Kathleen Parker: Americans should resolve to restore responsible adulthood

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  • logicguy TUCSON, AZ
    Jan. 5, 2014 10:21 p.m.

    Lasvegaspam: I agree with you 100%. Society has improved in some ways over my lifetime, but for the most part, especially with regard to the various vices you listed, society has gone downhill considerably. Take just one example: gambling. When I was a youngster, your state, Nevada, was the only state in the country that had legalized gambling. Then, I think, came Atlantic City, NJ. Now Utah (and maybe Hawaii) are the only states that don't have legalized gambling. When I was going to school, drug use was something I heard about on the news but was never exposed to it. I knew some students who tried tobacco and alcohol but I never heard of anyone trying anything stronger than that. Now drug use is depressingly pervasive. Colorado and Washington have made marijuana use legal.

  • Lasvegaspam Henderson, NV
    Jan. 5, 2014 11:37 a.m.

    James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, spoke about the difference between his day and ours. Born in 1936 he was a teen and young adult in the early 50’s. He spoke about how for all youth throughout all time it is as though they are traveling down a long corridor filled with doors on each side representing life’s experiences.

    He stated how in his day, the doors “of vices” (i.e., homosexuality, drug addiction, sex addiction, gambling, etc, etc.) were shut tight as he passed right by them, not even noticing there were doors there.

    However, for our children today, he said, “Not only are all those doors flung wide open, but people beckon to our youth from the doorways, many reaching out and grabbing hold of them before they even understand what they are facing.”

    THAT is the difference, folks. And it’s real, and has nothing to do with income level, race or gender.

  • the old switcharoo mesa, AZ
    Jan. 5, 2014 10:12 a.m.

    Quote" envy for those who have more, and doubt that we can ever dig ourselves out of debilitating debt."

    Yet ironically, it's the wealthy that envy the more wealthy and TAKE more and more out of the economy for themselves simply by finding foreign workers thy can exploit and cutting back real pay for American workers. That is a statement back up by reality.

    They've done detailed surveys of the fairly rich to the uber rich. The consensus is they would finally feel financially secure if they just had twice as much money as they have at the time.

  • Lasvegaspam Henderson, NV
    Jan. 5, 2014 2:43 a.m.

    Have you all seen "Saving Mr. Banks"? Walt Disney built Disneyland as a symbol for a carefree and happy childhood, which is the opposite of what he experienced in his own life. He sought to create a place where families could enjoy being with one another and being entertained. I, too, love Disneyland. I love Main Street. This Christmas season we had the pleasure of being there. I sat on a bench watching the fireworks at the castle and completely enjoying the atmosphere created there -- one of happiness, family and togetherness. I told my husband that if we lived in So. California I would likely go there every week just to enjoy the ambiance.

  • CLM Draper, UT
    Jan. 5, 2014 12:21 a.m.

    '"O tempora! O mores!" from Cicero's First Oration against Catiline, 63 BC

    "I see no hope for the future of our people if they are dependent on frivolous youth of today, for certainly all youth are reckless beyond words... When I was young, we were taught to be discreet and respectful of elders, but the present youth are exceedingly wise disrespectful and impatient of restraint" (Hesiod, 8th century BC)

    When my mother and I walked down Disneyland's Mainstreet during the mid-50s, she lamented that "if only I had been born at the turn of the century, it was such an innocent, wholesome time compared to what we have now."

    It is exceedingly common to look back on by-gone eras with rose colored glasses. Especially those of us in the privileged classes. Thank you, SEY, (and others) for articulating in no uncertain terms the reality of the 50s for those who were not white, male and of the middle to upper classes.

  • Really??? Kearns, UT
    Jan. 4, 2014 5:49 p.m.

    This has been denied twice, even though it seems rather tame compared to other comments on here:

    Patriot said:

    "There was a golden era in America during the 1950's when values mattered and although America still had its problems you never heard of 'militant gays or gay marriage' or 'abortion' or 'radical Muslims' or 'fathers-less' homes etc...."

    You mentioned "My Three Sons" as an example of the ideal way of life; let's deconstruct the show. Widower Steve Douglass is raising three sons with the help of another man. First, it was the boys' grandfather Bub who runs the home and took care of the boys while the father was taking care of work responsibilities. Uncle Charlie moves in later and takes over those responsibilities.

    When the oldest boy marries and moves out, a new son, Ernie, joins the family. At first, the social worker and judge are concerned about Mr. Douglass adopting the boy; there should be a mother in the home. Their concerns are resolved when they see how Uncle Charlie runs the home, and the adoption goes through. Imagine that--two men successfully raising three well-adjusted young men.

  • EJM Herriman, UT
    Jan. 4, 2014 5:22 p.m.

