The really old folks can remember the times of the World Wars in the last century – the really big ones: WWI and WWII. The sadness of it all was the thousands of lives dying in battle day in, day out. It was a time when everyone grew ‘Victory’ vegetable gardens; it was a time when factories stopped making automobiles so they could concentrate on making tanks and other military devices; it was a time when the women came into the workforce because the draft was requiring every healthy male body into service; it was a time when grocery shopping was limited to how many food stamps you had and gasoline was limited to three gallons per week. As mariner has mentioned a time or two, Franklin Roosevelt was able to put a 100 percent tax on income above $35,000/year ($587,685 in 2023) – try getting that passed today!
At the intimate level, it was a terrible time. The national culture was ripped apart, destroying families, businesses and the general tone of human behavior. Interestingly, there was a strange feeling of satisfaction as all the citizens stepped forward to join the national cause; remember the famous ad “Uncle Sam wants You”? The availability of Taylor Swift images is peanuts compared to the continuous presence of Uncle Sam.
WWII pulled a national persona together that has never been so strong. Mariner gives pause today. It is not likely to unify a nation against Russians, Chinese, Israelis, Middle Eastern Arab nations . . . not even gays and abortions. Today our Nation is set upon by the internal wars of weaponized political parties and an oligarchical economy that not even FDR could tackle.
But what is our saving grace? Where is our unification? Where can one find a feeling of accomplishment in a fractured world? Turn away from television news. Replace it with local news, paying attention to what you see and feel in your existential life. Avoid the attack on human socialization – set time limits on the smartphones, Tik-Toc, Facebook and even choosing not to use self checkout and instead engaging another human being. Shop in a store with the whole family – remember stores?
The point is this: focus on family experiences, look continuously for feelings of personal worth and achievement within your own world – best found in talking to real, ‘right before your eyes’ humans. As Cheers advocated, go to a place where everybody knows your name and they’re always glad you came.
How long has it been since you went bowling? Remember playing pinochle with the neighbors? Have you tried pickle ball? Jeezy Peezy!