They'll never make a zombie out of me

Learn from the past but do not whitewash it

The best opening stanza in rock and roll belongs to The Kinks from the title track of their 1971 album, “Muswell Hillbillies.”

Well I said goodbye to Rosie Rooke this morning
I'm gonna miss her bloodshot alcoholic eyes
She wore her Sunday hat so she'd impress me
I'm gonna carry her memory till the day I die

Do you love music? Did you also watch “Flintstones” episodes as they originally aired while wearing a cloth diaper in front of a mahogany-encased black and white television accessorized with a flower vase on top? If the answer is yes to both, then you know who The Kinks are.

Ray Davies is rarely like everybody else. Kinks songs are rarely about calamine lotion or yellow submarines. Ray and Dave Davies told stories about everyday people and life in the UK and eventually America. Nostalgic stories about post-World War II promise and pain. When world events were leaning toward psychedelic in the sixties, Davies was reflecting on “where have all the good times gone” from his youth.

Where have all the good times gone?
Where have all the good times gone?
Ma and Pa look back at all the things they used to do
Didn't have no money and they always told the truth

Daddy didn't have no toys
And mummy didn't need no boys
Won't you tell me
Where have all the good times gone?

So many years removed from the sixties I am nostalgic too. I did not imagine that I would be old enough to witness the fabric, good and bad, of my early years under the spot light to be scrap heaped. I want to wear the warts of my time.

World War II veterans fought to overthrow tyrants in the Pacific. Many came home with what would be considered today as racist opinions about the Japanese people.

We celebrate our veterans’ sacrifice and heroism in support of freedom. They were real people when I grew up. They worked in factories and were policemen and ran pharmacies. We do not need to advance opinions that we today find racist and were also racist 60 years ago. We do not need to pull down the WWII statues in Washington DC because many returning veterans had insensitive beliefs learned during their life experience.

I don’t want to whitewash the remnants of the society of my youth with an alternate reality to serve present moral interpretations. I don’t want my past cleansed. It reminds me of Pharoah Sethi from the movie “Ten Commandments” having Moses “stricken from every book and tablet, stricken from all pylons and obelisks, stricken from every monument of Egypt.”

Recently the Black Student Union at the University of Washington demanded that the statue of George Washington be removed from the campus due to his having owned slaves. As a nation we should be able to revere George Washington and still recognize slavery as evil.

We should correct insensitivity of the past, but let’s not condemn or place today’s standards on the motives of our parents and and grandparents. I was alive then and know the difference. Let’s add to our American love of rugged individualism and equality and embrace continual improvement to resolve shortcomings. That is the American way.

I do not aspire to be made a zombie as expressed in the song “Muswell Hillbillies.” Today’s history cleansing makes me uncomfortable.

They're putting us in identical little boxes
No character just uniformity
They're trying to build a computerized community
But they'll never make a Zombie out of me


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