Can you still reach back into your mind and heart to remember what it was like being a child?
Maybe there were some of those times you would prefer to forget–periods and events when rose-colored glasses won’t quite work their full magic — but overall, weren’t you lucky as hell?
Whether immigrant or home-grown, doesn’t living in America warrant some special gratitude?
And didn’t those American experiences — those privileges — have a lot to do in a good way with whom you became?
I can’t help but wonder and worry how today’s American culture–an environment impacted by the COVID-19 shutdowns, virtual social isolation, national disrespect, and victim identity politics–will influence today’s children.
An America with “childhood cheer” in lockdown:
America didn’t cause the pandemic, and certainly it isn’t the only country to suffer its devastatingly destructive social and economic consequences.
Nevertheless, “the virus” has infected the American experience for everyone.
Most particularly, try to imagine yourself as a small child first experiencing a new world of masked, unsmiling strangers where nervously suspicious people everywhere distance from one another outside six-foot arcs.
While recently driving past an elementary school, the scene reminded me of televised views of maximum-security prison inmates being briefly allowed time outside in an exercise yard.
The little jailbirds were all masked and socially distanced in line amidst lots of tantalizingly colorful slides and other vacant playground equipment.
It struck me that these were the lucky ones…children who were actually allowed to be with other masked socially distanced friends in a nurturing school environment. But why weren’t they running around like normal masked bandits and exercising joyful energy on such a warm, bright day?
After all, Covid transmission and serious health consequences among children are recognized to be very rare.
Who were they supposed to be afraid of, or protecting?
It seemed more to reflect a projection of adult paranoia where instead of everyone being experienced as a potential new friend, we are becoming more and more distrustful of contact with everyone.
An America of virtual relationships:
And remember a bit later when pre-Covid lockdown extracurricular school and community activities such as athletic training, sporting events, music and art clubs, dances, and theater performances were all important aspects of our social experiences?
That was when we were taught how to explore important lessons about how to cooperate and interact with others in a variety of different situations.
We learned how to navigate and persevere through personal challenges. We developed special and shared interests and abilities. We uncovered unique aspects of our own identity.
Through direct physical proximity we also learned the necessary, but difficult and complex, lessons about how to form true friendships.
We built mutual trust with our peers.
We experienced disappointments and betrayals.
From these experiences we learned how to adapt, expand, and become more valuable and rewarded in society as productive social beings.
When today’s children and adolescents grow up, will they see themselves as a generation whose lives will forever fall in the dark shadow of a global pandemic?
An America at war with its heritage:
Will that new generation recognize and respect the marvelous American principles and virtues my generation and yours inherited from very wise, brave, and generous generations that preceded ours?
Conversely, will many instead view America through the distorted lens of the 1619 Project as a systemically and eternally racist country forever rooted in plantation slavery of the pre-Civil War South?
This abhorrent fiction is now being introduced into schools with the express purpose to reframe the country’s history by replacing 1776 as America’s founding date and substituting 1619.
When students and families visit our national Capitol to witness how our government works, will the area remain enclosed, as now, by a seven-foot-high security barrier topped with barbed Cortina wire? How many of our sacred national monuments and heroic memorials will remain standing and unmolested?
Will the next elected leaders of our country be under not-stop impeachment investigations theatrically staged as rancorous media events by the losing side?
An America of identity victimhood:
Remember when we were taught to believe in an American dream that almost anything is possible for all rugged and determined individuals who are prepared to seize upon equal opportunities to achieve high goals through determination and hard work?
Do you recall when America celebrated an enriching cultural heritage of “melting pot” multicultural social, religious, ethnic, and racial diversity?
Both of those core ideals are now under dastardly malign assaults by an ideological counterculture of wokeness that divisively views America’s populace as “privileged” and “victim” classes characterized according to stereotypic mushed-together skin color, alphabet and acronym group identities under the contradictory guise of promoting “equity and inclusion.”
Nearly every major U.S. company now has a diversity and inclusion department offering lessons in unconscious bias, workshops on “white privilege,” and “struggle sessions” on systemic racism to their employees.
Scariest of all, more and more school districts across the country are all in on creating neo-Marxist “critical race theory” programs to instruct K-12 administrators and teachers how to indoctrinate impressionable young minds not only that they live in a racist society, but that they and their parents (if white) carry that historical stain.
Imagine the amount of senselessly wasted classroom time squandered on such egregiously toxic propaganda that might otherwise be devoted to learning useful information and skills that prepare students for constructive and rewarding lives in this great nation…or anywhere they choose.
It’s our job to open their youthful eyes to these unparalleled American opportunities, and by example, to reopen our own mind eyes to remember the limitless joys and opportunities we so very fortunately inherited and grew up with.