Norman Rockwells Four Freedoms, Freedom of Worship

A Civics Lesson for the New 1950’s of the 21st Century

First posted 11/12/2016

Cover of the 1955 recording of Roger's and Hammerstein's Oklahoma
Oklahoma! (1955 film cast) found on the Internet Archives

With all the talk of America’s return to the 1950’s I thought Americans should know what we need to have in place to help President Trump make our return a success.

A collage of Donald Trump as a 1950's greaser riding a bike in front of the White House with Hillary Clinton falling off. His shrt reads 'if you can read this the Bitch fell off'
Make America Great Again – ‘America…in T Shirts’
by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

The sense of community and the income equality of the 1950’s were the result of two generations that forged a social contract based on what they had learned about fascism
by defeating it.

The older generation had fought and won World War One and younger adults fought World War Two or had older siblings who fought.

Women also served in the military.

Photograph of a woman working in a factory in the 1940's
Woman in the Factory- 1940’s – Public Domain.

All men upon reaching the age of 18  were required to either serve in the military or serve in their communities.

This forced men of different classes to meet each other as equals which fostered a measure of respect and understanding between the classes.

Black and White AP photograph of Elvis Presley being sworn into the army
Elvis Sworn into the Army, 1958
By Associated Press – Public Domain

The people of the 1950’s also voted to create a public fund for themselves which they called Social Security.

This fund was designed prevent Americans from destitution in old age.

Art by Rob Goldstein
Universal World Reference Encyclopedia: Social Security

In the America of the 1950’s women had the vote but very little power in the workforce or in politics.

Racial equality varied from state to state.

Economically, the people of the 1950’s believed in progressive taxes, regulated utilities, fully funded public education and community service.

If we’re returning to the 1950’s, we might as well get it right.

I offer this film by Encyclopaedia Britannica.

It was used in the high school civics classes of the time.

The film, Despotism was produced in 1946.

This is how the Establishment  or ‘Deep State” of the 1950’s defined Democracy and good citizenship.

As communities go, so goes the Nation.

screenshot from Despotism by Encyclopaedia Britannica Films which shows a scale between democracy and despotism
Where does your community stand?

Where does your community stand on a scale between Democracy and Despotism?

Rob Goldstein(c) 2016







17 thoughts on “A Civics Lesson for the New 1950’s of the 21st Century

  1. I’m disheartened and still stunned I think. Every day brings the “Is this happening?” bit. I literally do not know what to think or feel at this time, so I just keep going as I have been.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I understand. My first reaction was a sense of numb grief. I think that the fact that so many people have this depth of feeling about it is heartening because it means that many of us are aware that this outcome is not just unexpected; it’s a moral offense.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Rob, I believe our coming together will have to be led by a grass roots movement. Our new leaders will be too consumed about offending a group to bring folks together. It will be interesting to see what our current President chooses to do after he leaves office. Keith

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The film in this post, Despotism, opens with an interesting point: ‘The form of a government is not enough to protect us from a despotism.’ We hear chatter about how our ‘form’ of government is still in tact, but is it? The GOP games the electoral college, blithely allows a foreign power to subvert the campaign of the opposition candidate and holds the judiciary hostage. The form of our government is in tact but for the second time in less than 20 years the GOP has successfully used the press and the electoral college to thwart the will of the people.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. To me the truth is simple. If your party must rely on a depressed turnout to win and does everything in its power to diminish it, then your party does not have a good argument. But, we are an easily manipulated crowd, so it is like shooting ducks on the water.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I think the problem here is we allow the GOP to adopt the mantle of respectability even after they publicly shat on out most sacred principles.

        Its not them; it’s us.

        For sociopaths the difference between right and wrong is getting caught and being held accountable.

        Until we hold them accountable they will continue to brazenly foul our political system and twist it to suit their selfish interests.


    1. Those who long for the 1950’s are forgetting what it took to make them what they were. They were a time of tremendous prosperity but the people were expected to sacrifice. This sentiment is best expressed in John Kennedy’s, ‘Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”

      If the ‘whites’ behind this so-called Trump uprising expect gays to return to the closet, women to give up control, of their bodies and African-Americans to passively accept the loss of Civil Rights protections then it is only fair for white men to subject themselves to military draft. If we’re going back to the 50’s everyone needs to do his part.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Don’t forget, though, that Social Security was part of FDR’S New Deal and then modified since. And the 50s, of course, saw McCarthy’s rise and much inequality between the races. It was a “white world” and a world that many of those deluded enough to support Trump yearn for.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t forget that…I just wanted to keep that post simple.

      It was a white world but because of the political system’s emphasis on human rights and democracy it gave rise to all of the great civil right’s movements of the last half of the 20th century. I read a post from someone who pointed out that for most of human history we have been divided between us and them, along racial, religious and gender lines. What made the modern era unique was that we worked against these impulses and created a dynamic and diverse nation in which most people could live in peace. This is the system that we must fight to preserve.

      Liked by 1 person

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