I don't particularly hold with cock fighting. I have to admit that I have never even been to a cock fight. My Middle West upbringing didn't include such activities. We prized our farm animals too much to watch them kill each other. If we wanted to gamble on something there were always horse races, poker and pinochle. And Bingo. But that was the Middle West. Now I live in the South West and things are different here. Different strokes for different folks. And no one from the government told us, seriously, what we should do with our lives. But I did learn to smoke in my late teens. It came in handy when I joined the Navy and our ship sailed into potentially dangerous waters. Sort of kept you looking calmer and braver than you really were. After I was discharged from the service and attended college I quit smoking. Cold turkey. After all, flower children and Beatniks didn't need to prove how brave they were. And no one from the government told us, seriously, what we should do with our lives. We went to non segregated schools and no one thought much about it. It was the way things were. And our idea of taking drugs was having a couple of No-Doze tablets so we could stay up all night. And no one from the government told us, seriously, what we should do with our lives. Although most of us learned how to use guns, we only heard of a shooting on rare occasions. And they always seemed to involve the police. Oh, there were murders once in a while, but they were rare. And no one from the government told us, seriously, what we should do with our lives. We learned about the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, about Washington's problems with a poor Congress, Franklin's always being a step ahead of the British, what it meant to be an American and the debt we owed our forebears. And no one from the government told us, seriously, what we should do with our lives. We felt sorry for the people who could not live in free America, but we knew there were legal methods for expatriates to enter our country and we were happy for them. We knew, too, that our government would try to help the most destitute countries. We didn't complain about it. Hell, we even contributed to foreign aid. Things were good for the Great Generation. And no one from the government told us, seriously, what we should do with our lives. Homosexuals were a fact we didn't bother about. None of us knew any of them. They never came up in discussions because we didn't care. We didn't have to be pro or anti about it. They had their lives, we had ours. Teen age boys made jokes, but teeners always have. And no one from the government told us, seriously, what we should do with our lives. Drunk drivers existed then, but there were no really specifically enforced laws. If a drunk got belligerent with a cop, he/she got arrested. A cop's word to the judge that a driver was loaded was always good enough to get a fine levied against the person. They didn't tow cars away then, either. I like the new rules against drunk driving. Now if only New Mexico would only enforce them. But no one from the government told us, seriously, what we should do with our lives. Our children went to schools all over the city. If you wanted your kid transferred to another school, you talked to the principal about it. He took care of it. Some kids went to "tech" schools where they could learn a trade. Mostly, they were kids who had trouble with the standard curriculum. But they still had to study English and Mathematics and History. They graduated with an education that would last them throughout their lives and enable them to make a good living. More academically leaning students went to a "regular" high school. They still had "shop" courses available to them. But music, art, civics and so on were also available. It was a wonderful time for useful learning. And both kinds of schools had "gym" classes. Mandatory. Sure, there were kids who were not coordinated enough for many sports, but somehow the gym teachers always had some easier sports for them to play. Not segregation in a bad sense. Simply teaching to the child's ability to do the subject. And everybody passed gym. Without denigration or put-downs. And no one from the government told us, seriously, what we should do with our lives. We didn't worry too much about inflation. Four Presidents in a row saw to it that inflation was kept under control. We complained if the price of bread went from 19 cents a loaf to 20 cents. But it wasn't really necessary for Mom to work. Dad brought home enough to raise the family. There were plenty of ladies who worked, though. That extra income would buy a new car or re-furnish the home. And we paid cash for what we bought. Or we bought it on "time". We paid the bill every week, on pay day. "Repossession" was a dirty word. Sometimes we'd get in financial trouble, but a chat with our friendly banker would get us a small loan to help out. Which we paid back in installments. Businesses also helped us. We could ask for a "counter check", which most merchants had on hand, and write a check against our accounts by putting the name of our bank on it and signing it. The merchants trusted us and we trusted them. If you accidentally overdrew your account, the bank would call and let you know. You hurried to your bank and put some money in the account. There was no charge for this service. Credit cards were available, but usually they were only used for emergencies, then paid off as quickly as possible. Pride was a key word. And no one from the government told us, seriously, what we should with our lives. We wanted better things for our children than we had. It was an incentive to work harder, get a better job, do whatever it took, legally, to get it. We cared about our families and their welfare. And no one from the government told us, seriously, what we should do with our lives. This rant was motivated by recent news articles informing New Mexicans that a bill banning cock fighting has been enacted and signed by our Governator. And a bill to ban cigarette smoking is heading to his desk. And a bill to legalize marijuana will be signed if it reaches his desk. And he's going out of town to raise money to become our President, while the state's contractor for behavioral health for our kids says he needs at least $2.3 million to continue to function. While five schools have been burglarized and nine portable classrooms have been broken into. Yes, "portable". Apparently we don't have enough money to build suitable schoolrooms. But the Governator feels we can give a $94 million dollar income tax credit to businesses and individuals. There's another in the hook in that bill: Next year, another $10 million tax cut in income taxes for the average user. Think of that. And this man wants to be President. Just imagine how much more we can be in debt with him at the helm. Tax cuts for the nation. Wow. More walking around money. Whoopie. I kind of liked it when no one from the government told us, seriously, what we should do with our lives.