When I started writing online, way back in 2004, my blogging was a combination of minutiae designed to keep a then-deployed husband in the loop on day-to-day life at home. We were not quite to the end of W’s first term, but it was already clear to me what his election meant to the country, in terms of an erosion of civil liberty, of a dramatic (but by no means complete) shift to the right, and long term lasting damage to our reputation as a world leader by his creation of the USA Patriot Act.
In an ever-increasing feeling of depression and anger over last November, I’ve lashed out repeatedly at people who still seem to think that we are operating “business-as-usual” even in the face of abject corruption and cronyism not seen in decades in this country, going all the way back to the Gilded Age of the robber barons.
The Republicans won and they’ve wasted no time showing us liberals what they think of us. They don’t give an actual damn who they harm at this point. They’ve done such a good job snowing their base, those folks will happily walk straight into their graves still believing that the people they elected to office care about anything but their own personal economy and to hell with their constituents. Yes, yes, those town halls are sure something, aren’t they? Meaningless political theatre. It makes the proles feel good, so why not? At least until things get violent, anyway.
Meanwhile, Bernie supporters who voted Anyone But Clinton are still making feeble attempts at explaining their relevance to the future, because they think their candidate still means something. He doesn’t, of course, except as the perfect foil for the Democrats whose last, best hope was to take the White House, and who failed to push enough of the agenda to ensure that would happen. He won’t last past 2018, if I’m guessing right.
In the heat of frustration earlier in the day, on Facebook (that bastion of modern nonsense and bluster that passes, for now, as something resembling a communication tool, if only for one’s personal echo chamber), I started to outline a timeline of damage.
I’ve explored that timeline throughout my Dots posts, but not in anything like a complete way.
Now that I’m thinking about it, I am considering creating a video timeline, which (at least until the government figures out how to shut down YouTube) might be the best way to explain what happened and how we got here.
In the interest of generating the outline, for future reference, here’s my take on the whole shebang, from Nixon’s disgraceful departure through to present day.
I can’t provide proof because a lot of what I think happened because, frankly, either the evidence is gone or it’s still out of view, thanks to the Presidential Records Act of 1978 (PRA).
So while I’m saying this is what I think, I have no proof that this is what actually happened. I can infer, guess, or in some cases prove that these things are what happened, but I do not have either the time or the funding to go and research these statements. So let’s say this is all fiction. It “could” have happened the way I’ve laid it out. Or not. You be the judge.
I’m stealing data from Wikipedia’s existing timeline to save myself the typing time, but you’re welcome to go visit the original and see for yourself what I’ve edited out. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_United_States_history)
- Civil Rights Act of 1960
- CIA U-2 spy plane shot down over Soviet airspace.
- The 50-star flag is adopted.
- John F. Kennedy elected
- President Eisenhower warns of the “military–industrial complex” in his farewell address
- President Kennedy establishes the Peace Corps.
- The Twenty-third Amendment to the United States Constitution grants electors to the District of Columbia
- Bay of Pigs Invasion
- The Freedom Rides begin in Washington D.C.
- Vietnam War (1955-1973) continues
- Cuban missile crisis: A nuclear confrontation took place between the United States and the Soviet Union
- The Equal Pay Act of 1963 was signed into law.
- Medgar Evers is assassinated
- March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom: Led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who gives “I Have a Dream” speech
- The 16th Street Baptist Church bombing, carried out by a KKK splinter group, kills four African-American girls
- The Atomic Test Ban Treaty is signed.
- President John F. Kennedy assassinated
- Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson sworn in as President
- Lee Harvey Oswald, the sniper who assassinated President Kennedy, killed by Dallas nightclub owner Jack Ruby.
- President Johnson establishes The Warren Commission to investigate the assassination of President Kennedy.
- The Clean Air Act signed into law.
- The Twenty-fourth Amendment eliminates the poll tax
- The Beatles herald the British Invasion of pop music
- President Johnson proposes the Great Society, a set of social reforms aimed at the elimination of poverty and racial injustice.
- President Johnson signs The Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law.
- Robert McNamara helps orchestrate the Tonkin Gulf incident (a false flag operation with ‘deliberately skewed’ intelligence, used to expand U.S. military involvement in Vietnam).
- The bodies of three missing civil rights activists, working to register voters as a part of the Freedom Summer, are found near Philadelphia, Mississippi.
- President Lyndon B. Johnson defeats Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater.
- African American Muslim minister and human rights activist Malcolm X is assassinated
- “Bloody Sunday” (Alabama State Troopers severely beat and used tear gas against the nonviolent demonstrators on the Selma to Montgomery marches)
- March Against the Vietnam War:
- President Johnson signs the Social Security Amendments of 1965 into law, establishing Medicaid and Medicare in the United States. He also signs the Voting Rights Act
- The Watts riots in Los Angeles, result in the deaths of 34 people.
