Monday, June 10, 2019

Has America "fallen out of love with itself"?

"Has America fallen out of love with itself? In the 60's I think we all loved America and its cars and its landscapes and its dance and its music. Has this ended for good?"

The above question, posed at Quora, proposes an interesting concept. I wasn't in the USA in the 1960s. From my home in the UK I had no knowledge of how the people of the USA were feeling, in general, at that time.

Perhaps, if the USA has "fallen out of love with itself", that is part of the process of a new country struggling to grow up. I suspect that there's still a long way to go before full maturity sets in for the USA. Even when maturity is reached, sometimes a country can begin to slide back into a period of decline and incompetence - take, for instance, the current Brexit debacle in the UK.

Here are snips from three answers with differing points of view on the Quora question, though these do not fully answer whether the USA has really "fallen out of love with itself". Has it? Perhaps more eyes have been opened courtesy of the internet. People now have access to much more information than they had in the 1960s. Wool can still be pulled over eyes, manipulation and propaganda still take place - for sure - but there's more opportunity for critical thinking and in depth research than there ever was in decades past.

Part of answer by Robert Martin Pollack
Yes it has. What you witnessed in the 60’s was one last outburst of creativity fueled by people who grew up in the twilight era of the republic. It was an era where people could still connect with each other and it was safe to interact with others. Hitchhiking was relatively safe and it was even possible for girls to hitch rides without being molested or raped. One could go to concerts and hear great music and see light shows for a reasonable amount that was affordable to just about anyone. This was still a wealthy country and people had disposable income so there were large numbers of places that had live music and where you could dance. Since then everything has become very atomized. All the places where people used to go to enjoy themselves and relax have been driven out of business. The few that remain are so expensive they are beyond the reach of the average person who now just barely has enough money to survive. If you ever take public transportation, everyone has the same bristly attitude - don’t you dare try and talk to me.

Ross Driedger answered:
Wait, what?! Are you kidding me? There were protests against the war in Vietnam, one of those led to the shooting deaths of four students by the Ohio National Guard (Kent State shootings). Woodstock was decried as immoral by many social conservatives (all that rock music, nudity and free love — Damned Hippies!). Racism was systemic, overt and rampant, even more than it is today.
People were terrified that the Soviet Union could, at any moment, launch a nuclear strike against the USA.
And Evelyn Elwell Uyemura wrote:
Maybe your memory is a bit hazy.
In the 1960s there were riots in many major American cities, Civil Rights and anti-war demonstrations on a regular basis, and an entire “counter-culture” that rejected all the values and trappings of American life.

(And much of the most popular music was British, not American!)


Anonymous said...

No. USA is as self-absorbed, narcissistic, and psychopathic as ever.

Twilight said...

Anonymous ~ At times, and according to much of the media, I have to say it seems that way. There are good people here though - they have trouble making themselves heard.

Wisewebwoman said...

I know many, many thoughtful and good USians, horrified at what has happened to their country but I've always believed there was something rotten in the core, the endless wars, the military might, the vast obscene wealth and the crippling poverty. And racism covert, overt, the treatment of the indigenous, slavery, ERA still to be legislated. Not forgetting the gun culture. Schoolyard bullies.

We can romanticize the 60s, but seriously, Vietnam? We will never know the extent of the genocides of the USA. Ever.

But still the good people survive and lend their protesting voices.


Twilight said...

Wisewebwoman ~ Can't argue with anything you've said, WWW. Perhaps there is something rotten at the core of human nature in general, with the good struggling to overcome it - mostly unsuccessfully. I'm not trying to excuse the USA, but other nations do have similarly cruel histories, so I suspect that the core goes deeper and wider than the USA - who had a late start but has made up for it in just a few centuries.