Alligators 'n Roadkill

Alligators 'n Roadkill
On The Road


Thursday, November 10, 2016

One Old Man's Definition Of A Great America

At 70 years old, I have to say that I have been disappointed with election results more times than I have been pleased with them.  This is going back to when I was about ten, and the election of 1956.  Upon reflection, I'd have to say that of all those disappointments, the smallest disappointment turned out to be Eisenhower, and the other disappointments pretty much lived up to my expectations.
               In my opinion, my disappointments were for very good reason, as we were very poorly served by first, Nixon, then Reagan, George H. W., and his son, W.  But, I have to say that am not so much disappointed by the outcome of the election of 2016, as I am downright terrified.
               The happy supporters of one Donald Trump today celebrate this man's promise to make "America Great Again."  When asked, during the campaign, about when was America so great, he said something about the late 1950's.  I will readily agree that he has a point.
               But, I am terrified because not only have we elected him, but we have also handed him a Congress and a SCOTUS that is stacked in his favor.  My fear is based on the simple fact that it is my distinct recollection that historically, those elections that disappointed me were the ones that put into office the very people whose political party is responsible for the destruction of that 1950's' way of life.
               What I remember about the 1950's is that doctors and lawyers drove Buicks, or Lincolns, or Chryslers, not Mercedes Benz's or BMW's.
               What I remember about the 1950's is that it cost a nickel to buy a Coke or a Baby Ruth, or a Hershey Bar. 
               What I remember about the 1950's was that a home could be purchased for less than $10,000.00. 
               What I remember about the 1950's was that it did not take two people working full time to be able to afford that home.
               What I remember about the 1950's is that I received a pretty damn good education that emphasized basic things, like reading, writing, and arithmetic. 
               What I remember about the 1950's is that even the Chairman of the Board of whatever company, or public entity (School District Superintendents, County Commissioners, Bank Managers and Presidents, and so forth) did not make millions and millions of dollars, when the people who actually did the work only made pennies.  Don't get me wrong, the workers did make pennies, but the difference between what they made and what the bosses made was not as disproportionate as it is today.
               What I remember about the 1950's was that competition was like a holy word.  "Competition is the very lifeblood of success,"  we were told, and we were encouraged to compete at every level, in every endeavor.  And, I also remember that one had to compete with others just to make the team, and (horrors!) trophies were only presented to winners, or to those who did something special.
               What I remember about the 1950's is that kids who got in trouble at school, got into more trouble at home.
               What I remember about the 1950's was that Democrats and Republicans worked together for the good of the country, so that important legislation did get passed through non-partisan politics.
               What I remember about the 1950's was that the majority ruled!
               What I remember about the 1950's was that we had a daily newspaper, that was read from cover to cover.  We actually trusted that newspaper to provide us with accurate news of what was going on in the world.  In my case I remember the "Oregon Journal," "The Portland Oregonian," "The Tacoma News Tribune," "The Seattle Post Intelligencer,"  "The Seattle Times."  When we wanted to read opinion, we knew that we could turn to the editorial pages of whatever newspaper, and find not only the opinions of the publisher, but of our fellow citizens.
               What I remember about the 1950's was radio programming that included comedy, drama, news, and the music of the day.  Television programming provided little music of the day, but the news coverage was pretty close to the necessary who, what, where, when of standard journalism.

               I remember a lot more about the 1950's beyond these things.  I remember that while we always had enough to eat, we never ate fancy (I could provide a long, long list of things that I never ate until after I left home).  While we always had clothes to wear, we wore a lot of hand-me-downs, and they were as clean as a wringer washer could get them.  I remember that we bathed once a week (whether we needed it or not), and I never saw a shower outside of school, and I never took a real shower (like with soap) until I was drafted, and that was 1965!  I remember that we did not own a television until 1959, and it was used!  I remember that we only had one car, and it was always at least ten years old.  I remember that my mother never learned to drive, and she never left the house unless my father took her.  I remember that we never had a real home of our own, because we moved so often, and always lived in rented houses.  I remember living on ranches so far from town that we only went to town once a month.  I remember attending a three room school, where grades 1 through 8 were all taught together.
               Now, I wonder how many of these things does Mr. Trump remember.

No comments:

Post a Comment