Question for President Obama: Just When Were America’s Better Days?

Not so much a question for Obama, but a suggestion to Mitt Romney.

You’ve said it so often as to become a refrain, Mr Obama, that America just isn’t the country it once was.

Well, let’s see. That “once was” couldn’t have been before 1865. We had slavery. And it couldn’t have been before 1965, for we had Jim Crow in half the country and the rest of the country accepted the notion of “separate but equal” that supported it, after the Civil War. The era of States Rights.

Yes, I know, we fought great wars defeating evil totalitarian empires…twice..but we were not great because both our Nation and military were still segregated. So, even WWII won’t qualify, will it? (The Europeans might disagree, but, after all, they were all colonial powers, a racist white country going to the aid of other racist white nations. Nothing special there.)

True, Harry Truman desegregated the military, but he also dropped The A-Bomb. Besides for 572 other reasons you would never have liked him, anyway…or him you, for probably 200 reasons more. The same for JFK.

Then there was the era of LBJ, and God knows, he sure gave us all sorts of great civil rights legislation…only he hung around our necks that Vietnam War, and drafted all the poor, mostly black men in America to go fight it. Nope couldn’t be his time either?

So, we’re up to 1975, the last days of Nixon and Gerald Ford. Please, Mr Obama, don’t tell me it was Jimmy Carter’s days, his glory days, that you harken back to when America rose to its greatest stature, and basked in the glow of admiration and exaltation from the world community.

But then again, maybe it was. After all, Carter’s weakness leadership in Iran then can be said to have presaged your own incompetent weakness  leadership in Egypt, Libya, and all the Middle East…when once again street Arabs snigger  sing toasts in chaikanas over tea and hookahs to “the man-woman who wrings his hands” in America.

I could point you to the Reagan Restoration, 1981-1989, but am sure you can’t mean that era either. Feel free to tell me otherwise, Mr Obama, because, for once, I’d agree with you. Most members of my generation warmly remember (til the day we die) the Wall being hammered down, chip by chip (I have a piece), and listening to Nana Mouskouri’s “Libertad.” It was a grand time for celebrating freedom from tyranny on a continental scale.

Q: Would you have taken the Wall down, or put one up? Just asking.

Within three years of The Wall coming down, I was in Moscow and watched the Hammer & Sickle come down.  Everywhere it was a scene of rejoicing. Three days later, in Kharkiv, Ukraine, they opened an old church for a night of chamber music. To everyone’s surprise the closing piece was a male soprano singing Schubert’s “Ave Maria”…in Ukrainian…for the first time since 1918. The entire audience, including many military, stood throughout the entire performance. And wept, without shame. Svoboda Ukraina. How can one witness such a thing and not be changed?

If that’s what you mean, yes, Mr Obama, I’ll agree that was America at its finest in my lifetime.

But if that was not America’s finest days, then when?

Tell us when those greater days were. An era, a decade, a single administration? Or maybe just a month, a day, a single moment in time? Have you and Michelle conferred on this?

Just let us know. We’re waiting.


Your pal,

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