WHY AMERICA HAS LOST ITS MORAL FOOTING AND HOW WE CAN RESTORE IT
A Guest Lecture by Professor Milburn Cleaver, OPA
I would first of all like to begin by thanking the webmaster for allowing me this time to express some opinions of our country's culture today. Of course, as the saying goes, opinions are like commodes, everyone has one. Regardless, I shall give it the "old college try".
Whilst strolling Wilkes-Barre's public square one recent Saturday afternoon I could not help but recoil; how things have so changed in this venue over the years. Back in the late fifties for instance, one could come to the square, sit with his sweetheart on a bench in mid park, have a Coca-Cola and a hot dog and experience a quite enjoyable time. If you glanced around the perimeter back then you would see similar singles or couples quietly enjoying themselves too; whether they were simply gazing around at the majestic buildings or feeding the pigeons. There was a serene simplicity to it all, though I am sure that the young people of today if transported to this time and place would find it repugnantly boring.
Bringing you back to the present time; today's public square is not the square of my young adulthood. As I approached the area where my sweetheart and I once sat, there were two, three or four drug dealers wearing their common "uniform" which consisted of pants three times too large for their bodies, chains that when they make contact with the sunlight, can blind you; baseball caps worn in reverse and shirts spouting various athletic franchises (mostly basketball teams). These hooligans were in the company with some young girls whom, for obvious reasons, they did not belong with. I had wondered what the parent of one of these girls would think if he knew just where his little angel was and with whom she was spending time. Indeed, a very forlorn situation.
Yes, our world has most certainly changed. Our small town, like many throughout our country, has lost its manufacturing industries in favor of such perverse offerings as the drug trade and the pornography trade. Of course, both of these professions feed off of one another to survive. However, this is not our sole problem today. To put it in a nutshell, parents have failed our children for generations and with each succeeding generation the failure is becoming more and more evident.
When I first began teaching many decades ago, I can recall walking into the classroom to witness my students simultaneously stand to greet me with "Good Morning Professor." This was a sign of respect and was not taken by me as anything but a normal gesture. We had a quality called "respect" back in those days. Today, if a Professor encountered that same greeting upon entering his classroom he would probably die from sheer shock. How tragic.
The young children of today were raised by their parents to feel that they were special and no one was above them. When undertaking most sporting events, most children never walk away a "loser" but walk away "second best". This in effect cheats the child out of the experience of disappointment and the drive to achieve better results whilst it also cheats the winner of the euphoria of victory's glory; for how can one ever strive to excel if one has not tasted the agony of defeat? I understand parents wanting everything wonderful for their children but they must understand the life itself is NOT everything wonderful. It is in fact, a series of challenges where continued success is fleeting at best. Indeed many parents will go so far as to defend their children against any wrong act they commit. Most importantly, we have thrown a cocoon around our young by implying that all is right with their world via political correctness.
As you know, I am no huge fan of public television; I consider it to be a state operated entity of liberal idealism. That aside, there is (or should I say, "was") merit to some of PBS's children's programming. But alas, now the PC crowd has even put its dirty gloves on that. Most of you are, at the very least, familiar with Sesame Street and one of the shows characters, the Cookie Monster; he has become the latest (of many) victim of the PC crowd, for, you see, cookies are harmful to children, and of course, we cannot have a puppet promoting the consumption of the awful edibles. So, lo and behold, the PC crowd re-crowns the Cookie Monster as the Veggie Monster (how pathetic is that?).
We tell our children not to smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol or do drugs and yet every evening our television screens are laden with commercials for prescription drugs that address every ailment under the sun (at times it seems that some of them have been created in order to sell the drug--seriously, have you ever heard of restless leg syndrome before that gaudy commercial?) and then we shake our head in wonderment as to why our kids are so messed up, regardless of the whether or not they have had a good home foundation. We view commercials and sporting events sponsored by Anheuser Busch, or Miller Brewing and we wonder why little Johnny crashed the car into the tree whilst soaked in booze.
In short, we live in an age where our values system is scrambled more than this mornings eggs. We have the internet (which gave us predators); we have cell phones (which give us many more car wrecks), we have miracle drugs (which gives us more addiction problems); we have, in effect, been able to achieve the majority of our dreams without the ability to manage them. This is where we are. But how do we get out???
There exist no easy answers. First off, parents need to become stern disciplinarians to their children rather than to a best friend. Law enforcement must rationalize that a crack on the butt is not child abuse yet, a punch in the mouth is (parents should not be afraid to show good old fashioned discipline). Mom and Dad must both decide as to whether it is productive for both of them to work and to leave the kids home unsupervised. I understand that both parents complain about "having" to go out to work for the family's sake but I truly believe that it is not for sake of family but for the sake of lifestyle and our "keeping up with the Jones's mentality. Is a plasma TV worth more than your son or daughter's well being and moral upbringing??? Mom, you need to stay at home. Young girls of 13 years of age must realize that they will not be young ladies until they become 18, and their mothers should not be taking them to stores to buy lipstick or to doctors to acquire birth control pills. Parents must censor that on television which is not appropriate and throw out the rock and roll and rap cd's; seize the I pods, which only will serve to create a future of hearing impaired adults. We as a nation are at a crossroads as to whether we will learn by our mistakes or continue on a downward spiral to moral decline.
The coming election in November shall dictate whether or not we go forward together or remain with the status quo liberal policies that have wrought near ruin upon us. I shall end my lecture on a promising note; Theodore Roosevelt once said, "Every human being at one time or another has a devil that masters him; it is not having been in the dark house, but leaving it that counts."
Professor Milburn Cleaver, OPA
36 minutes ago