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by John Dawson
May 4, 2005
Times change. They always have and they always will. I suppose this is why we have this ubiquitous nostalgia for the ďgood old days.Ē It is a fact of human nature that we tend to remember the good things of the past far better than the bad.
I recall reading an article a while back in which the writer was extolling how wonderful things really were during the Great Depression of the 1930ís! Somehow he overlooked the grinding poverty, massive unemployment, hunger and despair that were so typical of that time period.
The same is true of World War II. Iíve talked to people who honestly felt that period when they were in combat was really the high point of their lives. Seemingly forgotten is the fear, pain, anxiety, and the fact many millions died violent deaths.
Perhaps itís better for our mental health to remember more of the good things from the past. By the time one achieves true geezer status, this tendency becomes rather pronounced. I confess I qualify.
Still, some things are a bit disturbing. I recently attended a final spring football practice at the University of California at Berkeley. I confess that while I abhor the liberalism for which the campus is famous, I do love the football program Ė particularly now that, after fifty years, the institution has hired a decent coach and has a winning team.
I could not help noticing the cyclone fence being installed to separate the stands from the playing field. This fence did not seem to be a permanent installation, and I certainly hope it is not. Penning the fans away from the field may be some sort of solution, but it is only a band-aid that merely addresses the symptom.
The problem is actually a serious loss of civility. I attended the 100th anniversary of the California-Stanford football rivalry a few years ago. The game was played at Stanford, and the Cal team was rather badly embarrassed by the men in red. I was very disappointed, but not nearly as upset as a significant number of the Cal rooting section who came storming across the field toward the Stanford rooting section.
It truly looked like a riot might ensue, but police were able to dissuade the angry crowd. I was not particularly fearful, but I was certainly ashamed. What, exactly, were these semi-literates thinking? Were they not smart enough to know the game is played on the field and not with fistfights in the stands? Did they think if they won the riot that would make up for losing the game? How sad.
We need a lot more civility and a lot less animal instinct in our society. This is one of those trends that is not good.
I have a similar reaction when I drive by Dixon High School and notice the police car parked outside. Apparently school cannot be conducted without an armed officer on duty. I am not criticizing the officer or the school administration. Iím merely raising the issue of what we are becoming over a period of time.
The solution? Iíve no idea. Better parents would certainly be a step in the right direction. The cause? I submit most of the problems of this sort are a byproduct of that touchy-feely nonsense promoted by liberals wherein any discipline or restrictions on our little darlings might damage their delicate psyches. Actually, just the opposite is true. Children should not be abused, of course, but just an element of fear and respect for authority would improve their perspective enormously, and do a better job of preparing them for adult life.
In other words, the schools should be allowed to operate just a little more like Marine Corps Boot Camp. Parents should support the school, not dash off to hire an attorney when little Freddy gets disciplined. In this sort of atmosphere the kids might even learn a little more.
I donít think I could raise children today Ė at least without getting arrested.
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