The Good Ol’ Days – according to whom?

Meshach Taylor, died on Saturday at his home near Los Angeles. He was 67 and had suffered with cancer for some time. As the New York Times reported, “he played Anthony Bouvier, an ex-convict who starts as a deliveryman and eventually becomes a partner at an interior design firm in Atlanta, on “Designing Women,” which ran on CBS from 1986 to 1993. He was nominated for an Emmy Award in 1989 for his role on the show. In one memorable episode, Delta Burke’s character, Suzanne, mentioned “Gone With the Wind,” asking, “Don’t you just love that period of history?” Meshach Taylor’s character, Anthony, replied, “Actually, my people didn’t enjoy the Civil War all that much.”

It is all a matter of perspective.

For example, it’s interesting to read some of the explanations that black Democrat voters gave for voting for Thad Cochran in Missippi against Chris McDaniel. According to Slate magazine, (McDaniel’s) rhetoric decries the rise of a “new America” and pines for days of old: “There are millions of us who feel like strangers in this land, an older America passing away, a new America rising to take its place,” he said in a speech after the June 3 election. “We recoil from that culture. It’s foreign to us. It’s alien to us. … It’s time to stand and fight. It’s time to defend our way of life again.”

You see, the irrational logic employed by a Cochran and his handlers utilized McDaniel’s words regarding the “old days” and defending the “old ways” as code for racism. And the voters reacted in a visceral manner, returning the “old guard” out of fear, revulsion, and anger to vote for the “devil they knew” rather than the “devil they didn’t.”

You don’t have to love someone to vote for them, but you CAN fear or hate the other guy. America is too complicated to pine in mixed company for the “good old days.” Once again, it’s all a matter of perspective.

Many people say these words all the time, because through the rear view mirror and the prism of time, things often look rosier. They certainly were simpler… but as Meshach Taylor stated, it wasn’t that good for all of us. We didn’t have the capacity to enjoy all of it.

So, lets take a look at the groups you probably wouldn’t want to mention the “good ol’ days” to:

Black people in the south. No gory details, but unless you did time as a black person in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s…… um, no comment. Harkening back to an earlier period, well THAT would be insane, might as well start the meeting with “I… wish I was in the land of cotton… old times there are not forgotten”… because as you “look away to Dixie Land” black voters will flock to the “other guy.”

Women, of any age. Mixed bag here, but for the most part it is safe to assume that women are “people” too — anatomical differences aside — we all want the same ability for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Women have always walked a rather “narrow corridor” where one constriction has been replaced by another, and sometimes, we impose the chains on ourselves and others of our own sex. An example would be today’s young girls and their pandering for attention by getting “implants”… in their butts or boobs… all hoping above hope to make themselves “more appealing” to guys. My daughter’s friend who is all of 16 just got pumped up to a 36 D. All this on a very small frame and paid for by her dad. Another got a belly-button pierce. Its been infected a great deal, but who cares about a little infection that might travel to your heart when you can eventually be enticing with the diamond in the belly – this was a birthday gift from Mom and Dad – whatever happened to a nice card and small gift?

But all of this aside, women have made great strides over the past decades, they do not want to be reminded of a time when the restrictions were imposed by law and society rather than their own choice. The old days of women desiring to be “protected” may look to those nostalgic for these old times as “women being held on a pedestal” but to others, it might as well have been a burka.

Any non-white person. We covered blacks, but the “olden days” included the words “Oriental,” and “Mexican” to refer to any Hispanic, plus “Chica” or “Pedro” – the “n” word of any iteration and so forth could be used. It was also a time of deep cultural misunderstandings: “Orientals” aren’t all smart and they don’t all drop their r’s and turn them into l’s —- by the way, if you do this mocking speech pattern in a restaurant, be prepared for a velly, velly special meal – just maybe not one you wanted. “Mexicans” are from Mexico, not Puerto Rico or the Dominican Republic. And they do not necessarily enjoy cleaning hotel rooms or landscaping, or extremely large families, or making burritos. Some want to be doctors and lawyers. Some want to milk the system. Some are preachers, and some are criminals. Same as the general population.

