How Did We Get Here?

Maybe there has never been a time since the television was invented where stressful and turbulent, and sometimes just downright depressing, news stories weren’t reported.

The 60’s had its protests and riots over Vietnam and Civil Rights, as well as the assassinations of three of its country’s leaders– John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, and Martin Luther King.

The 70’s had Watergate, a gas crisis, and political protests over racial and gender equality, and some gay rights activism too.

The 80’s had the AIDS epidemic, the Rodney King beating, Iran-Contra, and Ronald Reagan’s assault on the “welfare queens” while he lowered taxes on the wealthy and big corporations (corporate welfare, but Republicans were always fine with welfare that went to the top, but not the bottom. Never the bottom.). The 80’s represents the decade of corporate greed and will always be synonymous with the movie “Wall Street.”

The 90’s had Columbine, a school shooting that, though we didn’t know it then, was only the beginning of what would be known as mass shootings. My twenty-one-year-old self, sitting in her college library, reading the local paper about the school massacre, had no inkling that such a macabre occurrence would someday be as tantamount to America as apple pie.

The 90’s also had Bill Clinton abusing his power for a blowjob, the stained blue dress, and grunge. Oh, how much I loved those flannel shirts. It was cool to dress like a lesbian in the 90’s. But what kind of lesbian would I be if I talked about the 90’s without mentioning Ellen’s monster “Yep, I’m gay” coming out in Time magazine, as well as how much just the existence of Melissa Etheridge singing songs about loving a woman during the decade I was coming to terms with my own homosexuality?  Those two women made this midwestern girl feel not so strange, after all. 

The 00’s had 9/11 and the war on terrorism that included two wars, the Great Recession, and the historic election of the United States’ first Black president, Barack Obama.

The 2010’s had the inception of the Tea Party, more mass shootings, including at Sandy Hook Elementary School where 26 people were killed, including 20 six and seven-year-olds. As gruesome as that is, Obama still wasn’t able to get Republicans to agree on even a most basic gun control bill. Simple background checks were a bridge too far for Republicans because this is ‘Merica, the Land of Freedom and Guns, Guns, Guns!

The 2010’s was also the decade that saw the election of a self-proclaimed “Real Estate Mogul” and one of the country’s most popular philanderer to the U.S Presidency.  The U.S will feel the burn of having such an inept, self-serving corrupt conman as president for a long time.  It will take decades to get the stench of that piece of shit off our country.

The 2020’s started off with a global pandemic that would go on to kill over a million people in the U.S alone, and over six million worldwide after two years, and counting. The 20’s also saw for the first time in U.S elections the denial of a peaceful transition of power. The former corrupt president lied about the results of a fair and legal election that he lost and tried to implement a plan to retain power. When that failed, only because there were some decent politicians who put Country over Party, the conman incited a coup to invade the U.S Capitol and literally try to kill the Vice President and Speaker of the House.

What a time to be alive. But the crazy doesn’t end there. Said former corrupt president is currently being investigated because he stole top secret classified documents regarding nuclear weapons and nuclear intel and stored them at his golf resort. He’s being investigated for violating the Espionage Act. The FUCKING Espionage Act! We had a traitor in the White House!

But the sickest part about all of this is there are people who call themselves Patriots and wave the American flag while defending said traitor. What a truly fucking time to be alive.

I admit, I wasn’t a huge fan of history class when I was in school. I didn’t understand why it was important for me to know about the Puritans and the Quakers, The Industrial Revolution, or anything that happened centuries before I was born, but I remember being extremely interested in learning about Richard Nixon and Watergate. It was closer to my time of birth and what I knew about Nixon was that he did a very bad thing and that intrigued me to know more. I thought what I learned about Watergate was bad. Future history classes are going to blow future generations’ minds when they learn how the previous criminal in chief tried to destroy our democracy.

Of course, the conman’s actions will only be shocking to future generations if we are able to stop them from repeating. If we elect more politicians like him, his crimes will become the norm. Obviously, we can’t let that happen.

Every generation had its turbulent times. But back in the sixties, and seventies, and eighties, TV was limited. We didn’t have 500 channels back then. But now we do. Between twenty-four hours news channels and endless Internet sites and You Tube channels, some credulous, while others spouting out crazy conspiracy theories, it can be detrimental to our mental health to block out the noise.

Take a break. Turn it off. Escape.

Walking in nature, sitting by the water, reading, quiet drives down remote roads, or cuddling with a pet are all great ways to ease your mind and break away from the stress of the headline news. There’s another thing that takes me out of my head for a little bit. I love looking back to the past. Maybe too much, but that’s beside the point. You Tube is a great way to find videos of a time you may wish you had lived or maybe wish you could live again.

As a kid, I loved the movie “Eddie and the Cruisers.” I wanted to be Eddie so bad. He had the voice. He had the face. He had the arms. And he had the girl. I fell in love with the songs in that movie and I remember searching every mall record store for the soundtrack. I was in high school when I finally found it.

One day, when I was in my “looking back” moods, I searched those songs on You Tube and found a video of John Cafferty (the voice of Eddie Wilson) and the Beaver Brown Band playing these songs during a 1980’s New Year’s Eve set. The video was such a relaxation for me that it is my go-to when I need a stress-releaser.

Here’s the video. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.