The Good Old Days
It has been said that time and tides wait for no man, and age is a process from which no one is immune. With these facts in mind, at one point in life have you asked the question; “Remember when…?” In an attempt to relive our own glory days, we harken back to the moments in our memories that were the most fun, most economically rewarding and when daily stressors were non-existent in our lives. Reflections of the best of times will bring that same smile and warmth of feeling garnered by a child’s wish list being fulfilled on Christmas morning. So what has changed to create the desire to return to days gone by? With time travel being not viable as an option, how does one live yesterday, today?
Remember when matters of the family were exactly that, and the ‘community parents’ were, the standards set by the community. Those standards did not allow for youthful indiscretions to be accepted as ‘kids being kids’ or written off because, “times change.” Parents and elders were to be respected and viewed as the source of necessary experience for the younger generation to emulate. The businessman success was measured by the degree of ethics he used to operate his business. The “community parents” were interested in the education of each child in the community. Their concern was echoed by the teachers and evidenced by the results of their efforts in the classroom. Attendance at church was a normal activity and something the family participated in. The sermon was talked about openly with neighbors, co-workers, the mailman and milkman. Religious discussion was as common as discussing the weather, even in the public square, one could express a belief without being shunned.
Elected officials were expected to maintain a public and private live beyond reproach, as they were given a tremendous amount of our trust. Office holders could be counted on to keep their word as they were connected to their communities by family and friends. They themselves wanted to maintain a reputation of being honest and operating with integrity; the ability to walk the streets of the hometown with heads held high not to tarnish the family name. Today, it is easier to scale Mt. Everest than to communicate with elected officials.
Contrast today with yesteryear and one might think what planet am I on? The cause of our relentless pursuit of the past can be found at a singular point in history. Just as an engineer will tell you, if not enough and proper attention is focused on the foundation of a building, and, maintenance of same for the life of the edifice, that structure will fail shortly after construction. This is what we as a nation are guilty of. We have failed to properly maintain our foundation. We must return to that moment, capture its spirit and boldly display it in our daily lives. That moment begins with the words WE THE PEOPLE…
But all is not lost. The opportunity to hire the subcontractors to repair the damage is upon us. Because we are living the result of our inattentiveness and, giving the job to the lowest bidder is no longer acceptable; because high price is not the determinate factor but high standards are, our checklist for these standards can only be found in our founding documents. (The keyword being founding – ergo – foundation). We must insist any and all elected officials know why they are seeking office, and insist they hold true to the proper care of said foundation.
When we ask, remember when…?, the answer will be found in our level of daily civic activity. Participation or the lack thereof will determine the answer when asked by future generations.