The ’90s Make a Comeback

December 10th, 2011 at 12:01 am | 30 Comments |

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The holidays are always a time for nostalgia, and this year has seen a growing outbreak of nostalgia for one decade in particular. Democrats are ranking Bill Clinton (who left office ranked by most historians in the 25-30 range of our forty-odd Presidents) now tied with JFK (and well ahead of that Cold War “perpetrator” Truman, as Democrats of the Gore Vidal/Howard Zinn school remember him). And the face of 1990s Republicanism, Newt Gingrich, is now poised to win the 2012 nomination.

One of the best politico-cultural books published at the end of the ’90s was David Frum’s bestseller, The ’70s: How We Got Here. It rightly pointed out that years after “Ho Ho Ho Chi Minh!”, barking civil-rights dogs, and even the early ’70s “Impeach Nixon” were consigned to the ash heap of history, it was the Ford/Carter era — gay rights, abortion (Roe vs. Wade) and women in the workplace, quota-based affirmative action and busing, violent slasher movies and “jiggly” nighttime soaps, and the 1978-80 “tax revolt” — that really established the grammar of domestic politics for the next two decades.

As someone who came of age in the 1990s, I’m becoming more and more convinced that we might be in need of a “sequel” (and what could be more ’70s, or ’90s, than a sequel?)

At the time, the 1990s suffered from a self-hatred worthy of a Philip Roth novel. Conservatives called them the “Holiday from History”. Liberal Newsweek contemptuously damned the 2000 election that capped them off (which turned out to be the most important and divisive election in postwar history) as “The Seinfeld Election: A Show About Nothing.” Yet the more I look back, and the more ’90s nostalgia rises today, the more I’m convinced that it was the other great decade that gave us life as we know it today — for better, and for worse.

For one, just as Ronald Reagan today is remembered for his myth than his (mostly positive) reality, every sentence about the 1990s is now legally required to begin with, “What didnt’cha like about it — the peace, or the prosperity?” in Democratic circles, just as Reagan’s name must always be mentioned with cathedral-like reverence on FoxNews. It seems today’s Democrats have decided if they couldn’t “beat” the canonization of St. Ronnie, they could at least join the game.

But ominously for today, the prosperity of the 1990s didn’t always work for those employed outside of Wall Street or Silicon Valley. If you went to work on December 30, 1989 at a thriving auto-parts factory in Flint Michigan, or a booming aerospace plant in Lakewood, Santa Ana, or Seattle — and ended your workday on December 30, 2000 greeting people at the big-box store or rockin’ a telemarketing cubicle, the 1990s were anything but “prosperous”.

In the Human Resources 1990s, the days when a Mary Richards or Peggy Olsen could walk into an office with their community-college degree, answer an ad, have a hiring interview, and start work all in the same day or two, faded to black. Technological change, while primitive by post-IPad standards, was hitting photon-torpedo speed: in 1989, “Email” was barely a word, and as late as January 1995, there were barely 10,000 known Internet websites, not just in America and Canada, but in the entire world. Just four or five years later — at the height of the Yahoo-Google-AOL ”dot com” era (with 3 million websites and counting) – we were living in a different virtual reality.

And while there was “peace” (except for little tiffs like Oklahoma City, Columbine, Waco, Ruby Ridge, Elian Gonzalez, Haiti, Bosnia, Mogadishu, Somalia, the 1998 embassy bombings, the USS Cole…) it was the decade when the homefront culture war boiled over. As the Cold War wound down in 1990, a Russian politician famously joked that the Russians were going to do the worst thing yet to the United States. For the first time since Pearl Harbor, “We will leave you without an enemy” to unite the USA.

Once Reagan and Bush were gone, for the first time since Watergate, the Republican party was left without a unifying center of attention — and with a power vacuum the size of the Milky Way. Newt Gingrich, Tom DeLay, Rush Limbaugh, Roger Ailes, and Dick Cheney quickly inserted themselves in that vacuum — but uber-powerful as they all were, one wonders if they would’ve had a chance of really “taking over” had Reagan or Bush I still been ruling the roost.

Today, as we look at what recently happened to the Republicans after “Dubya” bid us farewell — Palin, Bachmann, Perry, Gingrich, Cain, et al — sound familiar?

