As most of you know, last Wednesday was my birthday. In violation of every Hollywood rule, I will tell you all that I was born in 1962. I am now 49 years old. I was born in Westbury, Long Island and basically grew up during the 70′s and 80′s. Early this week, I was given the following link on Facebook: Lost Long Island. It’s a slide show of “Things that Aren’t There Any More,” mostly from the time period of my childhood on Long Island. It made me very nostalgic for the past and for a “simpler time”. After sharing it on Facebook, I found out that many people in my age group feel the same way.
Apparently, Nostalgia is “in” right now everywhere including Southern California. The local PBS stations continually run a series of documentaries called “Things That Aren’t Here Anymore,” about Southern California in the mid-century. I think by now they have made three of them. These PBS productions are a nostalgic trip through Southern California narrated by a famous radio host from the past.
A quick search of Facebook also reveals this longing for the past. There are a number of groups and pages dedicated to nostalgia. I am a member of many of these pages myself, two of which are; Mid Century Modern and Historical Los Angeles in the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s which is monitored and run by the daughter of Al Martino; and, Jones Beach Memories which is a page dedicated to the Jones’ Beach Long Island that I and many of my friends grew up with. These are all just more examples of “Things That Aren’t Here Anymore.”
All of these pages seem to be very popular as their membership sometimes grows rapidly and sometimes even viraly. I began to wonder why? Are we so caught up in the super busy world of the information super highway that we all long for the quieter more friendly days of the past? Are we so stressed out, that we all want to run and hide in our childhood? Or, are we all just getting old? Or, is it something else?
Yesterday, one of the final launches of the Space Shuttle occurred. There was very little fanfare. In fact, contrary to the glory days of the space program in the 1960s, most of the major news services did not even cover the event. NASA, the greatest of all space programs and one of America’s proudest entities is about to shut its doors due to a lack of funding and vision by our leaders, most recently President Obama. Ira, Craig and I have made it our mission to keep NASA and the US manned space program alive, but we are failing. We have written many articles in this column specifically about NASA and about its future. Among them are: Red Moon and To Infinity and Beyond. In those articles we have explored the future of NASA and the glory of its past. We have also expressed melancholy at NASA’s pending demise. Apparently, our current leaders would rather give money to people who aren’t working instead of spending it on putting people back to work which is what the Space Program does. But, that’s another issue completely.
To me, these are all just examples that we are in the midst of a nostalgia wave that is quietly sweeping the country. At the same time, we are also in the midst of a resurgence of conservatism. Are the two related? Of course they are, because isn’t a resurgency of conservatism, a desire to regain the glory of the past.
I remember back in tenth grade at W.T. Clarke H.S. in Westbury NY when I was being taught history by Ruth Ginsburg; an extreme liberal, although I did not know it at the time. One thing I will never forget about her class was the following lecture:
“A conservative is one who wants to go back to the time of their parents. A reactionary is one who wants to go back to the times of their grandparents.”
I have never forgotten these words and I have truly not realized how accurate they really are. In this time of Barack Obama, all of us want to go back at least one generation; to that of Ronald Reagan. In fact, my brother who is a full generation older than me and a grandparent himself wants to go back to the time of his youth, the 1950′s which is known for the presidency of Dwight Eisenhower and Garry Marshall’s classic sitcom, “Happy Days.”
The resurgence of this yearning for nostalgia seems to be the direct result of the far left liberal brand of politics of the current Administration and the last Congress. As Glenn Beck sees it, this is a resurgence of the progressive movement of the early 1900′s. (By the way, isn’t it interesting to note that the last time this country had a major desire for nostalgia was in the late 1970′s; the last time we had a big time liberal in the White House. Are we also going to have a major resurgence in the desire to dance now as we did when Mr. Carter was President as well? I really don’t think I could live through another disco era).
This surge to the left by the present Administration has recreated Conservatism and the nostalgia wave is just one example. It is further evidenced by the birth of the Tea Party movement and by the resurgence of the desire for family values of the 1950′s and 1980′s. Isn’t this why all things progressive are being attacked? Isn’t that why the liberal media is trying to portray this movement as the last stand of the “old white man?”
We do not want our country to change. In fact all of the change Mr. Obama is trying to accomplish is creating a backlash that is seen in this nostalgia. And, Wisconsin is just another example. People want things simpler. They do not want the SEIU and the CTA mucking things up. Weren’t public schools better before teachers were given the right to collectively bargain?
We are at a crossroads? Will the far lefties prevail and fundamentally change our country or will the nostalgia seekers (conservatives) prevail so that we can all have the glory of our past return? These are trying times and we are at war with those that want things to change.
I’m now 49 years old and when am 69 will the country look the same as it did in 1980′s or will those wanting to change us have prevailed? We can only hope they don’t.
© 2011 by Frank T. DeMartini. Permission to copy will be freely granted upon request.