The same way we look at the ’60’s is the same way people will view our genraration decades from now.
Remember and act in the year you are living now, because they are momentous ones. 30 or 40 years from now, you — along with young people, historians, politicians, bloggers (if they will even exist that far down the road), and many others will be looking at 2013 and adjacent years and see a pivotal era in American and world history in the same way we look at the 1960’s today.
This isn’t meant to be cosmic or sentimental advice. This is a serious admonition to pay attention to a remarkable confluence of current events that harken back to the society-shaking shifts in attitudes that took place nearly 50 years ago in the 1960’s. The question to ask yourself is: what will your legacy, contribution, and story story be when, decades from now, people study the 2010’s, easily the 1960’s of the new millennium?
For example, today, the United States, even with its current drawdown of troops in the Middle East after more than 10 years of war, is still embroiled militarily in campaigns against international terrorism. 50 years ago, American military power was similarly being used toward the ideological defeat of communism, most famously and disastrously in the drawn-out decade-long campaign in Vietnam.
In another example, the nearly unprecedented resignation of Pope Benedict XVI and the subsequent election of Pope Francis, a Jesuit Argentine, on March 13 gained as much interest in the renewal of a troubled Chruch as the Second Vatican Council did when it was first convened by Pope John XXIII to reexamine the role of a globalizing Church in the rapidly changing world of 1963. If you hear the Catholic Mass in English rather than in Latin today, for instance, you have the Second Vatican Council to thank for that.
The Supreme Court, which monopolized the national spotlight last week because of last weeks’ arguments to legalize gay marriage, offers a third parallel. Decades ago, massively important social issues found a resolution in decisions like Brown v. Board of Edcuation (1954) which sounded the death knell for hundred-year old segregation laws in the South, and Roe v. Wade (1973), which recognized a constitutional right to an abortion.
A similar tug-of-war between states’ rights, federal law, and changing social attitudes is playing out today. The nine Supreme Court justices will now spend a few months hashing out decisions on the status of voter-enacted state gay marriage bans and a U.S. law restricting certain important federal benefits traditionally married couples.
Clearly, both the ‘60’s and ‘10’s, though obviously very different times, share a common spirit of deep, momentous, and memorable change. If there was ever a time to contribute a vo categorize ice to a notable era — to literally make history — now would be a very, very good time.