The Journal Gazette
Sunday, March 22, 2020 1:00 am

Golden Pen: February

Is it any wonder youth are so angry?

Music, song and dance are traditional cultural means to express celebration, reverence and protest. Each generation makes use of these arts to make a distinctive statement about themselves and their times.

With that in mind, I tuned in to this year's Grammys to see what the younger generation feels about their present. I watched about 45 minutes of what I considered glaring costumes, frenzied dancing and intense lyrics that were at once angry and desperate. I didn't know what to think. I spent a restless night trying to make sense of the spectacle.

In the morning I took account of the world I took a part in creating for our children. Twenty years and counting of continuous war with enemies of our own making; the West Coast on fire in early autumn and a continent on fire now and the response from the White House is to insult the youthful spokesperson demanding action to avert climate catastrophe; a president who not only lies but lies again to deny his lie; serial school shootings which evoke 'thoughts and prayers” but nothing else from a Congress with no principles; a community of faith whose only moral concern is its fixation on repealing the legality of reproductive rights; disguised racism in the form of mass incarceration and police brutality; all of which constitute an abandonment of our children for them to face unprepared and alone an existential crisis not of their making.

Hmm, would they be satisfied with a growing economy with “good-paying” jobs? That seems all we can think of to offer them.

About the author

Chester Baran of Fort Wayne has been selected as February's Golden Pen Award winner. In the judgment of the editors, his Feb. 10 letter was the month's most effective.

Baran, a retired steel worker, has been a consistent letter writer in the five years since he and his wife of 52 years, Marianne, moved to Fort Wayne from northwest Indiana's Lake County. They are the parents of two children who live in Texas and Missouri; they have two grandchildren.

A Vietnam War veteran, Baran spent four years in the U.S. Navy. He has volunteered in elementary schools and with the Literacy Alliance. He lists tennis among his hobbies.

Of his letter-writing hobby, Baran said: “I take an active interest in American life. ... I try to stimulate discussion ... and hope maybe to give someone else a thought.”

Baran received a gold-plated inscribed pen for his efforts. The Golden Pen Award was established to express our appreciation for the contributions of our letter writers to the editorial page.

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