Ditto the Democrats — in reverse. Before Clinton, the Democratic party was almost as dysfunctional as the Tea Party-era Republicans are today. By 1995 however, most other A-list Democratic voices had been silenced: Mario Cuomo, Ann Richards, Willie Brown, Kathleen Brown Rice, David Dinkins, Tom Bradley, Dan Glickman.

To paraphrase Susan Hayward’s signature line in Valley of the Dolls, “There’s only ONE star in a Bill Clinton Democratic party, baby — and you’re lookin’ at him!” 1995 was when today’s business buzzwords like “re-branding”, “talking points memos”, and “target demographics” truly arrived at the political railway station.

The 1990s were also when James Carville and Karl Rove’s “permanent campaign mode” came into full effect, with a heapin’ helpin’ from CNN and an upstart called FoxNews. As such, the punishment for anyone who went “off message” — no matter how desperately needed their council was (Brooksley Born and Robert Reich warning against mortgage deregulation in 1998-99; Paul O’Neill battling Cheney on the budget in 2002) — was immediate and intense.

This enforced fear and “party discipline” debased our already garbage-strewn political dialogue into today’s junk-food soundbytes, which happen upon actual middle-class reality only occasionally and by accident, if at all. For those who were (rightly, in my opinion) nauseated by “Death Panels”, “Making Our Own Reality”, and “Deficits Don’t Matter” — remember the equally intelligence-insulting ”Recession-Proof” economy (1999), or the “Irrational Exuberance” of 1997? (They got the “irrational” part right.)

By 1998, people were in such a media-induced Fantasy Island that New Republic plagiarist and fact-cooker Stephen “Shattered” Glass even published an article about a cult of stockbrokers who “worshipped” Alan Greenspan (then modestly branded by Republicans and Democrats alike as “the greatest central banker in modern history”.)

I was even younger and presumably more “innocent” than Glass at the time, but what shocked me wasn’t that Glass had faked his story. What scared me was that even The New Republic was so Kool-Aid-drinkingly irresponsible by then that it could believe such a thing as anything other than Conan O’Brien/Jon Stewart style satire. Instead of being a warning, however, it was a portent of things to come.

The 1990s were when the Snooki-ization of book publishing and the Ann Coulter vs. Michael Moore rebranding of ”news” shows began: OJ Simpson. The Menendez Brothers. Tonya vs. Nancy. JonBenet Ramsey. Rodney King. Robert Blake (if early 2001 counts). Was there ever a previous decade with more hyped-up, race/sex overtoned celebrity crimes and “trials of the century?”

Here’s a listing from a typical TV day in 1998, taken from an old TVGuide (back when TVGuide actually had local listings — remember those?) Geraldo, Jerry Springer, Jenny Jones, Maury, and Ricki Lake ruled the daytime, while Entertainment Tonight, Inside Edition, Hard Copy, American Journal, EXTRA!, and Access Hollywood owned the weeknights. And that’s not even mentioning the reality-show explosion that was just around the corner, when Survivor and Big Brother knocked it out of the park in 2000.

Finally and perhaps most importantly of all, the 1990s was when the “Red State” vs. “Blue State” divide really reared its ugly head. California voted Republican for President in 1988; New York and Massachusetts did likewise in 1984. As late as 1994, multi-ethnic, gay-friendly powerhouses like CA, NY, Mass (and the cities of LA and New York) elected Republican governors and mayors — a feat demographically impossible in those areas without strong African-American, Latino, and liberal Jewish crossover.

But by decade’s end, what little was left of the midcentury Great Consensus was not just merely dead, but really and most sincerely dead. Red States became increasingly immune to Democrats, except for the occasional “DINO” like Baucus, Nelson, or Lincoln; while Republicans disappeared from the coasts, except for a tiny handful of openly pro-gay and pro-choice Rockefeller Repubs like George Pataki and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

All in all, the 1990s were a lot of things, but a “Holiday from History” or a “peaceful”, contented paradise they weren’t. Yet despite all the megabytes that have gone under the bridge since then, from Facebook and Myspace to iPads and Twitter, however you remember them (to quote George H.W. Bush’s excellent Inaugural reference to Vietnam), it seems that even in today’s Reality 2.0, its that decade which “cleaves us still.”

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30 Comments so far ↓

  • hisgirlfriday

    Can’t agree with you more that this 1990s fantasizing is pretty ridiculous. Looking at the decade from the perspective of where I grew up in Central Illinois, I recall that communities of the same size, within 100 miles of each other and that started out the decade on a similar plane, faced widely divergent fates depending on whether they had finance/insurance companies and universities/government as their main employers or whether they were anchored by manufacturers reeling from NAFTA and labor strife. The soaring stock market of that decade doesn’t tell the full economic story.

