Politics Magazine

These Are The "Good Old Days" In The United States

Posted on the 22 October 2014 by Jobsanger

I am an older American, and believe me, we live in a much different country than the one that existed when I was a child. Some call the time of my childhood the "good old days" -- but that was far from true. Many states still had a segregated society imposed by state law, and minorities were denied the vote through various means (like poll taxes and literacy tests). All but a brave few in the LGBT community were still in the closet. And atheists/agnostics had to keep their beliefs to themselves, or risk losing their jobs and being ostracized in most communities.
And that wasn't all. Women were far from being equal to men. They were criticized for working outside the home, and even excluded from many jobs and professions. It was also commonly accepted that they should be paid less than a man for the same job, or equal work (a problem that still has only been partially rectified). Most people thought a woman should marry and be submissive to her husband in almost every area -- including changing her last name to that of her husband.
Fortunately, this country has seen some big societal changes in the last few decades. And that has been good -- because today we live in a fairer and more equitable society. Although we still have more to accomplish, more people enjoy equal rights under the law than ever before in this nation's history. Those who consider the past to be the "good old days" are wrong. They are either pining for the trouble-free days of their childhood, or unhappy because they are losing the special privilege their particular group once enjoyed (at the expense of others).
I found the chart above very interesting, because it illustrates just how much this society has changed. It was made from a recent YouGov Poll (done on October 15th and 16th of a random national sample of 1,000 adults, with a margin of error of about 4 points). It shows that a significant majority of Americans now believe a woman should not be forced to change her name when she gets married -- but what she does should be her own choice.
That may not seem all that important to you, but I believe it is -- because it is symbolic of just how far women have come in achieving equal rights. The equal rights battle is far from over, but much progress has been made in the last few decades.

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