Posted By RichC on June 28, 2015
Read ONLY if you don’t’ mind getting lost in the weeds. I felt bit lost in my own country after the Supreme Court decisions this week and am concerned for the future. As a Christian, I’m trying to looking past my own traditional value and faith-based Biblical beliefs which have long been part of our country and hoping that there will be positives that I currently don’t see. Perhaps reflecting on previous generations will help?
Part Two (yesterday was part one)
My parents relaxed a bit when the draft ended in the mid-1970s, the movements grew old and burnt out (as did the participants) … but they still questioned the changes facing the country. Teens were playing that “loud obnoxious rock and roll music,” even as the psychedelic drug use faded. The attention seeking “dirty hippies” went more anti-establishment most chose a more “laid back” life … often in their California communes. They were no longer on the front lines of change. The uniting force of rebelling against a horrible war, the downfall of the President (Nixon) had rewarded solid victories in the area of social change (equal rights, pollution, etc) gave this maturing youth movement a feeling that they made a difference … even if they began questioning “to what end?” Happiness was still evasive for many.
As always seems to happen, the pendulum swung too far in the 1970s and foreign organizations took advantage of America’s weakness. OPEC financially strangled the U.S. economy by controlling oil and we were ill prepared as a government or a country for this energy crisis … sound familiar? Islamic extremist (déjà vu) in Iran overthrew the Shah and took over the American Embassy and held Americans hostage. Under President Carter, the U.S. was perceived –correctly— as “passive and weak” … these bold Muslim Student Followers of the Imam’s Line fear no retaliation or at least acted without fear. The U.S. planned a couple rescue attempts with special forces … one failed leaving the U.S. with a public black eye and the other was never attempted. It was an embarrassment to our President Carter, our nation’s people and to its demoralized military.
As mentioned, the pendulum can swing too far and just as it did in World War II when Isoroku Yamamoto feared he had woken a sleeping giant, and yes … it happened again. The American people were not happy with the conditions they found themselves in and searched for leadership — found it in Ronald Reagan. The climb back to greatness for our nation wasn’t as easy as it may look when reading a page or two in a history book, but there is no doubt that Reagan’s optimistic vision and confidence rekindled the greatness of our Democracy and the American people. It was a time to be proud of our country, its heritage, its benevolence around the world and yes in American Exceptionalism.
It is amazing when looking back on the Reagan decade and to remember certain things. It started the moment Reagan completed his inauguration speech as the 52 American hostages who held for 444 days were immediately released. Small and large business … and entrepreneurship expanded in the 80s and many new industries grew despite the difficult economy, inflation and high interest rates. Pride and confident soared as government moved out of the way of business, encouraging them to innovate and create new ways to do things. Computers became useful in everyday business … and even in the home. Pride in appearance gave retailers a boost as people wanted to drive a new cars, wear jackets, ties and dresses again. As interest rates fell and incomes rose, people bought homes and upgraded. Investing, saving and accountability for ones future seemed possible. Work was no longer something to “try and get out of” … but something to take pride in. And the military … it gained note of respect. It modernized, it upsized. The sky was no longer the limit … Reagan was talking about defending from “space” with his controversial SDI – “StarWars program.” Even our arch enemy the Soviet Union recognized the rebound of the U.S. as a world power and knew it was foolish to challenge it or even attempt to keep up. The power of Democratic free market capitalism even convinced the USSR’s leader Mikhail Gorbachev to ponder some form of capitalism. He would be the last leader of the Soviet Union before the Communist Party of the Soviet Union until it dissolved in 1991. (more…)