To the editor:
I was a child of the ‘60s. Not a product, just a child. I graduated from high school, college and seminary all in the ‘60s. I protested what I needed to protest and I learned that free speech was a good thing. I was most thankful for the Civil Rights movement. I still like much of the music. I lived in a Black Italian neighborhood in a Jewish town and my best friends were Jews and Blacks. My Jewish friend passed away last year but my Black friend is still a friend after 60 years.
I learned responsibility, the value of hard work and common sense. My education was highly important because it taught me to think for myself. My professors challenged me to learn for my own satisfaction and not parrot back to them. They said “research it, question it, check the possibilities, be your own person, look at all sides of the issue” etc. They, unlike many today, taught me “how to think” rather than, “what to think.” As I observe the news today, it seems that colleges seem to be more interested in only one way of thinking rather than creating well informed and caring citizens.
Young people are not taught respect for the ideas of others. We have become a one, and only one, opinion allowed, nation. Believe in something other than what the culture calls for and you are labeled as bigots, haters, Nazi’s, Fascists, etc. Many young people have no idea of what these names mean because they are not taught actual history. Nazis and Fascists allowed only one way of thinking. Is this America’s destiny? Americas have, since our beginning, held differing opinions and beliefs.
And, like everyone in the world, we were born with God’s gift of free will. And if you don’t believe in God, you still have free will. Do we realize how very fortunate we are?
Today, the culture forbids free will. The irony here is that in the ‘60s we believed that we had had a right to our own opinions. The university has become the most close minded institution in America. Disagreement is not allowed. Those who want to teach free speech are not welcomed. And many young people are easily offended and need to hide in a “safe zones” so they won’t have to fall apart and think that there may be another belief out there. We need to speak to each other face to face and to be open minded about the dialog. Instead we get riots when those who have different opinions are not allowed to be heard because they do not hold our current, one way and one way only belief system.
I remember when reporters actually looked for truth, no matter where it was to be found. Now, many of them only opine and fear to be different.
I remember when Hollywood and the sports world were supposed to entertain and not be political. I remember when colleges wanted us to think for ourselves. I remember the three R’s but, more important were the three C’s; courtesy, class and character.
I miss that America.
Rev. Jim Ferrone
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