My husband and I just spent two and a half years traveling back and forth from our home in Texas to an apartment in Colorado where he was working. We rented an apartment in Colorado Springs, and found ourselves there just in time to witness the beginning of the ‘marijuana fun fest’ taking place in the Centennial State. If you eat out, you will find employees who cook your food and serve you out back smoking weed in between shifts. If you take your dogs for a walk in just about any park, the smell of mary jane wisps through with the breeze. Wanderers with backpacks are everywhere during the summer months; meandering lazily to and from the little shops with the giant ‘green cross’ signs that dot the city landscapes everywhere. Many of these twenty something sidewalk denizens disappear in the winter; I suppose they return to their parent’s basements where free internet, cable, and Cheetos will supply them until the next summer rolls around. It is really becoming dangerous to drive as the stoned walk about to and fro across roads I dare say they don’t even know are there, and you can plan on being accosted for handouts (sometimes aggressively) in just about every parking lot, corner, red light, or park. The point here is that both my husband and I experienced a strange but mutual ‘Dr. Who’ sort of psychological phenomenon; we suddenly felt transported by the smell of marijuana everywhere back to our uncomfortable 1970’s high school days- a time where ‘new math’ ruled, when sense did not make any real sense anymore, where our generation became the center of hundreds of educational ‘experiments’, and to a time where student ’emotional development and understanding of fairness’ became the goal of education rather than student achievement.
We were educated at a time one was taught to rely on the ‘experts’ to explain all the details of every complicated issue. For instance, just to take our experience I began with, Marijuana is legal now, but not really legal, but at least not prosecuted in Colorado, and well, you know. After all, if you want to be a pothead and make your children stupid, it should be your right to do so, or so the argument goes. I mean, if our jails are overcrowded by people who carry small amounts of Cannabis then we are told it makes sense to stop prosecuting the crime; but the law has not really been changed, just the view of the law has gone through some kind of weird place-centrist mutation. It is one of those issues the ‘experts’ have to explain to you because it actually makes no sense at all. It is kind of like the sanctuary city thing, where immigration law is not followed because, well, there are some who find it cramps their style and there is no reason to hassle poor people who just want to make a living, or so we are confidently told. Too bad Kim Davis has not been given the same pass to choose not to follow a law which both violates her conscience and interrupts the free expression of her chosen lifestyle. She has certainly been the subject of harassment by those who give others a free pass on just about everything. Miley Cyrus can denigrate the culture in front of the entire world, but show the country a lady who has converted to a fundamentalist Christian faith and does not cut her hair or wear short skirts and suddenly all the knives of those who would argue no one can force their choices on others are ready to force theirs on her with hateful vengeance. It makes absolutely no sense. It is like living in the twilight zone, and takes us much too close to the Carter years for comfort.
My husband and I came to age in the 1970’s, a time when the public high school we attended taught us confidently that the USSR would leave America in the dustbin of history, indeed, that they were already surpassing us in every important way. Socialism was hailed as the way of the future. (I can’t help but wonder if many of the starry eyed Sanders supporters today were 70’s kids.) Also taught- that an ice age which would bring glaciers back to Kansas was coming quickly because of mankind’s reckless abuse of the planet. Any moment, we were assured, the green chlorophyll laden plants humans depend on for food would not be grown in the fertile heart of the country any longer, and a terrible famine was sure to be the result. The rain forests were disappearing (we were told there would be no rain forests left by this time, so someone obviously goofed on that one) and would leave the planet with an ecosystem driven nightmare. While we were taught that rain forest species were becoming extinct at an alarming rate, we were also taught that it would not be so bad if man did not survive. The planet, and all, you know.
Our generation were the victims of all kinds of educational experiments as well. We had open classroom, self directed, ‘packet’ learning …(you were given a large packet of worksheets with some projects included and when you were finished – you were done for the year). I finished my 7th grade work in October and so spent the rest of the year tutoring other students. At this time there emerged ‘New English’ where ‘determiners’ replaced articles, and ‘New Mathematics’, where weird and gibberish like signs and vocabulary for ‘set theory’ ruled the day. This lasted for 2 years and after we had absorbed all the new vocabulary; both experiments completely disappeared off the educational radar screen and we came to school one year only to find determiners were gone and the old math was back with a vengeance. Many fell behind never to catch up again.
