I will have more on Rick Santorum's honest moment of yearning for a return to pre-1965 America to come in a bit. Given Santorum's mouth utterance over the weekend, my discovery of a 1939 issue of Popular Mechanics and its essay "Thirteen Slaves for a Nickel" was priceless in its timing.
You have to love the whiteness of memory. When the Tea Party GOP and their assorted crew of candidates talk about "real America" and "the good old days" they are really signaling to a myopic Whiteness of memory. The blacks knew their places. Women knew to shut up and stay in the home. The domestic sphere was secure. The queers stayed in the closet. Happy Days and Leave it to Beaver were actually real...except for the parts that were not.
Most important to the White Soul, there wasn't all of this "political correctness" stuff. Good white people could say what they want and about whoever they wished without any consequences. It was also a fun time where the possibilities of science and progress were everywhere. One could even innocently dream of owning black people as slaves and recreating yee old southern plantation with the help of your friend the kilowatt--without having to worry about being made to feel guilty by those Negro agitators and other assorted rapscallions and troublemakers.
The semiotics of "Thirteen Slaves for a Nickel" are priceless (pay particular attention to the smiling faces, the invisibility of non-whites, and how domesticity is depicted).