Letter: Define ‘normal,’ please

Let’s look more closely at the 1950s, the last “normal” decade, according to Jim Gannon:

1950: Sen. Joe McCarthy begins a communist “witch hunt.” President Truman orders construction of the hydrogen bomb.

1951: South Africans are forced to carry ID cards identifying race.

1953:  First Playboy magazine (beginning of sexual revolution?).

1954: Ike announces his “domino theory,” which would govern much of U.S. foreign policy and justify increasing involvement in Vietnam. Brown v. Board of Education ends the “separate but equal” rule (but there’s still 10 more years until the Civil Rights Act).

1955: McDonalds corporation is founded (onset of American obesity?). Rosa Parks refuses to give up her seat.

1956: Elvis gyrates on “Ed Sullivan Show.” TV remote control invented (another step towards American obesity?). Krushchev: “We will bury you!” Suez crisis shakes the Middle East.

1959: American television quiz shows are found to be fixed (dumbing down of America?). Castro overthrows U.S.-endorsed strongman Batista, and becomes dictator of Cuba.

And let’s have a closer look at those events that “ruined” us in the ’60s and ’70s:

The antiwar movement put an end to the huge casualties in Southeast Asia. From the 1960s to 1975, estimates of the number of Vietnamese soldiers and civilians killed vary from fewer than one million to more than three million. Some 200,000 to 300,000 Cambodians, 20,000 to 200,000 Laotians and 58,220 U.S. service members also died in the conflict.

The anti-authority movement paved the way for the civil rights and women’s movements. Both women and minorities began to gain stature and equality in politics, educational institutions and the business world. Only recently was the Fair Pay Act passed. Politicians continue to try to restrict minority voting.

The supposed “sexual” revolution merely revealed to the public eye age-old behavior. People from all walks of life, including presidents, kings and priests, have frequently indulged in immoral sexual behavior. Today, while there is nothing new, the explosion of media technology, cable, internet, etc., makes everything public and seemingly more prevalent.  

M. Donegan

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