Monday 24 Oct 2016

Back to the Past
AJ Robinson

These days, there are all kinds of history programmes on countless cable and web channels and I get to watch plenty of interesting shows. One very fascinating program talks about what the ancients knew, some of their inventions and technologies. Some were simple: metallurgy, the world being round and the like and, others, were quite high-tech: clocks, animatronics-like statutes and even calculating machines!

Some of these episodes got me thinking about one of my dad’s favorite expressions,

Those who forget the past are doomed to relive it.


I thought of that when I saw a news report on the use of bicycles for treating kids with ADHD. It said that researchers found that getting kids outside and active for as little as thirty minutes a day did wonders at calming them down. Let me get this straight, it’s been determined that if you throw kids outside, have them exercise and exert themselves they calm down. I hate to use this word, but in this case, it is entirely appropriate: duh!

I’m sorry, and I don’t mean to sound mean and I most definitely am not one of those people who longs for the “Good Old Days” all the time. Still, back when I was a kid, we knew this already. My dad was forever after me to get away from the television.

“You sit too close,” my dad would say. “You’re going to end up with one great big eye right in the middle of your forehead.” Oh, the nightmares that one gave me! Mind you, back then we had the three networks, PBS, and two UHF channels. If you don’t know what UHF is, don’t worry, that’s ancient history.

We played until we dropped and we were all skinny.

The point is this, we played until we dropped, inhaled our food and were all skinny as rails and rarely hyperactive. Of course, these days, what with everyone worried about a lawsuit if a kid so much as skins her or his knee, it’s no wonder recess and physical education classes have all but disappeared. Should we be surprised that kids are unable to sit still in class unless they’re heavily medicated?

With parents and society terrified that any child, playing outside by alone are potential abductees, is it any wonder kids don’t play outside? I’ve heard of some parents literally giving their children a letter stating that they are “Free-Range” and, thus, have permission to go outside on their own.

All of these instances of the past coming back also put me in mind of something else: the era of the Robber Barons. Back in the latter part of the Nineteenth Century, there were men like JP Morgan, Andrew Carnegie, William Randolph Hearst and John D Rockefeller that literally controlled entire industries. Yeah, they were the one-percenters of their day. They lived in opulent splendor while most people barely survived. It wasn’t until the reform movement that the monopolies, the Trusts, as once called, were broken up and actual competition returned to the marketplace.

That is what gives me hope for the future. Right now, we’re back to that era and I find it amazing that no one seems aware of that fact. Of course, given the detail that the media is once more controlled by the one-percenters, there’s little wonder that the story isn`t reported. Yet, as I said, I have hope for the future for one simple reason: my dad’s saying.

Become over-confident!

You see, the one-percenters are just as stupid as is anyone else. Oh, I know, because they’re rich they’re supposed to be smart and only dumb people are poor. Sorry to burst your bubble, but that’s not always the case.

That is why I have every confidence in them doing exactly what they did last time: become overconfident. Eventually, and it may take many years, people will actually wise up and realize a very important fact: the rich are bleeding us dry! Once more, the reform movement will kick in, change will come and life will get better for us folks down here on the bottom.

I only hope I live to see it.









Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Most of the time he writes, but sometimes he works at Disney World to renew his fantasies and get a few dollars more. AJ writes, with insight and passion, about his family and his dog. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true.

More by AJ Robinson:
Tell a Friend

Click above to tell a friend about this article.

Please report typos or corrections
to the editor