    A huge part of our problem today, in comparison to the past 20 years, is twofold. One, we have gone so overboard with the idea of "we gotta do it for the kids" that kids expect everything to be done for them. We don't allow them to fail, to struggle, to learn to pick themselves up after failure. Second, the lack of respect we show each other, especially the lack of respect afforded seniors. Everything is youth oriented. I get it, to a certain point. But when people are interested in hearing Justin Biebers views on the war in Iraq and take him seriously it shows how we look at lightweights and give them more importance than what they deserve.

  • SEY Sandy, UT
    Jan. 4, 2014 1:05 p.m.

    Patriot: I don't have a "dark and ugly memory" of America. It's just not the idealistic fantasy you seem to enjoy clinging to.

    The internet and cable/satellite tv have demolished our illusions of innocence. Up until those sources brought us more information than we knew what to do with, elite news outlets controlled the discussion. Many of the ugly things going on stayed "in their place" as long as they didn't explode out of control. Segregation was the status quo until certain elements of the black community had had enough and burst upon every newspaper's front page. Homosexuals, as they were generally called, knew that their proper place was in the closet, and women knew that men were "the deciders."

    I wish we had more input from racial and cultural minorities on these boards (it's my assumption that they're underrepresented). I'm sure we'd see a very different perspective of those who lived through those so-called golden years. For me the 50's was a great time, but I found out later how sheltered and naive I had been. I feel I've been making up for lost time since then.

  • riverofsun St.George, Utah
    Jan. 4, 2014 11:21 a.m.

    A large portion of those who comment on this forum were children in the 1950s. We had a different view of life than an adult, just as children do now.
    Talk to your grandchildren, they feel as we did when we were their age.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Jan. 4, 2014 10:00 a.m.

    @patriot.... it isn't that I don't see that there was good in the 50s, I do... but the painted picture you are promoting isn't based on any reality, but rather some version of the past that was very selective. The 50s were hardly perfect - not by a long shot.

    The 50s gave us the rise of "sin city". Post WWII we had one of the largest outbreaks of sexually transmitted diseases ever. The drug of the day was alcohol, not what we have now, but the damage done to families was equally bad. We had gangs then, but rather than with latin American names, they had european latin names. We are just way more exposed to the ills of the world because of the media frenzied world we live. But all this stuff was still going on.

    But I agree - there was more of a sense of decorum then. Vulgar language and entertainment was not as main stream as it is now... but lets not be fooled that it was there. Society just did a better job of hiding it from plain sight, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.

  • Tekakaromatagi Dammam, Saudi Arabia
    Jan. 4, 2014 7:28 a.m.

    The bill of rights gave us a lot of freedom. That is the good news. now the bad news, with that freedom we are then free to make our own choices, to sink or swim. As soon as we want others to step in and save us from our mistakes, it is only fair then to expect that they have a say in guiding our choices. In doing so, we've given up our freedom.

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 4, 2014 6:04 a.m.

    'There was a golden era in America during the 1950's when values mattered and although America still had its problems you never heard of "militant gays or gay marriage" or "abortion" or "radical Muslims" or "fathers-less" homes etc…'

    Point 1) just because you do not now it, people still had abortions, Islam and gay relationships.

    Point 2) We have 'militant gays' today because…they are in the military. The bleed and die so that people just like this, can vilify their service and sacrifice for our country.

    Point 3) The claim that the 1950's was a 'bygone era' is simply put, Malarky.

    It never happened. There were just as many problems in the past that we face today. In Utah in particular I have this generational debate with people all the time.

    Things were 'so great' in the past?

    Hirishima, Nagasaki or the Holocaust? Tell me how it was 'so great'.

    If calling people 'militant gays' is part of 'civil discourse'….?

    Than the 'ugly reality' is that people who claim to be 'moral'…

    are the very ones resorting to name-calling and vulgarity.

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 4, 2014 5:49 a.m.

    'As we begin yet another new year, it is less easy to summon the dream. Instead of hope, a word that brought us a new president, we have entered an era of envy and doubt — envy for those who have more, and doubt that we can ever dig ourselves out of debilitating debt.'

    Funny that the title of this opinion piece is 'Responsible adulthood'….

    when Ronald Reagan tripled the national debt.

    And George W. Bush doubled the national debt.

    So please.

    Place your 'lamenting' about debt, where it belongs.