This experimental atmosphere had a dramatic effect on us- as our family began homeschooling in the 80’s and lived that lifestyle for more than 30 years, until last year when our youngest son began college. I dropped the next to youngest son off for his first day of school at college and he graduated 5 years later Suma Cum Laude as a mechanical engineer. We used phonics and books out of the 19th century- with Latin and traditional history. Nothing remotely experimental unless you want to count one on one tutoring by parental units. Much easier than public school, though. Even though it cost us a second income, our children received a top-notch private education without us having to worry about our sons being labeled by any passing busy body with a degree.
Another formative issue which shaped my world view as a young woman was the teaching- no indoctrination that abortion on demand was an indisputable right protected unequivocally by the constitution and unquestioned by any sane person. I never heard the designation ‘pro-life’ until much much later. We were sold on the idea that if at any point during a woman’s pregnancy she did not have complete power over whether or not to actually bear the child in question than men were still invested with ultimate power over women’s lives. Without the right to kill the unborn at any stage, we were taught, women would forever be trapped under the thumb of men. Thus a rabid type of feminist religion emerged from my generation, with abortion as its main sacrament to be protected at all costs. Many don’t understand today the nonsensical defense of the horrific Planned Parenthood videos, but as one raised in that generation of indoctrination, I get it. The fear instilled in us that men would somehow have power over our lives was palpable.It is again, a nonsensical belief system which can only be ‘explained’ by trained elites. We are seeing the same kind of fear being shoved down the throats of young people today- fear of other races, fear of the rich taking more than their ‘fair share’ of the always static pie, fear of the religious Christians getting in the way of one’s pleasures with complete freedom from any kind of ‘disapproving’ glances.
I write all this merely to say that my generation, one which came to age AFTER the turmoil of the sixties and ended up being largely educated by those who protested Vietnam (staying home and getting PHD’s instead of going to Southeast Asia), has been from the beginning of our school days unwilling guinea pigs of an educational establishment governed by liberal elites, and by proxy, the government. We were trained to be little drones taught that one just did not question the ‘established science’ of the ‘modern world’ being delivered to us. It was a great shock to soon learn that there would be no ice age, that there was no real shortage of gasoline (despite having to fill up on even or odd days and wait in huge lines to fill our tanks), that feminism did not require a pro- abortion stance, and famine was not on the way at all- but only the wondrous prosperity of the Reagan years. Those years of the 80’s cracked forever the shell so carefully built around us by the all-knowing liberal elitists.
Then, just at the moment when we were just beginning to realize the scale of how we had been duped by those we had been taught to trust, we discovered Rush Limbaugh. His masterful articulation of the issues was the final push we needed to know that we were not crazy- that what we had experienced in our own lives had happened on a massive scale, and that it was all going to be alright. We would never need to go back to liberalism and its fake ‘caring’ for all our needs. Rush finally freed our family from the feeling we would always be dependent on the ‘experts’ and their elitist predictions of doom and gloom. Most importantly, we knew the future would not be the one we were told about in school. It was bright, fresh, clean, with the wind blowing at our backs and the sunshine on our faces. We could chart our own way, educate our children as we wanted, and we would be forever free of the purveyors of disaster who make fortunes off dividing people into groups and leading them to hate each other in order to profit off the ‘identity politics’ that is the result of the division. We were forever free of envy politics, as well; for we became confident- knowing that we did not need the government as a crutch to prop us up along the way, and that if we had a little house and our friends had a mansion- bully for them! We would be spurred to work a little harder, to risk a little more.
All this to say that the Reagan revolution was real, and it is still going on today in people of my generation. We don’t need a Reagan today (the age and the issues are different now), but we do need someone with a very large liberal drone shell cracking hammer- a device which will finally free those still held captive by the liberalism’s phony act of superiority. I spend my days now cracking the shell the college professors and the screaming, hateful, vulgar, and envious world still attempts to build around my son who is still in ‘the system’. But he is one of the lucky ones – his mom knew up front what he would hit when he got there- and he is prepared. And the fourth little conservative will soon take flight. Yes, they might have a bit more libertarian leanings than their dad or I, but that is alright. They know a liberal when they smell one- and that is what keeps them safe from all the nonsense.