Yesterday I made the trip to the Library of Congress after workÂ (as I have wanted to do for almost a year).Â The room that I was most interested in exploring to research a topic of interest had closed for the day, so I decided to read some old newspapers from the week which I was born in the year 1980.Â To my surprise a majority of the articles in the Atlanta Journal and USA Today could have easily been written this week (the week of July 27, 2009).Â If the newspapers had not been dated, and the advertisements not been for stores long gone out of business a large portion of the stories could pass for this week’s news if only a few names were changed.Â Â It’s almost as if we could recycle the old newspaper stories from the 1980′s if we just updated the photos and change the names of the players of the game.Â For example:
1. The July 28, 2009 USA Today ran an article titled “Cash for Clunkers” detailing an article about trading inÂ gas guzzlers for cars that get at least 22 miles per gallon.Â The Atlanta Journal ran a story the week of May 1, 1980 titled DOE Fails to back New Car Fuel Plan” and this story is about congress’s failure to pass a bill to require that cars get 27.5 miles per gallon by 1985 and 40 miles per gallonÂ by 1995.Â ImagineÂ how muchÂ change there would have been in the world if that legislation had passed.
2. The Atlanta Journal ran a story on May 1, 1980 titled ” Bad Health Habits Expensive” this article claims that 1.3Â % of the US population consumes 50% of US healthcare spending and the majority of those costs are related toÂ complications of being overweight or smoking tobacco.Â This week the USA today paper(July 28, 2009″Weight and Cigarettes Increase Healthcare Costs”)Â and CBS newsÂ (July 27, 2009 “Obesity takes 9% of Health Spending”) ran reports detailing how weightÂ and cigarettes smoking are the leading causes of healthcare costs.
3. Sunday May 4, 1980 theÂ Atlanta Journal ran a report titled “Â Bank Holding Firm Rescued From Speculation Bonds” This article is about the Federal Govt. bailing out a bank in PennsylvaniaÂ due to the banks bad business practices. Similar articles to this one have run in a variety of US papers over the last year.
4.Â The Atlanta Journal ran aÂ story titled “Â New Sunlamp Rules” on May 7, 1980.Â This was during the time when sunlamps (tanning beds as we now call them)Â were first determined to play a role in causing skin cancer. OnÂ July 29, 2009 the Atlanta Journal Constitution and CNN.com both ran reports that take the 1980 article farther by claiming a definite link between sunlamps and skin cancer.
(Also while browsing the advertisements I was reminded of all the stores I used to be dragged into as a child with my mother such as Davidson’s, Richway, Zayre, Service Merchandise & Rich’s.Â If you are not from the South you may have to substitute the names of long forgottenÂ retailers in your area in this stroll down memory lane.Â Oh yeah and to the person who doubted me there is evidence in the May 1-5 Atlanta Journal that Rich’s Department stores did at one time have a hair salon and a bakery… LoL Â )
These examples above areÂ only a few of the many issues that existed in the world duringÂ the month of May 1980 that still exist today.Â Â Â The US was dealing with a ground war in Afghanistan, just as we are today.Â The US President was dealing with a massive recession and economic meltdown in 1980, just as a different US President is dealing with economic turmoil today.Â There was a war going on in 1980 involvingÂ US interests in Iran and Iraq, just as there is today.Â There wereÂ bodies of US soldiers being flown back to the US in 1980, just asÂ there are today.
So you may ask what does this all mean?Â Or why should I care?Â Well if you were to ask me those questions I would sayÂ that eitherÂ history is destined toÂ repeat itself, or our leadersÂ in the past have not effectively managed the major issues of the past.Â There is basically nothing in the news today that was not in the news in 1980, so the question is; why have bad decisions not been corrected in almost 30 years?Â Â Â Well a possibleÂ reason is that those same folks who voted for the wrong decisions in 1980 areÂ still in congress they are even more powerful now, and they are still making the wrong decisions or they are afraid toÂ vote opposite of their stance 30 years ago even if they know they made a bad decision the first time around.Â Â It saddens me to know that people vote the wrong wayÂ due to political pressure, financial pressure,Â or to save face when they know what theÂ best vote or a better solution really is.
Perhaps another cause of these similar situations is that we as a people have not changed.Â Americans are still rather uninvolved in the political process, unless the issue directly affects our families.Â We do not lobby as hard to get what we want as the companiesÂ that are seeking a payday.Â We do not press our elected officials to move in a way that is best for their constituents, therefore they are free to move in ways that best fit themselves by helping those companies who promise them high paying jobs and high consulting fees once their term is expired.Â By and large most folks in the US simply don’t care much about what goes on in their state capital or the US Capitol until its much too late, and even then once the news sound bites fade away and there is another sex scandal our memories quickly fade, and our will toÂ push forÂ change dies.
Plain and simple we all need to be more educated about the recent past, and use that knowledge to form our own opinions and let those opinions be known to those we have elected to represent us.Â If they will not let the voices of the voters move them, then as voters our voices need to move someone else into their office as soon as possible.
On another note… below are some camera phone shots of the Great Hall of the Library of Congress.Â If you are ever in Washington DC you should check out the details of this building, it has lots of art in the form of statues, paintings, and architecture… in addition to the millions of books, microfilms, and periodicals.