Mythologizing the Past
By: Victor Davis Hanson
April 3, 2021
In our moment of “woke”, do not let the Left cancel out the memories of your childhood. We must not agree that the 1950s and 1960s were times of evil. They were not.
Westerns like The Searchers, High Noon, Shane, The Magnificent Seven, and Hombre all explored themes of racial prejudice, of the individual set against the mob, or the few willing to take on the lawbreakers, both the violent and the ‘establishment’. “Liberal” then was something akin to nonexistent conservative Democrat today and agendas mostly focused on a 40-hour week, disability insurance, and fair housing.
My own memories are of two bone-tired heroic parents, who moved a 900-square-foot old house to our farm, as my dad tried to fix the unfixable himself—himself a veteran of 40 B-29 missions. His squadron (much of it wiped out by fighters, flak, or simply lost on the 32000-mile round-trip from Tinian to Tokyo) was a part of the effort to stop a murderous Japanese military empire that wiped out 15 million in China and another 2-3 million in the Pacific and other parts of Asia. And the militarist would not have been stopped, without the sacrifices of as many lives, which just wished to be left alone in places like Kingsburg and Selma.
These were good people and we must honor them, and remember the country they bequeathed, one which millions of people seek to enter each year. This generation seems to think that AOC and Ilhan Omar appeared out of nowhere to build the US and millions then flocked to enter their reconstituted utopia.
I can remember my parents in 1965 driving up to San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral in their unreliable 1956 Dodge wagon, to hear Martin Luther King, Jr. We stopped in Hunter’s Point and picked up some elderly African-American friends of a friend who were without a ride, and all of us joined an enormous line outside the cathedral. As the two enormous doors closed, my mother gave me a hard push into the church, and I was the only one of our party who heard his speech. I still remember his “A man must be judged on the content of his character, not on the color of his skin”—words perhaps more revolutionary today than in 1965.