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Remember: Civility?

Remember: Civility?

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Every once in awhile I receive an email titled "The fabulous fifties."  The background music will feature some one like Elvis or Fats Domino.  There will be beautiful old cars from that era and things we remember like juke boxes, poodle skirts, and dial phones

Looking back, as an adult, I now realize the fifties weren't as innocent as I remember them.  In some parts of the country we were still making "negroes" use separate restrooms and drinking fountains.  Schools were segregated in most of the south.  The "cold war" made us a little anxious about nuclear war but we had a solution for that.  If there was a bomb we were to close the curtains and get under our desks.

Even though we were flawed as a nation in many ways, we were still mostly a civil society.  While teenage boys might swear to impress each other, most would never swear around girls  or adults.  If an adult man accidentally said damn or hell in the presence of a woman, the next thing  you would hear him say was, "pardon my French."  The F-bomb was certainly off limits.  Now, you can go to any place people gather and hear profanity.  So what changed?  Did Hollywood movies change our perception of what is civil to say in public or do the movies just reflect the language shift  into which we have evolved?

Theft has been a problem since the beginning of time, but nothing like it is today.  In the fifties my dad would park his car on Drapper Street and never take the keys out of the ignition.  The thought of someone stealing it never crossed his mind.  I think we can blame the drug culture of the '60s for this one.  As drugs spread accross the nation, those who were so addicted that they couldn't work had to steal to meet the demands of their habit.  Today our cities are full of addicts living in tents on our sidewalks and in our parks.  Property crime is rampant in most large cities.

In the '50s we didn't even know the term "road rage."  Today you could be beaten or shot if you anger the wrong person.  There were few if any drug selling  gangs and the  words "drive by shootings" would not be used for another 30 years.

There was no need for a resource officer in our schools.  Although there was an occasional problem child, most were respectful of teachers and other authorities.  If there was a fight after school there might be bloody noses, not stab or gunshot wounds.

I do miss those innocent times and feel a little sorry for all those who never experienced that wonderful decade.  Were we perfect?  No, far from it, but it would be nice to not have to listen to crude language in public places and not worry about my car or computer being stolen. 

"Long live the fifties!" 

"OK, boomer."

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