‘Good ol’ days’ weren’t always so, and we should admit that

I read with interest a recent letter to the editor about the “decline in American values,” remembering the good old days. Well, I am old enough to remember some of the “good old days” myself, and they were not great for a lot of people. I am an old white guy who never had to endure discrimination or hatred for my appearance, religion or beliefs. I, like the letter’s author was lucky to be born here with the advantages that allowed me to work hard to make a living and get a good education.

What I don’t understand is how one can see us a such a great country in the rear-view mirror without being honest about the many terrible faults we have and awful mistakes we have made. It is as if we were pure as the driven snow and that none of the following happened: slavery, Jim Crow, Japanese-American internment, wars based on lies (e.g. Vietnam, Iraq and lots of smaller ones that don’t get much mention) and genocide against indigenous people across the land while working hard to destroy the environment for future generations.

We are a country that has done great good and great evil, often during the same periods of time. We owe a great debt to Native Americans and to those who suffer from racism. It is patriotic to raise these big issues to find solutions and worry less about political correctness and Mr. Potato Head.

Whining about making America into some kind of mythical greatness that never existed shows a lack of interest in solving the problems that we have created. If we could talk about them intelligently without the rhetoric, maybe we could find ways to address them; thereby making the United States a greater place to live and work.

I have worked in several communist countries; and if letter’s author thinks we are controlled and manipulated by the media and government he needs to get out more and see what that really means. We have great resources for people to educate themselves and think critically. Unfortunately, too few people take the time to do so.

Ken MacDicken


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