A hundred years from now, a major museum is running an exhibition on life and culture as it was during our current historical period. You’re asked to write an introduction for the show’s brochure. What will it say?
Deviation, Chaos, Fantasy
Two decades on each side of the crossover into the twenty-first century now reveal fundamental changes that were pushing out roots at the time. The changes probably had their beginning in the 1960’s, but were slow to pervade society. What began with flower childhood turned into a social adulthood with a vastly different mindset.
By the turn of the century many hippies had turned into main-steam adults. But here we see the beginnings of alternative culture undermining long-held values. As has often been the case, middle America remained less affected by the subtle changes in culture and questioning of traditional mores of behavior. While the nation generally remained religious, with more people acknowledging a belief in God and attending services, that doesn’t mean that religious tenets weren’t being questioned, too. By the turn of the century, there are women ministers in churches, altar girls, and a rethinking of church’s stance on divorce, single parenting, and homosexuality.
September 11 was a wake up call and a unique time when everyone forgot their differences and were simply Americans. This euphoria lasted for a number of years, bonding people with that shared horror and remembering of where they were when the planes hit the towers and they fell down.
After the enactment of more legislation to protect the United States from a repeat of 9/11 (and further intrusion into personal information), people fell back into their normal lives, and partisanship and bickering reappeared. We had three presidents who didn’t live up to their potential: the gregarious old-boy Clinton whose anything-goes morality overshadowed his more notable achievements; President Bush, whose shining hour on 9/11 was followed by an ennui in legislative progress — a good man not up to the rigors of politics; and finally Obama, whose tactics politically turned the Constitution into an read and edit document. President Bush’s well-meaning war to topple a heinous dictator’s dynasty actually made progress, but that was turned around as the war became more unpopular and Obama squelched continued positive growth by prematurely withdrawing all US troops and influence.
The social welfare programs which continued to grow at an unprecedented pace did little to raise up the people it was meant to help; it created a permanent underclass (of all races) as enslaved by dependency as they would have been on plantations. Lost in all this was the importance of the family as the most important building block of American society. Lost in this was the defining principle of the country — the dream of getting ahead no matter what one’s beginnings. Lost in this was the reign of a Constitution which had delineated governmental power and actions for two and a half centuries. Lost in this was the true meaning of government service; the idea that Senators and Congressmen serve their constituents and not themselves and special interests.
By 2015, the United States was living in a fantasy world, not just at the movies and in TV programs, but by being fed lies which bore little relevance to actual events. The total break-up of political order in the Middle East and the unhindered emergence of Iran as the reigning superpower in that area to fill a vacuum left by the United States. set off a ticking time bomb. Displaced and desperate Muslims and Christians flooded southern regions of Europe ill-equipped to handle any more social stress and expense. Massacres in the name of Allah continued in total repudiation of anything resembling religion, and tears must flow from God’s eyes as true believers and innocents are slaughtered and sent fleeing.