Much has been spoken on the state of the country and the world, but I have come to the conclusion that all of the rhetoric is systemic of a bigger problem. Look around, for those with the retro attitude or sprit we see many things in our lives that are conducive to the loss of the values of yesteryear. As a result, I will say that our future relies on us looking to the past to a time when dignity was displayed in dress and the idea of self-reliance was not a foreign thought. Side note, I will leave any discussion of religion out, although I do feel it is a good one to have on the subject.
My father is a retired truck driver. I am intrigued with a comment he has made about drivers of today; he calls them bums. In his era, drivers dressed with shined shoes, button up shirts (pressed) and they were clean. They took their breaks at meal time where they stopped at a truck stop and had coffee and yes a cigarette with their meal. Today, the drivers can be found wearing sweat pants with holes, grabbing fast food and put in the words of my dad, "they are $60,000 a year homeless people who drive like crap," there is no pride in the work.
In my own job, we are fighting with a new generation that does not understand the idea of being the best. They complain that they cannot wear t-shirts, their uniform shoes have not seen polish in a year or more and they are in many cases uninterested in training. The idea that this blue collar job has escaped our numbers of college graduates. Twenty years ago, few would have thought twice about wearing a shirt and badge, 50 years ago no one would have left a fire house without a shirt, tie and a service cap.
What of simple cooking. Few people today can make a meal. Oh we are good with dinner in a box. I remember when we got our first microwave. Let’s just say that things have gone downhill ever sense. Almost every aspect of a grocery store is designed to make the modern family reliant on a producer of something. If we cannot cook from scratch, then we need “Betty Crocker” to do it for us. Furthermore, if we cannot cook, we don’t need a family garden.
What does this mean? For those of us that long for days that were gone before we were born, I hope it is a desire to step back to those values of dignity, personal pride and reliance on self. Does it mean you can’t wear a t-shirt outside, no but perhaps remembering that in the 1920s, even the janitor wore a tie might remind us that taking the time to look good for the situation is something to be admired and emulated by others. Taking the time to cook a meal and have dinner with the family around the table. Perhaps that will kindle a flame to plant some tomatoes in the spring.
I know that to many on this forum, I am preaching to the choir. But I have felt compelled lately to look at problems that I see as ripping away at our society and culture. I have been told that we need to encourage diversity, but I would remind people that we were founded as a people with things in common and we came together as a country. Diversity in the way it is been forced upon us seeks to destroy the common threads that made us one. Every part of modern lifestyle is designed to make us rely on someone to exist. Few have pride in what they do, perhaps they feel that they were hired and that is good enough. So, I will wear my fedora with pride and dignity not only because I love it, but because it is a symbol of era when people did things from themselves.
“By perseverance, study, and eternal desire, any man can become great.”
-GENERAL GEORGE S. PATTON, JR.