The headlines read these are the worst of times
I do believe its true
I feel so helpless like a boat against the tide
I wish the summer winds could bring back paradise
There are a couple of nostalgia threads going on right now. This one the OP says:
So I wondered: When were ‘the best of times’?
Yep. Name any decade and you’ll find both good and bad; some things very, very good, and some things very, very bad. But on the whole, when were ‘the best of times’ in the U.S.?
As I’ve said, I was born in The Space Age. I grew up watching the old cartoons bade a decade or more before that touted the ‘Post War Era’ – the 1950s. I wasn’t around then, but it seems to me that there were problems (the Korean War, McCarthyism, racism, the Red Menace) but there was also the relative affluence of the middle class. People were buying houses in the suburbs, a new car ever two years, there were all kinds of modern gadgets and so forth. In spite of the problems it seemed like a Golden Era in the U.S.
But then, I was born in the '60s. More racism, people being murdered over Civil Rights, the Vietnam War. There was the hippy movement. Good or bad? Depends on your point of view. Since I was a child such things didn’t affect me. I remember a comfortable middle-class existence. There were jets so people could travel quickly. I remember lots of chrome. Everything seemed so… ‘modern’. Dad had a '66 Ford Galaxie 500 7-Litre whose taillights looked like rocket exhausts. Modern! Mom had her '66 MGB and we lived in San Diego. Convertible motoring in a beach city! How cool is that? And there’s the afore-mentioned Space Age. Rockets to the Moon! I seriously thought that by the time I grew up we’d have Moonbases, and that I might be an astronaut. The early-to-mid-'60s seemed like an optomistic time.
The '70s I didn’t much care for. I was old enough to see what was happening with Watergate. I remember the Oil Embargo and inflation. People didn’t seem as prosperous. Then there was the next oil embargo (and I was a new driver!) and the Iran Hostage Crisis. Oh and I destroyed my knees, which ruined my career plans.
In the '80s people seemed to have money again. Gas was more expensive, but cars were getting more efficient. I was driving the hand-me-down MGB, and later a Porsche 924 that got pretty good mileage. In the '70s people dressed in the style that would eventually be called ‘grunge’ (i.e., jeans and flannel shirts) or in disco clothes and polyester suits. gag In the '80s people seemed to have more style. And there I was, a Young Adult. New Wave clothes, New Wave Music, and a sports car. Good times. It was in the '80s when I learned to fly. We didn’t have rockets to the Moon, but we did have the Space Shuttle – and I was on the team that sent meteorological data to JSC. Good decade for me. Socially and economically, I think it was an OK decade. But then, we were coming out of the '70s. On the other hand, there was the Stock Market crash. (Hey, remember when everyone was so excited the Dow went to 2,500?)
The '90s. Personally, the '90s were neither particularly good nor particularly bad for me. There was the Gulf War, Somalia and the Balkans. There was a lot of talk about the ‘Peace Dividend’. Since I worked for a defense contractor, the ‘Peace Dividend’ cost me my job. Grunge happened. Yeah, I had lots of flannel shirts. Still have a couple of them somewhere. Great new electronics. A lot of people were doing very well with their MBAs, BMWs and condos.
The '00s. Aiyiyi. We discuss the problems of this decade every day here. A stock market collapse, the biggest terrorist attack ever on U.S. soil, wars and rumours of war, a President whom I consider a disaster, skyrocketing health costs and cutting of benefits, and a Black Eye internationally. IMO this decade is not in the running for The Best Of Times.
So. In your opinion, when were The Best Of Times for the U.S.?