We forget the seventies malaise at our peril. Perhaps it was a sharper experience for me in Western Pennsylvania. The area's steel industry wasn't bloodied, it was annihilated. Pittsburgh's population halved and small, proud towns that dated from the Revolutionary War and had soaring Civil War monuments became shells of what they were. Internationally, our space program was on hiatus, Japan was surging to technical dominance, economic stagflation throttled our competitiveness, and many viewed that we were on the cusp of losing the Cold War. Divisiveness, class warfare rhetoric, and grand bureaucratic schemes ruled the airwaves as national pride was at low ebb.
All of that changed in the 1980s and 1990s. We rebuilt our military with nothing but volunteers and, through focused effort and enormous unsung sacrifice, won the Cold War which freed tens of millions from authoritarian tyranny. Unity of purpose and national pride soared. We went back to basics economically and pushed against the Japanese juggernaut, not by large government programs which were, by and large, a colossal failure, but by start ups seeded by a new generation that included Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Michael Dell.
The twin shocks of the Tech Wreck in April of 2000 and the WTC attacks in September 2001 threatened to derail us but, incredibly, we stayed united and five years after the WTC attacks, on September 2006, economists spoke with wonder that our 4.6% unemployment rate was near full employment and that the incremental GDP increase in the five years since the WTC attacks was more than the whole of the economy of China.
Since that time we all know of America's pain and trials. Divisiveness, national shame, and rancor in the media have returned with a vengeance. Santayana said that those who don't learn from history are condemned to repeat it and our current times are, in many ways, a seventies repeat with all of the reasons for that debacle forgotten. In the "Good Fight Series", my characters experience what it took to bring about the American Renaissance. I write in the hopes that we can repeat that history as well!