The (New) Roaring Twenties
by Michael Braunstein
Some year, eh? Welcome to the new Roaring Twenties. Since erasing history is a target of this new world order, we should revisit the original Roaring Twenties to see the parallels with our current decade before they are lost. Then we can dive into a more optimistic vision.
1920: Prohibited! One hundred years ago, at the beginning of the original Roaring Twenties, big government trampled taverns and bars across America with crippling lockdowns spawned by an ill-advised Constitutional amendment that outlawed manufacture and sales of alcohol. Instantly, bars went out of business, restaurants failed. Iron-fisted, draconian attacks on privacy forced millions of Americans to cower indoors for toasts and celebrations. Sound familiar?
Anarchy in the streets. One hundred years ago, anarchists and communists committed the worst act of foreign terrorism in American history previous to the Twin Towers attack. On September 16, 1920, communist anarchists detonated a horse-drawn wagon filled with dynamite, shrapnel and explosives at the intersection of Wall Street and Broad in lower Manhattan. It was a strike against capitalism. There were hundreds of casualties and buildings were totally destroyed. Sound familiar?
Urban vs. rural. The 1920s saw the first time in history that more Americans lived in cities than on farms. Conflict between Americans living in rural communities and those crowded in dire urban settings reached a new peak, threatening the foundations of our very Constitution. Sound familiar?
A crushed economy. The 1920s saw a post-war economic boom of record growth only to be crushed by governmental missteps leading to the Great Depression. Sound familiar?
Corrupt Big City politicians and violent crime. In the 1920s, a Chicago mayor by the name of “Big Bill” Thompson ran an election machine and corrupt city hall. In 1993, a panel of historians named him the “worst mayor in American history.” Violent crime and homicides were rampant. Think Al Capone. Sound familiar? Well, 2020’s big city mayors are on course to take that title of “worst” as they cause death and destruction beyond “Big Bill’s” wildest imaginings.
A misunderstood pandemic reigned. No reminder needed of this. This history is too familiar.
2020: Silver linings in our Roaring Twenties. Well, 2020 indeed has opened this decade with more than a roar. Many metrics make it look really bad. Yet, there are some things to place in a positive light. Technology is one.
Despite its obvious invasion of privacy on nearly every level, the internet is providing civilization with interactive portals that begin to fulfill its initial promise. Though the Big Tech oligarchy has become the greatest threat to humanity, paradoxically, more people than ever before are using it to connect and communicate. Who hasn’t had a Zoom encounter, for better or for worse? Online meetings have grown up and the tech has ripened to where grandma’s and grandpa’s are Zooming across generations. The world has shrunken. How much the internet backbone and our consumption of energy can last is unknown but for now, the opportunity to use technology is improving.
Call of nature. Some people have responded to drastic lockdown declarations with a return to the outdoors. Nature is one place people can go (except surfing in California) to exercise some freedom. Sales of recreational vehicles have skyrocketed, indicating that when people are on the move, they are doing it more independently and closer to nature.
Rediscovery. Many people I’ve talked to have found innovative and rewarding ways to adapt. New hobbies emerge. Reading and learning are living a renaissance. Unique situations create unique solutions. My neighborhood has always seen its fair share of walkers, joggers and cyclists but anecdotally I can report an increase. That’s a good thing.
Less war, more peace. 2020 has been a good year if you are against war. American soldiers are coming home from countries that most of us wonder why they were there in the first place. The current Administration is dramatically drawing down troop levels in four major theaters of war: Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Somalia. And it’s doing it unilaterally.
For the first time since the 1950s, we’ve gone four years without American involvement in a new war. Any peace loving American should like that.
Additionally, historic peace accords have changed the political landscape in the Middle East and the Balkan Peninsula. For the first time in history, three major Arab powers have initiated commercial air travel and normalized trade with Israel.
More to do. The greatest frustration about 2020 is that the very political faction that supports pandemic lockdowns and commerce restrictions in their states and cities is the same political faction that bemoans the concentration of wealth. Yet policies by big city mayors and coastal states’ governors are forcing small commerce into extinction while benefitting big business like Amazon. Their governmental policies are concentrating more wealth, not less. One cannot overlook the billions of dollars funneled into big business at the cost of losing local livelihoods. Online commerce blew up 71% in the first three months of the pandemic. How much more money do the Bezos, Zuckerbergs, Dorseys and Brins need?
More concerning is the caprice and lost logic in declarations by demagogues in power. Some are elected. Others have seized power by benefit of their “fuzzy science.” They resemble kids at a party playing pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey rather than thinking individuals. How many times does some doc have to reverse himself or contradict himself before we send him into retirement?
When 2020 is looked at holistically, it’s easy to see what went right and what went wrong. We are entering a decade that has every earmark of reflecting the original Roaring Twenties with a crushing outcome. Can we learn from history or will history be torn down and dismantled before it is remembered? Place your bets.
Heartland Healing is a metaphysically based polemic describing alternatives to conventional methods of healing the body, mind and planet. It is provided as information and entertainment, certainly not medical advice. Important to remember and pass on to others: for a weekly dose of Heartland Healing, visit HeartlandHealing.com.