Longing for the Past Puts One on the Wrong Side of History.

Do you occasionally receive chain e-mails from friends and/or relatives?

We probably all do.

These can be fun, harmless missives full of images that make us laugh or educate us.

These can also be indicative of the sender’s political, religious, or other leanings.

I got one about 5 years ago that has been on my mind lately.

The gist of it is a longing for the 1950s in the good old United States of America.

I often point out that the current state of our nation is one of disunion, and call us the Untied States of America.

The mere fact that the advent of Trump and Pence has caused haters to feel free to express themselves is evidence of that.

We no longer have a Cabinet that does its jobs. It is no longer one to be proud of, with professors, lawyers, engineers, physicists, ecologists, physicians – people who are qualified for their jobs.

We have a Cabinet that is packed with corporatist Farmers who view the nation as a resource to be mined to the last drop, and damn the ecosystem of tomorrow as they get money today.

We have a Vice President who likes to torture homosexuals with electric shock treatments while advocating forced birther doctrines and prayer of his own personal preference, i.e. Christian.

In short, we have a government that is doing its best to return us to the 1950s, but with a much larger human population and a thoroughly stressed ecosystem.

Du Pont and Monsanto are being given a lot of help in toxifying that ecosystem. Here is what we can thank Du Pont for: teflon’s toxic effects on its workers and on their offspring.

Teflon’s Toxic Legacy

I won’t just trust that you’ll click on this article’s link. I’m going to include some images from it right here:

Buck Bailey, whose mother worked at the Teflon plant in Parkersburg, was born with just one nostril and other facial deformities. Photos by Maddie McGarvey.

We don’t want to go back to that – but the Farmers who are infesting the Environmental Protection Agency are loosening its regulations, or outright not enforcing the ones that restrict them from allowing a repeat or continuance of such atrocities. Money first! Humans not even last…

The press is being attacked for doing its job. I just watched The Post, which is about taking the 1st Amendment of the U.S. Constitution out for a spin and winning.

Movies such as that one are crucial reminders of what the Founders of this republic meant it to be: one that serves the governed, NOT those who govern.

The members of our current Cabinet, however, are serving themselves to huge helpings.

At this point, I shall share the e-mail that I received on October 31, 2013 here.

FYI: The Land That Made Me, Me

Long ago and far away, in a land that time forgot,
Before the days of Dylan , or the dawn of Camelot.
There lived a race of innocents, and they were you and me, 

For Ike was in the White House in that land where we were born,

Where navels were for oranges, and Peyton Place was porn. 

We longed for love and romance, and waited for our Prince,
Eddie Fisher married Liz, and no one’s seen him since. 

We danced to ‘Little Darlin,’ and sang to ‘Stagger Lee’
And cried for Buddy Holly in the Land That Made Me, Me. 

Only girls wore earrings then, and 3 was one too many,
And only boys wore flat-top cuts, except for Jean McKinney.

And only in our wildest dreams did we expect to see,
A boy named George with Lipstick, in the Land That Made Me
, Me.

We fell for Frankie Avalon, Annette was oh, so nice,
And when they made a movie, they never made it twice. 

We didn’t have a Star Trek Five, or Psycho Two and Three,
Or Rocky-Rambo Twenty in the Land That Made Me, Me. 

Miss Kitty had a heart of gold, and Chester had a limp,
And Reagan was a Democrat whose co-star was a chimp.

We had a Mr. Wizard, but not a Mr. T,
And Oprah couldn’t talk yet, in the Land That Made Me, Me.
We had our share of heroes, we never thought they’d go,
At least not Bobby Darin, or Marilyn Monroe.

For youth was still eternal, and life was yet to be,
And Elvis was forever in the Land That Made Me, Me. 

We’d never seen the rock band that was Grateful to be Dead,
And Airplanes weren’t named Jefferson , and Zeppelins were not Led.

And Beatles lived in gardens then, and Monkees lived in trees,
Madonna was Mary in the Land That Made Me, Me.

We’d never heard of microwaves, or telephones in cars,
And babies might be bottle-fed, but they were not grown in jars. 

And pumping iron got wrinkles out, and ‘gay’ meant fancy-free,
And dorms were never co-Ed in the Land That Made Me, Me.
We hadn’t seen enough of jets to talk about the lag,
And microchips were what was left at the bottom of the bag. 

And hardware was a box of nails, and bytes came from a flea,
And rocket ships were fiction in the Land That Made Me, Me. 

T-Birds came with portholes, and side shows came with freaks,
And bathing suits came big enough to cover both your cheeks. 

And Coke came just in bottles, and skirts below the knee,
And Castro came to power near the Land That Made Me, Me. 

We had no Crest with Fluoride, we had no Hill Street Blues,
We had no patterned pantyhose or Lipton herbal tea,
Or prime-time ads for those dysfunctions in the Land That Made Me, Me. 

There were no golden arches, no Perrier to chill,
And fish were not called Wanda, and cats were not called Bill. 

And middle-aged was 35 and old was forty-three,
And ancient were our parents in the Land That Made Me, Me. 

But all things have a season, or so we’ve heard them say,
And now instead of Maybelline we swear by Retin-A.
They send us invitations to join AARP,
We’ve come a long way, baby, from the Land That Made Me, Me.

