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  What a Strange World

John W. Pinkerton


What a strange world it's become.

I grew up in a world quite different from the one we are living in now.  I don't suppose that it was a better world, but it definitely was a different world.  I know changes are not unique to my lifetime, but, as an old guy, I notice them and wonder if we're marching in the right direction, or for that matter, any singular direction.

Where to start?

Well, let's begin with religion.  Almost everyone attended church when I was growing up.  It was not considered an insult to ask new acquaintances what
churches they attended.  Today fewer and fewer people go to church.  To a large extent, the churches have failed; many have held on to  outdated points of view; some have failed  by being morally bankrupt.   As for me, I overdosed on religion as a youth and have shied away from the church houses as an adult; however, I suspect my belief in a supreme being is stronger now than it has ever been.  I suspect that I am a surviving Gnostic who doesn't believe the church is the only way to salvation; however, the church can be a strong stabilizing element in our social world, and I suspect it is missed.

I know you'll love the next subject, sexual mores.  One day in the early sixties, folks decided it was time to reinvent the wheel.  They suddenly decided that
sex was fun and that they were the first ones to discover this.  Of course, the pill was a big part of this “revolution.”  Almost simultaneously many folks decided that if the pill didn't do its job, abortions were okay.  When the supreme court ruled that women's bodies were theirs to do whatever they wanted, many folks were saddened, others elated.  I have a very strong opinion on abortion; however, I do not wish to awake with a horse's head in my bed.  Although I was a young fellow when the revolution began,  I was not allowed to participate.

Marriage is no longer considered a sacrament by most folks.  Growing up, marriage was considered to be an institution not to be easily discarded. 
Divorce for both men and women was considered in a very negative light.   I suppose a couple of events have contributed to the diminishing of marriage: the “sexual revolution” and the lessening of the influence of the churches.  Another contributor to the lessening of emphasis on marriage is not often spoken of: the mobility of folks in the modern world.  Often folks move many times in their lives leaving their parents and other relatives behind and leaving behind the stability they provide.  Divorce, of course, is a necessary part of our world, but it seems so common now.

I believe it is undeniable that folks do not have the same confidence in their government they had when I was young.  Many events have contributed to this
increasing lack of faith:  Vietnam, Kennedy's assassination, Kent State, Nixon's resignation,  Clinton's affair, Carter's incompetence in handling the Iran hostage situation, and the sacrifices made in Afghanistan and Iraq.  Yet in spite of all of these debacles, the federal government has been allowed to grow and to seep into almost all aspects of our lives.  When I was a youth, one paid his or her taxes and went off to war when called upon and drew a social security check in old age.  That was pretty much the extent of our involvement with Washington.

When I was a youth, there were people who received welfare checks, and unemployment checks were available.  Now it seems that all individuals’ problems can be solved by a federal program.  I won't argue for or against these programs, but I'm simply saying the relationship between the government and the citizen is quite different now.

I was fortunate that when I was growing up I lived in a household which was 
tolerant of folks not of the same color.  I went to high school before integration but was sympathetic to the movement: it was simply the right thing to do.  A couple of years in the army didn't dampen my tolerance.  Although the world is imperfect in race relations, it has much improved and will surely improve in coming years particularly if the race industry will cease churning on for political and financial gains.

When I was young, fountain pens and slide rules were common.  Need I say more.  I embrace the new technologies, but am saddened by some of their applications.  Well, I suppose even fountain pens could be used for frivolous and harmful purposes.

Baseball has been replaced by football as our national pastime.  Democrats and Republicans have been replaced by liberals and conservatives.  Movie stars have been replaced by actors and actresses.  The fifteen minute broadcasts of the news have been replaced by channels devoted to nothing but the news.  Magazines and newspapers are being replaced by the internet.  Books…well, those are pretty much the same as they have always been…though less popular.


The list could go on, but you get the drift.


If you are young, the world seems to be as it always was, but be assured, it is not.  For better or worse, your world will also change.  This old guy wishes nothing but the best changes for you.  Good luck.