Change is inevitable, as much as some would want a society to remain stable and unchanging that is impossible. If this was not so, there is a good chance we would be speaking Latin today. The question then becomes how do we change, what becomes the catalyst?
I’ve noticed, as part of the transition to adult, children need to separate themselves from their parents. As a group they adopt styles or behaviors that challenge the beliefs or accepted practices of their parents. Think about it, in the 1920’s they invented the risqué dance known as the Charleston, and made Speakeasy’s popular. The 1030’s brought us swing and jive. Today, we read about these things and think, God that is tame. Was it really so tame back then?
We consider the 1950’s to be gray and tame, but if you think about it, that generation laid the roots of rock and roll, the blues, and integration in place. Of course in the 1960’s we had radical anti-war movements and the golden age of rock and roll. Each evolution slowly challenged the society it was a part of. As communication improved so did the speed of change.
In the 60’s fathers had short hair, so the sons grew theirs long. In the 90’s those same kids from the 60’s still had long hair so the son’s cut theirs short. In the 50’s parents supported the illusion of separate but equal. After Brown v Board of Education, this was struck down, but it took the equal rights movement of the 60’s to really begin the move to equality.
When I entered the AF they thought it was important I take classes on equal treatment of minorities. The AF I grew up in slowly embraced the concept, but it took the retirement of many senior Generals, and the ascent of younger men and woman, without the old bias to fulfill the dream. Listening to outlets like MSNBC I wonder if it is possible to achieve equality within our society since they bring this up as a cause in almost any event?
As recently as a couple of years ago, senior officers were adamant that allowing homosexuals to serve in the Armed Forces would destroy moral. Since the President rescinded “Don’t Ask” we have not seen the foundations of the Department crumble so I am guessing we will live through this change too.
So what kind of changes will this next generation of youth choose as they rebel against their parents? Parents who have tattooed themselves from wrist to ankle, who speak with profanity and accept it in music, movies and TV, who have helped our nation polarize its politics, who have found the killing of defenseless infants acceptable, and fundamental religious beliefs a reason for mass murder, or who have seen their college degrees earn them only slightly more than minimum wage.