The Big Thing Author: BobRDate:2014-09-17 10:32:00
I feel a bit sorry for the children of today. They are growing up in a world where electronic devices are their one constant. Where once we members of the older generation found our amusement outdoors or at movie houses, when there were 3 channels on TV so that everyone was watching the same episodes of TV shows at the same time, there was communication and community. We shared experiences together.
The hand-held online onDemand reality we live in now has changed all that. We can pick and choose when to watch our shows, and "binge" on them if we choose. We play games by ourselves on our phones, and listen to music that no one else can hear, every headphone wearing person in their own world.
It's creating a generation that is self-centered, selfish, and unable to understand the concept of the country doing the Big Thing.
Us old farts remember the Big Thing. We sent astronauts to the moon. We built space shuttles and space stations. We built the Hoover Dam. We built the Interstate highway system, and the railroads before that. We ran transatlantic cables, and built an electrical grid that sends power to every corner of the mainland.
And that's just the last 100 years.
We also went from a small standing Navy to being the preeminent military power on the planet. Initially, this was out of necessity as two world wars threatened the very foundations of civilization. The military hardware companies found that kind of money hard to give up, though, and we've been on a permanent military footing ever since.
Lately, it seems like the military is the only Big Thing that anyone cares about anymore. It seems like the only thing that politicians and their acolytes consider worthy of federal expenditure or for going into debt. How sad is it that the kids of today look to leadership from their government and see only bickering and penny-pinching, and money for nothing but more war?
Meanwhile, the Big Things of the past are fading. Our highways manage to get repaved, but the bridges are crumbling. We've already had one space station fall from orbit. The space shuttles are mothballed, with nothing ready to take their place. Instead, we have to rely on Russia and China to get our astronauts into space.
Perhaps it's no wonder the kids of today bury their noses in their phones and iPads. The world they are shutting out has nothing to offer them, no promise of a better tomorrow, nothing to spark the imagination with a big "what if?". They read our history in school and then look at our current sorry state of stagnation, and if they're lucky they only become cynical.
We need a new Big Thing. Our economy needs it, the soul of our country needs it, and the children need it. To do otherwise is to admit that our best days our behind us, and decline is inevitable.