There are people who pine for the years following WW II, from 1945 to 1965, when “everything was better.”
Why not? America had emerged as a superpower and a manufacturing force second to none in the world. We were number one.
Historians quickly called the generation that won the war the “Greatest Generation.” Their children were given the best of everything in life. The American Dream was within every man’s or woman’s grasp.
But something happened. When those children became teenagers, the world shifted slightly and societal changes came hard and fast. Vietnam, Hippies, Drugs, Free Love, and college students leading protests against an unjust war.
Let’s hold it right there. I want to discuss the Good Old Days (as defined above) a little further. Do you think African Americans and other people of color thought those were the Good Old Days? Frankly, I doubt it.
If you were an African American living in the deep south from 1945 to1965, you lived in another America. One that had no dreams. No hope. You survived at the whim of the white man. You couldn’t eat in the same building or shop in the same store because of your color.
Let’s not linger on this aspect of the supposed Good Old Days too long, but it does have to be examined. Instead, let’s look at a whole new view of the Good Old Days.
The reason they were considered the Good Old Days was simple; people didn’t know what was happening everywhere in the country and the world. They were uninformed for the most part, especially in rural America.
Most people didn’t know all the terrible things that happened in a 24 hour news cycle worldwide. There was no internet.
Sure, people heard news stories on the radio, but music dominated the airwaves and the movies from 1945 thru 1965.
I wouldn’t say ignorance is bliss, but in some cases it seems preferable to knowing too much and being stressed out about things you can’t do anything about.
Some people have selective memories, which can make those days of yore so special. Which leads me to a warning about politicians who use our faulty memories of a golden age that never existed to political advantage.
You know who I’m talking about. Donald Trump. He says he’s going to “Make America Great Again.” A classic example of demogogue rhetoric.
The next time you hear someone calling for those Good Old Days, take a moment and ask them what Good Old Days are they actually referring to?
Time for me to walk on down the road...