Friday, November 07, 2008

Great Expectations

As a kid I was taught to believe that any boy could grow up to be president and, I supposed, any girl could grow up to be that president’s ...uh...First Lady?

Don’t hit me; that’s the America where I grew up. In fact, quite a few baby women grew up to prove that a woman’s place is not only looking after the House but the Senate as well. They grew up to be Members of Congress and governors and judges and attorneys general. Pretty soon I expect there will be a woman in the Oval Office. Not bad for people who were denied voting rights less than a century ago.

My daughter grew up in a different America — version 2.0 or something like it, I suppose. She grew up knowing, I think, that she enjoys some of the privilege and bears some of the responsibility that goes with that.

Most earthlings never expect to own the roof under which they sleep nor travel on anything but public transportation or on foot. But things are different on the continent where I live. Compared with most people who ever drew a breath on this planet, I and my offspring are lucky — or fortunate if you prefer . . . or blessed.

But that's not how it feels right now. Right now, even suburban children are being taught to believe they’ll be lucky if they have a half decent job that pays enough to afford a house and a car — without which, of course, how can they ever hope to be happy?

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