    My pet theory about the ’90s nostalgia is Baby Boomers are mad they’re becoming senior citizens so they’re pining for a time back when they were merely 30 and 40 somethings. Just like the ’70s nostalgia of the ’90s was about Baby Boomers mad they weren’t teens and 20 somethings any longer.

    Meanwhile, every other generation suffers from the Boomers’ mass narcissism/self-indulgence and their failure to focus on the present-day realities or, God forbid, the future they are creating for their children and grandchildren.

    • Levedi

      +1

      I was a teen in the 90s. My dad (with a BS in physics and an MA in theology) worked a mid-level QA job at Saunders until it got bought out by Lockheed Martin. The CEO deliberately drove down the stock price so he could make the sale and get a severance package in the millions – if only we’d know how much that was a sign of things to come.

      So many middle class, college educated people in my home town were suddenly out of work, and subsequently without health insurance, that the high school had to change its attendance policy; they couldn’t insist on a doctor’s note for illness because too many irate parents came in yelling about how they couldn’t afford a doctor, but they sure as *$$*# weren’t sending a fevered kid to school. (There’s one social cost of an uninsured society, right there by the way.)

  • Graychin

    As part of the very first wave of Baby Boomers, you won’t be surprised to learn that I don’t think my generation and the waves that followed me caused all of society’s ills – at least not because of our “mass narcissism/self-indulgence and their failure to focus on the present-day realities or, God forbid, the future they are creating for their children and grandchildren.” How can a gross generalization like that possibly be meaningful?

    I do think you’re on to something with these sentences: “As the Cold War wound down in 1990, a Russian politician famously joked that the Russians were going to do the worst thing yet to the United States. For the first time since Pearl Harbor, “We will leave you without an enemy” to unite the USA. (And, especially, to unify the Republican Party. ) Once Reagan and (GHW) Bush were gone, for the first time since Watergate, the Republican party was left without a unifying center of attention — and with a power vacuum the size of the Milky Way. Newt Gingrich, Tom DeLay, Rush Limbaugh, Roger Ailes, and Dick Cheney quickly inserted themselves in that vacuum.

    Fortunately for those lost Republicans, Osama bin Laden came along in the first few months of the new decade to provide that unifying Republican bogyman, and the Global and Eternal War on Terror Everywhere finally replaced the Grand International Communist Conspiracy to Enslave the World. The relative (but imperfect) peace and prosperity of the 1990s, i.e. the post-Cold War years, were gone – perhaps for the rest of my lifetime.

    Especially the “prosperity” part. We often forget that most of Reagan’s first term was plagued by economic recession and large budget deficits. Sound familiar?

    • animal

      Gross generalization indeed, but a Girl like Friday (whom I presume is young) and myself know one thing for sure. Generation X,Y or Z did not create the mess, and to us the obvious culprits are the Boomers. Gingrich vs. Clinton vs. W. vs. Gore vs. Fox Executives vs. Liberal Northern Boomers vs. Resentful Southern Boomers vs. Non-Boomer Black President vs. Crackpots vs. Not Rich Boomers vs. Rich Boomers vs. Constitutional Amendments vs. Supreme Court, blah blah blah.
      Really this is s Boomer Culture war fight, and it is as wildly fantastical as Professional Wrestling, except a national economy is at stake.

      So true, Friday made a gross generalization, but take a step out of your shoes and look at the situation. I wasn’t around in the 60′s to how this might compare, but to me and probably MyGirlFriday, this is a power struggle of Boomers and everyone else is just a part of their game. When their Daddy’s sun was setting and it it was their turn to lead, it turned into a frightful sh!! show. People say that Gingrich was the original culprit, but really he might have just been in the right place at the right time. Reagan and H.W. were gone, the kids are taking over, and they are going to fight about it. Would things have turned out differently if some other power hungry boomer congressman from the South was Speaker of the House? Most likely not.

      I don’t claim to know why the Boomers acted as such when they finally were handed power from their Fathers – I don’t truly understand the culture wars all that well – but you certainly can’t count out narcissism and self indulgence. Their parents generation never indulged themselves in outrageous compensation packages, or fought wars without thinking about paying them, or demanded benefits without wanting to pay for them. That is self indulgent and narcissisistic. Sometimes I have thought that most Baby Boomers believe that they are ‘The Greatest Generation’.

