The only light in the dark lounge was from the flickering images of a TV programme about V-J Day, the end of World War II in Japan 75 years ago. It was poignant not only because the Badger had relatives who served in the Far East, but also because the Badger’s baby grandson was cradled in his arms, fast asleep. It’s moments like this that make you think about what people endured in those times with how it is today, and the slumbering innocent in his arms, that’s just what the Badger found himself doing.
Those who lived through World War II and its aftermath – regardless of their allegiance, age, colour, or creed – endured great hardship for years. Rationing, for example, only ended in the UK in 1954. The Badger’s relatives rarely discussed their experiences which undoubtedly set the high values they held dear for the rest of their lives. They lived without selfishness and took responsibility for dealing with whatever curve-balls life dealt them. They also had a strong sense of right and wrong, a great respect for law, order, and justice, and they put freedom and their families at the centre of their universe.
The world today is different, but is it better? Hmm. As he watched the TV, the Badger found himself lamenting that the baby in his arms would grow up in a world in which ‘online’ has already hugely challenged the values and moral compass that his relatives held dear. Today people seem less willing to take personal responsibility for anything; blame seems to be the first instinct and privacy and freedoms seem to have been willingly traded for convenience. Daily living is dominated by ‘online’ devices and social media whose negatives far outweigh its positives. The news media is full of questionable content rather than fact, and respect for those who uphold law and order seems to be waning. There’s something wrong with society when a first instinct is to video any interaction with upholders of the law and immediately upload it to Twitter or YouTube. It won’t be long before everyone videos their one to one meetings with their boss and immediately puts them on YouTube too!
Looking at the peaceful innocent in his arms, the Badger felt that his relatives, now no longer alive, would be horrified by the erosion of values they held dear. As it happens, George Orwell’s book Animal Farm was published two days after V-J Day in 1945. The book is as relevant today as it was then, and it will continue to be relevant when the Badger’s grandson reaches adulthood. As the little one gurgled and opened his eyes, the Badger vowed to ensure he knows not only of the values held dear by a generation who did what they had to do for the greater good and suffered personal hardships by just stoically getting on with life, but also that life itself is much more important than anything on the internet and social media.