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11:03 a.m. - 2010-07-19
Gee, our old LaSalle ran great...

With the help of some popular forwarded email collections the common thought on the cosmic consciousness recently has been 'The Good Old Days'.

True enough, Mick and I went on a spree the other night at dinner and ran an incredible list of games and toys and freedoms which were ours as kids. None (or very few) exist anymore. We pitied Wolf aloud and I quasi-apologized for not knowing how to lighten up and let him have the same kind of open horizons I had at his age.

But were The Good Old Days really all that good?

Depends on who you ask. Yesterday at lunch MIL slotted off into a rap about how terrible and ugly the world is today and how great it used to be. I shrugged and said I didn't think the sum total of human misery or happiness had changed, it's just shifted around some. And that in many ways today's world is a bit more honest in its awfulness.

There's plenty who moan about the supposed moral collapse of society because a young woman wants to bring her girlfriend to the prom. Okay, in 'the good old days' life had been pretty comfortable for those who are afraid of and squicked out by homosexuality because that young lesbian would have never dared even dream of having a girlfriend or taking her to the prom. In all probability she'd have been ashamed and confused and maybe even terrified by her 'abnormality'. She'd have likely forced herself to marry a guy and led a quietly miserable but outwardly typical life. Or she might have been a spinster and never made a life with anyone. Were those options moral and good? That someone should never be her true self, never find real love? Is being ashamed, lonely, scared, and false every waking moment for her whole life a right and decent thing? Does anyone truly have the authority to do this to another human being and claim the moral high ground about it?

I don't think so. But that was the reality of those Good Old Days.

Ask the parents of the young girl who died of a pierced uterus from a self-induced abortion. Her desperation and death a direct result of the rules of The Good Old Days.

Ask the mother whose son was lynched.

Ask the garbage collector who never became a doctor because the Jewish quota had topped out and no more kikes were allowed to get a degree that year.

Ask the woman with the broken jaw, a 'love token' from her husband.

Ask the hard working Puerto Rican family who never qualified for the bank loan for the house they wouldn't have been allowed to buy in the nice neighborhood with the unlocked front doors and good schools.

Ask the Viet Nam vet who came back to spittle in his face, the cold shoulder from our government and even denial to buy himself at beer at the VFW because he hadn't been in a 'real war'.

Ask the kid with glasses who'd been beaten up every single day for being thought flawed and weak and a bookworm.

Ask the store owner who paid 'protection' to the Mafia and the cops.

Ask Mary Tyler Moore who couldn't admit to having diabetes until 1979 because her 'affliction' made her an insurance risk and therefore un-hirable as an actor.

Ask the guy in the wheelchair who'd never taken an airplane flight or even seen the inside of his town's library until the passage of the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Ask yourself about the closed doors in your face, the humiliations, the violence, the shame you had because you were the 'wrong' gender, religion, color, orientation, height, weight, or had some degree of 'other-ness' that made you an outsider during the Good Old Days.

Then be honest, if only to yourself, were the Good Old Days really so good?

I, for one, am grateful it's no longer 'Howdy Doody Time'. ~LA

4 Wanna talk about it!

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