We finished covering the scare of ‘75 in class last week. Two weeks seems a bit too efficient for such an important topic in this course, but I guess everybody knows most of it because it directly affects our lives. The thing is, we’ve known for over twenty years now that none of our children are going to be like us. On the one hand, they may be easier to deal with in a lot of ways, but on the other it might be harder to form a connection to them. Maybe we would adjust like my mother’s family adjusted to dealing with her, but one of our problems is trouble with change so I don’t know. But it’s too early for me to think about having children anyway. I did learn that technically we’re at the tail end of the Missing Generation, because the birth rate has been increasing ever since the turn of the century. People like my mother that were affected by the scare aren’t as afraid of having children that are like them, and people like me know their children will be born like your generation so they aren’t afraid of the potential for caring for a low-functioning offspring the rest of their lives. The new generation doesn’t have an official name yet; I think the current ideas relating to some kind of “rebirth” are rather tacky.
Further government response to the upcoming societal collapse was slow, even by their standards. The laws regarding employment and education requirements didn’t even begin to be enacted until 1990. It took until 1993 for the federal government to start helping school districts create or expand special lower schools. And it wasn’t until 2001 that immigration standards were relaxed in order to bolster the workforce now and for the future. The rest of the world didn’t have any paranoia about pain relievers, so everyone coming here was like you. And they needed people like that to do the jobs people like us were unsuited for, including taking care of those of us that were lower-functioning.
The future of the country is going to look vastly different than it did in 1975. Spanish is a requirement in schools now out of necessity; it’ll be surprising if half of Congress doesn’t speak Spanish at home in thirty years. Chinese, Hindi, Korean and Polish are still optional, but one of them would still be useful to try to learn if I somehow master Spanish first. The previous few decades have been marked by children like us being completely different from our parents, now the next few will have our children different from us. Society is going to have to completely re-position itself again as demographics change. Maybe in fifty years life will be more like it was in 1975 than it is in 2016. Peoples’ minds will be more similar to the way they were then. If I happen to still alive by then, I just hope that at least some parts of the way we live today are preserved.