When I Was A Child
I grew up in years of civil unrest, which then became outright terrorism. I never knew another society, I did not think I would ever see my Country free from terrorism.
I grew up in years of high inflation. It was part of daily life. Inflation caused, as always, high social conflictuality for the sharing of a permanently changing cake. Strikes were the order of the day.
I grew up in years of high pollution. The wonderful city in which I had the privilege to be born was uniformly grey, or shall I say almost black.
I grew up in years of high criminality. It was not only the car thefts, or the mass breaking of car windows. It changed the landscape. In the evening, cities resembled war zones, the shops covered with heavy iron blinds. Most were solid iron, only some allowed you to see an empty shop window behind. One evening, my mother told me about the Fifties and Sixties, when people went out for a walk after dinner, and the shops were all lit, and the shop windows carefully kept, with all the ware neatly presented. I never forgot it. To me, it sounded like a dream. I had never known this world.
I grew up in an age of rampant Communism. The Soviet influence was slowly expanding in Africa and South America after having taken half Europe as a hostage. The Vietnam War was a disaster. There was an atmosphere of defeat, of twilight of a civilisation. The American Government spoke of “containment” of Communism, not of crushing it to the ground.
Slowly, in the Eighties, everything started to change.
Terrorism in Italy was – not a day too soon – brutally suppressed. If you lived in Italy, you remember the “climate change” when the Communists' external support was not needed to govern. Suddenly, the matter became very simple, the “root causes” of terrorism weren't much bandied about, and the police started making no prisoners. Couple of years. Some legislative measures to encourage “repentance”. Problem solved.
The end of the Italian quasi-communist era brought also the end of mad money printing. Gradually and softly, but consistently, inflation was brought under control.
Technology had advanced, and the air began to change. Catalitic converters began to appear on cars. More importantly, the old coal boilers providing much of the heating in the homes were substituted for gas boilers. Then the Government began giving tax breaks for the cleaning of the facade of historic buildings. It truly changed them. They were so beautiful I wanted to cry. Cry of joy for newly discovered beauty, and of sadness for having missed so much of it.
The mentality began to change. The old war-zone mentality began to make way for a new optimism. Shopkeepers started to leave the shop windows lit again. This encouraged people to go out. Pubs popped out all over the place. If you knew how dreary Rome could be at 10:30 in the evening in 1977, you could only be stunned only eight or nine years later.
Globally, a great President completely changed the paradigm of global relations and in time, the entire planet. A new willingness to fight and to win arose. Communism was called with its name: Evil Empire. The solution was now very clear: crush it to the ground, destroy it under the weight of superior economic, military and technological might. In ten years only, a great man and the nations which followed him achieved what blubbering and defeatism could have never dreamt of achieving in a millennium.
When I was a child, I did not think any of this could happen. I did not even dream it could happen. I just saw the reality around me, and took it for both normal and unchangeable. I was wrong. It was highly abnormal, therefore it had to change at some point.
The same is valid today, and always. Dark periods come, stay for one or more decades, then go when sanity comes back to an extent. Granted, no problem is solved forever, and old problems will tend to pop out again in milder or less obnoxious forms. But in general, one can say that time often causes the pendulum to swing the other side, when a certain pain threshold has been reached.
Therefore, let us not lose hope that we may see sanity come back in our own lifetime. In His Goodness, God may grant us to look back at our life on our death bed, and reflect that homosexualism, modernism, third-worldism and environ-mentalism have gone the same way as the Italian Communist Party, the Brigate Rosse, the big inflation, the Soviet Union, and the coal powered boilers. The greatest consolation for me would be to know that the Church is run again by a truly Catholic Pope instead of an Evil Clown; by a man committed to make the Church fully Catholic again.
Will God grant us such a grace? I don't know, though I know we do not deserve it. But looking back to a now fairly long life I can say that a lot, an awful lot changes that was once believed immutable.
When I was a child, there was something called the Soviet Union.