Yup - Life used to be simpler


December 9, 2022

I have written before about my dad. A two-fisted fighter who fought and fought hard for what he believed in. One thing he fell short on in his younger years was his Judaism.

As I have said, his paternal grandfather was a nasty, bitter old man. He hated the Russians for throwing him out of Russia to live in a bitterly empty wasteland that today is Ukraine.

He came to America to find that the streets were not lined with gold and life in America was not a paradise after all. His religion was his only escape — and he dove in head first.

His son, my grandfather, Abraham Shiplacoff, was an active left-wing politician when Socialism was quite different than today. In those days, from what I have read, Abe Shiplacoff believed in the American dream that every man could work hard and earn good money and support his family in a way never dreamed of in Russia.

His basic beliefs were that no single company or companies should own airlines or rail companies or coal and oil companies. These were, in his mind, simple natural resources that should belong to all the people.

Sounds easy and even believable, right? Never happened, never will.

During the years I lived through WWII as a youngster and a teen-ager, there was no question in my mind (and most of my friends) that the president was always right, that our troops would prevail and that America, that Bulwark of Freedom, was the absolute best nation in the world.

My how things have changed.

Communication then was simple: We had daily newspapers (probably one in the morning and one in the evening). There was Time Magazine to give us the “true” story on what was going on in our nation and the world that week. There were Lowell Thomas and H.V. Kaltenborn on the radio to tell us the “TRUTH” about what was happening on a daily basis. There were “Newsreels” in the movies to make us proud of our nation and its people (well, white middle class people anyway).

In the 1950s we were giddy that the war was over and times were good, really good.

In the 1960s things changed, again. Maybe it was television appearing in every home. Maybe it was teenagers no longer looking forward to dying in a war but finding themselves the recipients of clothes and allowances and trips that had been impossible during a depression and then a war.

On the good side, Jews were allowed to live almost anywhere they wanted. They couldn’t join certain country cubs, so they founded their own. There still were “quotas” as to the number of Jews in certain medical schools, law schools and even colleges.

The nascent Civil Rights movement was beginning to show results. Well, in the northern U.S. anyway.

Then there is the computer… If there is one thing that changed life in the U.S. and really, in most nations, it is the computer. New forms of communication. Phones are no longer just for listening. They are read and as a form of the computer, have allowed communication to explode.

While a lot of that is good, there is always evil. These same computers and smart phones allow groups to form bent on hatred and evil. They showed us that the ugly underbelly of our society still exists and began to flourish.

What a perfect opportunity for groups to form based on hatred. To have the tools to spread lies like wildfire and even get people elected to office.

Hitler convinced his country that the Jews were evil and six million of us died. He did not do it alone. “The Proud Boys” tried to do the same thing here and their minions are still there waiting for their leader to take power again.

In a complicated world like this, with so many forms of communication, any type of thought, no matter how ridiculous, can get an audience.

This is not a good situation for Jews. It is compounded by the same “magic” communication devices that can tell you the news right now and later allow you to “talk” or even “Facetime” with anyone anywhere in the world.

These devices are here to stay and become more complicated and more “necessary” as time goes on. Automobiles are great and they are dangerous. Communication is the same. The fact that a TV channel like Fox News can become so popular is an example of a “news” channel becoming the face of a great danger to this nation: misinformation, bias and dangerous rhetoric.

Things change. We have to change with the times. These tools of communication should be used to tell our story — the story of a people recovering their land, their country after two thousand years. The pride in what Israel has become as a beacon of light for freedom and the homeland of the Jewish People.


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