Author Archives: yo143832
Roe v. Wade
“Its 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, which forbade states from banning abortions during the first six months of pregnancy, brought about an enormous change in women’s lives.” (Pg 264)
In the end of the 1960’s and the begging of the 1970’s, there were many dramatic changes in both American domestic affairs and foreign diplomacy. In the American internal situation, there were many objections and demonstrations for equal human rights, and women’s movement had big impact on the American life at that time. In 1968, notable objection against the Miss America contest raised by the organization named “Women’s Liberation”. It protested that the contest was racism due to no black finalist and animated the Vietnam war because the winner would visit Vietnam to meet American soldiers. This protest was argued broadly for few years. Hence, in the begging of the 1960’s, only two out of three women did not think themselves victims of segregation, but by 1970, half of women agreed with it. Moreover, in 1973, the decision in Roe v Wade affected creation of state laws, and New York was the first state to enact the abortion law.
Dirty Wars and American Inhumanity
After the Cold War was over, the United States was the only super power to have an ability to use military power to support the world peace. In the beginning of the 1990’s, Bill Clinton became the 42nd president of the United States, and he aggressively intervened militarily in international conflicts to protect humanitarianism and human rights and stop genocide, such as the intervention in the Balkans in 1999. Moreover, because of several terrorist attacks occurred within the United States, Clinton authorized a antiterrorism program in 1995, and Bin Laden was the target as the most dangerous enemy to the United States. This is cause of the prolonged war between the United States and Afghanistan where Al Qaeda has its home base and other Muslim countries to protect American citizens from terrorism. However, the American recent intervention has become irrelevant.
The movie, “Dirty War”, describes the present situations of countries in where the United States has intervened. The movie tells shocking facts which the U.S. government covered up and/or hid. Some of the facts are that innocent pregnant women were shot during the American nighttime raid even though they were totally nonresistant, and the U.S. soldier didn’t bring them to a hospital, and the solders scooped out bullets from their bodies by knives instead. Other injured innocent people by the raid were taken to the military base and confined for few days without changing their clothing spotted with blood. Another fact is that a 16-year-old boy who was a son of Al Awlaki, the first American citizen listed on the hit list, was killed because of the precaution against him to become a terrorist in future. Freeman points out that The U.S. military intervention in the 1990’s was to support humanitarianism and human rights, on the other hand, the movie emphasized American inhuman military action. It seems that American foreign policy has lost their important aim.
Actually, there are many other horrifying facts in the movie, such as the number of unfair apprehension of Muslims has dramatically increased since September 11. Bin Laden was killed in 2011, yet American military has still remained in Afghanistan. Freeman says that most Americans had few attentions to foreign affairs, and the movie tries to make people focus on these affairs.
The Invasion of Kuwait by Iraq
“Panama eased the way for the Bush administration when it decided to lanunch a much larger military operation in reaction to Iraq’s occupation of Kuwait. Saddm Hussein was Noriega writ large. Over the years, the United States had aided the Iraqu dictor when it served its purposes. During the Iran-Iraq War, the Reagan and Bush administrations had sold arms and provided credit to Iraq and opposed sanctions of Hussein’s regime for its repression of the Kurds, seeking to bolster what it saw as a useful check on Iranian power. But when on August 2, 1990, Iraq invaded neghboring Kuwait, the Bush administration moved rapidly to force its withdrawal.” (Pg. 411)
After the Cold War had been over, George H.W. Bush became the 41st U.S. president, but he took over huge deficit and a restriction on Congress domestic initiatives which Reagan left. Thus, Bush mainly focused on foreign policies rather than domestic affairs. The first chance of military activity came in Panama in 1989. The Panamanian dictator, Manuel Noriega, supported drug trade, invalidated a democratic election and disturbed the U.S. army activity in Latin America. Hence, Bush administration decided to send soldiers to thrust Noriega. The army quickly captured Panama, and arrested Noriega.
Moreover, on August 2, 1990, Iraq started invading Kuwait, and Bush quickly warned the Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein, to pull out of Kuwait. In the fall of 1990, the U.S.-led coalition started military action against Iraq that was called the Gulf War, and Iraq surrendered within few months. These victories gave Americans confidence to build “new world order” by the American initiative and Americans conquered “specter of Vietnam”, but the world seemed to be involved in wars more than the era of the Cold War.
The Summit Meeting between The U.S. and The Soviet Union
“Gorbachev announced a unilateral Soviet moratorium on testing nuclear weapon and sought out a summit with Reagan. At their first meeting, in November 1985 in Geneva, the two leaders failed to come up with an arms control pact but agreed to further summits.” (Pg. 401)
Many worldwide conflicts, alliances and political aims were related to the Cold War since the end of the Second World War, and the U.S. and the Soviet Union were the center of the war and jostled each other over their behaviors. Sometimes, they invited other lands to hold a leading position of the war and threatened each other with a nuclear weapon. However, in 1985, when Mikhail Gorbachev became the general secretary of the Soviet Communist Party, the Cold War soddenly progressed toward a solution because Gorbachev shifted his attention to domestic problems such as deterioration in the standard of living in the Soviet and the nuclear plant disaster in Chernobyl, so the summit meeting between the U.S. and the Soviet was achieved.
The first Summit meeting started at November 1985, and it wasn’t successful, but they negotiated several times to eliminate nuclear arsenal and intermediate-range nuclear weapons. This reconciliation triggered settlements of other international problems. The Soviet Union retreated from Afghanistan in 1988, many East European countries changed into democracy and the Berlin wall was collapsed in 1989. The summit meeting is definitely a key to end the Cold War.
