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Welcome to the Mothers Club

by Judy Cresanta

e are survivors, we who were born before 1948. Consider the changes we have witnessed. In our day, cigarette smoking was fashionable, grass was mowed, coke was a cold drink and pot was something to cook in. Rock music was a grandmother’s lullaby and AIDS were helpers in the principal’s office. We got married first and then lived together. We thought fast food was what you ate during Lent, and "made in Japan" meant "junk." It’s hard to imagine life without television, penicillin, polio shots, frozen foods Xerox, plastic, contact lenses, Frisbees or the pill. Things have changed.

But change is no stranger to today’s generation, either. Although many consider support from politicians to be the key to the success of an education reform proposal, prominent school-choice advocates caution that politicians are only one element of a successful reform program. Business leaders, Molly Conklin points out in this issue, have taken the initiative to reform the institution of education—rather than just tinker around the edges as today’s educrats have done, it seems, forever.

Yes, times sure are different. The National Education Association in the 1940s was a professional association of teachers—much like associations of engineers and scientists—concerned about professional ethics and the betterment of their chosen vocation. Today the NEA’s attempted affiliation with the AFL-CIO is tantamount to its identification as a full-blown labor union—more concerned about contract negotiations than education. Steve Miller talks about the failed merger and what disaster was averted.

We hit the scene when there were 5 & 10 cents stores and products actually cost five and ten cents. You could buy a Chevy for $600, but who could afford one: a pity too, because gas was 11 cents a gallon. Now, as recounted by Ralph Heller, Nevada Journal’s senior consulting editor, in Nevada we have families budgeting for hearing aid batteries and the taxes imposed on them.

Volkswagens were not rabbits in my day. Motorcycles meant having the wind blowing through your hair, not a neck injury imposed by the helmet you are now required to wear. D. Dowd Muska speaks plainly about this controversial issue.

In my day laser beams, dishwashers, air conditioners and electric blankets were nonexistent. Computer dating, the Internet, software and bytes didn’t exist. The electric company couldn’t be powered by anything but coal or water. Now, not only do we have a choice in fuel—geothermal, oil, nuclear, wind, solar—we also have a choice of which electric company to buy power from. Deregulation is what it’s called, and Dan Steninger talks about how hard it is for Nevada’s state government to get out of the way of progress.

The Mothers Club still meets. Fifty years ago, it was a terrific vehicle for camaraderie among moms with small children. In fact at a church downtown, I saw a sign that read: "All wishing to become Mothers will please meet the pastor in his study." I’m sure today’s generation wouldn’t blink; but I blushed!

"Health care" today should have a disclaimer that reads: "Maybe yes, maybe no." In fact, I believe that every HMO doctor that gets to heaven will only be allowed in for two days. Dr. Jane Orient of the American Association of Physicians and Surgeons talks about the new jeopardy doctors find themselves in today. Doctors not only don’t get paid according to the feds, but now they could face a jail term for providing medical care the "old fashioned way."

Yes, today things have changed. Politicians have short-circuited their mouths from their brains. Here is a sample of some thought-provoking statements by state and national representatives: "The average age of a 7-year-old in this state is 13." "In 1994, Americans stand on the horns of an enema." A city councilman recently proposed: "We have a permanent plan for the time being."

Well, I still liked it when a chip was a chunk of wood and hardware was hardware, guys didn’t wear earrings and it was smart, not dumb to think I needed a husband before I had a baby.
Next is the rest home! u

Judy Cresanta is president of Nevada Research Institute and publisher of Nevada Journal.


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