“The more things change, the more they remain the same”. – A quote from my mother (RIP)
40 Years Later….
In 1971 when Motown released Marvin Gaye’s hit song “What’s going on”?, the world was rapidly changing. The poor became poorer, the middle class was shrinking and of course the rich became richer. From the ghettos of Brooklyn, New York to the ghettos of Warsaw, Poland to the ghettos of Johannesburg, South Africa, there came a thunderous cry from the poor and the disillusioned for equality and a better way of life.
In Uganda, Idi Amin deposes Milton Obote in a coup, and becomes president – for life – ending British colonialism in Uganda; Great Britain’s commercial symbol of wealth, “Rolls-Royce” goes bankrupt and is nationalized; Apollo 14 lands on the Moon… drawing global attention to the dawning of the age of Aquarius. A bomb explodes in the men’s room at the United States Capitol. A radical left-wing anti-Vietnam / anti-government group called the Weather Underground claims responsibility, ushering in home-grown terrorism in our nation’s capital.
Boxer Joe Frazier defeats Muhammad Ali at Madison Square Garden. Conservatives and advocators of the Vietnam War feel vindicated by the defeat of a Black Man from Louisville, Kentucky – the grandson of slaves – who challenged “the American system”; the United Kingdom increases its troops in Northern Ireland to 11,000, stifling an Irishman’s freedom of religion and human rights; Construction begins on the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, opening the door for backroom construction deals with local politicians; U.S. President Richard M. Nixon sets February 1, 1972, as the deadline for the removal of another 45,000 American troops from Vietnam.
The national unemployment rate hovered at 5.9, but in the inner cities, unemployment skyrockets to 9.0; Crime and the fear of crime exacerbates Black and Latino urban communities, there is an exodus of skilled workers from the cities. As disinvestment in city property escalates, the inner city “Slum Lord” is born.
Fearful of the inner city violence and ethnic change, middle class Whites leave the cities and land developers taking cue from their exodus, become gazillionaires by cutting down forests and buying farmland in order to accommodate the growing need of suburbs. The summer is extraordinarily hot and tempers around the world flare. Long hair and Afros are in and women are burning bras.
Turning the page
In 2011 America is divided by political ideology and class warfare but doesn’t really understand why. Our nation’s first Black President is depicted in signs and placards as being a Communist and a Socialist after being forced to deal with Wall Street corruption and greed. The “Invisible Hand” is on the warpath on behalf of the privileged. The poor becomes poorer, the middle class is almost gone and the rich become richer. Democrats are infiltrated by “Blue Dogs” and are weakened, Republicans give birth to a Tea Party that wants “their country back” and Americans overall are tired of all the BS.
The President is compared by far right-wing activists as being an “other” than American….he is even called the Anti-Christ by pseudo Christians who are far more guilty of judging than they are of forgiving. American terrorists in disguise as “patriotic” militias are on the rise.
The national unemployment rate hovers slightly above 9 percent, while in the inner cities, the jobless rates for poor Whites, poor Blacks and poor Latinos / Hispanics inches closer to 20 percent.
Crime is on the rise and the police in many situations shoot first before asking questions.
Osama bin Laden (in a line from the movie the Godfather) “swims with the fishes, and Extreme Islam grows around the world while diluting any belief from sensible people that Islam is a peaceful religion. Israel wants / steals more land from the Palestinians in order to “secure” their Biblical “birth right” while Hamas ponders their next move.
America’s friends are really their enemies – can you say, “Pakistan and Afghanistan“? – and North Korea is ruled by an immature cognac drinking wanna be gansta who has nukes. Oh…and a past American regime – can you say, “GW and Cheney”? – has borrowed gazillions of dollars from Communist China in order to front a phony war that has totally crippled our economy, indebted our grandkids and have needlessly destroyed the lives of thousands of our nation’s bravest.
Teenagers graduating from High School and can barely read and write. What does the future hold in store for them? Does anyone even care?
BP says “I’m sorry” to the residents of the Gulf of Mexico for destroying their livelihood and their ecosystem while giving the “finger” to those who have lost their life’s savings behind mismanagement and corruption and “are asking for too much of BP”. Oh…and a Republican Congressman apologizes to BP for having to pay compensation to the families who have lost a life-time of hard work and sacrifice behind BP’s great blunder.
The Euro is unstable, Greece burns, Iran likes to stone women and Communism has a face-lift in China. Haiti loses over 230,000 people in an earthquake and Chileans feel the deep pangs of despair behind their own 8.8 tremor. Does anyone even care? Mexicans want opportunity in the land of the “free” while politicians want to change the 14th amendment. Is anyone paying attention?
In 2011 long hair and Afros are back in style and the summer is extraordinarily hot. Did I mention that the poor has become poorer and the middle class has all but disappeared while the rich becomes richer and are still looking for tax breaks?
Is this really the dawning of the Age of Aquarius? Or are we living a chapter in Dante’s Inferno? Inquiring minds want to know. Sound off.