I recently watched a movie set in 1971 that got me thinking about that time in my life. I graduated from high school in 1971. Those of us coming of age around that time thought we could change the world for the better. After all, we watched man walk on the moon. What has actually been accomplished in the last, almost 50 years?
We thought we would see a cure for cancer, or at least the end of the common cold. Today it doesn’t appear we’ve cured much of anything. We just have lots of maintenance or treatment prescription drugs we can look forward to being on for the rest of our lives. In 2016 the odds of getting cancer is close to 40% for men, and slightly less for women.
The cost of medical care has skyrocketed, and yet we are no healthier. In fact the average American probably isn’t as healthy as they were 50 years ago. Medications that were inexpensive years ago, are so expensive that those without drug coverage can’t afford them. Too many Americans are still without health insurance.
Many were protesting the Viet Nam War back 50 years ago. We hoped to end wars on foreign soil far from home. Not only are American soldiers stationed far from home, terrorism in our own country is a constant worry. War was waged on illegal drugs, but opioid addiction and overdose deaths are increasing at an alarming rate.
When I graduated from high school it was possible to pay for a public college education as you went by working part-time after school and during the summer. A college education will soon be something only the rich can afford.
Once we graduated from college we dreamed of getting married and owning a home. Little by little these dreams are also becoming something only the rich can afford.
Our government no longer represents the US citizens. Money and lobbyists control our politicians and the agencies that were supposed to watch out for our welfare. Instead of solving the big problems that have been with us for years, like immigration and providing homes for the homeless, our government regulates non-issues like lightbulbs and the size of soda.
We used to be able to rely on the media to report unbiased news, and even be the watchdogs for corruption. Today the media is controlled by a few, and what’s presented as news is editorials at best, and propaganda at worst.
We now live in a country filled with corruption and controlled by greed. Every generation hopes to see their children better off than the previous generation. I’m sorry that is not the case for you. We hoped technology would improve our lives, but that’s not what happened.
Your generation is one of the best-educated and most tech-savvy ever to have entered the work force. You have access to more information than any previous generation. Go out and create a better country for future generations. I have faith you will be able to achieve the American Dream.
Wishing you a future filled with all the best,