Homosexuals. The old days were very hard for those who did not conform to societal norms, of any stripe, but specifically for homosexuals. Often shunned by families, friends, mocked and called out of their names, life was terribly hard. And very little in the way of “good memories” were present in the “good ol’ days” for this group of people.

Preconceived notions allow the old days to seem “simple.” They were not. They were filled with anger masked by a facade of civility. We, as Americans, have a complicated history.

It’s all a matter of perspective. “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present” – so said Bill Keane

We must work for a good today, learn from the lessons of the past and prepare for a brighter tomorrow.

RIP Meshach Taylor.

25 COMMENTS

  1. I agree with you. In my classroom you see that the children do not recognize the differences in race. They accept each other on their own merit.

    • When living in Taiwan, my American speaking children (2&3) played with the Chinese kids that spoke Chinese. I swear, mine would talk in English and they answered in Chinese but the kids understood each other. Amazing.

  2. Angela, over the weekend I read a book by a native Atlanta writer that takes place during the late 60’s to early 70’s. The book is about police officers – specifically white male police officers – and it depicts the incredible hatred this group of men had for women, blacks and gays during that time period. Most of this hatred was born of the fear these men had for the idea that for the first time women, blacks and gays were entering their profession and demanding to be treated as equals. The way these guys acted toward the female cops was disgusting enough, but the way they treated black and gay cops and citizens was criminal.

    Now I know this was just a story. But the author cites her sources for historical background, most of whom were cops back in the day. The story reminded me of how much things have changed since that time, but also how quickly they could go right back there.

    • Go back and read the works of former LA detective Joseph Wambaugh. His book, “The New Centurions”, list the same type behavior but his stories were based in fact and his experience in LA in the 60s & 70s. His details of the police views of homosexuals and the enforcement of anti-homosexuality laws are incredible brutal. And he was justifying the actions.

  3. As long as we don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater, change can be good. Getting rid of old prejudices and giving everyone the same respect is good. Demanding that we give special consideration to some group or other is not.

    Values of hard work, integrity and respect for others are the bedrock we should build our lives on. Once you have a solid foundation other matters tend to follow in order.

    As bad as some of the past events in our history are, the U.S. still managed to rise from a past of colonial subjugation to being a preeminent world power, and will only lose that status if we abandon the values that made us so successful.

    • “colonial subjugation” ??? LOL Isn’t that what the Europeans did to the Natives? Or perhaps genocide is more accurate.

      The “values that made us so successful” – you mean the ones where we come here and take everything and kill the Natives?

      Or do you mean the rise of the Middle Class with values like, Labor Rights, Human Rights, Woman’s Rights,?

      • I appreciate you exposing your ignorance so I no longer have to pay any attention to you. Before opening up your pie hole educate yourself. Whenever I see any comment from you I can confidently ignore it and put you in with the other trolls who do nothing to further intelligent conversations. And don’t flatter yourself to think I have actually responded to you, this is simply a pre-written message I have saved so once I have discovered a troll response to a comment I can simply copy and paste. Saves time and I can spend time responding to intelligent people instead of buffoons such as yourself. Goodbye.

  4. I agree most positively on your article, in a general sense the old days might not have been rosy for everyone. When I say the old days, I am talking about how life was a little simpler, more safe for children, the basics mattered. It has been politics and the pursuit of power from certain people and the government that has created this difficult world we live in. They push agenda’s that force segregation/racism in America, we have forgotten the 10 Commandments and accepted behaviors that are not conducive to a moral society. When you say tolerance for all races of people you are correct and it should work both ways, when you say both sexes you should be talking about Male and Female, not sexual behavior or preferences, as that is a choice! All people in America have access to education, so use it and make a difference in your life, quit using the race card to get special favors or use it for excuses, as it only separates us more and empowers the Jesse Jacksons and Al Sharptons of the world who only care about themselves. We can change America and enjoy some of the good things that the old days provided us with, but it must be a unified effort of the people and not the government.

  5. We have, and always will have, some groups who will be prejudiced against another. As a fat woman, I have the ones who are against overweight people. I may have lost 100 pounds, but I’m still not slender enough for them. I know a person in Ireland who hates the Travelers because they’re always milking the system for the freebies. My hope is that I’ve raised my kids well enough that they look beyond the outer layer, and see the character within — whether good or bad.

