Having been there and done that, I have to tell you that the good times are NOW rather than in the past. I will tell you that there a lot of the trends I do abhor. The acceptance of abortion as a norm, gender identification, the approval of the use and growing of recreational drugs, the denigration of law enforcement officers and lack of respect for the flag are all things that come to mind. Merle also has something to say about that, “If you’re runnin’ down my country, man / You’re walkin’ on the fightin’ side of me.” As a draftee and forced to serve 4 years in the Air Force including a year in Korea, I am a little sensitive about negative remarks about our military forces and especially since my wife lost two brothers in Korea serving our country.
It is a WONDERFUL time compared to earlier years when people REALLY went hungry while other people were well fed. Thanks to programs like Food Stamps nobody goes hungry. Of course, they can’t afford to dine on steak and lobster but they do have the means to keep from being hungry. The same can be said for our medical care. In my earlier years, if you could not afford medical care, you were forced to endure any sickness that that you encountered. The same can be said for housing; for the most part, there is a place furnished for anyone who does not have a roof over his/her head. In addition to the basics, there ARE other amenities available to the needy such as a free telephone, 3 meals a day in schools and free transportation and nutrition centers for the elderly.
One of Merle’s lines in the song was “Wish a Ford and a Chevy would still last ten years like they should .” Today’s Ford and Chevy will last 10 years whereas in earlier years one was lucky to get 100,000 miles out of the vehicle. Tires would only last 12,000 miles compared to 60,000 miles today. Spark plugs and points needed replacing every 10,000 miles because it was before transistorized ignition.
When TVs showed up in our area in 1950, it was a small black and white screen. Today, we would trash it as the quality was so bad it was not worth the time spent watching it. However, it was better than nothing.
Then there was the early telephone service. Most subscribers were on party lines and when one wanted to use it, one had to wait until the other party hung up. The best part of it was that you could get in on all the local gossip and your neighbors’ activity by listening in on others’ personal phone calls. Lonely elderly spent a large part of their time listening in as they had no other entertainment.
One can go to the grocery store today and buy any selected vegetable any season of the year at a reasonable price. In my time you only could buy apples in season, which was fall. The fact that any food that a shopper wishes to buy is available is nothing short of amazing. In the winter time, most of the early families dined on starches, breads and meats as the only green food available was turnip greens. As a result, they had a lot of health problems.
One could go on and on about the conveniences that we enjoy today. One can take day trip by plane to most anywhere in the world. Cameras (and phones) that take quality pictures can be transmitted all over the world. As for medical care, it is another universe all together. Heart bypass surgery, joint replacements and cataract surgery were only wishes in early years.
I remember as a little boy listening to my grandfather and his brothers sitting on the front porch saying similar things about our country going downhill. They claimed that President Roosevelt’s New Deal programs were ruining the country. They thought that we should leave the Germans alone and let Britain and France fight their own wars. As a boy, I kind of figured that we could not endure considering all the chaos in the world. Well, there is no difference in now and my grandfather’s time. There is still chaos in the world and the Bible says there will always be rumors of wars.
The response of Americans to providing care for the victims of the recent hurricanes in Texas, Louisianan and Florida is what makes America great. A large contingent of our military relief forces have been dispatched to our territory of Puerto Rico as well. Our citizens make a lot sacrifices in order to try to help others who suffer the loss of all their possessions and source of income.
The last line of Merle’s song says it all. It reads “The best of the free life is still yet to come, The good times ain’t over for good.”