Society continues to experience change over every decade. This remains true for both state and national levels.California has experienced massive change stemming from the events of the Great Depression and later the Dust Bowl. Personally, we as a state were not hit as hard as those in the middle of the country, at least physically. Socially we evolved. California adopted the attitudes of the migrant farmers who suffered in the chaos of the Dust Bowl. Their immigrant ideals shaped our society of both 1985, when Gregory outlined social changes and today where we still see norms that formed from the Oklahoma migrants of the Dust Bowl. Their values changed us for the better.
The Dust Bowl was an extreme natural disaster back in the 1930’s. It eradicated farmland in the middle of America, namely in Oklahoma. This caused many to leave their family farms and move out west to California, whose fields were not seared by the blistering sand. These migrants brought more than just a desire to farm and survive, they also brought with them a stricter, yet more carefree social system. The “Okies” preached for the importance of family values. Along with familial bonds, they expressed a deep passion for the Christian church. California at that time was in the midst of a mass radical reformation, but the arrival of the conservative Okies calmed tensions.
This relative calm period lasted for another 40 years. Gregory writes of this restful time and notes how beneficial it was for the state of California. The economy flourished, and not only the natives reaped the winnings. Few migrants were still embroiled in the agricultural field. Others found more lucrative ventures, such as those who struck oil or large natural gas deposits. The migrants were able to rise above the depression set forth by the loss of home and field. The Okies then could invest their new wealth back into the state. Even today this shows, as California has one of the highest cost of livings in the United States. Prices are higher here than elsewhere in the nation and its due in part to the massive resource quantities found by the Okies. Sadly not all of the values the Okies brought with them have transferred to the modern era. Today’s society has grown increasingly bitter and outspoken. No longer is it simply about having a simple life with family and the lord. Today it is all about race, violence, and corruption. I wish we could return to the values imparted on us by the Okies. Our society was once influenced by them, and as time passes that influence dwindles, though I wish it would continue to stay. That way we could all live on in the peaceful views set by them. -Zach