Judging by the letters sent in to the Sun-Gazette, many people think that our country was better off in the past than it is now. But, there are several dangers in looking back fondly to years gone by.
First, our country's past is filled with beliefs and actions that no one would want to see return. Slavery, lynchings, segregation, displacement/extermination of native populations, companies that owned their employees, and voting rights denied to all but white males are just a few examples.
Second, if we use our childhood as the foundation upon which to base our idea of how things were, then we are forgetting that our childhood world was very small and carefully molded by our parents who filtered what we saw and heard.
Third, idealizing the past makes us susceptible to manipulation by those seeking political office. Appealing to our sense of nostalgia is a powerful way to gain attention and support in a political campaign.
I believe that learning from the past, rather than trying to return to a past that never existed, is the most effective way to face the future.