The Not So Great Generation
Tom Brokaw coined the phrase “The Greatest Generation” to describe the people in the United States who grew up in the poverty of the Great Depression and then went on to ﬁght in World War II or worked in the ﬁelds or factories in support of the war effort.My grandparents were members of The Greatest Generation, and they wore that title well.
My grandparents didn’t complain or whine, and they instilled in their children — all 15 of them — a ﬁerce sense of independence, as did the majority of their generation. Today, the call of selﬂ ess service, independence and responsibility rings pretty hollow, compared to those days.
I often wonder what my grandfather would think if he had the opportunity to meet some of his great-grandchildren and their friends. Long gone in many is the innate sense of wrong and right that we all are born with. Society has watered it down. Today there only seems to be shades of gray, which means that people can’t make good decisions because they have no absolutes.
What we as a society have become very good at is prevarication. We have become a nation of whiners with a sense of entitlement and an almost utter lack of personal responsibility.
We see it every day in almost every situation and scenario possible:
Your child doesn’t get a good grade — blame the teacher. The teacher had to fail, because it obviously isn’t the fault of your precious child.
Someone else gets a promotion — blame it on the fact that you are a woman. Why else would someone who works harder and longer get promoted?
And in Fayetteville, if you get a trafﬁc ticket — call the police ofﬁ cer a racist. Why should it matter that you were breaking the law?
Oh, wait, you didn’t see that coming, did you?
But why not? Our city has become so shell-shocked from a series of racial allegations that everyone immediately rushes to judgment and throws the blame on those who are upholding the law rather than those who are breaking it.
Remember a few months ago when one of our own county commissioners was stopped for an expired registration? What happened? He accused the police ofﬁ cer who stopped him of racial proﬁling. Don’t worry about the man behind the curtain. We’ll dance and sing and blow some smoke so that the fact that a law was broken gets pushed to the side. Not his fault he didn’t pay his car taxes. It had to be the policeman’s fault.
And again this week, a gentlemen was minding his own business, driving down the road when he was stopped by a policeman. The gentleman, who had failed to register his vehicle in North Carolina and also failed to restrain his 5-year-old child couldn’t possibly be at fault. Instead, a little smoke and mirrors and a routine trafﬁc stop becomes a racial incident.
How has it become acceptable for people to lie and it become front page news? Why is it acceptable for people to shift the blame for their own mistakes?
My grandfather, and those like him, would not be impressed by our society today. The members of The Greatest Generation would not recognize or condone what we have become.
Photo: How has it become acceptable for people to lie and it become front page news?