Message From 1924: We’re Gonna Be Okay

Not sure about you, but I’ve been in a bit of a funk lately. Not quite feeling the lighthearted folly I try to bring to you every Wednesday, if you catch my meaning.

I was about to give it up for lost and take the week off, certain you’d understand, being the understanding sort of readers you are. Then yesterday evening, while going through a box of old photos, I found a little Valentine’s Day card dated 1924:

It’s a card my dad received when he was a baby, and he passed it on to my son on his first Valentine’s day in 1994.

A sweet little card, don’t you think? From a sweeter, simpler time. Back when people were kinder, time moved more slowly, and there wasn’t as much anger, hatred and prejudice.

Or was there?

Not content with just assuming it was better, I spent some time with Google.

Consider this: The Immigration Act of 1924,

  • It limited the annual number of immigrants who could be admitted from any country to 2% of the number of people from that country who were already living in the U.S.
  • Its main point was to restrict immigration of Italians and Eastern European Jews
  • It severely restricted immigration of Africans and it outright banned immigration of Arabs and Asians
  • According to the U.S. Department of State Office of the Historian, the purpose of the act was “to preserve the ideal of American homogeneity”
  • The quotas stayed in place with minor changes until 1965

Horrible, yes?

Here’s the fact I want you to consider: Opposition to this Immigration Act was minimal. As in practically nonexistent.

Compare that to the reaction toward more recent immigration reform and the difference is pretty startling. People were not only opposed, they were positively outraged, and resistance took shape almost immediately.

I believe there’s a reason historians tend to be calm, stoic types. It’s not merely that they’ve seen it all before, but they see we are progressing. However bad things might appear, they’re never as bad as they once were. Society is improving.

I’m not saying we can ignore what’s happening — quite the opposite, actually. What I am saying is that we shouldn’t lose hope.

dx4xrs7w6cw-nomao-saekiHistory is on our side. Love ALWAYS wins.

So keep the faith people, and hug your pet. Best remedy there is when you’re in a funk.

Also, here are two sites I use for keeping up with current events and keeping my funky moods at bay:

PolitiFact — best bipartisan place I’ve found for fact-checking
Daily Skimm — You’ll get a pop-up when you first click the link, but check out their newsletter for a preview of the morning email they send five days a week. They have a charming way of reporting the news with just enough snarky humor to take the edge off.

What sites or publications do you use to stay informed?

15 thoughts on “Message From 1924: We’re Gonna Be Okay

  1. Overall things are better today than the past. Just do a little reading of how the intercontinental railroad was built in California to see how bad minorities were treated at the time – especially Asians and Irish.

  2. I tend to look for intelligent analysis to answer the “so what?” question inherent in any set of facts. At the moment, I can’t really say I have any consistent go-to sources, though. My Facebook feed has enough extreme right and extreme left that if I scroll down and read all the headlines, I will find I have a pretty good idea of what is actually going on. So that’s something.

    I do agree that as a whole, when you look at the long span of history, society is getting better. And that’s a wonderful thing! I read a similar sentiment the other day on Simcha Fischer’s blog when she linked to a news story about the new preemie diapers and pointed out, “We live in a world where 2-lb babies are surviving and thriving.” That’s the type of thing that lets me take a step back and celebrate the good things.

    1. True, there are many good things to celebrate. Sometimes it seems overwhelming, especially when I hear of a racially motivated shooting or beating. Then I remember there was a time when that wasn’t news. It was just accepted.
      I’m not on Facebook much anymore, after I realized I always felt worse after looking at it. I hoped post-election it would improve, but it really hasn’t. (Where have all the cat videos gone?😉)

  3. My mother’s side of the family came from Italy and she talks a lot about the discrimination her father faced growing up. My great-grandfather made his last name English to try and avoid as much discrimination as possible.

    1. I remember when I first learned about the discrimination Italians faced and it seemed so unreal. What’s incredible is that we never seem to learn from our past. Right now our attention is focused on a different ethnic group, but this time — THIS time — we know we’re right! UGH!

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