Alan Ferdman | The Silent Generation Speaks

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It is Sunday evening and as I sit at the keyboard, I am not only thinking about material for this week’s column, but how my previous thoughts have been received, particularly on social media. As an “Opinion Columnist,” my goal is to share thoughts in a respectful way and attempt to start a meaningful dialog. Two weeks ago, my Signal column “Public Safety in the SCV” dealt with problems related to defunding the police. I was very much aware I was about to kick a beehive, but someone truly needed to do it. 

I decided to start out comparing George Orwell’s definition of “Newspeak” and Big Brother’s slogans, “War is peace, Freedom is slavery, and Ignorance is Strength,” with current media reporting indicating “Portland Protests are Peaceful.” Today, even Portland’s Mayor Ted Wheeler has done a pirouette and come out portraying the gatherings as riots. 

Unfortunately, Ted seems more concerned with selling his political views than taking firm action to keep his community safe. 

But, since much of what I wrote does not fit a segment of our community’s preferred narrative, I received a lot of pushback from Facebook’s Keyboard Commandos. I do not mind seeing and hearing opposing viewpoints when comments stay on the subject at hand, yet it made me chuckle when several commenters criticized me for being “old” and unaware of current issues. 

Why would I find it so humorous? Well, because I am in the 4th quarter of my life and have taken almost 77 trips around the sun. The Keyboard Commandos do not need to remind me time takes its toll on certain abilities. For example, I no longer have the physical stamina to drive to a desert race in the wee hours of a summer’s Sunday morning, unload my dirt bike, dress in a full red leather racing suit, and ride a 100-mile off-road race. But what they do not comprehend is, during all the mileage I have accumulated riding Earth’s orbit, I have been exposed to numerous life experiences, which currently provides the basis enabling me to pen a unique column every week. 

Just like when I was in the first quarter of life, young adults think they know it all, and it is relatively easy to see through the fog and grasp an underlying principle. Today’s generation is going through the same trials as previous generations experienced. The difference is how the current young adults handle the stress involved.

So here is the major difference: In 1960 most of us became productive adults at 18 years of age. Leaving public school days behind, everyone had to start down a lifelong journey of locating a well-paying profession in order to be self-sufficient. High school provided only the basic life skills necessary to move forward. Hopefully, when you received your diploma you were able to read well, write an essay, do math, understand how our government works, and have been readied to embark on finding your lifelong calling. 

It is a stressful period, because it is the time you become free from your parent’s nest, and just like young adults today, I was apprehensive about how I was going to survive. 

Many parents today think the next step is for everyone to continue their education in college, and a bachelor’s degree is becoming the new high school diploma. Continuing down an educational path is important, providing you select a major that will support you in the rest of your work life. If you end up with a degree in some obscure discipline where there is almost no possibility of meaningful employment, you most likely end up with a large student debt, no way to pay it off, and scrambling to make your monthly bills. Reliance on college to postpone adult responsibilities has grown to a point where it is sad, but understandable, why so many unemployed graduates are demonstrating for causes they do not truly understand, along with the expectation their loans will be forgiven, while also demanding free health care, and now even adding a call for free housing. 

With local politicians sitting on their hands, the unemployed groups created by COVID-19 have grown larger, and demonstrations in some of the country’s cities have gotten out of control. Simply put, frustration is boiling over and protests have become riots. Property damage has escalated into billions of dollars, along with a toll taken in human life. 

Now, more than ever, we must continue to support those who defend and guarantee the safety of our friends and family.

But for those who have expressed concern about my time on planet Earth, I want to make it clear, “the best age you have ever been is the age you currently are.” While some aspects in life do change, there are always new frontiers to be challenged, as well as an ability to continue enjoying the things you love to do. 

So, while I no longer do those 100-mile dirt bike races, I still ride my Harley and have no trouble making 400 road miles a day. 

Therefore, as I complete this year’s solar orbit, I send you my best wishes and hope you end up being one of the lucky ones. If all goes well, in the future you will get to celebrate the completion of a similar journey. By then, you will understand exactly what I have written about. 

Alan Ferdman is a Santa Clarita resident and a member of the Canyon Country Advisory Committee board.

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