It’s amazing, in a short 68 years since the beginning of the baby boomer age, how attitudes and meanings have changed so dramatically.
The other day, a friend of mine, who was very excited, stuck his phone in my hand and told me to look at the good news. I looked and only saw what looked like a strip of movie film. I smiled and told him that the picture was great and that I could see why he was so happy. The truth was, I didn’t have an idea what he was showing me. He showed it to a young man, who told him congratulations on the news of the new baby.
I took the phone again and looked closer and, sure enough, there were pictures of his soon-to-be grandchild inside his daughter’s womb.
His eyesight must have been better than mine because he saw that it was a boy. I can remember with the birth of my own children, it was a mystery up until the nurse brought them out for you to see and then you hoped you had enough baby clothes that were of the right color to dress them for the trip home.
When I was a teenager, I didn’t know there were straight people or gay people. It was only until later in life did I find out that some of my best friends were homosexual. I can’t remember ever thinking that they had a different sexual preference than me; I stayed at their house, they stayed at mine and they dated some of the most beautiful girls in school. When I first starting understanding that the word gay didn’t mean happy, I felt sorry for my friends because it must have been pure misery that they had to hide their true feelings. Then, I got mad because if they had declared their true feelings there would have been a lot more beautiful girls for the rest of us to date.
The hardest part in accepting folks as my friends if they were gay was the same-sex marriage issue. That was a hard one, and it still is, but I have learned that all people have a right to be happy and, for sure, all people have a right to choose their own lifestyle. As a baby boomer, I’m OK with that. I have some special friends who enjoy that married lifestyle and they seem happier than many heterosexual married folks I have known.
Politics and those that run to represent us have changed the most. When I was younger, I always knew who our elected officials were including U.S. Congressmen and Senators, because at least once a year they visited my school. If you ever had a group get together, your congressman was always there. Now, you hardly see your elected officials. I doubt that many of you could name our congressmen, senators, state House or Senate delegates or many of our local elected officials for that matter.
In years past there have been many times that I have had elected officials in my office, or, I visited their offices. Often times we would almost come to blows over some issue or something that ran in the paper. After our blowup, we would shake hands and work together to get something done for our community.
It was never personal until I met Randy Duke Cunningham, who was an ace pilot in Vietnam and who was elected as a representative in my district in San Diego. I thought he was not real when I first met him. I think he just got out of federal prison for being a crook in office.
Nowadays, if you dare to disagree with a politician, you are considered rotten to the core and become mortal enemies in the politician’s mind. There is no give and take, and God forbid if you offer suggestions on how they can best represent their constituents, because, if you do, you challenge their perceived God given right to make any decision they feel is correct the — heck with what their constituents think.
We need a revival of tough individualists to rise up so we can vote to have them represent us. They need to have thick skins like some of our older politicians. We don’t need the momma’s boys or gals who, in many cases, represent us now.
T. Pat Cavanaugh is the publisher of The News. You can reach him at 770-787-6397 or firstname.lastname@example.org