The Honking Goose

something to honk about

Remembering when America was Great

hippy child holding doll laundry hangs on a line behind her

Yep, that’s me

I was born in 1980. My parents were part of the back-to-the-land movement in Northern California. We had 40 acres, an incredible community of like-minded young people who were helping each other. The energy and vitality of that time was beautiful, something special and precious to behold. And I was just a child. The most carefree time of my life, my formative years, spiritually speaking, were spent in that unique bubble. I remember it very fondly. Those events made me who I am today.

two boys racing their bikes away from the photographer

do you remember when?

You were born in 1950. Your parents were part of booming new Suburbia. Your dad, as a high school graduate, obtained a full time job with benefits and supported your entire family comfortably on one income. He bought the property and built the house you lived in. Your mom took care of the home, she took care of you. She did the good, spiritually fulfilling jobs of feeding, cleaning, organizing a safe, modern single family home. The folks in your neighborhood came together for barbeques and evening cocktails. Their kids played catch in the yard with you. The most carefree, formative years of your life were spent in that unique bubble. You remember it fondly. Those events made you who you are today.

I would like to give that childhood to my own children. It was a good one. You would like to give that childhood to your children. It was a good one.

I have not been able to give that life to my own children. You have not been able to give that life to your own children.

Times have changed.

As a young family, we started out with me staying home with our baby. My husband found a job. But it wasn’t a full time job with benefits that would allow us to buy a home. It was a job that required 40 hours of his time a week. A job with no benefits, with no long term security. A job that barely allowed us to pay rent on a cold, dark basement apartment in the bottom story of a doctor’s house. We qualified for food stamps, for public assistance with health care, too. We took those ‘hand-outs’ because it was our only option to avoid being a burden on our own parents. Our only option to keep the heat on and a keep food on the table for our children.

When our second child was a year old, I got a job, too. I worked part time at a grocery store. My husband continued to seek full time employment and found only contract work with no safety net. With two incomes, we still qualified for public assistance. We continued to take ‘hand-outs’ because it was our only option to avoid being a burden to our parents and to provide adequately for our children.

I want the same things you want. We all want these things. A safe, clean home for our family. Safe, clean food to eat. Safe, clean water to drink. Safe, clean neighborhoods for our children to play in. Safe, secure jobs for the working members of our families to earn a respectful living.

Remember when America was great? I get it. I want that back, too. It wasn’t perfect though. It wasn’t great for everybody. And the policies and social contracts that made it great for some didn’t make it great for everybody. Those policies and social contracts won’t make America great today, either. We can’t go back. There is only forward.

Your with great respect,

the Honking Goose

flying white goose with black tipped wings opens its beak to honk

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7 comments on “Remembering when America was Great

  1. Elyse
    November 17, 2016

    We can’t go back to where we were when we were supposedly great.

    I was born in 1957; my mother worked, my father worked. But life was good anyway.

    There are a bunch of things that could really help get things back to being good for us in our country. I think Hillary would have gotten us closer.

    Minimum wage should be a living wage
    Schedules for minimum wage workers should be set so that they can arrange child care, second jobs, etc. So that they have a clue how much money they will be making per week/month;
    Healthcare should be available to everyone (I have literally spent my life working in order to have healthcare, as I have a chronic condition. It sucks.)
    There should be no question that Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other social safety nets will continue to be funded because we need them, we all pay into them. That’s what the government is fucking for!

    I could go on. I often do.

    The thing is, these are the priorities (not always met, I grant you) of the Democrats. The Republicans are not interested in making sure you can take care of your sick kid, or if you have to work odd hours and it is im possible to find child care. They don’t care. They think churches will take up the slack. And families. But all are stretched thin.

    just heard an interview with Jon Stewart where e said that the one question that wasn’t asked of Trump was “when was America Great?” Shame.

    Liked by 2 people

    • thehonkinggoose
      November 17, 2016

      But the Democrats have become so disconnected from the issues of working people. All the social contracts ensuring rights for everybody and the social programs that provide a safety net are useless if the economic policies are in place to take wealth produced by citizens and condense it into the hands of the elite. And furthermore, degradation of the environment at the cost of future generations is another way for the elite to have more and the people to have less. If Democrats don’t shift dramatically away from giving lip service to the populace while paving the way for corporations and the global elite class, then they will never, ever have my support.

      Like

  2. Ethel and Everett Go RVing
    November 17, 2016

    I was born in 1958. My parents met when he was in the Marines and my mother wanted to be a military wife and travel the world. But when I was 2 Dad left the Marines and went back to his hometown to take a factory job. My mother was left in a strange place surrounded by his family who didn’t like her and showed it. Dad wouldn’t relocate and after several attempts to reconcile they divorced. She was pregnant from one of those reconciliation attempts, but we moved into her parent’s 4-room house. After my sister was born, my mother got a job as a secretary and my grandmother was the housewife for us all, while grandfather worked at the navy yard. There was very little money. Mom met a man working near her job and they decided to start a small business using their skills. They married, worked their tails off, with childcare help from grandmother, and after 5 or 6 yrs they bought their own 4-room house. That was three full-time breadwinners supporting 4 adults and 2 kids and never taking vacations or buying anything on credit or paying for entertainment or services they didn’t absolutely need. Can you say that the same plan wouldn’t work today? That it was any easier for my family than it would be today?

    Liked by 1 person

    • thehonkinggoose
      November 17, 2016

      Your life experience is a perfect anecdote to my illustration. What I was trying to express is that there is no America was Great to go back to. There is just this idealized version in our fond memories that feels real, but isn’t. There is no plan or policy that can bring us back to an illusion, it never existed. People of color know that. (although some inexplicable voted for Trump anyway). People not cis-gender or cis-sexuality know that too. People who lived through WWII when their fathers were overseas and their mothers went to work in the factories know that too. That wasn’t a better time than now. It was just different.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. lajuani
    November 17, 2016

    Really made me sit back and think…the past really can teach us so much

    Liked by 1 person

  4. bdeckard92
    November 17, 2016

    Yes, ever forwards, but hopefully while looking back to learn at least. I’m not sure how we got here, an overabundance of consumerism I suppose where we have to have….

    Liked by 1 person

    • thehonkinggoose
      November 17, 2016

      You’re right. We must continue to look to the past to learn from past successes as well as challenges. I believe we got here by taking too much and not giving enough back. That will be the subject of future posts.

      Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on November 17, 2016 by in Culture, Politics, Work and tagged , , , , , , , , , , .
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