OPINION: Remembering Different Good Old Days

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Gosh, the good old days sound nice. Leaving doors unlocked 24/7, having polite people hold the door, or apologizing when they bumped you.

Of course, being only 72, I don’t remember leaving doors unlocked. Here’s what I do remember:

I remember when a man who worked a forty-hour week had enough money that his wife could stay at home and raise the children. His union made sure that he got overtime pay for working more than a forty-hour week, health care (for himself and his family), healthy and safe working conditions, a two-week vacation every year, paid holidays, and a pension, even in a minimum wage job. I remember when a high school diploma was a guarantee of a job. I remember when those who went to college could work all summer to pay their tuition and have a part time job to pay living expenses. I remember when teenagers got jobs to buy luxuries like cars, instead of working to supplement the family income.

I remember when men stayed with their families instead abandoning families. I remember when divorce was a rarity, instead of being 50 percent of all marriages.

I remember when a President of the United States was elected by the majority of the people, instead of the electoral college. I remember when his wife was a lady, and the president’s children were not part of the administration. I remember when people would not vote for a man who has a record of groping women, or considered it his right, as sponsor, to walk into dressing rooms of unclad beauty contestants without knocking. I remember when no one would vote for a man who had dodged the draft, five times, in a time of war. I remember when a president did not spend 20 percent of his time playing golf and did not make a profit off those golfing trips by charging hotel fees, in his own hotels, for staffers and security people.

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I remember when infants were not ripped from their mothers’ arms and given up for adoption when their mothers were convicted for the “crime” of asking to be given refuge from criminal gangs in their country of origin. I remember when we gave political asylum to people, especially women and children, fleeing corrupt governments, drug lords, and rebels.

I remember beer sales at the ball park stopped until the anthem finished. I remember when people, especially the president, knew the words. I remember when people had enough respect for the flag that they did not wear it as bikinis, tee shirts, caps, or pants. I remember when it was not flown on the wrong side of the pickup truck, or ragged, or dragging the ground, or used as a picnic blanket, beach towel, or advertising campaign.

I remember when civics teachers were allowed to teach more of the Constitution than just the 2nd amendment, and only half of that. I remember when kids were allowed to know what their rights were.

I remember when white supremacists were not allowed to spew their lies and hate. I remember when they held their rallies in the dark, with their faces covered, because decent people were ashamed of them. I remember when political correctness was just good manners, and name calling was bad manners.

I remember when Congress members and Senators represented the people, not just rich donors, foreign interests, and the NRA. I remember when presidents gave up their own business interests to avoid conflict of interests. I remember when a Speaker of the House did not stall bills in committee but allowed them to come to the floor for a vote. I remember when congress did not start interminable wars. I remember when a Supreme Court nominee was allowed a hearing, even when he was not a right-wing republican. I remember when no politician ever proposed cuts to Social Security and VA. I remember when a president (Richard Nixon) tried to protect clean air and water.

I remember when the Congress spent nearly $80 million on an investigation of whether the president had sex with a legal, consenting adult, unlike the groper-in-chief, and members of his family and staff, who are being investigated for treason, five of whom have already pled guilty, while sixteen others have been indicted.

I can remember when the smartest kid in Skyline School, Solana Beach California, was an illegal immigrant, who went on to become a math teacher. Today, she would have been deported, and all that talent would have been wasted. That same school and time went on to produce two nurses, one Marine KIA in Vietnam, three Vietnam veterans, one priest, a cop, and a plumbing contractor – all of whom came here illegally, but all of whom were decent, productive citizens. Not one of them became involved with drugs or gangs. In fact, there are more gang members who were born here, of American parents, than there are members who are immigrants, and even the that biggest of bogeymen, MS-13, was actually born in the USA (San Francisco).

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I remember when presidents did what was best for the country, not just what was best for the corporations that bought them. I remember when they sent young men off to war knowing what those young men were facing, because they had been there, not five-time draft dodgers who hid behind daddy’s money. I remember presidents who had dignity, not buffoonery. I remember presidents who had strength instead of bluster, spoke truth instead of stupid lies, and made us proud before our allies and strong before our enemies. They relied on integrity, not useless walls.

I remember when I was proud to be an American and proud to wear the uniform of the U.S. Army, a uniform that the present occupant of the White House was too chicken to wear.

Myrna F. Arnold
Whiting.

 

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