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August 20th, 2017

Insight

Tradition

Greg Crosby

By Greg Crosby

Published March 13, 2015

A 'tradition' that will soon be extinct

Tradition is one of those concepts, like change, that can be either a good thing or a bad thing. There are wonderful, important traditions that should be upheld and embraced. Family traditions that strengthen and comfort are among the most valued. Mother, father, brothers and sisters who love each other, do for each other, and come together during the sad times as well as the happy times are a precious part of life.

Religious traditions are vital to keeping the religion itself going, although some congregants may debate the value of maintaining specific traditional rites and customs.

In some denominations a tradition will be altered or eliminated if it is viewed as "not keeping up with the times," but mostly upholding religious traditions are the life and soul, quite literally, of the religion.

American traditions are vital to keeping America what it is, a gracious G0D-loving land of liberty, inclusive to all who desire to be Americans.

This country is for everyone regardless of ethnicity, religion, creed, or land of origin.

But the catch is this, once you're an American, you should embrace the American traditions. Learn American history, keep a hard work ethic, understand the entrepreneurial spirit, practice individualism, value fairness, honor, and love of country.

Be apart of American cultural traditions such as national holidays like Thanksgiving, and American pastimes like baseball, movies, picnics, family barbeques, and road trips. Get into jazz, enjoy hot dogs, popcorn, and classic cars. And possibly the most important America tradition of all, one that has been forsaken of late and replaced by multiculturalism, is the tradition of assimilation into American culture.

Too many come over here and attempt to turn America into the place they left behind. You want to be an American? Great, be an American. That's a tradition worth shooting for. Pun intended.

Throughout most of the last hundred years or so cigarette smoking became a tradition in daily life. It was portrayed, thanks mostly to movies and ad agencies, as being sexy, adult, sophisticated, and a little dangerous, which always was a big draw for young people.

Up until the last 30 years or so, cigarette smoking was everywhere. Even people who didn't inhale bought cigarettes to use as props when going to parties, restaurants, or clubs. It seemed that everyone smoked.

Generation after generation continued the tradition until finally, slowly, little by little the public perception changed.

Soon cigarette smoking went from being "cool" to being ugly. And now the act of smoking a cigarette has made smokers feel like piranhas.

Cigarette smoking has been stigmatized. It is no longer an acceptable activity in which to engage in public. It was a bad tradition and it's good that it is out of fashion.

Another tradition that needs to stop is the tradition of taking wild animals out of their natural habitat and putting them into cages, circuses, zoos and other venues for the amusement of people.

I've been harping on this for years, and now there is actually a bit of good news on that front.

Feld Entertainment, the parent company of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, announced last Thursday that it would phase out the performances by its elephant acts by 2018.

The 13 elephants that are now part of the Ringling Bros. shows will be sent to the circus' Center for Elephant Conservation in Florida by 2018, joining over 40 others.

In a statement, Kenneth Feld, Chairman and CEO of Feld Entertainment said "this is the most significant change we have made since we founded the Ringling Bros. Center for Elephant Conservation in 1995. When we did so, we knew we would play a critical role in saving the endangered Asian elephant for future generations, given how few Asian elephants are left in the wild . . .This decision was not easy, but it is in the best interest of our company, our elephants and our customers."

I'm happy about this but I would like to see the end of performance and exhibition for all animals. That includes circuses, but also zoos, television, movies, and wild animal and ocean parks. The "tradition" of wild animal exhibitions and performances is an archaic and cruel practice. Stop it.

The best traditions are valuable and life affirming. Good traditions enrich our lives. A tradition, by definition, usually is a time-honored practice and one well worth keeping and honoring. But when we recognize a so-called tradition as being outmoded and even harmful, it's best to do away with it.

Good riddance to the tradition of "performing" circus elephants at long last!

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JWR contributor Greg Crosby, former creative head for Walt Disney publications, has written thousands of comics, hundreds of children's books, dozens of essays, and a letter to his congressman. He's also a Southern California-based freelance writer.

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