You’ve all heard it, the misplaced nostalgia for a time that never was, where life was somehow easier, none of this fussing about civil rights, those pesky things like equality, the right to vote, freedom of religion… and for too many, it’s this notion that the 1950s (the time of Boomers?) were the best of all worlds.  AAACK!

What We Really Miss About The 1950s -_Stephanie Coontz

And I’m noticing that so many in this mindset are lacking in basic education, so many very vocal people without any notion of logic and how to present or respond to an argument, the fundamentals of critical thinking, and history, both American history and world history.  It’s driving me nuts!  I’m getting ready to start sending books and lesson plans to a lot of people I know!

Where’d that Jerry Garcia for President button go?


Alan found a book at a garage sale yesterday, 7th edition so it’s nothing new, but so on point:

Rereading America: Cultural Contexts for Critical Thinking and Writing (7th Edition)

What We Really Miss About The 1950s -_Stephanie Coontz is included, along with a lot of other classics.  It’s a college text:

Designed for first-year writing and critical thinking courses, Rereading America anthologizes a diverse set of readins focused on the myths that dominate U.S. culture.

These myths are those on the front burner today:

  1. Harmony at Home: The Myth of the Model Family
  2. Learning Power: The Myth of Education and Empowerment
  3. Money and Success: The Myth of Individual Opportunity
  4. True Women and Real Men: Myths of Gender
  5. Created Equal: The Myth of the Melting Pot
  6. One Nation Under God: American Myths of Church and State
  7. Land of Liberty: The Myth of Freedom in a “New World Order”

The grand finale of Rereading America: Cultural Contexts for Critical Thinking and Writing is Langston Hughes’ Let America be America Again:

Let America Be America Again

Langston Hughes, 19021967

Let America be America again.

Let it be the dream it used to be.

Let it be the pioneer on the plain

Seeking a home where he himself is free.


(America never was America to me.)


Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed—

Let it be that great strong land of love

Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme

That any man be crushed by one above.


(It never was America to me.)


O, let my land be a land where Liberty

Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,

But opportunity is real, and life is free,

Equality is in the air we breathe.


(There’s never been equality for me,

Nor freedom in this “homeland of the free.”)


Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?

And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?


I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,

I am the black man bearing slavery’s scars.

I am the red man driven from the land,

I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek—

And finding only the same old stupid plan

Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.


I am the young man, full of strength and hope,

Tangled in that ancient endless chain

Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!

Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!

Of work the men! Of take the pay!

Of owning everything for one’s own greed!


I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.

I am the worker sold to the machine.

I am the black man, servant to you all.

I am the people, humble, hungry, mean—

Hungry yet today despite the dream.

Beaten yet today—O, Pioneers!

I am the man who never got ahead,

The poorest worker bartered through the years.


Yet I’m the one who dreamt our basic dream

In the Old World while still a serf of kings,

Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,

That even yet its mighty daring sings

In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned

That’s made America the land it has become.

O, I’m the man who sailed those early seas

In search of what I meant to be my home—

For I’m the one who left dark Ireland’s shore,

And Poland’s plain, and England’s grassy lea,

And torn from Black Africa’s strand I came

To build a “homeland of the free.”


The free?

Who said the free? Not me?

Surely not me? The millions on relief today?

The millions shot down when we strike?

The millions who have nothing for our pay?

For all the dreams we’ve dreamed

And all the songs we’ve sung

And all the hopes we’ve held

And all the flags we’ve hung,

The millions who have nothing for our pay—

Except the dream that’s almost dead today.


O, let America be America again—

The land that never has been yet—

And yet must be—the land where every man is free.

The land that’s mine—the poor man’s, Indian’s, Negro’s, ME—

Who made America,

Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,

Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,

Must bring back our mighty dream again.


Sure, call me any ugly name you choose—

The steel of freedom does not stain.

From those who live like leeches on the people’s lives,

We must take back our land again,



O, yes,

I say it plain,

America never was America to me,

And yet I swear this oath—

America will be!


Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,

The abuse and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,

We, the people, must redeem

The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.

The mountains and the endless plain—

All, all the stretch of these great green states—

And make America again



This stanza is missing in the book:
Sure, call me any ugly name you choose—
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people’s lives,
We must take back our land again,

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