Happy Days

That was the name of the sitcom in the 1970s. It was the neophobe’s wet dream.

It recalled a time that was happier to the generation in the fore at the time– the “greatest generation”, and what made it happy?

There was not one black person on the regular cast of the show. There were no Jews, no Hispanics, no lesbians, no gays, no unwed mothers, no unwanted pregnancies, no one who and no thing that could disturb the placidness of what was the white American waking dream. There was no depletion of the world’s resources, no erosion of the coasts by the ‘delusion’ of global warming, no pollution, no responsibility, no guilt or acceptance.

Most of all, there was no truth– only a mirror of feeling good. Exceptionalism.

The Happy Days were not happy for everyone. Those who were not happy were excluded from the show and the time, and our recollection of it. Those things which may have marred the mirror, wiped from it. Blacks had not gotten uppity and demanded their rights as human beings yet. Gays could be arrested by policemen for their preference.

The empire was still young, the sins for its behaviors unrecognized at home and unpunished abroad. No protests of self-examination touched its shores; no retribution for thoughtless action manifested itself in body bags containing the ruptured remains of its drafted children killed in Indochina; no planes were flown into buildings by thoughtless, powerless men subjugated under the weight of our dehumanizing culture.

I love my parents; but it will take the deaths of their bodies, beliefs and votes for our world to advance. They look at a world viewed through the lense of that 1950s world. They cannot help it. Self-doubt is unpatriotic and creeping “blame America first” thinking, when I know that it is rational.

As Doctor Who once said, “death is the price we pay for progress.”  If no one died, there would be nothing but the desire to hang onto a world that either never was or was built on hiding what the world is.

I am a neophile and I know that one day it will take my death (and yours) for the world to advance.

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