Society changes all


Stephen Hornsby-Smith

Is America truly a Ferrari driven like a lawn mower ? No! It is even in the most alarming or dysfunctional issues that the world learns American desire for self-transformation that is often a result of the unique American Society and not by just hard cold economic facts ! Let me explain for a moment....? The film 'Revolutionary Road' depicts the decline of hopes and dreams of post world war 2 generation America who can not quench a thirst for 'life is greener on the other side' in contrast to the perceived tedium and conformism of middle-class America's prosaic lives. But it seems fitting to reflect on the actual concept of the post-war period in America, and not to whine about existential angst that accompanies every social transformation.? Was the 'whine' bit a bit too strong ? From a social scientific point of view, of course people, become reduced to numbers and are pacified by objects of modern convenience, but this era is unique: America pioneered a consumer led socio-economic transformation customised by a new social entity that wasn't Bourgeois but mass production and mass mobility of a self-confident new middle-class over-night'!!


America had transferred its colonial past by reversal, and had announced its super-power status by 1945!!? How was that possible ? It was unprecedented and made possible by 'over-throwing itself by overheating. Welcome to the wiping of the stain and stigma of a society based largely upon immigrants, the persecuted, those who were evacuated from the complexities of Europe, those who were recovering from hundreds of years of slavery ,the marginalised, the poverty stricken I could go on, but I think I've made my point! But make way for the Americare-born that laid down a challenge on a global stage of 'Now we run it and what a stretch but what are you going to do about it?

These were bold statements of social arrival that over-night uncorked the European class system as Marx knew it. The Class system according to Marx did not account for being wrong footed by mass production a Ford car, TV,, washing machine and other modern conveniences ! ?! Marx had planned global revolution by bloody insurrection, but had been defeated by America defending its TV's, and hair-dryers, mass prints of Art of America in every household! This was the real deterrent ! Meanwhile all the Bourgeois jewellery ,etiquette and savoir-faire garnered over generations were relegated to being sent away to meet its end with the dregs of imperialism from Europe. I bet Marx and his merry men and not just the leaders official and unofficial of Britain didn't see that coming ?!

So, what would fill that void ? Those who'd survived world War 1 and 2, the great depression, and the beginning of the nuclear arms race, who wanted their children to have far more than they ever had ! This nouveau riche in old money enforced the rigid self-made quality of entrepreneurialism colonised all of America by Americans ! America had truly and symbolically become consumer self-driven and answerable to faith in dollars and hard graft ! The baby-boomers that followed their parents , by the 1960s were under 30 years old and numbered over half the population ! Young America was literally young, whilst their parents generation were lost to retirement. But young or naïve ? What did they know of their forebears of Dickensian like poverty transformed by competitive convenience ? At least the baby-boomers had inherited their parents' need to self-transform even at the expense of the status quo....but what were young Americans supposed to do ? They were only acting out behavioural commitment to a culture that encouraged self-transformation ? This was their unique moment of a culture that required the DNA of protest! They'd stood-up against an 18th century European superpower so why shouldn't they not remind America whose greatness was also in its capability of being vigilant against ultra vires activities even by their elected government. And why leave all the protesting to the voters when government wants to protest too !!??


It's a function of Democracy to engage all demographics and all parties at every level of government, especially in times of genuine fear and alarm like the 'Black lives matter' campaign. But in America politics has the capacity to address the world and not just its domestic scene. But just as America takes on the role as main superpower it has had to risk being responsible for the rest of the global village. When you guys vote, we have to deal with the fallout ! But that is the case for the terrain changing of the political debate too, just like sports people will become the best they can in order to establish their day job of a career in public service to a political life.

But who sets the tone for this new and original agenda? It pains me to say it, but President Trump who goes on Twitter to by-pass his own select 'Yes' and 'No' men and some women. Just as the Arab Spring worked by mobile phone coverage so Trump's team will say he's avoided being a casualty of the media, who are ironically wanting him to make a U-turn by policy on the hoof ! How does that affect Britain ? Well we tend to rely upon a line drawn in the sand by Republican Presidents but with Trump there are so many lines he's crossed according to his American opponents that it may affect the confidence of how Britons and Brexit get along in a Trump global economy under the universal post-code of America??! But even this paradox of an over-active, demanding and unique self-styled President with a plan to continue restraint in foreign and military policy , is entirely predictably unpredictable. How could he do that? He pisses-off so many people but he doesn't plunge us into war because he cares? Whatever it is he sure is creating change by originality or deviance, even if the American people may be utterly divided over him you have to admit he's a 'spin doctor in .....ways that we haven't come to terms with just yet ! ?!

Youth culture was jus one of many transformations that the baby-boomer generation demanded. Youth culture, the beatniks, the hippy revolution, the Capitalist revolution led by American business, the Civil Rights movement, the Feminist revolution, the revolt against the Draft for the Vietnam War....It was like a game show of revolution,: Who wants to be a revolutionary millionaire or a millionaire revolutionary??? .By the time of 'the Assassinations of Presidents and leaders of America' ,America was deeply divided...again ! Hang-on???? Hasn't America always been split, or at least a 2 party system of mutual accountability!! ? So whilst Europeans since 1945 have welfarised, America Has Capitalised. But would Britain have been in a different place if its mind-set wasn't so defensive, to control and provide security whilst the process of post-war recovery would take place. De-regulation was not popular at the time because we felt as though we had to cling-on and cover exits until rationing could be abolished and the military geared war time economy could be returned to civilian life, and only then would we be prepared to engage in ideological questions and the direction of Britain long-term ! So perhaps the Labour government of 1945 wasn't so ideological, they just offered comfort to an exhausted nation. So its Nationalisation programme was more about discontinuing the metaphorical factory line of history by the work force paradoxically wanting collective social mobility and social and economic self-promotion and self-transformation beyond the ideologies of Right or Left.

Indeed, even today the America of Trump who divides the American public and not just along party lines but on his contempt for certain demographics, can still be able to value the fact that a very awkward President can still avoid crippling the American economy by an errant military campaign abroad in spite of his bellicose reputation and yet conduct himself with some diplomatic acumen without having to be universally popular especially in Europe, says more about the America system that it can produce such a maverick President and yet still rely on Presidential subtlety when needed ! Of course his opponents says he is conducting a friendly fire operation on his opponents domestically but the 2 party system in a America can more than hold its own long term !

But how can America create such a divisive President but by the 'American Dream' or as I like to call it, the 'American society ' "0th century history is littered with Cold War rhetoric, but where the Soviet regime to avoid conformity, it is in the DNA of every American to launch itself into turmoil and controversy, and yet evolve to the next self-transformation. Don't be intimidated by the Presidential Candidates mutual animosity, it is just a fire-breathing dragon of rhetoric that is the American20th and 21st phenomenon of social transformation; the Stars and Stripes conflict, but they always will and will emerge renewed We could do far worse than regard either Presidential candidate as game-changer and as a game player that understands modern Britain too . All Britons ask is for America to put its foot down but not to do hand-break turns.

© 2020 Stephen Hornsby-Smith

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