The Fantasy of White America

If you want to know why so many white Americans want to Make America Great Again, all you have to do is look to Hollywood in the 1950’s and 60’s. Whether it’s Doris Day singing Que Sera Sera, or Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore singing Carolina in the Morning or pretty much every song from The Sound of Music, My Fair Lady, or Thoroughly Modern Millie, we could easily believe that we lived in a world where everyone was slim and beautiful and joyful and ultimately safe.

We could be assured that all endings would be happy ones and that everyone was living the American Dream, even those outside of America. Based on this footage, it was a time when no one had to lock their doors, when everyone dressed well, children were relatively respectful, there was no crime, and no one ever had a single hair out of place.

Ah, nostalgia, with its rose-colored glasses.

Lest we forget, the 1950’s was the era of Jim Crow. It was a time when people were violently resisting desegregation. Rosa Parks had to remind us that she had as much right to sit in the front of the bus as anyone else. Polio was a thing. It was also the Cold War era, and a time when paranoia had us seeing communists in every nook and cranny. Children were taught to hide under their desks. People were building fallout shelters in their back yards.

The 1960’s brought us the war in Vietnam and the subsequent protests thereof. It brought assassinations galore. We had the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Bay of Pigs and Stonewall. Civil Rights protests became even more radical and dangerous. Birth control was pretty much nonexistent. The vast majority of women did not have higher education or employment.

My point is that it wasn’t all sunshine and lollipops for the most of the population. There was poverty. There was domestic violence and substance abuse. There was discrimination.

Rest assured that this great America that so many seem to long for was only great for a privileged few, and to hell with the rest of us. What they long for is a time where they could keep their heads in the clouds and their high heels and polished shoes on our necks. They want to wear their pillbox hats and their pearls and their searsucker while we do the grit labor, keep our mouths shut, and know our place.

MAGA is a fantasy that cannot now, and in fact never did, exist. It’s a desire not to have to care about anyone but themselves. It’s a way to remain angry and discontent with the present. It’s a perpetual It’s-Not-Fair tantrum.

Unfortunately for them, the rest of America has grown up, and we’re not willing to play along anymore. Que sera sera.

Doris Day 111

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6 thoughts on “The Fantasy of White America

  1. Angiportus Librarysaver

    And the people who invoke Norman Rockwell as a symbol of those times–which I was born in–are a bit off. Rockwell showed us a variety of physical types, and immortalized some Black kids walking to a newly integrated school under armed guards, as well as “Rosie the Riveter”. Yes, I’m a fan of his.
    I am concerned about the person dear to you who went to an unmasked party. I hope you have quarantined them for the needed time, and that they and you stay healthy.

    1. I love Rockwell, too. As for my foolish loved one, he’s maddeningly unrepentant, and fortunately, so far, not showing symptoms. He also lives in another state. I don’t know what to do with my frustration and disappointment in him. It’s a struggle.

  2. Bea Allamanda

    An unfortunate number of people find it simpler to live in a fantasy world, fueled by denial, rather than face the fact that parts of life are ugly and should be changed. In order to make change, one must first acknowledge the current situation and that requires fortitude and courage, traits that too many people are in short supply of.

  3. Lyn

    The ban on hairspray, in the 70’s, due to chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), helped unmask that rose colored view for those that had missed the positive aspects of the Hippie movement of the 60’s. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/are-aerosols-still-bad/
    Consistent bad hair days chipped away at that external glossy image of perfection. That was a time when we readily believed and accepted scientific opinion and willingly gave up our CFC aerosols as long as they gave us a safer alternative. That blanket trust seems nostalgic today thanks to corporate corruption and politicization of our once revered scientific institutions. Perhaps we lost sight of the human aspect of our scientists and doctors when we placed them on too high a pedestal. We should accept they’re every bit as fallible as the rest of us, but overall, the majority are trying to keep society healthy and safe. They need our clear, uncompromised support to achieve it, especially during this pandemic and our current societal and environmental awakenings. Time for grown-ups to stop allowing spoiled, fearful, greedy children to rule. We can’t afford to accept ‘whatever will be, will be’. We’re battling far more than a bad hair day.

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