My public school life, even though it occurred in a one-horse, anti-Semitic, blue-collar town, daily offered us aspirational cognitiions, with hope for a mutlicultural, pluralistic society where the US was a "good neighbor" in the world.
And yet, here we are, almost a pariah neighbor, where you can only aspire to be shot down in a mall, school, highway, or subway.
In kindergarten, we sang that Disney classic, "It's a small world." "There is just one moon and the golden sun/and a smile means friendship for everyone/though the mountains are high and the oceans divide/it's a small world after all."
In first grade, we sang anti-war protests,"Where have all the graveyards gone/gone to flowers everyone/oh when will they ever learn?"
In second grade, we sang pro-communist anthems: "As I went walking, I saw a sign there/And the sign said, 'No trespassing'/But the other side, it didn't say nothing/that side was meant for you and me." In preparation for MLK's b-day, we sang, "We shall overcome." We listened to his recorded vision of all children playing together, "free at last."
In third grade, we sang anti-industrial songs, "Hello, sulfur dioxide, hello, CO/the air the air is everywhere/breathe deep while you sleep...."
And then we sang how they "paved paradise and put up a parking lot."
And my peers went on and became hedge fund managers, driving gas guzzling SUV's to their weekend and holiday homes.
What did it all mean? Despite all these good values of world citizenship, we became the greatest and most narcissistic generation, bent on destroying the environment. And we will succeed.