Wednesday, April 06, 2016

America 1956 vs. America 2016

By Michael Snyder

Is America a better place today than it was back in 1956? Of course many Americans living right now couldn’t even imagine a world without cell phones, Facebook or cable television, but was life really so bad back then? 60 years ago, families would actually spend time on their front porches and people would actually have dinner with their neighbors. 60 years ago, cars were still cars, football was still football and it still meant something to be an American. In our country today, it is considered odd to greet someone as they are walking down the street, and if someone tries to be helpful it is usually because they want something from you. But things were very different in the middle of the last century. Men aspired to be gentlemen and women aspired to be ladies, and nobody had ever heard of “bling”, “sexting” or “twerking”. Of course life was far from perfect, but people actually had standards and they tried to live up to them.

So how did it all go so wrong?

Could it be possible that life in America peaked back then and we have been in decline ever since?

Before you answer, I want to share with you a list of comparisons between life in America in 1956 and life in America in 2016…

In 1956, John Wayne, Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe were some of the biggest stars in the entertainment world.

In 2016, our young people look up to “stars” like Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga.

In 1956, Americans were watching I Love Lucy and The Ed Sullivan Show on television.

In 2016, the major television networks are offering us trashy shows such as Mistresses and Lucifer.

In 1956, you could buy a first-class stamp for just 3 cents.

In 2016, a first-class stamp will cost you 49 cents.

In 1956, gum chewing and talking in class were some of the major disciplinary problems in our schools.

In 2016, many of our public schools have been equipped with metal detectors because violence has gotten so far out of control.

In 1956, children went outside and played when they got home from school.

In 2016, our parks and our playgrounds are virtually empty and we have the highest childhood obesity rate on the entire planet.

In 1956, if a kid skinned his knee he was patched up and sent back outside to play.

In 2016, if a kid skins his knee he is likely to be shipped off to the emergency room.

In 1956, “introducing solids” to a baby’s diet may have meant shoving a piece of pizza down her throat.

In 2016, we have “attachment parenting” which advocates treating children like babies almost until they reach puberty.

In 1956, seat belts and bicycle helmets were considered to be optional pieces of equipment, and car safety seats were virtually unknown.

In 2016, millions of us are afraid to leave our homes for fear that something might happen to us, and if something does happen we slap lawsuits on one another at the drop of a hat.

In 1956, many Americans regularly left their cars and the front doors of their homes unlocked.

In 2016, many Americans live with steel bars on their windows and gun sales are at all-time record highs.

In 1956, about 5 percent of all babies in America were born to unmarried parents.

In 2016, more than 40 percent of all babies in America will be born to unmarried parents.

In 1956, one income could support an entire middle class family.

In 2016, approximately one-third of all Americans don’t make enough money to even cover the basics even though both parents have entered the workforce in most households.

In 1956, redistribution of wealth was considered to be something that “the communists” did.

In 2016, the federal government systematically redistributes our wealth, and two communists are fighting for the Democratic nomination.

In 1956, there were about 2 million people living in Detroit and it was one of the greatest cities on Earth.

In 2016, there are only about 688,000 people living in Detroit and it has become a joke to the rest of the world.

In 1956, millions of Americans dreamed of moving out to sunny California.

In 2016, millions of Americans are moving out of California and never plan to go back.

In 1956, television networks would not even show husbands and wives in bed together.

In 2016, there is so much demand for pornography that there are more than 4 million adult websites on the Internet, and they get more traffic than Netflix, Amazon and Twitter combined.

In 1956, the American people had a great love for the U.S. Constitution.

In 2016, “constitutionalists” are considered to be potential terrorists by the U.S. government.

In 1956, people from all over the world wanted to come to the United States to pursue “the American Dream”.

In 2016, 48 percent of all U.S. adults under the age of 30 believe that “the American Dream is dead”.

In 1956, the United States loaned more money to the rest of the world than anybody else.

In 2016, the United States owes more money to the rest of the world than anybody else.

And there is one more thing that I would like to share with you before I wrap up this article.

This is what the New York skyline looked like on March 31st, 1956…

And this is the kind of thing that we are seeing displayed on the Empire State Building these days…

For those that don’t know, that is an image of the Hindu goddess of death, time and destruction known as Kali. And next month a reproduction of the 48-foot-tall arch that stood in front of the Temple of Baal in Palmyra, Syria is going up in Times Square.

So now that you have seen what I have to share, what do you think?

Has America changed for the better, or has it changed for the worse?

Read more Michael Snyder.


Anonymous said...

I am in my 60s: I tyhink this every single day. In fact you do not do it enough justice.

The actual standard of living was much higher, there was more bang for the buck, and people were grateful for what they had. The average working stiff had it great. If they saw America today they would be so ashamed of what we let happen.

It is gone now, and it is not coming back.

You can thank the Democrats and their GOP enablers for that.

Anonymous said...

A great post that uses 'comparison' back in the 50's versus today - 2016.

