You Can’t Have It All

Buried in my iTunes rotation is a 1986 song by the singing duo The Judds. It’s called “Grandpa (Tell Me ‘Bout the Good Ol’ Days)” and the song became the sixth Number One hit The Judds enjoyed on Billboard’s Hot Country Singles charts. They earned a 1986 Grammy for the song, capturing Best Country Performance By A Duo or Group.The Judds

The song came up today in my music rotation, and although it’s not one of my favorites, I let it play. As I half-listened to the lyrics, I thought about the nostalgia we often entertain for that mythical period we refer to as the Good Ol’ Days. With this particular song from twenty-eight years ago, Grandpa hearkens back to values from an even earlier era.

Specifically, the song talks about a “yesterday when the line between right and wrong didn’t seem so hazy.” The songwriter asks:  Did lovers really fall in love to stay … stand beside each other, come what may? Was a promise really something people kept … did families really bow their heads to pray, did daddies never go away?” The lyrics infer those Good Ol’ Days represented a time worthy of our reconsideration.

Cartoon by Glenn McCoy
Cartoon by Glenn McCoy

Early in my life, I made a conscious decision that as I became an older person, I wouldn’t talk about and idealize the Good Ol’ Days. Even the Good Ol’ Days that I remember were fraught with problems as they are in every era. Since the Garden of Eden, man has demonstrated his sinful bent … there’s no reason to think that will change this side of Heaven.

But there are certain verities that shouldn’t be cast off from one era to the next. Lovers really falling in love to stay? Promises made to be kept? Daddies never going away? Yes, as a remnant of the Good Ol’ Days, those values nevertheless deserve to be retained. Ask the spouse who’s been betrayed by callously broken promises. Ask the child whose daddy has heedlessly disappeared. Sure, all of us live through disappointment, but the result of those body blows (figuratively speaking) usually means long-term brokenness and unnecessary cynicism.

The+Good+Old+DaysAs I listened to the lyrics of Grandpa, in the back of my mind I was thinking about an article I’d read earlier in the day. Titled Gay marriage and the death of freedom, writer Brendan O’Neill observes that the current “Freedom to marry” movement carries with it a harsh reality. He states:  everywhere gay marriage has been introduced it has battered freedom, not boosted it. Debate has been chilled, dissenters harried, critics tear-gassed … ‘freedom to marry’ has done more to power the elbow of the state than it has to expand the liberty of men and women.

A sobering assessment. O’Neill cites examples from France, America and Britain that illustrate how dissenting viewpoints have been inexorably trod underfoot to be replaced by this 21st century orthodoxy. (The Good Ol’ Days were a less enlightened era, don’cha know … These New and Better Days promise progress and utopia.)

As gay marriage ideology rages across the landscape in its conquering moral crusade, freedom to believe in natural marriage, freedom to speak from religious or moral conviction and freedom to exercise conscience in work- and home-life will all be subsumed to the collective vision of these New and Better Days.

And lest it be suggested these conquerors are not waging what I contend is a “moral crusade,” I have but one response. Morals are defined as generally accepted customs of conduct and right living in a society. When the “freedom to marry” viewpoint trumps freedoms of conscience and speech, its bulldozer decimates the liberty of anyone who dares dissent. A new morality takes over … and liberty will disappear.

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