My wife and I have gotten caught up in “The Crown” on Netflix. I have to say it’s absolutely amazing the access the producers have had to many of the properties necessary to pull off such a series.
It’s been challenging to match my own sense of British history with what is likely much more exact, but I am pleased I’ve had some sense of it all.
We just got through episode six of season three and I just had to make a contemporary observation.
This episode dealt with America’s landing on the moon in July 1969. I was 26 that year and my wife and I had just met, starting to date. I went to work for the Seattle Human Rights Department that fall and one of my first assignments was directed at the Seattle Fire Department that had not a single African American or woman employed.
Protesters were constantly in the streets over both civil rights questions and the war.
Pretty comparable to many of the same questions we have today, 50 years later.
Back to the moon landing. The whole palace was consumed by the event, the excitement, awe and admiration of the United States was palpable. The United States of America.
We had been the unquestioned leader of at least the free world since WWII, we rebuilt Europe and Japan under the Marshall Plan, we rebuilt our economy with programs like the GI Bill and the interstate highway system, all of it with tax dollars, and oh how the American people thrived. By the way, much of that was GOP-led.
Yes, race relations, health care, foreign wars and ventures — e.g. Chili in 1975 or Argentina and El Salvador to name but a few — were ever so troublesome, but enormous progress was being made. The world, maybe more importantly, America, loved America.
Then, all of a sudden, something happened. I trace it to Reagan — the government couldn’t do anything right. Today, our space presence is identified through Space-X and Blue Origin while NASA is a mere afterthought. Private enterprise is running our prison systems and we have a higher proportion of our citizenry in jails, disproportionately people of color, than any country on earth including the likes of China and Iran.
Halliburton had far too much to say about our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan than many in our own government. We slaughter over 35,000 of our own citizens with uncontrolled guns every year.
Student debt, which barely existed in 1969, is today over a trillion dollars.
Why, oh why, do so many hate or distrust our government when it has given so many so much, most importantly the means to thrive. Make America great again.
What “great” does the man want to return to?
I have loved my country my entire life with many reasons not to have, a subject for a different rant. But I have loved it not for what it is but what it’s always strived to become. But not so during the last three years. I hope that in my lifetime, the world looks upon us like it did in July 1969.
More importantly, that America does.
I’m 77 years old now, not a lot of time left for that to happen. Get to work America, please.