The Baby boomer generation grew up between two worlds. Most, like me, spent their childhood in a post war 1950's era, that almost seems dream-like in the sense that the images are there, but there is no context today to comprehend it. For many it was a fantasy but for others, it was a bad dream. The sixty's on the other hand was a period of hope. Racial prejudice and bigotry would end. Wars and government oppression would end. Poverty would end and the human condition would be better. Even the environment would be better. Despite the fears of global warming, the environment and the awareness of our responsibility has improved. Poverty, on the other hand, has become fully intrenched in the nanny state and we are closer than ever to loosing all our freedoms to 'big brother'. While racial prejudice has made huge strides, many ethnic groups are not integrated into our society and access across our borders is still uncontrolled. In short, the reality has not lived up to the dream. The movie 'The Butler' is a vivid example of how, despite all the changes, some remain intrenched in their mental ghettos. Many boomers, like me, come from racially mixed families of legal immigrants that you would be hard pressed to label as anything but Americans. We are a mixture of all of the different skin colors, white, black, Hispanic and oriental, and languages, French, English, Spanish and Japanese with all their cultural peculiarities. Others have desperately clung to their ethnic backgrounds, and actively perpetuate distinctions that keep them out of the main stream.. This has led many to be unable to think rationally about the need for complete integration and legal, ordered, immigration. The US has been proudly labeled as a melting pot, and it is this process that will resolve a lot of the racial strife. This will only happen if we abandon our racial and ethnic distinctions and actively become part of fabric of America. We should look at the immigrants of the last century as models for both the success and failure of becoming integrated.
June 29, 2014