Don't fall for the big lie
I was digging around in some boxes and came across my grandfather's driver's license and noticed the birthdate—1893. I started to research what his life had been like. Here is what I found.
But first, let me take on this sad and disgusting myth circulating around like a toxic vapor in our culture. Humanity is not swirling the drain as things get progressively worse and worse. The End of Times is not inevitable or inescapable. Let's look at Grandpa Art's life for it will prove my point.
When Art was born the infant mortality rate was 165 per 1000. Today's rate is 7 per 1000. One in six babies born died before their first birthday. In parts of the country and world families would not name their kids until after their first birthday. The horror of losing a little precious baby was not rare—one in six babies died! Think of all the grief. It is beyond comprehension to imagine such a time.
When Art was born on an isolated Montana ranch, life expectancy was 42 for a white male (33 for a black male) and only slightly higher for females. Today, life expectancy is close to 80—78.5 to be precise in 2018. From 42 to 78.5.
When Art was school age only half of kids attended school. Only 3% of kids attended college. He had a 10% chance of making it to age 65. He ended up living for 93 years. It is worth looking at what he went through in those nine+ decades.
He survived the influenza pandemic of 1918-19 that infected one third of the world's population and killed 50 million people worldwide. In America, we lost 675,000 residents. Towns ran out of coffins. He fought in WWI, a war that had over 40 million casualties including 19 million deaths. He worked during the Roaring Twenties and survived on mostly a diet of potatoes during the Great Depression. He worked building ships during WWII, a war where 70-85 million people perished. Look at the numbers and try to imagine.
Then the Korea War, McCarthy Era, the upheaval of the 1960's and on and on. The changes he saw with his bright blue eyes during his 93 years are mind boggling. Life was a struggle back in his childhood. Diphtheria, pertussis, and measles killed millions of little kids. Polio was crippling thousands of people each year and Smallpox was killing and making people blind clear up until the 1970's.
Yes, we have challenges today. Yes, there are daily tragedies and dilemmas but it could be helpful to wonder and reflect upon how bad things were back just two generations ago. Perspectives are important and false perspectives lead to depression, suicide, and feelings of hopelessness that are out of whack.
Our daily existences and full lives are things Grandpa Art could never imagine. It helps to keep that in mind. Share the love; fight the hate and enjoy your short time on this blue orb.
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