So now we face a brave new world in slightly larger jeans,
And wonder why they’re using smaller print in magazines.
And we tell our children’s children of the way it used to be,
Long ago and far away in the Land That Made Me, Me.

If you didn’t grow up in the fifties, you missed the greatest time in history.
Hope you enjoyed this read as much as I did.

If so, PLEASE FORWARD to someone who might enjoy it.

The e-mail contained a lot more artwork than just the image shown at the top of this copy, plus many nice photographs.

These included airplanes, a rotary-dial telephone, a gasoline pump manned (NOT womaned) by a team of guys who would polish each customer’s vehicles, a photograph of a hot young Elvis, and more.

The elderly Republican sender of this quaint-themed message deserved a response.

What response did I send back to her?

This is it:

I love history – and made sure to study the 1950s in college.

It was in a course called The U.S. Since 1939, taught by Dan Singal, Ph.D.

What drove me crazy was the attitude by many professors, except for this one, that anything in THEIR lifetime was not history, while we students longed for a history class that covered whatever had happened before our own lifetimes began.

This class offered it.

Since that course, I have looked at that era some more.

The 1950s were a time of rigid conformity.

I would not have been happy then.

The only people who could expect to be happy at that time were those who inherently fit the mold that this graphic describes.

It is important to look at it in that perspective.

I want my original surname while being married, I have Asperger’s, and I am not conventional. Also, I am a feminist and political liberal, while Ike, popular though he was, was a Republican who allowed Iran’s only democratically elected leader, Mohammad Mossadegh, Ph.D., to be overthrown in a coup orchestrated by the C.I.A. and British Intelligence.

The 1950s seem like a place to visit as a tourist…knowing that my time machine would safely and reliably get me back to now.

What is it that makes people long for particular points in time that they remember? Is it that they wish to be a certain age again? That they wish for the exact feeling that that time gave them when they were that age? Both? Is it the mental state of not knowing all of the disturbing things that we know now, such as that the Republican Party has few reasonable members, and that climate change has rendered the seasons that we all grew up with so different, making our years feel different? (I too am old enough to remember life before the seasons were all screwed up by carbon pollution and ocean acidification.)

She did not object to this note, and why would she – I was careful to keep it friendly and thoughtful.

There are some oppressive things that the 1950s exemplified. One story that sticks in my mind is the treatment of a young woman whose parents cut off her college tuition money because she wanted to use the courtesy title “Ms.” ( She managed to finish without their help, but that story is shocking in its effort at imposition of rigid conformity.

Not my parents! I was a teenager during the 1980s, and had decided I wanted to use that courtesy title at age 8 after seeing it in my 3rd grade textbook. My parents did not approve of stifling individuality in their offspring, so they didn’t do that. I have a strong personality, too. (Insert grin here.)

What else went on in the 1950s? Homosexuals had to hide to survive. African-Americans were still being terrorized and lynched, and obstructed from voting in the process.

Things like that still happen, but bringing them back into fashion is another thing entirely. Such things ought to be demonized, and no one should have to hide who and what they are.

I know of someone in my parents’ generation who came from a religious, Baptist family, who was pushed to marry a Baptist engineer. The engineer turned out to be a homosexual whose mother knew what he was and demanded that he hide it from the world, and even marry a woman without telling her what he was. Of course the marriage failed. He was also caught having affairs with young boys, and possibly murdered years later. How different their lives might have been if attitudes were different during their generation – but their lives were ruined instead by the attitudes that prevailed at that time.

This appeared on Facebook the day after Trump and Pence were declared the winners of the 2016 election:

It was posted by an African-American woman. It showed that haters had suddenly felt free to express themselves, a thing that they should feel forever inhibited from doing.

That e-mail longing for the state of mind that the 1950s made possible could never make me lapse into daydreaming about quaint time travel experiences.

It only made me think of how I would hate to live in a society with that mindset, unable to be my unconventional self without harassment and without acceptance – and I am a white heterosexual female! But I am also a liberal feminist intellectual Wiccan and heretic who doesn’t want to take care of babies or little kids, but instead prefers to write, study, visit museums and historic sites, and experiment with gourmet cooking and baking. No – the 1950s would not be a good “home” for me, let alone the gays, lesbians, non-whites, non-Christians, and other “others” of the world.

As I read and re-read this piece, I thought about what it meant. It speaks of a rejection of succeeding generations and all that matters to and impacts us.

This is not a new phenomenon, but it is one that we must all be careful of, because it has a tendency to bring oneself down on the wrong side of history.

What is the “wrong” side? It is one of hate, rejection of all that is “other” than oneself, and of a refusal to value education before business interests.

Money is temporary. It is a means to an end, not the end itself. Yes, we need some, but no one needs it the excessive amounts that the Farmers insist upon accruing.

These amounts have caused such an economic disparity as to make American household economies vs. those of the Farmers resemble that of the populace vs. the aristocracy of France in 1789.

That is dangerous.

It is dangerous to democracy – as dangerous as human overpopulation – and to the health of those who not only have enough, but who have such excess as to make it impossible for most others to have enough. Having enough – and for it to be possible for almost everyone to have enough – is what keeps people and societies safe.

Safety is good. We should all strive for it. We do all strive for it.

But with things as they are right now, far too many of us cannot attain enough, and therefore we cannot achieve the safety that is essential to us.

I do not long for the inequalities of the 1950s. I do not wish to bring any of them back.

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