Two years ago in the summer there was a virtual Battle of the Sexes. Perhaps there is still political party rancor not conducive for a calm mid-term Congressional election. The good news is that the president is not running. That's not to say a lot of people aren't exercised over how things are going.
As I see things the big tussle in 2010 deals with DINOs and RINOs. There's Obama bashing like it's hard to believe on the Democrat's side. Republicans are just as splintered over what their values are. So we get noise in the form of the Tea Party, officially not on any ballot. Just to keep the record straight, Sarah Palin is making her reputation as a spokesperson for the Rupert Murdoch crowd. It is more interesting than discussing Beck, O'Malley and Limbaugh. Nuff said.
What the current administration has done and what it's alleged to have promised seems to be as close as punditry gets to an issue. Fluffy! But not as exciting as watching Palin.
Why are those who have the time and resources to complain about the current state of political values punching out gigabytes of discontent? Most likely because it's easier than exposing personal fears for the future.
I'm not mad at those who take out their frustrations on the government when their real worries come from the uncertainty for their own futures. After about eighty years of watching how Americans get excited when an election approaches, I have a few opinions myself.
So. What can a citizen do? Excuse the possible wonkishness mentioned below. It does not hurt to bone up on history. Instead of lauding or lambasting a past president, look to his times--economic, social and political. (Instead of saying "Reagan" try saying "the Reagan era." I remember all those Chamber of Commerce luncheons he attended before he made the big scene and see an image of creamed chicken with peas and carrots for color--I served meals at banquets and sometimes I can even taste the slabs of apple pie.)
And. Which event stands out in Twentieth Century American history? For me the civil rights movement stands supreme--the real progressive activity to make our Union more perfect. Reading Branch Taylor's trilogy of the King Years puts the JFK/LBJ era in perspective. Even those too young to smell the smoke the next morning from race riots (for me, Chicago) can use their imagination after three thousand pages.
Then. The biggie. Gas wars and what is still unfinished as an energy policy, tied so closely to an ecological goal, that those from the Carter Era until this very day are part of history in the making. For an early introduction to Petro Peril, please consider Servan-Schreiber's "The World Challenge," which tells a lot about the Young Turks.
But. Not to overlook the hideous "meltdown." Try Lester Thurow's "The Future of Capitalism" (1996).
PLEASE. Do not give me your pet titles. Actuarially, reality has set in and I've stopped adding to my books-to-read list. If, however, you have thoughts on "eras" I would like your opinion.