      • valkayec

        I’m really sorry you feel that way. I’m of the first Boomer generation having been born in 1946. But I never got into the whole “me first and only” bit that invaded our culture. That was something promoted by Hollywood, Wall St., and ad execs. They constantly repeated if you weren’t wealthy – or at the very least putting on a show of wealth – then you weren’t worthy. Unfortunately, far too many people bought into the myth. But it wasn’t just my generation of Boomers who bought the myth. Younger Boomers and those born later did too.

        What we lost was not “rugged individualism” but caring about others in our communities and workplaces. We lived in isolation in our suburbs, losing the sense of community in the process. We began to think of ourselves only in isolation as the only important person in our sphere.

        For some reason, we allowed ourselves to be deceived into believing that wealth was all that mattered. We offered up our souls to Wall St and hoped we’d make enough money to live well since everything else was rapidly falling apart and the kind of security, stability, respect that our parents knew no longer existed. Gone were the days you could go to work for Alcoa or IBM and expect to spend your entire career with that one company. Culture turned harsh and vulgar and self-indulgent, probably as a result.

        Anybody here remember American Gladiator? It hardly showed the best of American culture but it was a ratings hit even though it was crass and vulgar and demeaning. It wasn’t just Boomers who created the situation we now experience. It was all of us who fell in line with a kind of thinking that accepted vulgar degradations of others as the norm and failed to care about anyone outside of ourselves.

    • NRA Liberal

      Boomers didn’t cause all the world’s problems….it’s just that everything they did, they did in a big way.

    • hisgirlfriday

      Well I stand by my belief that the Baby Boomer generation’s voters have failed their children and grandchildren due to mass narcissism and self-indulgence, but I will try to provide some specificity for you here.

      In some ways I can’t blame the Baby Boomers for turning out the way they did because the ’60s and early ’70s were such a traumatic time culturally and politically that you almost expect the people who came of age in that period to be messed up, but the end result is still the same in that this era produced very self-indulgent people and we are all paying the price of the psychic damage that the Boomers experienced in those times for several reasons.

      1. The Vietnam War started the toxic split between liberals and conservatives on war and peace and is and was felt most strongly with Boomers who were coming of age at the time those fights were being waged. The liberals of this era were incredibly self-indulgent and narcissistic in how they went about protesting the wars when they failed to win over the general public at the ballot box on this issue. The conservatives who came of age in this era have been in response incredibly self-indulgent and narcissistic in rejecting rational debate on the subject of foreign policy simply based on their interactions with liberals in the ’60s and early ’70s. And both liberals and conservatives were self-indulgent when they fought so hard to get rid of the draft, but after that was gone stopped caring about foreign policy or military spending/engagement when casting votes. Both sides have also been adamant about claiming moral superiority and victimhood based on what happened in that era when they’ve both acted wrongly and irresponsibly.

      2. The Drug and Sexual Revolution and the reactions to them have also been extremely selfish and narcissistic on the part of Boomers. On drugs, just look at all the Boomer politicians that have been documented as experimenting with drugs for fun and self-expression in their youth, but turn around and get in power and pass laws imposing stricter and stricter prohibition and insanely out-of-whack punishments for the subsequent generations that may use drugs (like increased drug testing and reporting for jobs, denial of financial aid, stricter sentences, etc…). You also have all these people who were given this tremendous freedom in the sexual revolution and then when they get older and freak out about the possibility of their children exercising that same freedom, rather than guiding their children as parents to be responsible sexual actors, instead they use their power via the state to waste kids’ time at school on abstinence education and also use public policy to restrict the reproductive freedom of women to try to keep them from having sex (like by saying insurance companies don’t have to cover birth control, defunding Planned Parenthood, etc…). On the other hand, the liberal side of the Boomer equation completely fails to acknowledge the moral cost of the sex revolution and how “free love” among selfish adults can impose heavy costs on family stability and economic/emotional security for children via now-acceptable divorce. Meanwhile, the younger generations are the ones standing up for the family and standing up for marriage as an institution by encouraging the state to recognize civil marriage for gay couples as a testament to their belief that relationships should be about more than just sex.

