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Thoughts on the passing of a lady.

April 23, 2018

During comments on the funeral of former First Lady Barbara Bush, you heard it over and over again, even from the media.

The Washington Post may have said it as well as any, in a piece written Saturday by Roxanne Roberts and Kevin Sullivan, who noted that Mrs. Bush’s funeral represented “…a generation, a way of life that feels like it is increasingly slipping away.”

Then they went on to prove that observation to be true by taking several irrelevant potshots at President Trump, ruining what was otherwise a very nice article.

Is the observation nostalgia, or a warning?

There was a time when you didn’t need to virtue signal, because actually being virtuous was simply the way you were expected to live.

It didn’t matter whether you were rich or poor, black or white, young or old, there were just some things you didn’t do, and certain ways you were expected to act.

That’s pretty much gone now.

Many of those born in the tumultuous 1970’s and afterward think that is a good thing, calling the modern generation more honest and real.

To give the devil his due, they may be right in some ways.

Certainly the gentility of the first half of the twentieth century made it easy to ignore or at least paper over some of the ills of society.

Many women really were under their husband’s thumb, financially and socially, right up to the Second World War when the world of Rosie the Riveter provided a ladder to independence.

Racism was real, rather than being a campaign dog whistle or an excuse for failure, and poverty was considered a character flaw until the Great Depression made paupers out of princes.

Still, it seems to be the norm that we humans can never seem to find the balance between keeping the best of the past while reaching out for a different future.

Barbara Bush seemed to be able to find that balance. She was what feminists and pink-hat marchers  think they are, but will never be. Tough, honest and outspoken, but doing it with genuine class and leavening her criticism  with humor.

Hers was an era when women became successful  by keeping their legs together and getting dirt under their fingernails rather than dishing it on their boyfriends.

The millennials can rest easy, knowing that like Nabi Tajima, the greatest generation and its earliest successors in the Baby Boom generation will soon pass our own expiration dates,  leaving them free to try it their way.

Until then, rest in peace Mrs. Bush, and now that you are finally home, could you put in a good word for the rest of us with Saint Peter?

From → op-ed

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