- President Johnson signs the Housing and Urban Development Act of 1965, establishing the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
- The Immigration Act of 1965 is signed into law, abolishing the National Origins Formula.
- The Higher Education Act of 1965 is passed.
- Robert C. Weaver becomes the first African American to hold a cabinet-level position.
- Miranda v. Arizona: The Supreme Court establishes the rule that becomes “Miranda Rights”
- National Organization for Women (NOW) is formed.
- The Freedom of Information Act is signed into law.
- The National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act is passed.
- The Twenty-fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution, establishing succession to the Presidency and procedures for filling a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, was ratified.
- The United States Department of Transportation is established.
- Loving v. Virginia: The Supreme Court overrules the prohibition of interracial marriage.
- Thurgood Marshall becomes the first African-American Justice to serve on the Supreme Court.
- Civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is assassinated, prompting riots in Chicago, Washington D.C., Baltimore, Kansas City and Louisville; leaving 36 people dead.
- The Civil Rights Act of 1968, providing equal housing protection, was signed into law.
- Robert F. Kennedy is assassinated on the Presidential campaign trail
- The United States signs the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
- Chicago City Police clash with anti-war protesters at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.
- The Gun Control Act of 1968 is signed into law.
- Former Vice President Richard Nixon is elected President
- The Stonewall riots mark the start of the modern gay liberation movement in the United States.
- Senator Edward M. Kennedy drives off a bridge on his way home from a party on Chappaquiddick Island, killing his passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne and ruining any future bid for the White House.
- Americans astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins land on the moon, and Armstrong becomes the first man to walk on the moon’s surface.
- The Woodstock Festival takes place in White Lake, New York
- Sesame Street premieres on National Educational Television.
- President Nixon announces the withdrawal of 50,000 U.S. troops from Vietnam; reaching the peak level of U.S. troops in Vietnam at 541,000.
Okay, so that establishes many of the changes over the course of a decade, without laying out the horrible details of the Vietnam war, which ran throughout the entire decade.
From here on, things get truly ugly, as the country struggles with changes in policy and freedom for young adults, women, and people of color. And that ugliness continues for the next 40 years, even as we fool ourselves into believing Johnson’s glorious vision of the Great Society, built on FDR’s vision of the post-Depression world. In hindsight, even as it appears that we’ve won freedom to choose and we’ve come to believe in the American Dream, that dream has become a nightmare. Fake news. The worst propaganda story possible, because it worked as a carrot for the common man, the “temporarily embarrassed millionaire” who voted Trump believing naively that Trump and his cronies cared about anything other than rising to power.
Buckle your seat belts. Keep your arms and legs inside the vehicle at all times. The management bears no responsibility for lost limbs or life. Ready?
In 1970, Nixon’s Southern Strategy started the shift, turning Southern Democrats away from the party and converting them to Republicans. (Remember this fact, when your Libertarian friends want to try and rewrite history. The racists left to join the Republicans under Nixon.)
When Jimmy Carter went on to win the presidency in 1976, beating Gerald Ford (who took over for Nixon, the only President to date who ever resigned from office), the shift from Southern Democrat to Republican was complete. And at about this time, I got involved in politics, working in support of Carter’s run for president at the local level. Ambitious work for a 12 year-old kid, but then I was rooting for McGovern in 1972, and by then the racists had already fled the Democratic party, leading to Nixon’s landslide victory.
In that same election, Carter’s administration saw filibuster-proof Democratic majorities in both the House and Senate. (See: House vs Senate control by party.) Note that this didn’t save Carter’s presidency for a second term, because on November 4, 1979 (a little over a year prior to elections in 1980), Iranian students took over the US embassy and held over 50 embassy employees hostage. President Carter’s response was considered too weak, and some suggested that this is how Ronald Reagan rose to power.
I explained some of this here and some more of this here, but the big part is really here. (Don’t just look at the pretty bright letters. Click through and READ these three posts, and every link embedded in them.
Done? Great. Moving on.
By the time we get to modern history, the Koch brothers and Robert Mercer, we are well past the ability to reverse the damage.
I invite you to read everything I’ve written since November 8th. It’s not all that much, really, but it’s not above me to say “I told you so.”
Tonight, Trump launched a direct attack on Syria, doing precisely what he (and a lot of theoretically liberal apologists accused Hillary Clinton of planning to do throughout her presidential campaign).
“But her emails…”
Save it. You did this. Own it.