Is there a better word to encapsulate what so many of us yearn for nowadays? And when I use the word nostalgia, I am most definitely NOT anxious to return to the country that existed prior to the passage of the Civil Rights Act.
In case you’re interested, the word nostalgia comes from the Greek nostalgias (meaning “native land”) and algos (meaning suffering and grief).
Seventeenth century physicians believed nostalgia was a medical condition, by the way, caused by being away from one’s home country (the author doesn’t mention whether doctors of the day considered nostalgia a pre-existing condition or if United Healthcare of Padua saw it as a reimbursable expense).
I am nostalgic for many things, including:
1.) The country in which I grew up where mass shootings didn’t occur every other day, long-standing relationships between families and friends weren’t incinerated based upon one’s political views and each generation was confident they would fare better than the one before it.
2.) The US was seen as the envy of the world and not pitied by every country except Tanzania. Ya gotta love Tanzania for still allowing Americans to enter their country.
3.) Despite their many short comings, Presidents who left me with an overall feeling that they wanted to bring us together, regardless of political affiliations (Richard Nixon notwithstanding).
4.) A time when the vast majority of Americans understood the need to protect our environment for future generations.
5.) A time when politicians worked together to reach a compromise that would benefit the nation as a whole and not their individual career. (See: Tip O’Neill for a textbook example).
6.) A time when hope was a reality and not a pipe dream.
While I am nostalgic for what once was, I am painfully aware that that America was anything BUT great in oh-so-many ways:
1.) The Glass Ceiling was very much set in stone (see: Mixed metaphors).
2.) Black Americans, Native-Americans, Latino-Americans and the LGBTQ+ community were ignored, ridiculed, and or, often frightened for their lives.
3.) Big Tobacco was allowed to run wild and addict millions of unsuspecting Americans.
4.) Greed was good (See: The movie “Wall Street” and Gordon Gekko’s speech).
5.) Far too many public relations firms were all too happy to represent the interests of repressive regimes if the price was right (See: Hill & Knowlton and the government of Kuwait or “Wag the Dog.” Your choice).
6.) Management by fear was not only pervasive but often encouraged.
I could go on but I wonder if you, too, are nostalgic for the positive aspects of what once was (See: List A).
Please feel free to weigh in, add, subtract, agree or disagree. I only ask one favor: Do so in a civilized way.