      For the sake of brevity I will just point out some other examples of Boomer failings without getting too in-depth:
      1. Expecting no cuts to their Medicare and Social Security benefits when they voted for nothing but politicians promising them tax cuts for 30 years
      2. Voting for war-mongering politicians when they had no interest in paying for the wars with their tax dollars or their generation’s blood
      3. Being willing to accept promises of short-term gain in exchange for throwing away all the long-term economic gains of the working class/middle class that were earned through the blood, sweat and tears of their parents and grandparents when it comes to union rights, pension benefits and now even child labor laws and the minimum wage
      4. Being willing to accept promises of short-term gain in exchange for selling off public assets, no longer fighting for clean air and water and refusing to invest wisely and broadly in education or infrastructure to create a foundation for economic growth for the next generation

      • larocquj

        Have to agree with hisgirlfriday. The boomers are the original “Me” generation. They are the generation of “if it feels good, do it.” They are also the generation most closely associated with free love and widespread drug experimentation. As I was growing up watching the boomers, “living beyond your means” went from a bad idea to something for which to be proud.
        Boomers will be the last generation to get defined benefit pension plans, Social Security, and the benefits of fee for service Medicare. When the next generations come along, mine included, there will be nothing left.
        It’s hard for boomers to avoid the charge of mass narcissism and self-indulgence. The evidence is everywhere.

  • Houndentenor

    The Boomers are going to insist on fighting the culture wars of the 1960s until their last breaths. The rest of the country will have long ago moved on by then. I am nostalgic for the 1990s. I remember being offered a $2000 bonus if I referred someone who was hired at my company so long as they worked there for at least six months. Recruiters called me trying to get me to take jobs. I am not going to live long enough (or at least work long enough) to see those days again. I’m have no nostalgia for the hypocrisy of philandering Congressmen impeaching a president over lying about a blowjob, but I am fond of a time when the deficit was going down and everyone who wanted to work had a job.

  • CAPryde

    I wonder if Bush-Gore going the other way would have changed things significantly or if the die had already been cast. I voted for Bush in that election (the Republican party hadn’t yet left me, as a pointy-headed intellectual, behind over the issues of climate change, economic inequality, and gay rights), and I sort of still wish I could have that vote back.

    • hisgirlfriday

      Depends on whether Gore’s administration would have/could have stopped 9/11.

      The post-9/11 environment provided a reprieve in the hyperpartisanship of the ’90s and the previous presidential election, but only because the Democrats in leadership decided it was better for the country that they worked with the president (at least in those early years afterward) and set aside partisan opposition to much of his agenda and skirted the highly charged rhetoric in opposing him as well.

      After seeing how McConnell and Boehner conducted their leadership and interaction with President Obama after the 2008 financial collapse, I have reason to doubt the GOP would have been so accommodating and unifying around a President Al Gore that Daschle-Gephardt were to President Bush.

  • Frumplestiltskin

    nice article, a few points, we always go through 20 year nostalgia fits. Back in 73 there was American graffiti, then Happy days on TV, the same in the 80′s with nostalgia for the 60′s. About the only time there wasn’t much nostalgia for was the 70′s.

    “Red States became increasingly immune to Democrats…while Republicans disappeared from the coasts” This might be true for Presidential runs, but Jersey and Pa. have Republican governors. And there have always been Dem. governors in red states. In fact, I daresay due to the huge swings in Congress the past 2 decades it seems absolutely safe party seats are at a long time low. In NY a Republican held seat for 100 years went to a Democrat and in NYC Weiners seat went Republican. I think voters have less patience then ever.

  • hisgirlfriday

    Are we getting a livechat for tonight’s GOP debate?

  • Levedi

    On a purely personal aesthetic level, what I hate about 90s nostalgia is watching my college age students walk around in their version of glammed up 90s clothes. It’s like watching a historical re-enactment by people who got their costuming notes from watching two episodes of Blossom and Full House. And the clothes look even dumber than they did when I was a teen. One of my students told me the other day that she’d just discovered this new band called Nirvana and I almost cried.

  • Oldskool

    Meh, if you weren’t around in the 1960′s, you have no idea how bizarre a decade can be. Everything since has been dull in comparison. Example, the whole red state/blue states rivally was in full force, including plenty of violence, during the civil rights movement.

    As we speak, culture warrior Newt Gingrich is knocking Romney’s teeth down his throat. Go Newt.

