When were you born
Mr. Clifford was born in 1940 and cannot remember the precise date or month.
Tell me about your childhood
I grew up in in a family of 6 in Charlotte, New York City, His family had just moved there because his father was searching for a job at one of the manufacturing industries in the city. Although he was white, he did not have much privileged because his family led a modest life with limited resources. He states that he had what one would call a normal childhood. I lived the curious years, did the mischief, but overall I was a disciplined child with profound academic ambitions. Not many children then considered education as important as he did.
Tell me about your teenage years.
The 1950s were not favorable years for most Americans particularly those in the economic class Mr. Clifford’s family was in. He did not use the time to develop, explore, rebel or be mischievous, rather he had to work at a cotton mill to help his family navigate the economic hardships of the period. He was considered a man by the time he was 13 as warranted by circumstance.
How did each of the following influence you?
I feel that the great depression affected me through the increased government intervention that resulted and most importantly the formation of social assistance agencies. A working man like himself could salvage something after years of labor through increased government intervention such as the creation of elaborate retirement schemes.
World War II
World War II gave the world computers through the Colossus, which was the first programmable, electronic, digital computer. As an academic and one of the privileged people to use a computer during the early years, Mr. Clifford considers it the most important aftermath of World War II. This is because it is something that still exists and influenced his work considerably.
As a lover of art, Mr. Clifford believes 20th Century, music, TV, films and literature was profoundly affected by anxieties created by the atom bomb. He says that he has been influenced by a popular culture that began to grapple with the power of these bombs.
Mr. Clifford admits that he did not feel the direct effects of the Korean War. However, it is after this war that the American military presence across the globe intensified creating a nation that is feared with a citizenry that feels safe from external threats. He believes that he feels safe because of the years of military activities across the world to ensure the world lives in an orderly fashion.
Space technology has impacted greatly on everyday life, reiterates the interviewee. Mr. Clifford is not your typical 80-year-old. His cognition is perfect and he is so engrossed in technology. The use of GPS is the most dependable thing today and an important tool for him in particular. Mr. Clifford still drives that is why he believes the GPS is very necessary for him. This was a technology developed in space technology but has turned crucial in everyday life.
Civil Rights Movement
I noticed that the interviewee focused on the long term effects of a particular issue. The greatest achievement of the civil rights movement shaped according to him is the free society that he lives in today. He believes that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that resulted from years of activism is still as relevant today as it was during its enactment. The greater social and economic mobility of minorities has created an economically robust society, which means he can enjoy the benefits he is enjoying today.
Mr. Clifford admits that he interacted with the Vietnam War more profoundly through reading. Reading the Vietnam War made him cynical and suspicious of America’s institutions. It is one of the events that compromise the notion that patriotism was serving one’s country. This war fueled the suspicion that American leaders were lying in war and created the basis of more distrust with the modern wars with Asian nations.
Mr. Clifford believes that distrusting the government has become more common recently thanks to the Watergate scandal. The involvement of President Nixon in the Watergate cover-up begs the question of how many times have heads of state done the same thing and the truth never came out. It has influenced his way of thinking somehow and led him to condemn President Trump on the issue of using Ukraine to better his chances at the presidency. It is more likely that this is another cover-up.
Computers define every aspect of his life. He spends almost 80 percent of his time relying on computers. His phone especially controls various crucial aspects of his life; talking to loved ones, scheduling, entertainment, learning, and so forth. He does not use gadgets as liberally as he used to but he does most things around his house using smart home technology. He believes the idea that old people cannot be tech-savvy is utterly misplaced, he is living proof.
Persian Gulf War
The Persian Gulf War has considerably impacted the economy of this nation. Mr. Clifford continues to suggest that the war consumed a lot of resources that would have been channeled to improve various sectors because the war was avoidable to a significant extent. The economic hardships such as the struggles with the health care system and paying for treatment are partly because of misjudged prioritization of public resources.
Current events of today
The 911 instilled fear in Mr. Clifford as an American citizen. It has also created in him an involuntary suspicion of Middle Eastern people.
The Corona Virus currently ravaging through the world has affected and influenced every aspect of his life. He is particularly wary of the mortality rate among people his age. He does not want any interactions and now lives alone with his dog. He will not be allowing any visitors going forward.
These days mostly social issues because of social media and the news affect Mr. Clifford. Twitter, in particular, is a platform where Most Americans among other people of the world share social issues such as video evidence of police misconduct. There are also numerous posts of violence and evidence of a rotten society. Just by scrolling through his timeline, he comes across posts that trouble him more than anything in this world does.