Ahh! The Good Ol’ Days…


Originally published in the Grand Rapids Business Journal, November 13, 2006

Remember the good ol’ days? When morality meant something? When people were unfailingly kind and polite and treated everybody with respect? When all people followed the same code of ethics and absolutely knew right from wrong? When everyone instinctively saw the path to the common good and followed it without fail? Do you remember?…. Yeah, me neither. I think that’s because it never happened.

So here we are shaking off the filth and spew of another election season, and it’s difficult not to want to remember a fabled “good ol’ days.” The past few months have again proven that political campaigning can and does bring out some unseemly behavior. We can lament it. We can (and definitely should) try to improve conditions for the next go. But we shouldn’t try to blame it on some sort of chronic worsening of humankind. That’s dangerous. Because when that happens, perfectly sensible people start saying, “Yeah, things used to be much, much better. What’s the deal? Who’s to blame?” Then a guy with a little mustache (or a drunken Mel Gibson) gets up and says, “It’s the Jews.” And there is a high potential for astonishingly bad results from that point.

Folks in West Michigan sometimes get caught up in this harkening back with rosy glasses. I wouldn’t deny that some things were better around here in years past. (For starters, I wasn’t here.) But to look back on life before the election as something substantially different than life during the election, that’s just silly. Rest assured — we’ll be dealing with the same issues, the same human behaviors, the same poor decisions; they will simply be in a context other than that of “how will this affect the election.” At least for a few months. …I hope….

1 Comment »

  1. Dad said,

    November 27, 2006 @ 8:28 pm

    Good Essay and I totally agree.


    Ps: Tell Ellie Anna now calls me Poppa, not PopPop or Poppie.

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