Dani California – Red Hot Chili Peppers
When this song was released in my country, Japan, it quickly became a mega hit, yet I hadn’t known the real concept of this song before coming to the United States. This song has deep meaning that Japanese can hardly imagine.
This song maily tells a story about one girl struggling to live with poverty, so she commits crime to suvive. Many American music and movies tell conection between poverty and crime. On the otherhand Japanese ones seldom deal with them. Also, Japanese media often have special programs about crimes such as shoflifting and rovveries, but they focus on police achievement of arrest. They don’t tell reasons why they commit crime or their backgrounds.Of course, population in povety in the U.S is larger than one in Japan, so Americans tend to consider about poverty seriously, yet there must be people struggling wtih porvety in Japan, so Japanese should pay attention to the relationship between crime and poverty more. Moreover, the song mention her parents that har father is police and mother is a hippie. Police is often negatively symbolized, such as unchecked power, and a hippie also represents laziness and irresponsibility. This song reflects social problems and has intersting allusion.
The Harlan County USA
In the 1970’s in the United States, people suffered from huge economic down tone due to the oil crisis and American companies’ weakness of producing power to compete foreign companies. An American steel company which had been the most powerful industry in the world before, a car industry and many other jobs started declining, so those companies tried cutting down wages and keeping away from labor unions. People had no choice to work with minimum wages and harsh work conditions, and a labor union became less influential than before. The movie “Harlan County USA, directed by Barbara Kopple, well described the situations of a conflict between unionized workers and a coal company at the beginning of the 1970’s.
The movie starts in Harlan County, Kentucky where unionized coal miners at the Duke Power Company strike against the company to demand safer working condition and decent wages. In fact, even though the company’s profit increased, the miners live in dirty conditions, and some workers suffer from pneumoconiosis because of coal dust. The strike gradually becomes bloody that one labor union worker is associated, and both the strikers and people at the company side show off their guns. Actually, this action is the key that the local administration and/ or government don’t fully intervene in this matter. Finally, the company compromises with strikers, but the contract doesn’t cover all of striker’s insistence. This circumstance is very similar to gang’s condition in the 1970’s in the Bronx because the government abandoned them, and gangs knew that they had to improve their conditions by themselves.
The Transfer of The Responsibility of Inflation Rate from The White House to The Federal Reserve System
“Paul Volcker, whom Carter appointed chairman of the Fed, made stopping inflation his main goal, even if it took inducing a recession to achieve it. Rather than slowing the economy the usual way, by jacking up interest rates, Volcker used a different approach, having the Federal Reserve System tightly control the growth in the money supply, largely through increases in the requirements for bank reserves.” (Pg 329)
The 1970’s was the most difficult age to control the political affairs. Many political scandals, such as the Watergate, were revealed in the beginning of the 1970’s, and people disappointed the government and lost their interest in the politics. The voting percentage gradually decreased; 60 percent of the electorate during the 1950’s and 1960’s, but it dropped to 55 percent in 1972 and 54 percent in 1976. Thus, the presidents, Gerald Ford and James Carter, tried to restore political trust. However, its economy was in the recession, too. The unemployment rate and the inflation rate raised together, called “stagflation”. President Carter straggled to stop lowering the inflation rate to promote deregulation, but it was not so successful. Thus he entrust this control to the Fed chairman, Paul Volcker, whom approach to lower the inflation rate was unusual. Moreover, diplomacy between the Soviet Union wasn’t healthy due to the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan.
The Recession of The 1970’s
“The recessions of the 1970’s hit New York particularly hard, with the local unemployment rate hitting 12 percent in 1975. As jobs and city services disappeared and crime increased, many city residents, particularly whites, found the suburbs or other parts of the country more attractive.” (Pg 304)
The 1970’s was the dark, distressful and hopeless era in not only the U.S but also the world. Americans lost their confidences as the world leader because of the defeat in the Vietnam war, started distrusting the government due to the Watergate scandal, and the oil crisis hit their life. These downturns changed their lifestyle and the social geographic in the United States, especially the Northeast and Midwest. Many states lost jobs and populations that Cleveland lost 46 percent of manufacturing jobs between 1948 and 1977, and the population in Washington, D.C., decreased from 892,178 in 1950 to 638,333 in 1980. New York was not exception that its unemployment swelled up. It wouldn’t have affected the life so badly if economical and political downturn hadn’t occurred at the same time.
The Change in The Bronx
Jeff Chang begins to write about the racial issue of the New York Yankees, which has been based in the South Bronx, in 1970’s that Reggie Jackson struggled to get along with his teammate. Jeff then continues to write about the change in the Bronx. Due to the plan to construct the Cross-Bronx Expressway by Robert Moses, the Bronx would fall into great confusion. Many poor African-Americans, Puerto Ricans, and Jewish families had to move to new places like the South Bronx, and jobs in the South Bronx escaped from this migration. As a result of this change, the South Bronx economy had been hurt that last 600,000 manufacturing jobs and so on. Moreover, new residents were treated unfairly by slumlords, and slumlords asked villains to burn their vacant apartments to earn insurance money. Thus, the South Bronx became wasteland and was in chaos.
Jeff goes on to write about the conditions in the South Bronx in the end of 1960’s and the beginning of 1970’s. At that time, many gangs thrived in the South Bronx, and they often quarreled each other based on racial and territorial matters. However, because of abuse of police power, the Savage Skulls, a black gang, and the Young Lords, a Puerto Rican gang, cooperated to fight against police. Furthermore, because public services were unreliable in the South Bronx, gangs provided health care systems and shelters for homeless kids, so people relied on them. These situations affected bonds among them, cultures and their social thoughts, and other people started to pay attention to the South Bronx.