A portrait in missing the point

John Scalzi thinks he doesn’t miss America:

I don’t miss the America I grew up in — the America I grew up in, aside from being saddled with the strong possibility of nuclear war, had leaded gasoline and smog, it had stagflation and an oil crisis, it was a place where people smoked everywhere, including on airplanes, and people were still comfortable tossing out racial epithets in casual public conversation. It was a place where gay and lesbians and trans people couldn’t get married but could get arrested for existing in public. In my lifetime banks were not obliged to give women credit cards or loans without a male cosigner, women didn’t have the right to control their own bodies, and in the America I grew up in sexual harassment was an expected part of the cultural landscape.

So, yeah, the America I grew up was kinda terrible! And the parts of today that aren’t great are a direct result of what was terrible back then — you may have noticed we haven’t quite gotten rid of racial, sexual or gender issues, and if the GOP gets its way we’ll be saddled with them longer, because that’s how white supremacy do, and the GOP is now a white supremacist party, from the top on down. We also have the largest income and social mobility disparity in over a century, and again, that’s a direct result of policies that got their start in the era in which I grew up.

Part of the reason people have nostalgia is because they yearn for a simpler time — which for most people means a time when they were young, and didn’t know or didn’t care about the rest of the world. This presumes, of course, that one’s youth was simple, which is another reason I don’t have nostalgia; my childhood was not. It had long stretches of poverty and domestic uncertainty and I spent a lot of my time not knowing what was going to happen next — and even if I did know, I had no control over it. To be clear I also had good times and good friends and people who loved and cared for me; I’m not gunning for a “worst childhood” award here. But neither am I nostalgic for my childhood, nor for the era in which it existed.

I don’t miss the America I grew up in. I want to make the America I live in now better, so that everyone has a chance to have the moments of joy that I have been privileged to have.

This is a prime example of the problem with all the clueless Boomers and GenXers who live in safe white enclaves and believe that diversity is nothing more than a nice dash of spice and color in their comfortable lives. They don’t realize that they no longer live in America… or how desperately they will miss it once they realize what has taken its place.