I got my love of reading from my grandmother Audrey. She read everything from historical biographies to romance novels, and no matter where we were going or what she was up to, she always had a book in her hand.
I remember always bringing her books for her birthday and on holidays. When I was younger I got her books I wanted her to read to me. Later on I got her books she loved, usually something to do with the film Gone with the Wind, her favorite movie and one she always reminded us she saw in the theater when it came out in 1939. She was a child of the depression, and walked a few miles every day to bring her father his lunch, as long as there was any to bring.
A People’s History of the United States
When I was in college, I read Howard Zinn’s incredible book, A People’s History of the United States. As Zinn says in the forward, every history book brings with it a certain perspective. It’s not possible to write an unbiased take on history. This book captures history from the perspective of the oppressed. The “losers” of history.
My grandmother dug in. I remember being shocked she finished it so quickly, and asked her how she liked it.
“Well… I guess there never really was such a thing as the good old days, was there.”
No. There never was. There is no “great” America to go back to. There is not a single moment in our history that we were “great”. We have been racist. We have been sexist. We have been bigots and we have been violent.
The only way to make society “great” is through progress. Social progress. Love. Community.
Yesterday, when our unelected bigot in chief took office, was the worst day in American politics in my lifetime. Today millions of people worldwide join the Women’s March on Washington from every corner of the globe — every continent, in fact.
There never was such a thing as the “good old days”, but we sure can make them better. One day at a time. And there’s no better day than today.