I seem to be living in a strange new world. While willing to concede that the passing years may have transmogrified my memories; there are certain things that are historically accurate. My last commentary was about the politicos scaring us with prophecies of the doom that awaits our country if the debt limit is not increased to another astronomically high figure. That modus operandi seems to be in use in a host of other fields today.
Radio and television broadcasting is filled with warnings about the dire consequences of faulty products, scammers of various types, infectious diseases, identity thievery, terrorist threats and smelly feet.
How I long for the good old days when our only concern was the atom bomb!
If you were at home when the sirens sounded you headed for your own or the communitys bomb shelter. At school you just got under your desk problem solved. Even before the 1950s, there were the air raid sirens at night that required all lights out and the curtains drawn so the German bombers didnt have targets. It wasnt till I got older that I questioned how those planes made it all the way to Chicago from Germany. The only other warning I remember was Dont talk to strangers and be home when the street lights come on. Oh yes, there was also the statement with the implied threat, Its nice outside, go out and play! the implication being that if we didnt get out and do something, Mom would assign chores.
So here we are in 2011 and the warnings are everywhere; on radio, television, food packaging, buses, cigarette packages and newspapers. A brief survey yielded the following admonitions and warnings:
While participating in sports wear mouth and teeth protection, headgear, jockstraps and padding. The spokesman says the chances of a disfiguring accident could happen even on the dance floor. Im sure we all remember the baby crib scare or how about whooping cough; you could be the Typhoid Mary that passes that deadly disease on to your baby!
There are also E. coli from organic vegetables, cell phone cancer, styrene cancer or the endless public service announcements from the Centers for Disease Control that you must be aware of H1N1 and get your flu immunizations, especially if you are a senior citizen. I confess that I am 72 years old and have never had a flu shot.
But the list doesnt end there; we must be on the lookout for the onset of some form of pulmonary disease like COPD that forces us to find convenient benches on our daily walks well, that is, if we are able to walk before the onset of rampant peripheral arterial disease, conveniently reduced to the acronym PAD. Since my children live on the West Coast my daughter will not be able to get on her computer and harass me into a doctors appointment. But that is for us old folks to worry about.The cautionary PSAs continue with tales of pre-teens and teens being killed by meningitis. For sun-lovers, and that pertains particularly to young ladies who uncover to tan evenly, there is the CDCs warnings of the dangers of melanoma.
How about the home mortgage problems being exacerbated by companies promising relief and then absconding with the fees without helping? But for those who long for the simple worry of total annihilation there are the reports of Iran and Syria cooperating to produce a nuclear bomb in a couple of months.
As my list of warnings got longer and longer. I began to wonder why our society seemed so much more at risk and sicklier than in the past, and why most of these PSAs were from the government. My conclusion was: We arent sicklier; were not at higher risk; but the government has created a nanny state that wants us to look to them for our survival.
What has happened to our attitude of self-reliance and that strong, fearless and bold belief in ourselves? Lets look to our history and accomplishments and become the America we once were.
Larry Tradlener lives down McElmo Canyon.