Go with a smile!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Twenty Oh Eight

You know, when I started blogging, I usually could keep track of what I’ve already written, and what I’ve not. But now it doesn’t seem so easy. And if I have written about this before, forgive me.

1973 was supposed to be a big watershed year in America. A lot of shitty things happened that year from the point of view of USA. First, there was a big recession. There was an Arab-Israeli war and I think that, related to that, the OPEC nations got together, and for one of the very few times, issued a joint embargo on exporting oil to the USA. This was one of the first major oil shocks.

This was a few years after 1970, which was the peak oil year for oil in the USA. 1970 was the last time that USA could dig enough oil to feed itself. After 1973, it became apparent that the USA would forever be dependent on the Middle East for oil. This also started a period in which the USA started meddling around in that region because it had important business there.

1973 was also the year of a great constitutional crisis. Reports had begun to emerge that Richard Nixon, the president, was abusing his power. 1 year later, Richard Nixon would resign the presidency, and if he didn’t resign, he would almost certainly would have been impeached and asked to leave.

What followed was half a decade of the most traumatic time in the US since the end of WWII. There was the double whammy of inflation and stagnant growth. A lot of social programs that were signed into law by Lyndon B Johnson were falling apart. In spite of the best intentions, in spite of the triumphant civil rights acts of the 1960s, the divide between the rich and poor, between the white and blacks, was growing. There were several oil crises. There was the Iranian hostage crisis.

I feel that 2008 is a similar year in the USA’s history. I said that I had visited the USA during 2 of the most important historical moments: the end of the cold war and 9/11. And I thought that the nomination of Obama was the big historical moment in the US history. I was wrong. 2008 was a lot like 1973: a year in which the prestige of the US was to take a big blow. It was the year the subprime crisis brought the US economy to its knees. It was the culmination of years of growing its economy by assuming more and more debt. Years of plenty of policies that benefit mainly the wealthy at the expense of everybody else.

In truth, there was the cumulative effect of the middle class being eroded away since the 1990s. Jobs going offshore. Layoffs and job cuts. But the Great Recession of 2008 was when it all came to a head. That was the time when all the sins of the Bush Administration was being laid out, starkly for all to see. Increasing deficit, because you’re giving too many tax breaks to the rich. Hurricane Katrina. The Iraq and Afghanistan wars. The mismanagement of the economy.

Briefly, Obama galvanized the nation with his message of hope and reconciliation. But I don’t think, even if he was a great person, he would have been able to do that much about USA’s problems. He can improve things in the USA, but there’s a lot that’s rotten about that country. The rich don’t care about the poor. You go to jail if you’re black and poor. People seem to expect the world from the government, even if they’re think if it as the greatest evil. Congress is corrupt and is constantly beholden to special interests. The US is drowning in a sea of debt.

And the saddest part is that it’s more or less a fallen superpower. It’s no longer a superpower, just one of the great powers, amongst other emerging powers like China and the EU.

So my streak of visiting the USA during historically pivotal moments has continued: 2008 is a year that the pendulum has swung decisively against the US.



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