Dear Editor,
In one way or another, each of us is a representation of our environment. The attributes, qualities and values that people possess are representative of the generational values and those of the family; in addition, genetics and other factors, play a role, but things are changing. Expectations are changing and so is accountability. Most people want to know why something happens and most people are ready to tune in to their preferred source of information to be told why. Trust and optimism is important and it has its place, but too much optimism it is the newest drug. It is annoying and probably inversely correlated to trust of the government. Pessimism has its place in this disposable era of pseudo-censorship political correctness, perpetual politicians, and forced "morality" where we let others who know best tell us how we should live our lives.
Before my teenage years, I remember a conversation my grandpa was having with his friend over the weekend sometime in the ’90s. That old catch-phrase surfaced, “they don't make things like they used to” on the topic that I believed to be simply about cars. It was about more than cars. I was oblivious to what was really being said, but I have come to realize, much more was being discussed than I could have realized at the time. I chimed in, surprised at the apparent ignorance of one of the most intelligent people I knew, that cars were getting better all the time. His subsequent response was not significant until too many years later. I did not see the value of interchangeable, universal parts as it related to their generation. The ramblings of a not even teenage kid on the specifications compared side by side were not even a contest, but to these two, who just chuckled, it was much more complicated than the parts of the car.
My grandpa, who had tried to join the military at the age of 17, the day Pearl Harbor was attacked, had to wait a year, unable to convince his mother to sign the papers. So, he joined the armed forces “for the duration of the war” on his 18th birthday, after graduating top of his class from high school. He recorded two individual kills of the enemy, in WWII. He had lived in a different generation where even words like duty and honor meant something different for many of us today. But, I was thinking in linear two-dimensional terms; simultaneously, ignoring their experiential knowledge, innate qualities as it related to the admirable attributes and values that necessitated survival in this generation, as well as being baffled by the apparent ignorance. This self-reliant, hard-working attitude, illustrated by the parts of a car that could be swiped out, was the apparent conversational topic. This attitude corresponded to a dignity that required no reaffirmation, no special formal title, no degrees to possess. No resting on any laurels here, when you just know where each other have been. That was easily overlooked by a child.
Most people have a time that they consider the good ol' days. Occupying the space in a past time is pretty much all that is required for admission into the related generational club. Here, among peers, there is no need to reach for your ID. It is generally apparent by the workings of time that accompany each of us. A slowed pace, a wrinkle under the eyes, graying, maybe a sly smile and other evidences of the journey that we all will see if we are lucky enough. Most importantly, a way of thinking is apparent among each generation. There is a new wave of optimism for many, today, but pessimism and skepticism of the government has its place and should be encouraged, not watered down. Misrepresentations of truth, these falsities need addressed; otherwise, it is as good as agreeing, as more distortions ensue, allowed from the quiet. Interchangeable parts has been replaced with interchangeable ideas in an influential echo chamber of distortion.
If it ain't broke don't fix it, has turned to if it ain't broke, it will be soon, so buy more disposable gadgets to start the process over again. Valuing the work required of the machine and never seriously considering disposal, once a necessity, is gone. Many will have memories of passing their dad the wrench and valuable life lessons that ensued. Technology has tremendous potential. A self-driving car can add years of quality for those who would otherwise be home-bound. Unfortunately, it is likely inevitable that one day, human driving will be outlawed, in the name of safety, like so many other blunders in the name of safety. If willing to let go of any rights, they will be taken in the name of safety, or efficiency, until being told a reason becomes pointless. Being forced to do anything, whether fighting a war, letting your house be searched, or buying a safety device, insurance, or anything, even in the name of safety, seems un-American. If it needs replaced, sure, but, if it is just a political agenda, ignoring it appears to still be an option for some things. If it’s a noble fight, enough people will join. If a product is useful, people will buy it. If it ain’t broke, you should be able to choose whether you do anything to it. If you want to fill your fields with a wind device with your own money, that is a better argument than using your private property rights to take resources from others through government funding, but nevertheless, the dangers are present to health, safety and welfare, regardless if those against it are forced to pay involuntarily towards their construction. The tax subsidies shows what greed can do to neighbors sponsoring legalized theft, taking a little from all, to enrich themselves, at the risk of the health and safety of others and closing in a community.
People used to be patient. We want it now. “Invest now, build now, or we die and never mind the consequences like increased taxes.” There is patience, but then there is rotary patience. Your phone can do things that would have given reason for rotary phone users to pause for even more time, in amazement. You might chuckle, but that rotary phone probably still works. You might go through dozens of phones in a lifetime. That's why your grandparents were nicer and never called you up on the phone to snap at you. A bit of rotary patience probably goes about 20 times further than patience of today. Maybe patience has nothing to do with the various gadgets that we are used to, but this is the generation that expects it now rather than wanting it now. Previous generations likely learned a lot by having nothing or very little. The rotary phone likely had very little or nothing to do with the admirable generational qualities of greater generations, but it seemed to suit them just the same.
A music recording is edited and "perfected" with no need for anything live on the radio, so you hear a flawless performance. By all musical standards a flawless performance is the final product you receive. How can we debate the quality of an imperfect product being better than perfection? Some say you can’t, probably others might think a bit deeper. And forget about thinking through words. I can hit the backspace and edit as many times as I want if I type on a computer. The ink and paper supply is no longer holding anyone back and piling up around the desk. This is good in many ways, perhaps newspaper businesses, but for the speaker, the writer, maybe not so much. Pausing and thinking, letting someone finish their entire thought is a skill, that I doubt gadgets help. Perfection is a word with two meanings. You can command to hear that singing voice and the voice of every other artist with your own voice, or a glance of your eyes, a facial expression, a gesture, maybe even a thought, soon. This is great, especially if you trust the government or your options are limited. Optimism is annoying and addictive, but it makes you feel good. It’s the newest opiate. Technology improves, you can see a loved one instantly, even on the other side of the world. You can instantly send a letter electronically, for free, but you won't see the penmanship. There's an idea. Electronic written emails for the romantics out there. For better or worse, they sure don’t make things like they used to.
Adam Hutchison,
Crawfordsville