Willard “Mitt” Romney was born in 1947, and is a child of the 1950s. Many people and, I believe, most Republicans, look back fondly and wish that we’d return to the simpler times and solid social values of the 1950s. That is when they want to “Take Our Country Back!”
I am also a child of the 50s – and I’m NOT enthused about returning to them!
Yes, we Boomer children were golden and got just about everything we wanted – if we were white children, of course. This was all pre-Civil Rights when Jim Crow still ruled the South. The old, phony “separate but equal” meme was in full force: even in big, northern industrial cities. Don’t kid yourselves. The Supreme Court didn’t rule on Brown v. Topeka Board of Education until 1954, and the Voting Rights Act wasn’t signed into law until 1965. How many little black faces did you see among the Mousketeers or in Howdy Doody’s Peanut Gallery? Asian faces? Hispanic faces? This is the America that the Republicans want back.
Father ALWAYS knew best, then. This was before the women’s movement and before contraception was legal – even for married couples. Divorce was a shameful thing for a woman, and a complete trauma for children. My mother married very young and divorced her first husband during WWII. She never spoke about him or the marriage. For all we kids knew, our father was her first and only husband. Then, one day, decades later, I happened across her divorce documents in a drawer. Thirty years afterward, she was still ashamed of being a divorcee.
Of course, there are no statistics on how many women died from self-inflicted abortions in those years before they had access to legal contraception. But if you go looking for them, nearly every family has a seldom-mentioned story of Auntie So-and-So, who died suddenly from complications during a pregnancy, or who had a miscarriage and then had no further children.
We had a military draft for the Korean war back then, and millions of patriotic young men. President Truman integrated the armed forces in 1948. Ironically, African-Americans could be drafted to die for the country that denied them their civil rights.
We had a “cold war” going on with the USSR, McCarthyism (oh, THAT was fun!) and the Doomsday Clock was set at 2 minutes to midnight in 1953. Can you say “Duck and cover?
The Boomers grew up and – as teenagers do – rebelled against the conformity and the expectations of our parents' generation.
We also ended the military draft. We were instrumental in the success of the Civil Rights movement, which continues to this day for people of all genders, abilities and persuasions. We established that women’s rights and equality were right up there with everyone else’s and that legal contraception and abortion are public health issues and not moral ones.
Oh, no. I am NOT going back! I’ve seen the past already and I do NOT want to return to it.
“Don’t stop thinkin’ about tomorrow…don’t’cha look back….”