This blog is about the story of my family here in America. We arrived in the 1630s as Puritans, and became the common folk of the New World.

Disrespect for the police and for the military

I grew up in a time of disrespect for the police and the military. In the 1970s, they were portrayed on TV, movies, and in popular culture as buffoons. The highway patrol was outsmarted by truckers and Burt Reynolds. If you're old enough to remember "Smokey and the Bandit", you know what I mean. And the military was spoofed by TV shows like M.A.S.H. and movies like Animal House.

The cultural backlash was against the "goody-two-shoe" heroes like Roy Rogers, who was way before my time. Whenever a TV show wanted a character that was psychologically unbalanced, they used a Vietnam War veteran. Heroes were out, "un-heroes" were in. People were cheering for Bonnie and Clyde.

Personally, I had no interest in degrading the police, or the military. I knew that my father had served in World War II. I knew that police officers were out there every day risking their lives. To me, a highway patrol car meant that there was someone on the road who could help me if I needed it. I didn't get a CB radio and run away from the "Smokey Bears". People would say when I got the freeway, "watch out for the highway patrol!". I didn't call cops "pigs", I called them "officer". And I talked to them. Yeah, I was out of step for the times.

And then the backlash hit in the 1990s. It started with a new respect for the military after Desert Storm. And the biggest boost for police and firefighters was September 11th, 2001. Suddenly these people were heroes. But they had been heroes to me all along.
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