    A group of people who want to spend $2 million dollars against gay marriage…

    instead of actually bringing down, the national debt.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Jan. 4, 2014 1:40 a.m.

    re:SEY re:UtahBlueDevil

    Sorry you have such a dark and ugly memory of America. Some folks will always seek out the dark even when light is shinning all round. Compared to today, the 1950's were an innocent time - not perfect obviously - but light years better than today's coarse, vulgar, selfish, immoral, god-less, world. Movies still had beauty and innocence and are still referred to as "the classics". Music hadn't yet turned dark into the 1960's. Families and family values mattered and were unashamedly shown on TV and billboards. My point was, Disneyland reminds them of those innocent times when there was more clean family fun than worry about what your kids were doing or watching. Parents for the most part thought nothing of allowing their kids to walk to a friends house or to the movies. No security alarms needed. There was respect among people even Hollywood and political life - that has all disappeared. And by the way, my family was lower middle class and we lived that world...it wasn't just for the rich. That is nonsense and false. Back then good was good. Today good is evil and evil is good.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Jan. 3, 2014 6:22 p.m.

    "Instead of hope, a word that brought us a new president, we have entered an era of envy and doubt — envy for those who have more, and doubt that we can ever dig ourselves out of debilitating debt."

    Man this is a tired and getting very old party line. The fact is that more people today believe the US economy is on the right track then did when Obama took office some 5 years ago. The despair seems to fall very hard on party lines, and less so on the reality of our economic situation.

    And Patriot.... I am not really sure which 50s you are referring to. The 50s were time when little black girls were blown up in their church, the US was engaged in another war - one we wouldn't win, and people were being jailed for their political views. For some, white middle class males, life was great. The GI Bill was providing an education for many. The US was providing resources for the rest of the world after debilitating global war.

    Civility is at an all time low. Respect for others seems to be under attack. We as a nation can do far better.

  • SEY Sandy, UT
    Jan. 3, 2014 4:13 p.m.

    In case you might infer that I'm defending our current state of social morality, that's not so. But broad generalizations just don't apply to any single period in history. There are no "good old days" when everyone was better off.

  • SEY Sandy, UT
    Jan. 3, 2014 3:52 p.m.

    Patriot: I grew up in the 50's, I don't know if you did. But I can tell you this "golden age"of happiness and well-being existed for some and not for others. Racism and other kinds of discrimination flourished, So what you're talking about applied mainly to upper and middle class whites. What existed most in the 50's was blissful ignorance.

  • Gildas LOGAN, UT
    Jan. 3, 2014 3:46 p.m.

    There were a few years in the early Fifties that indicated a miniature "Golden Age" I think. It went against a long-term decline.

    Joseph Smith wrote of a situation in his own time,in which everyone followed his own god, a worldly god in his own image. That people drove out those who aspired to be latter-day saints; state after state they drove them out.

    There followed a series of disasters and a string of devastating wars, one on American terrain, that war alone killing and maiming over a million souls. The founding fathers were unusually astute and great; very few since then have achieved the like stature.

    The downhill trend has continued here and throughout European civilizations. Today a high degree if illiteracy, innumeracy, selfishness and immorality provides little hope of any change of course. The illiterate, undisciplined, denizens of much of upcoming generations, which do not understand let alone live by any morality, have continued the drift towards extinction, with bodies tattooed and pierced, organized in murderous, mutually antagonistic gangs, drugged,with music consisting of only a beat and crude, violent, immoral lyrics, do not appear to be the stuff the internal regeneration is made of.

  • Joan Watson TWIN FALLS, ID
    Jan. 3, 2014 12:49 p.m.

    Spring street. Actually Parker is not so far from the mark. Shopping in Macy's were several well dressed boys in the men's clothing section. Their loud profane language included words indecent and crude. When I complained to the sales clerk, her answer: "yes and you should hear what the young girls say. In other words, perhaps, instead of valium, Parker may have suggested ear plugs.
    Excellent Parker article as it, alas, rings true.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Jan. 3, 2014 11:58 a.m.

    My wife and I spent a day at our favorite vacation spot over the holidays - Disneyland. As we walked down Disneyland main street and enjoyed the wholesome and happy environment there it struck us WHY main street is a place that does bring happy feelings to everyone who visits - it is because it represents a time in our history when America was innocent and good. Yes main street was fashioned by Walt Disney to represent a place where shows such as "Leave it to Beaver" and "My Three Sons" might be playing at the local theater. There was a golden era in America during the 1950's when values mattered and although America still had its problems you never heard of "militant gays or gay marriage" or "abortion" or "radical Muslims" or "fathers-less" homes etc.... America has fallen into a vulgar and selfish state and I think people like to escape that ugly reality for a moment and remember a better, happier time where the majority of families had a father and mother in the home and morality and decency mattered. Disneyland reminds us of that happy place we once knew ...and sadly may never know again.

  • spring street SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Jan. 3, 2014 10:26 a.m.

    So Kathleen tells us "I suppose what I'm lamenting is the loss of our national imperative to do and be better." then in the same paragraph recommends that we take a "valium" to deal with the stress of going to the mall. I am sorry but that seems a little strange.