As the US continues to witness civilized protests and an increasing display of social unrest, it would be easy to assume that the nation is in the midst of a truly challenging and difficult set of circumstances. While this may be true in some respects, it may be considered a view without the requisite level of perspective, as any issue that the country is currently experiencing pale into significance when compared with those of previous generations. Social issues are always relative however, both to the time and specific demographics, and need to be considered on their own merits accordingly.

This was exemplified and drawn into focus earlier this week, as it was revealed that the last remaining US survivor of World War 1 died peacefully in his sleep on Sunday. Frank Buckles of West Virginia had celebrated his 110th birthday on February 1st, and as he passed so too did the final living reminder of one of histories most ill conceived and barbaric wars. With this in mind, it is interesting to consider the magnitude of social issues between generations, and understand the role that governments play in cultivating trust and perspective within society.

The Changing Perception of Hardship

As Frank Buckles passing comes at a time of social discord, it is an opportunity to apply this perspective to contemporary USA and draw conclusions from its current situation. The first thing that becomes apparent is how the perception of hardship has evolved over the generations, which is obviously a clear consequence of progression and technological advancement. As living conditions improve in terms of health, technology and privilege, so too individuals become accustomed to particular standards and expect more from their existence.

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