I also grew up in the 50's although not in the USA but Europe - my home country. Life then was the life of enjoyment and simple. Complications as they are today - were not part of life back then. Yes - I clearly remember that my family never locked their doors even during night hours. There were no school buses back then and I walked to school every day which also took a stretch of forest since we lived in the country side - away from cities and schools. My walk was a long one - but it never was riddled with danger. It was a calm era, a well mannered era, a honest era, an organized era, a simple life during that era. Most of all - faith guided my family and everyone else I knew. Preachers/priests or ministers did not live in luxury, drive expensive cars or owned big mansions.
Doctors made home visits if someone was ill.

I believe it all went wrong when society pushed God and prayers out of schools and public life. The attempt to erase the presence of the living God caused the implosion of society where we are today. I remember Judge Roy Moore who fought honorably to keep the '10 Commandments' monument in the AL courthouse and lost. The reminder of the '10 Commandments' were removed.
God's Laws was the core of our society no matter which country one lived. Removing that created the vacuum that was filled with immorality, perverse sexual activity, destruction of the nuclear families but most of all it created a 'zombie' like society that has no longer any purpose. "Faith without works is dead"!

That action and its consequences is what we are seeing, hearing and aware of causing society to be infected with a cancer - an incurable cancer - that spreads more and more by the day. We - as a society will implode by intent and unimaginable destructive calamities. A society that has no moral code or understanding will not and can not stand or survive.

Teri said...

I sometimes get into fights with young women that think the 50s were a repressive time for women. I use my mother in law as an example. She had worked during the war. She was let go after the war and raised two kids. Her husband was a machinist and they were able to pay cash for big ticket items. She did housework in the morning and visited with her friends in the afternoon. She had a very comfortable life. She did not miss work.

I have come to believe that great harm has come to our families and our culture by pushing women into the work force. Women with children belong at home and could raise their families if we focused on keeping good paying jobs in this country.

Teri said...

While I think of it, read " The Most They Ever Had" by Rick Bragg. They have killed the spirit of hard working people by preventing them from providing for their families.

Ed Parker said...

Look at medicine and you will have a different perspective. Now we know how bad high blood pressure is and we have great ways to treat hypertension. Open heart surgery was barely developed in 1956. The first successful renal transplant occurred around 1950. We did not have CT scanners or MRI scanners to look for cancers, infections,and subdural hematomas. More invasive procedures with less precision were how many abnormalities were found and treated. Our lives have been extended by many years because of modern medicines. The old days were good, however, because we had fewer distractions so we talked with each other and played games. And which one of us would like to go back to old telephones, expensive phone service, no computers and no email or Internet or Google. Not me!

darcyfamily said...

Whenever a politician is derisively accused of seeking to "turn the clock back to the 1950s," I remember what it was like then and say to myself, "Does he PROMISE?"

Remember when government was small and dreams were big?

Remember when television was a "vast wasteland" instead of a toxic cesspool?

Remember when people had good manners and wore clothing that matched them?

Remember when coins were beautiful, impressive, miniature repositories of silver, or even gold?

Remember when the only tattoos you saw were on men who had fought in a war, or on the persons they had rescued from gas chambers?

Remember when music meant actual melodies, and lyrics that were charming and intelligible instead of brutal and moronic?

Remember when there were no perennial panhandlers -- only kempt, dignified, handicapped people who sold pencils, apples, and newspapers on the street?

Remember when your city's downtown streets didn't reek of urine?

Remember when sports stars were gentlemanly, accessible, and grateful for their fans?

Remember when parks were places for kids and families rather than havens for drug addled derelicts and perverts?

Remember when teachers, cops, and adults in general were respected by youth?

Remember when cops went after the real bad guys and didn't hound working stiffs for harmless infractions?

Remember when those students who did poorly were blamed for their performance, rather than their teachers?

Remember when you shopped around for a doctor the way you shopped around for a plumber, and you hired the best person at the best price, and paid with your own money?

Remember when street cars and busses were clean, safe, ubiquitous, and cheap to ride?

Remember when you could walk from your home to a tidy little shopping area?

Remember when the best toys didn't use batteries or electricity, just your imagination?

Remember when "Made in Japan" meant it was junk?

Remember when it was common to see a rifle and rack in the back window of a pickup truck, even in high school parking lots, but nobody ever heard of a "mass shooting?"

Remember when China was Red and our non-box stores were stocked with good products of our own labor?

Remember when unions insisted upon quality from their members and didn't protect the deadbeats?

Remember when companies had loyalty to their employees and were proud if they retained them for 40 years?

Remember when you played ball in the street with your friends, instead of texting them?

Remember when almost all of your friends had two parents living in their home?

Remember when our cars were muscular and our government was lean?

Remember when colleges were hallowed halls of higher learning rather than places where cultural grievances and political factions could be promoted?

Remember when the churches were filled and the prisons were not?

Remember when "bad words" were foul words, not politically incorrect ones?

Remember when out-of-wedlock births were a rarity?

Remember when plain-speaking was common but rudeness was not?


I am conscious of the fact that nostalgia is a powerful emotion that can falsify our perceptions of the past. Was America perfect in the 50s? Certainly not, but we understood that social perfection was impossible, so we made a good, practical society based upon reality and the traditions of our ancestors. Since then we have demanded more and more government to try to bring us closer to perfection, and to make us more "equal." But the result has been to make us less free, less
responsible, and ironically, less equal. It is impossible to turn the clock back, but it is not impossible to return to our roots and the precepts of our founding.