The dumbing down of America

Published 10:22 am Tuesday, June 21, 2016

To the Editor:
I graduated from high school in 1964. What a different time that was. People generally worked hard and played hard. Achievement was the king of all virtues. The people of what would become known as the “greatest generation” were in control.

A person’s word of that generation could trusted. If you wanted to buy something of value all you needed was a handshake to seal the deal. No need for lawyers and accountants.

I consider my generation the “instant generation.” We want things and we wanted them now. We choose to go into debt not only for the things we need, but for the things we want as well, thus creating the massive credit industry. My generation will go into debt for a hamburger.

We make a lot more money than the previous generation but we have been convinced that it is normal to pay over half of that income to the credit companies.

My generation continued the moral values of our parents – basically the Judeo-Christian values outlined in the Bible.

That brings us to the current generation the press calls “millennials.” I call them the “entitlement generation.” This generation seems to want things and they think you should pay for them and give it to them. It seems that they have accepted that there is no right or wrong. Ever what you think is right is okay, regardless if the facts contradict their opinion.

I went to a few public school basketball games this past season. The daughter of one of my friends was playing. Things have really changed since I was in high school. For example, back then, the cheerleaders actually knew which team was winning and the cheers reflected what was happening on the court. They didn’t do sexually explicit dances and they were properly dressed. I was shocked at how lustful and sexually suggestive the cheers were. You know what was even more surprising? Apparently the school, the parents, and the grandparents seemed to be fine with it.

Another shocking thing happened a few weeks ago at the Wake County School Board. They voted to do away with the valedictorian and salutatorian. The reason for this was because it might be upsetting for some of the other students who didn’t make good enough grades to be the valedictorian or salutatorian.

So which generation has it right? Well, let’s look at achievement. In the 1960’s America was number one in the world when it came to math and science scores. Today America is somewhere around 32nd in the world.

Why? I taught school for 22 years, some in the 1970’s and some in the 2000’s. The change I observed was shocking. I’ll just give you one example. In 1970 when a student got in trouble at school, he also got in trouble at home.

Fast forward to 2010. When the student gets in trouble at school the parents go to the principal and defends the child’s actions, even if they know the child was wrong.

So how will it all end? Why can’t we learn from history? There are many examples in the past where a great nation fell when they went away from basic Christian values. Rome is a good example.

In summary we’ve gone from the mind set of “achievement” to the mind set of “entitlement.” Is that a good thing? I don’t think so.

Jimmy Smith