  6. When we have an elected offiicial calling white people CRACKERS without a word being said about it……………..i dont want to hear crap about the good old days. and yes Charlie Rangle has twice called white people crackers..

  7. It’s all a matter of perspective.

    My perspective is – up until the past 15 years or so- that America was much
    stronger of a nation; it had an American Identity, it had Borders, Language and
    Culture.

    Today, it has none of the above.

    ‘Yesterday,’ America was ‘exceptional..” it was the little shining
    house on top of the hill. Indeed it had its bad/wrong, medium/ok and its
    righteousness/greatness. Please tell me of another country greater in body
    & character…?

    The America I grew up in was safe, secure and (in general) shared a common
    narrative. It was competitive; it was judgmental (we do have brain’s that can
    be used- no, “really”); say what you mean/mean what you say; you create
    and make your own world/life- you do nothing, you’d receive nothing.

    The mental fiber of the American Physic of pre-1995 ish- was WHY America became
    great.

    The mental fiber of the -Whatever It is Physic today in America is WHY America
    is crumbling quickly and isn’t great.

    It’s easy to understand why the ‘new population’ of people in America are
    having a life-lovefest in the good ole USA now…. it’s
    pretty easy to open up all the presents under the Christmas tree in a reckless,
    irresponsible and undignified manner… but, those presents will run out…
    i.e. Roman Empire.

    Won’t dignify mentioning the collapse of Values, Morals, Family Circle,
    Difference between Right & Wrong and the repercussions for reckless
    behavior and ill advised decisions… those don’t matter anymore.
    They’re replace by Political Correctness Gone Wild, Reverse Prejudicial Racism,
    Babies Born out of wedlock as a way of life, Entitlements under the X-Mas Tree
    all day, and if you’re a successful white guy and you don’t agree with
    mainstream criteria that carries the day hereof 2014- then you’re a Bigot &
    Racist; or if you’re a black guy on the GOP tree, the same…

    Racism is pretty tolerable today in may respects as it was in the 50’s 60’s
    & 70’s… just in a different way, a different brand.

    It’s all a matter of perspective.

  8. Can’t believe how women went back to wearing high heels after the sixties. And what extreme high heel.
    They also got suckered into becoming promiscuous in order to be ‘equal’ to men.

  9. Can’t argue with anything in the article….I’ll jut add that everyone knew what a ditzy, often narrow-minded woman Suzanne’s character was.

  10. I read this earlier today, and it bothered me all day. I don’t think people should censor themselves because of how other people are going to take what they say, also I don’t personally know anyone who wants to go back to lynchings, I think I speak for most when I say that.

    • Most of us are talking about the good old days, as being moral, free, safer, a kinder way of life. We want our rights, our Constitution followed, our laws followed and enforced. We want our people taken care of first. We want our vets to get all the care and help they need. We want out elderly, sick or disabled taken care of, and we want our leaders to make and follow laws that are for our good, not to line their own pockets. We want a country that stops stealing from us, and deciding who gets our hard earned money. We are tired of supporting the whole world, while our own go without. We want all Americans, no matter their color, make or model, to live the American dream. We do not want our government giving our futures away. Just read that out of 2000 jobs created, 99% were given to illegals. That is while Americans are struggling.

      • no, americans are struggling because they read ignorant crap like “Just read that out of 2000 jobs created, 99% were given to illegals”

        Where do you people find that garbage?

        When were these good ole days you pine for?

        1. moral? you can’t legislate morality. was discrimination moral?

        2. safer? go look at violent crime stats – you ARE safer now

        3. rights? what rights have you lost?

        Americans are struggling because a smaller and smaller number of people have all the money and the power, and they aren’t the politicians.

      • You are right, you can not legislate morality, but you sure can legislate immorality, which our country has. Safer, because you used to be able to let your kids play outside without worrying that some pervert was going to get them, which they can not even play in their own yard and be safe now. Rights, we have lost a lot of rights, but of course as a liberal you will not notice until it hits you, then it will be too late. Patriots don’t have to ask stupid questions. Get your head out of the sand and take a look around, we no longer have religious freedom or freedom to raise our kids within our own belief system. You used to be able to opt out your children from perversions, pornography and brainwashing by our government.

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