Why was the world simpler when you were a child? Well…because you were a child!
As a full-fledged geezer (I’ll be turning 71 next week), I find occasion from time to time to write here about nostalgia in general. But I don’t go in for the popular nonsense that the so-called good old days were a whole lot better than current times. They weren’t.
Paul Waldman of The American Prospect is out with a GOOD PIECE on this subject:
Three years ago, John Boehner was doing an interview when he lamented, perhaps with a tear peeking its way through the corner of his eye, that Democrats “are snuffing out the America that I grew up in.” As Michael Tomasky noted at the time, the America Boehner grew up in (the 1950s) featured things like strong private-sector unions, a 90 percent top income-tax rate, enormous public-works projects, and a moderate Republican party, presumably all things Boehner wouldn’t like, not to mention Jim Crow, terrible discrimination against women and gay people … you get the point.
But of course, “the America that I grew up in” is a place that exists only in the imagination—everyone’s imagination.
I’m not the first person to say this (see below) but when you’re a child the world is simple and innocent. Your parents take care of feeding and clothing and housing you, and if you’re lucky the biggest problem you have is what you’re going to get for your birthday. But your world only looked like the world because children are naive. That’s part of what makes childhood wonderful, but once you grow up you should come to an understanding of what it was and what it wasn’t…
That isn’t to say cultures don’t change, and American culture changes faster than most. But any time you’re tempted to say something like “The world was a more innocent place when I was a kid,” try to remember that that’s kind of like believing as an adult that your dog really did go to live on a farm upstate.