    • Traveler51

      I read comments here about 3 times a week. Don’t comment very often myself as I seem to learn more with my ears (eyes) open and my mouth (keyboard) shut. After awhile distinct thought processes of the commenters seem to come into view and for the most part my interjections are unnecessary because someone else usually types out what’s on my mind anyway, and usually in a more succinct efficient way. I follow Oldskool closely and find myself in agreement with his usually humorous but accurate observations on most of the subject matter. As a 1969 HS graduate myself, I consider him my ghostwriter. Looking forward to your ongoing input, Oldskool. Bob

      • Oldskool

        A check is in the mail, Bob.

        Ya know what’s funny is how the powers-that-be who misguided the party troops for umpteen years suddenly they think they can call off the dogs and point em in another direction. But it’s too late cause them dogs are rabid.

  • Graychin

    Off-topic, but I’m waiting anxiously to see how the FF apologists for Romney are going to spin the whupping that their candidate took last night from Gingrich.

    I’ll bet $10,000 it’s well worth reading! :D

    (Just kidding about that bet. I don’t have that kind of money. How about $10 instead?)

    • icarusr

      You already have the Romnolines – or Romnolies (it works with or without the “n”): “Of course it was a ‘bet’ in jest, rhetorical only; the point is, Perry was proved, yet again, inaccurate in his assertions about Romney’s position. At issue is not whether someone said, ‘I bet you a million bucks it’s gonna rain’; it is that as it is raining, one candidate – Perry – is denying that he’s getting wet.”

      We are also going to hear about Gingrich’s Ted Kennedy comeback: “After forty years in Washington – of which, fifteen were spent as a lobbyist – Gingrich tried his best to turn Romney’s years in the private sector into a liability. The point was not lost, however, on the listeners: both Gingrich and Romney got the boot; Romney went on to the private enterprise; Gingrich became a ‘historian’ for Freddie Mac.”

      I am, however, interested in knowing what Frum has to say about Gingrich’s position on the Palestinians. I mean, when you come to think about it, the greatest “invented people” in the world, by any measure, are Americans. …

      • Graychin

        About those “invented people” – I never anyone who talks in terms like “invented people” explain what their vision is, long term, for the ideal ultimate status of those “invented people.”

        Those people may be “invented,” but they still exist, inconvenient as that may be.

  • ottovbvs

    The 90′s a period of self hatred. Where do these guys get this nonsense from? The Soviet Union had just collapsed and the US had had the world at its feet. Furthermore in both Bush senior and Clinton we had competent presidents and administrations. The true collapse occurred in 2001-8 in what turned out to be without question the most incompetent period of US government in my lifetime.

  • carinthia

    Gingrich is a hypocrite and a cheat. He cheated on 2 wives while they were seriously ill and he was also thrown out of the house for fraud. What’s with this generation that they would propel this bottom dweller to run the world?

    • willard landreth

      Well for one he considers himself “saved”. His past transgressions were simply “youthful” mistakes. pandering to christians is his way now. Let’s face it, this group of people is calling far too many shots and the republican field is eating it up.

      Finally, the group that finds this “man” interesting and intelligent cheered for child labor, added to their booing of a gay soldier, whooped it up for more executions and applauded letting people die for lack of health insurance. What a country!

    • icarusr

      Isn’t it great to be Catholic?

      • Graychin

        Newt was an amoral, corrupt prevaricator and serial adulterer before he was a Catholic.

        Blame it on his Southern Baptist upbringing?

        • icarusr

          Yes, but Baptists like to stone adulterers; the Universal Church, however, welcomes the sinner, as long as he repents and says his Hail Marys.

  • Ray_Harwick

    Reason’s I like these remarks:

    But by decade’s end, what little was left of the midcentury Great Consensus was not just merely dead, but really and most sincerely dead.

    It’s so gay!

    a Russian politician famously joked that the Russians were going to do the worst thing yet to the United States. For the first time since Pearl Harbor, “We will leave you without an enemy” to unite the USA.

    The Russians were wrong. Maybe Reagan got to be the guy who jeered the collapse of the USSR, but it was on His watch that the Religious Right got ushered into the White House. And the Religious Right had an **immediate** replacement for the USSR – Gays.

    Don’t you remember, Telly? 1982 was the year the AIDS crisis hit this country. It was called the “gay plague” and Ronnie couldn’t bring himself to mention it. The 1990s was when Congress, before **any** state permitted gays to marry, passed the Defense of Marriage Act.

    Senate vote: 85-14
    House vote: 342-67

    A nation united once again! Praise Jesus! The new boogy-man the nation needed.

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