When I was growing up it was just after World War II ended (1948) when I was born. In the 1950s (because the U.S. had won in Europe and in Tojo's Japan) there was a feeling in the air that the U.S. could do no wrong. We could fight any battle and win and that we would and could never lose.
Then the Korean War and the Viet Nam War proved us wrong. At the very least we could fight and not win (or at least not choose to win). And yes, this was mainly because of nuclear weapons now worldwide.
Then Sputnik went up into the sky in 1957 and all Americans and Europeans and many others on earth were very afraid the Russian Sputnik might lead to nuclear weapons in space and we would get nuked. So President Kennedy started the Space Race to the Moon which the U.S. won and I'm not sure exactly why we won it. Anyway since 1969 when we actually put people on the moon the world has been amazed. But as the Space shuttles stop soon that era of the U.S. may be gone.
First there was attacking Iraq and not finding nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction, then there was the failure of Hurricane Katrina and watching New Orleans become a third world place of death (at least for poor blacks). And now the cherry on the top of all this foolishness, The Oil Volcano that no one can stop. It is sort of like "The Blob" with STeve McQueen in the 1950s that no one could stop (not even after 45 days of trying and 1 billion dollars or more already spent).
Yes. Those heady days of confidence that the United States and all humans on earth could do anything or survive anything have passed us now. So what comes next? Will we still believe in ourselves as Americans? As citizens of Earth? as Citizen of our Galaxy? What is it that we are and what are we becoming? The question needs to be asked by all of us. Because if we don't know who we are and where we are going, no one else will either.
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