Two years ago our current president used the phrase “Make America Great Again,” which seems to have worked: he won.
I believe there are two factors that occurred in my life that have led to America not being great. The Vietnam Conflict (it wasn’t even a war) and the birth control pill.
The Vietnam Conflict began in 1950 modestly with a few advisors. We would not sign the Korean Armistice until 1953. America was committed to stopping communism, and we would prove it by losing 94,728 men from June 25th 1950 to April 30th 1975. Those are the starting and ending dates of the Korean War and the Vietnam Conflict. Even I was surprised by the dates but that was part of America being “The Greatest,” we were committed and communism must not spread.
The ruling class of old white guys had always been able to justify sending young men to war if it was to protect our way: democracy. Giving the world the best example to subscribe to. Look how great we were, how committed we were, hell, we would do what it took to keep America great to the tune of almost 100,000 American deaths. Until a voice called out NO! Then it was HELL NO! Then it was HELL NO WE WON’T GO! There were young and old people that started to question the logic of Vietnam and why we were even there.
I remember the true turning point was the mothers of America protesting the conflict and the deaths of their sons, fathers and husbands. With their voice, it seemed to me, the war protest was decided. Soon after America’s Moms got involved it was done; we got out of Vietnam.
The birth control pill was approved for contraceptive use in 1960. That was the beginning of the sexual revolution and the beginning of women’s equality. Women were subject to limited roles as the baby makers and housewives before the pill. With the pill women now had a choice: have children or not. Maybe they could even have a career. With the pill, women were now in control of their own future. It was a possibility that had never been available before. Also, for the first time in human history, women were able to enjoy sex without the fear of pregnancy and my understanding of the 60’s is they did enjoy it.
These two events changed the old white guys’ America profoundly. They were challenged in public and the bedroom.
America is the best example of a republic that works for the people and is always evolving to be better. We have evolved. In that evolution, we are better as a whole even if sections of our society feel they have lost status. I think America has and still is great for the majority. It’s just the majority is different and more equal now.
This story is mine and mine alone. I make no claims to this being a complete history of events. I only offer my opinion. Based on society today that’s enough to make it true.