1989 U.S. invasion of Panama

“But Bush did share Reagan’s desire to relegitimize the use of force and maintain a massive military capacity. His chance came in Panama” Pg. 411


In the post cold war world, the United States emerged as the only legitimate super power in the world. George H.W. Bush felt that as the only super power, the United States had a responsibility to police the world and maintain its personal interests globally. The most famous recourse from the this ideology was the invasion of Iraq after Saddam Hussein had himself invaded Kuwait, but the Bush had already started a precedent when he invaded Panama. After they deemed that the leader and trained United States agent Manuel Noriega no longer served his purpose, Panama was invaded and Noriega was arrested. This invasion would be a prelude to an era of United States history that was plagued with foreign invasions to protect self interests.

Strategic Defense Initiative

“The Soviets saw SDI not as a defensive measure but as a prelude to an attack” Pg. 393


No program reinforces Freeman’s argument that the early 1980’s saw a re-ignition of tensions between the Soviet Union and the United States then creation of the Strategic Defense Initiative in 1983. Sold to the American public as a purely defense measures, the strategic defense Initiative was an attempt to use new technologies, namely satellites in space, to monitor and if need be destroy any soviet missiles fired at the United States, granting it it’s nickname ” Star Wars”. The Soviet Union officials did not see it that way, instead they were convinced that it would be used as an offensive measure and became even more mistrusting of America. The program never really took flight ,as  both the technology was  simply not advanced enough and it did not generate a large amount of support.

If you want to sing out, sing out – Cat Stevens

For the first 10 years of my life I believed that this incredible song was written by my uncle. He played it for me by every  night that he put me to sleep, which was about five times a week. It became my personal theme song, one that  i would sing hum  constantly, even before being able to understand its meaning. When I was older and smart enough to realize that this is song  was not written for  my own personal pleasure but  rather a very popular hit from a celebrated artist I was floored. And when I finally listened to the real Cat Stevens version I was almost moved to tears by how in love with it I fell.

The song is about finding your freedom through your individuality. About doing what you want,  no matter what anyone thinks or says. It soft sounds and upbeat chorus help you to understand the happiness that can come to you when you stop living your life by other peoples standards and stick to your own. Till this day, listening to this song gives me the courage to pursue happiness in itself, rather than fame or wealth or prestige.



Strength Through Unity

The Film “Harlan County” details  the conflict  between two groups, the United Miners Workers of America and the Duke Power Company. At first glance the conflict seems incredibly one sided. The Duke Power Company had an overwhelming amount of resources, including but not limited to,  a seemingly infinite supply of money, strong political clout, and hired thugs. To oppose that the miners have only one strength, and that is the bond that share with one another. That bond is the core of what makes Unions work. When we discuss whether unions are a positive part of American Society, we need to remember that. Unity is the only way a small scale worker can have any sense of power against a strong adversary like the Duke Power Company. The Miners in film had complete faith in one another, even when the outlook seemed bleak. Unions provide that outlet of community and family in which the individual becomes a part of something bigger than themselves. Unions are a basic building block of a successful democratic society. They allow workers to stand a fighting chance against big employers that feel no obligation to provide for the people that make them the money they build their entire life on.

The Election of 1976

” A onetime Navy officer who ran a family peanut business, he  [Carter] had limited political experience and none in Washington to tar him with a public fed up with their national leaders”     Pg. 326


In the post-Watergate America, the general population had grown very untrusting and unsatisfied with their government. They saw that their leaders had grown corrupt and the idea that the government should be made up of representatives speaking for their incumbents and leaders who worked for the people was all but forgotten. The people made it clear that they wanted a change during the election of 1976. They were presented with two options. The first was Ford the incumbent, who was most associated with pardoning the disgraced Nixon and being stonewalled by Congress. The second was Carter, a no-name military man whose lack of experience was seen as a positive rather than a negative. The fact that Carter was the one that was chosen showed how the American population would no longer stand for stagnant government.

The Church of Scientology

“Anti-rational thinking seemed to be on the rise, perhaps a rational response to a moment when technocratic rationality has seemingly brought social failure on both the national and international fronts”  Pg. 314


Freeman notes on the  trend of the rise of nontraditional religions during the 1970’s in America, saying that its rise was an direct reaction to the dystopian like culture that had swept the nation during that time. The Church of Scientology offered an alternative belief system to  the classic Protestant ideology that was once so commonplace among the American public. The hard truth of the matter is that people had become desperate and destitute. They had look at the world around them, compared it the lifestyle they knew during the 1950’s, and were shocked by the decline in their nation. When the saw one system fail, many felt that they had no choice but find another. One of the mantra’s for Scientology is  “A civilization without insanity, without criminals and without war, where the able can prosper and honest beings can have rights, and where man is free to rise to greater heights, are the aims of Scientology.”

Bay of Pigs

“But after the Bay of Pigs, the widely held view that he [John F.Kennedy] had been outmatched by Khrushchev at the 1961 Vienna summit…”

pg. 224


The American ego, from a military stand point,  was at an all time high in wake of the second World War. Not only did the United States emerge victorious from the greatest conflict that the world had ever seen, it did so against an almost objectively and overtly evil enemy. The failure of the invasion at the Bay of Pigs was the bursting of that military prowess bubble for the American people. It was a complete and utter failure. It not only made the American people realize that their military was  not invincible, but also  created doubt and mistrust between the people and the government. The confidential and classified use of C.I.A operatives for this operation caste a dark shadow around the whole invasion. The Bay of Pigs was the sowing of the seed planted by the U.S government that would soon grow into the wide spread political dissent that was rampant in the 60’s.

1962 Engle v. Vital

” Seemingly overnight, a practice that had been part of the routine of public schools in much of the country since their founding-brief prayer to begin the day-had been banished”

pg. 198


One of the main themes from this chapter of American Empire is the emergence, from both the right and the left, of new, seemingly radical groups, that felt that the core beliefs that were essential to the ideology of their political groups were being foregone and forgotten. To me, there is no example of the lost of traditional values more clear and prevalent than the omitting of a daily prayer in public schools. As the quote explains, it instantly changed an everyday aspect of the lives of children that had been apart of country for generations.  When you asses  the effect that this has in the creation of the “new right”, it must have been immense. Conservatism by definition is the fight to keep the traditions of the past alive, and this was the past being changed right before their eyes. Traditionalist must have felt like their backs were against the wall and the only way to fight back was to become more vocal and arguably, more radical.