October - A Month For Remembering What We've Lost
By Don Feder
October 03, 2019
October always makes me think of loss. In much of the country, we lose green grass, leaves, flowers, soft breezes and warm, sunny days. They'll all be back in the spring, of course.
But I also think about what we've lost as a country and a society – things that may never come back. Gone are the days when:
1. People who walked in front of you in stores said, "Excuse me, please."
2. Movies relied on plot and character development, instead of computer-generated images, crashing cars, exploding buildings and severed limbs.
3. Sex in the cinema was a kiss on the lips and dialogue wasn't a constant stream of obscenities.
4. Young women didn't consider it the height of fashion to stick metal in their faces, a la the bride of Frankenstein. Young men didn't wear their hair in styles that defied both gravity and taste.
5. Only sailors, Marines and wrestlers had tattoos.
6. Kids played outdoors in every season.
7. A hand-held electronic device wasn't a life-support system.
8. Children had imaginations and didn't constantly whine that they were bored.
9. 30-year-olds didn't want to be children.
10. Children didn't want to be 30-year-olds.
11. People did something called "reading," with things like books, magazines and newspapers.
12. If you wanted to insult someone, you had the decency to do it in person or on the phone, instead of posting or Tweeting.
13. We treated the flag with a kind of reverence.
14. Homosexuals were mostly characters in French novels who didn't have parades.
15. Muslims were Arabs who rode across the desert in flowing white robes and did things with rugs, instead of with IEDs.
16. People who entered the country illegally didn't have rights.
17. We did everything reasonable to keep people from entering the country unlawfully and didn't feel guilty about it. If anyone had called it "racist," we would have fallen on the floor laughing.
18. Immigrants were expected to learn our language and identify with our country.
19. We blamed criminals for crime, instead of blaming firearms.
20. The culture didn't constantly try to make Caucasians feel guilty about being white. Tell a farmer who survived the Dust Bowl about "white privilege."
21. We were bored with three channels in black and white, instead of 156 channels (including one on house-hunting in Pago Pago) on a 72" flat screen TV.
22. The most violent things on television were "The Amazing Adventures of Superman" and "The Lone Ranger."
23. Democrats were patriots.
24. Couples had children, instead of pets with pedigrees.
25. Divorce in the family was spoken of in hushed tones.
26. Killing a child in utero or on the delivery table wasn't celebrated as a right.
27. Men didn't want to be women and women didn't want to be men.
28. We weren't forced to pretend that a man who thought he was a woman in fact was one by virtue of his delusion.
29. Masculinity was admired and relied on (especially in times of war) instead of being condemned as toxic.
30. Women were called ladies and men gentlemen, based not on sex but behavior.
31. Virgins past the age of 17 weren't viewed as side-show attractions. Premarital abstinence was something to be prized, not scorned.
32. People didn't demand that others' views be banned for hurting their precious feelings.
33. Teachers were educators, as opposed to political commissars in charge of indoctrination.
34. Schools taught history, English and math, instead of multiculturalism, condoms and safe injection.
35. The wealthy were admired instead of being vilified.
36. We saved S&H Green Stamps, instead of saving the planet.
37. You didn't have to say that America is the greatest country on earth – because no one doubted it.
38. The word "community" actually meant something. It referred to a locality, instead of a grudge.
39. People didn't feel guilty about saying "Merry Christmas."
40. Celebrities didn't begin public appearances by telling us how much they hated the president of the United States.
41. Insufferably arrogant adolescents weren't constantly parading their ignorance in the streets, making absurd demands and assaulting passersby in the name of tolerance.
42. We didn't blame someone or something else for all of our failures – the 1%, the invisible ceiling, white privilege, the patriarchy, our parents, the culture, etc. We took responsibility.
43. People got married instead of getting a "partner."
44. We didn't feel compelled to document every second of our lives, as if they were as important as the revelation at Sinai or the deliberations of the Second Continental Congress.
45. People didn't think they had a right to everything under the sun.
46. People were grateful for what they had, instead of resentful for what they lacked.
47. Whining wasn't considered a sign of sensitivity.
48. We didn't listen to snotty, 15-year-olds from socialist countries lecture us about how we had stolen their future. To quote the Queen of Thornes in "Game of Thrones," speaking to another mouthy brat: "Are you through? Good. Now let the grownups talk."
49. We respected cops, firemen and the clergy, while understanding that (like the rest of us) they were human.
50. People didn't substitute a belief in astrology or UFOs or crystals for a belief in God.
Due to the natural cycle, warm weather, flowers and green grass will all come back in the spring. Sadly, the culture doesn't work like nature. Civilizations don't have a recurring cycle. What was won't necessarily be again.
In "South Pacific," Mitzi Gaynor sings about being a "cockeyed optimist."
I'm not one of those.
Don Feder is a former Boston Herald writer who is now a political/communications consultant. He also maintains a Facebook page.