How has America changed since the 1970's?Can someone compare present history with history since the 1970's? What are some similar issues?

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engtchr5 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

During the early 70s, we as a country were still largely involved in Vietnam, where we sent our military to fight the Vietcong, or VC, for short. The Vietnam War cost thousands upon thousands of military lives, and equally as many US dollars. In the end, the conflict proved to be a political quagmire, as US Forces became bogged down in a military situation that never reached a concrete resolution. It is thought that veterans remain in Vietnam even today, labeled as prisoners of war or as missing in action.

In comparison, our involvement in modern-day Iraq has been likened to Vietnam because no member of the public is entirely certain why we are choosing to remain there. While politicians tell us that we are helping to secure Iraq's future democracy, the court of public opinion seems to swing in favor of withdrawal, whether immediate or long-term. We helped Iraq in a limited number of ways, eradicated certain terrorist threats, and now, we remain there to "help out." One central reason that we never saw a successful end to Vietnam was because, like the Iraq scenario, we overstayed our welcome.


timbrady eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Vietnam was a mess, but I think it was a political disaster rather than a military one.  Every military person I know thinks we could have won in Vietnam except for politics.  Here's something that I find interesting.  Politicans claim to be very sensitive to what WE want in regards to Iraq; they pay virtually no attention to anything else what we "want."  Most of the country is pro-drilling, anti-abortion, pro-balanced budget ... but none of that happens.  Most of us (including and especially me) don't  know why we remain in Iraq, and I suspect that everyone would like to get out of there as soon as possible ... the question is how we do it without making the situation worse (eg. a Civil War that might leave forces very much against our best interests in charge)  --- maybe this is unavoidable.  

So to answer the question, it seems that, as someone once said, all we learn from history is that we don't learn anything from history ....

alexb2 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One thing very much on people's minds in the 1970's was America's addiction to oil, especially foreign oil. This came to a head during OPEC's embargo during the 1973 oil crisis. At the time there was a lot of discussion about ending America's dependence on foreign oil and investing in alternative energy sources. In 1977, then President Jimmy Carter installed solar panels at the White House.

We see many of the same issues today, although the focus now is on both terrorism and how it might be funded by oil monies, and the high cost of fuel.

amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Interesting how so much of what was on the minds of Americans in the 1970's is still on the minds of Americans in 2008!  I would add that racism is still very much a problem and that government programs like food stamps, HUD housing, and welfare doesn't do much to alleviate it.  In fact, it may exacerbate the issue by making those who are not qualifying for these programs yet do not make enough to live on (for instance, single-parent households whose income is minimum wage but who may actually own their home) angry at those people who are regularly supported by government programs on a long-term basis.

alohaspirit eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There has been alot of social change as far as provided more equal rights for different races, but also for the disabled.  There has been more government programs that have helped to insure the citizens such as welfare.  Education has been federalized with the No Child Left Behind.  Our view of war has not changed much, many have said that this approach to the Iraq War is not very different from Vietnam.  Overall each decade we are seeing more awareness of our people, the environment, and the global community.

brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I don't hear the racial and ethnic jokes and slurs nearly as much as I did when I was a kid in the 1970s.  I think we've made significant progress since then.  We're also much, much more dependent on foreign oil than we were then, the environment hs progressed in some areas and slipped in others, and we have more than 100 million more people living within our borders.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
In some ways, we have the exact same problems they faced in the 1970s. We have outrageous gas prices and gas guzzling cars. We have greedy, corrupt banks thar take advantage of and basically stole from their customers with no consequences to the leaders.
katromero | Student

Thanks so much everyone.  Those were great responses.

Thank you :)