Thursday, January 1, 2009

US History 1: Why?

For folks following this blog, what I am about to do may seem an abrupt change of direction. I claim to be 'Offering Some Tools for Creating a World that Works for Everyone'. So why am I now devoting months to looking at the history of the United States?

It started when I decided to pursue a question that I'd been asking myself for a while: What happened in the 1980s? I was a child of the 60s and saw that as a time when social change became the theme of American life. I also saw the '70s as a time of turning inward, of learning about ourselves and personal growth, as well as a time of spawning new movements (the women's movement, gay liberation, the ecology movement, the 'no nukes' movement). So I thought that the eighties would be the 'We Decade'--a time when we merged the personal and the political, the outer and the inner. Instead the '80s became more of a 'Me Decade' than the seventies ever were. Affluence was the order of the day and suddenly high technology was everywhere. Even technologies that had been around forever (like cable TV which was developed in the 1950s) suddenly became unbelievably popular--not to mention personal computers, CDs, VCRs, answering machines, etc, etc. The decade began with the election of Ronald Reagan and went downhill from there. (The music was great, though.) So what the heck happened?

I started studying the history of the 1960s and 1970s looking for clues. Then I went back to the 1950s and McCarthyism. Then to the 1930s and labor activism. Then it was the Roaring Twenties. I thought I could confine it to a history of the twentieth century but there was this progressive activism by farmers in the 1890s. Then I started learning about alternate views of the founding of the US. I decided to stop there while I could--before this turned into a blog on the history of the world and I'd have to devote the rest of my life to it.

My intention is to use the next quarter of a year (until spring, basically) to analyze US history to see what we can learn from it that will help those of us in this country (as well as others in the world who, given the dominance of the American empire, worry about what the US will do next) to learn where things came from, and maybe give some clues as to where it may be possible to go next.

I was going to use a lot of references (footnote like things) but decided that they are too distracting and unnecessary. If you want to find out my source for a piece of information, email me. For the first couple of posts I can send you my original version with the reference marks left in. I am putting a list of the references that I used at the end of each post.

I am also playing with my 'Quotes of the Day'. Some of them may be historical quotes and others may be song lyrics that I like and/or think are appropriate. A few may be from something else. At this point I have only a vague idea of where things may go, so I will be learning as I am sharing. And, unfortunately, given the amount of work these posts require, I am going to be publishing a new post once every four days--not once every three days as I said previously.

Quote of the Day: "But you who dream of liberty must not yourselves be fooled, Before you get to plea for freedom, you have agreed to being ruled, And if the body stays a shackle then the mind remains a chain..." - Ferron


SoapBoxTech said...

I applaud your investigation, and look forward to seeing where it leads you. However, I think I can also help answer your question as to how the 80's became the "me decade".

Watch "Century of the Self" on google video. It will take 4 hours of your time ( I suggest 4 one hour blocks, as its nicely divided up in 4 parts).

MoonRaven said...

Thanks for the tip. I will have to check out the 'Century of Self' video at some point.

I appreciate all your comments!