What You Can Count On

Way. way back in 1959 we were born into a world where our parents and the rest of the country took certain things for granted, but that didn’t last for long. During the first twenty years of our lives everything from hair styles to sexual mores to race relations to rock ‘n’ roll music changed at dizzying rate, and we found it damned hard to keep up with in our formative years. Take a look at any high school yearbooks from 1959 and 1977, or look at the bestseller lists or hit movies or electoral results of the same two years, and you’ll find artifacts of two very different worlds.
Things slowed down after that, and except for punk rock and the fax machines and giant-sized cell phones and other newfangled high-tech gizmos 1997 didn’t seem all that different from 1977. Sometimes history speeds up, as it did during the World War I years that wiped out the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires which had been taken for granted for centuries, but after that it usually slows down, as it did when President Calvin Coolidge promised a post-war “Return to normalcy” for his suddenly world power nation. That led to the hard-drinking and pot-smoking and cocaine-sniffing and otherwise libertine Jazz Age, then the more stoic and religious tGreat Depression, followed by the repeal of Prohibition and then a Second World War, when America was united as never before by an undeniably great and just cause of defeating the Axis powers.
After that, there’s arguably been a cultural decline.There are more out-of-wedlock births, more #MeToo moments and other boorish male behavior, and a far coarser and more profane argument about it.
In the past in we blamed it mostly on the left side of the political and cultural divide, but these days the right seems just an intent on wiping out things we once took for certain.
One of the things we’ve always counted on was the Supreme Court’s Brown v Topeka Board of Education ruling, which ruled that black kids get to go to school with white kids. It makes perfect constitutional sense in light of the 13th and 14th Amendments, and although it caused us some problems in the hallways of our junior high and high school years during the racially-charged ’70s we still think it sound policy. President Donald Trump’s most recent federal judiciary nominees have declined to endorse the decision, however, and they’ve also expressed doubts about some longstanding decisions we’ve come to rely on, including the Watergate-era rulings that allowed the Legislature to investigate the Executive branch, and the very-longstanding Marbury v Madison decision that allows the judiciary to overrule a law clearly in violation of the Constitution.
>We’ve gradually grown accustomed to all the cultural changes, and at this point wish our best to all the bullies from our junior high and school days and our seemingly happily married homosexual friends. Our hope and expectation is that America will continue to grapple its way along, and that a constitutional order will survive.

— Bud Norman

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