kestrel

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2021-12-14 18:13:45 (UTC)

Prompt 144: An American Century

144. What do you think it means to be an American? How has this definition changed from 50 years ago? How might it change in another 50 years?
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50 years ago was 1971. 50 Years after now will be 2071.

I just think it's fascinating to think of life this way, pretty much on any topic. The original prompt is crap, but to think of things in terms of comparing the Now, then 50 Years Ago, and then finally 50 Years From Now, seems much more interesting.

Here's a list of 1 thing that happened each month of the year 1971 in the United States. I picked these out of US History on Wikipedia.

January: Cigarette adverts are banned from appearing on television and radio.

February: Detonation of nuclear weapons on the ocean floor is outlawed. This is signed by the USA, the UK, the (then) USSR, and other countries.

March: Lt. William Calley is convicted of the murders that happened in the My Lai Massacre in Vietnam. Three years later, President Nixon will pardon him.

April: 500,000 people march in Washington, DC in protest of the USA's participation in the Vietnam War.

May: The USA's passenger train service, Amtrak, begins providing its intercity routes.

June: The USA ends its trade embargo of China. Wow... These two nations have only become friendlier since then.

July: The US Postal Service is established.

August: President Nixon abolishes the gold standard for the US Dollar, and ever since then, financiers have been manufacturing money.

September: National Guard soldiers storm Attica Prison and murder prisoners and hostages. The prisoners were protesting their living conditions.

October: Hey! Walt Disney World opens in Orlando, Florida.

November: Intel releases its first microprocessor available on the consumer market.

December: President Nixon swings his dick again during the India-Pakistan War. The Russians support India, so the USA has to support Pakistan by moving the 7th Fleet to the Indian Ocean.

What would be the most significant event for the identity of America during that year? ...I'd like to think there's a strong case for it being the end of the Chinese embargo. Considering that, since then, the USA's strongest trade partner (as in most-frequent and most deficit-generating) has become China. By a long shot. I mean, combine Canada and Mexico together and you just about edge-out China. And those two countries are -right next- to the continental USA.

Destroying the gold standard is also a major one. Maybe it's even bigger, since the great bail-out of 2009 wouldn't have happened (neither would have the finance shenanigans behind it have happened) had it not come to pass. Beyond that? I dunno. Americans are wage slaves. Even back in 1971 though, it seemed like the USA was already a nation of those in charge punching-down on the working class and the disenfranchised. There was a lot of anti-Communist stuff happening in the USA in perhaps the previous 15 years or so, and WWII had ended only 10-ish years before that.

Here's a list of things I've picked-out from the Wikipedia entry of US History in 2021.

January: Supporters of President Trump storm the US Capitol Building in an effort to stall President Biden taking office.

February: The Perseverance rover lands on Mars.

March: The American Rescue Plan Act is signed into law.

April: CDC reports that 100 million US citizens have taken their first vaccine shots.

May: The anniversary of the death of George Floyd is marked with protests across the USA. Earlier in the year, Derek Chauvin, the police officer accused of killing him, was convicted and sentenced to life in prison. Also earlier in the year, the family of George Floyd settled their suit against the city of Minneapolis to the tune of $27 million.

June: Juneteenth is established as a Federal holiday.

July: Jeff Bezos' spaceflight company, Blue Origin, successfully launches and then lands its first reusable rocket.

August: The last of the USA's troops stationed in Afghanistan leave that country.

September: The 20th anniversary of the September 11th 2001 attacks is commemorated.

October: Facebook Inc has its name changed to Meta Platforms, courtesy of its owner, Mark Zuckerberg.

November: 50 barrels of oil are released from the US national stockpile to address rising inflation. This is the largest release in US history to date.

December (so far): the first worker's union of Starbucks employees is established.

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There were a lot more mass shootings reported in 2021 compared to 1971. Same with court cases and laws passed regarding abortion. Finally, there were a flurry of references to arrests and charges related to the storming of the Capitol Building on 6th January.

Both years, I think, could be summed-up thusly: what a mess.


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