a red ant bed.
1957 – Ants die.
2014 – ATF, Homeland Security and the FBI are all called. Johnny is charged with domestic terrorism. The FBI investigates his parents – and all siblings are removed from their home and all computers are confiscated. Johnny’s dad is placed on a terror watch list and is never allowed to fly again.
Johnny falls while running during recess and scrapes his knee. He is found crying by his teacher, Mary. Mary hugs him to comfort him.
1957 – In a short time, Johnny feels better and goes on playing.
2014- Mary is accused of being a sexual predator and loses her job. She faces 3 years in State Prison. Johnny undergoes 5 years of therapy.
Some of these are more exaggerated than others, but the message is clear: We live in a world that’s unnecessarily more complicated than it used to be. This is a primary message among conservatives, who would prefer to return to these “uncomplicated” times. However, what they typically forget is how much good progress has been made. The problem with nostalgia is that we really only tend to remember the good shit, and forget the bad.
I had to respond:
You missed a few:
1957 – Tyrone can’t go to the same school as Johnny because Tyrone is black and Johnny is white.
2014 – Tyrone and Johnny text each other during class about the cute girl who sits in front of them in Calculus.
(I’m well aware that Brown v. The Board of Education predates 1957, but Jim Crow didn’t die overnight).
1957 – Sheila gets married and is forced to drop out of all school activities because the school policy precludes married students from participating.
2014 – Sheila has other options aside from getting married, and if she did choose to get married, couldn’t be discriminated against because marital status is now a protected class.
1957 – Tommy admits to the school counselor that he might have romantic attraction to other boys; the school counselor recommends to Tommy’s parents that he be committed to a mental institution because homosexuality is still considered abnormal psychology. Tommy gets electric shock therapy.
2014 – The school counselor congratulates Tommy on his courage and refers him to a GLBT resource group.
1957 – Rhonda gets made fun of for being chubby. She tells the Principal about it, who encourages her to take diet pills to lose weight or grow a “thicker skin”. Rhonda hangs herself in her bedroom, but her obituary says she slipped in the bathtub.
2014 – Rhonda’s principal has received training on how to deal with both bullying situations and body image counseling and takes appropriate action.
1957 – Jasmine falls behind in math because she can’t see the board well enough to copy down lessons. Jasmine gets called a dunce by the teacher.
2014 – The teacher wonders if Jasmine might need glasses and sends her to the school nurse.
1957 – Dexter gets hit by the teacher with a ruler because the teacher overhears him speaking Yupik with his classmate instead of English.
2014 – Dexter’s teacher and classmates take an interest in Dexter during a unit on Alaska History and think it’s cool Dexter knows a language that was spoken in Western Alaska for more than a thousand years before European contact.