Wednesday, July 13, 2011

What happened to hope?

In the 50s and 60s there was immense hope and optimism in the USA. It was not partisan, but applied to all Americans, and most of the rest of the world too. America, under a Republican President, started investing massively in infrastructure. The Interstate system, railroads (much of the current rolling stock was acquired during that period), electric grid, airports, all were built or rebuilt. The space program offered hope and inspiration to everyone, in particular budding scientists and engineers, culminating in the 1969 moon landing. Social progress was made, ranging from racial equality activism and legislation and gender equality to gay rights movements starting. While there was push back from the establishment, young people (and some old) took to the streets to push their causes. Woodstock and other youth events transformed the way we looked at the world. The Vietnam war created an anti-war activism which had been minimal during all previous wars. While there were many problems still - poverty, worker safety, voter registration, pay inequality and more, there was a feeling that these would get better.

Today, we see reduced optimism about the future. People see the decline of the USA, and indeed the West. Activism is reduced, even though as many people believe in change. So how can we change the mood? I will address this in my next post.

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