Did you ever wonder how we have gotten to the place we are in America? It seems that our country has been turned upside down. We are just about evenly divided when it comes to the political arena. I like to call this “American Drift” or the transition of our country to something that our forefathers never envisioned it to be and you can bet that most of them are turning over in their graves as our freedoms slowly disappear. While our president issues a new executive order just about every day infringing on our constitutional rights all we hear from our republican legislators is there is nothing we can do. I was born in the 1940s and have been a student of history for a good part of my life. I often think about how our country has changed, but I keep asking myself why?
When we look at the many wars we have waged not just with ourselves as the civil war pitted brother against brother but wars that we were forced to engage in by our elected officials. Has anyone stopped to think how many great men and women have been lost to the irrational thinking that brought us into these deadly conflicts? It seems that every time we finish a conflict another begins. While we realize there are huge monetary costs for these conflicts we never seem to look at the cost to our country in the loss of so many vibrant young people who might have contributed their time and talents to making our country a better place to live. We have truly been the policeman of the world and no one will ever be able to put a price on the cost of these wars in terms of those who sacrificed themselves in the name of freedom. The recent pullout from Afghanistan is a perfect example of how our elected leaders waste not only our money but also the precious lives of those who serve in our military.
Our children are the seeds to the future of our country and how we educate them in their formidable years is critical in how they will behave as they mature to become our leaders in the future. For years I have both written and talked on the radio about how our educational system has been corrupted by the teachers’ unions and the infiltration of progressives into our local boards of education. When I was growing up the traditional American family consisted of a stay-at-home Mom and Dad who was the breadwinner and a couple of children. There were strong religious values in those days and on Sunday mornings you would find most families attending their respective church services. So what has changed? U.S. church membership was 70% or higher from 1937 through 1976, falling modestly to an average of 68% in the 1970s through the 1990s.
The past 20 years have seen an acceleration in the drop-off, with a 20-percentage-point decline since 1999 and more than half of that change occurring since the start of the current decade. Since the turn of the century, the percentage of U.S. adults with no religious affiliation has more than doubled, from 8% to 19%. Just 42% of millennials are members of churches, on average. By comparison, 20 years ago, 62% of members of Generation X belonged to a church, when they were about the same age as millennials are today. It appears that the percentage of millennials with no religion may be continuing to grow, as an average of 33% in Gallup surveys conducted in 2019 to date say they have no religious affiliation. Fifty-seven percent of religious millennials belong to a church, compared with 65% or more in older generations. One can surely see that religion is waning in our country so is this why we are seeing these drastic movements to socialism?
I believe it was the sixties that were the turning point of change with the advent of the Vietnam War and the hippie generation we saw the beginning of America’s move toward the left. Many American’s, especially the younger ones, were against this war as they were drafted to serve in the armed forces or forced to move to Canada to avoid serving. I’m not sure if anyone has ever understood why we fought this war which cost billions of dollars and over 58,000 American lives. I served and I’m still asking that question, “Why did we fight for 14 years and then just quit and leave”? The war precipitated a free-spirited, predominantly white upper-middle-class group of students from liberal colleges, notably Berkeley and San Francisco State University who were anti-establishment, anti-materialism, and pro-obscenity in their lines of thought. Many of these “Hippies” turned to education as their vocation and so began the change in our educational system. The huge number of students in the 1950s and 60s strained our educational system as the number attending almost doubled from the nineteen forties 27 million to 60 million by the seventies. We also saw a huge percentage of women enter the workforce as the participation rate of females rose from about one-third in 1950 to one-half in 1970 to almost two-thirds in 1980. These factors caused the shift in the family unit forcing parents to rely on our school system to be a daycare center for their children while they worked to provide for the family.
As more progressives entered our schools as educators it was the beginning of the decline in a true learning process and introduced the illusion of consensus. This illusion was based on a process in which anyone questioning the preferred narrative is immediately marginalized, no matter how strong his or her credentials. We find this illusion is quite prominent in many of our K through 12 schools and even more so in our colleges. This transition has been taking place for the past four decades and the proof of this change can be seen on college campuses all over the country. We see the end result of an educational process where if you don’t conform to certain standards and ideals the thought police will soon be taking you to task till you either capitulate or find another path to get your education. As parents, we have failed in making sure that our children were receiving an education that would not only teach them reading, writing, and arithmetic but also the rich history of our country and the great American experiment. We permitted them to remove what should be one of the most important aspects of our children’s lives. They took God and prayer from our schools in the blink of an eye. Could this be the reason we have seen such a decline in religion and religious values over the past four decades? They slowly changed curriculums to suit their needs as most parents ignored the necessity of attending local school board meetings and never gave a second thought to the people running our educational system. We abandoned our parent-teacher organizations because we were too busy and totally stopped investigating what they were teaching our children. We lost sight of the importance of the family unit and how critical it was to interact with our children at a dinner table conversation or spending family time together to just talk about our daily activities. Instead, we allowed them to get lost in the new cellphone and computer technologies playing games of war, and interacting on social media platforms sometimes to the detriment of their fellow classmates. It sometimes seems that texting has become the primary mode of communication for just about everyone. What happened to sitting down face to face with someone and having a conversation with them?
We have seen the throngs of young people shouting “Bernie for president”. This is a man who is a confirmed communist and spent his honeymoon in Russia. You have to wonder where we went wrong but we only have to look at the changes we have allowed to take place in our education system. Can it be turned around and can we bring back some sanity to what is happening in our country? I believe the real question is does the current generation of millennials have the will to turn our country around? Are they willing to take up the challenge of restoring our education system to one that teaches the principles and values that our forefathers bestowed on us when they founded this great nation?
I don’t believe the great experiment of America is over, but it is certainly in a fight for its life. The next few years will answer the question as the heavy hand of government continues to beat down anyone who might oppose it. Will the conservative legislators we have elected grow a backbone and right this listing ship or will they continue to ignore the cries of the people. We will soon see if freedom is more important than the security of the government’s protection from cradle to grave. As I always say.
“We get the government we deserve”.