1980 — Ronald Reagan is elected President

The 1980 United States presidential election was among the most bitterly fought of the Twentieth Century. Four years after the electorate had punished them for Watergate and Vietnam, the Republicans roared back into power behind Ronald Reagan, who crushed sitting President Jimmy Carter, winning 44 of the 50 states in the Electoral College. Carter’s defeat set a number of records for a Democratic President – none of them good.

Under Reagan, the United States would spend the 1980s being increasing bellicose and interventionist, just at the time that the USSR was collapsing under the weight of its own contradictions. Domestically, he began the trend of deregulation and globalization that led to such triumphs as the 2008 Global Financial Crisis. His eight years as President are still remembered by Republicans as a golden age, thus disproving the notion that viagra has no psychological side effects.

Referenced in:
Ignoreland — R.E.M.
(We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thang — Heaven 17

1804 — Sacajawea joins the Lewis and Clark expedition

Probably the most famous member of Shoshone tribe of North American Indians, Sacajawea (or Sacagawea, depending on your translation) is best-remembered as the native guide who helped Meriwether Lewis and William Clark on their journey up the Missouri river, and on to the Pacific Ocean.

Sacajawea was vital to the success of the mission, as without her knowledge of the Shoshone tongue, Lewis and Clark would not have been able to barter with that tribe for badly needed supplies. Lewis and Clark tended to refer to her as ‘the Indian woman’ in their journals – but those same journals make it very clear that the entire expedition would likely have died, either from starvation or encounters with hostile Indians, without her knowledge of the lands, tribes and tongues of the areas they explored, and her apparently considerable skills in diplomacy.

Referenced in:

Black Man — Stevie Wonder

1957 – “Leave it to Beaver” is first broadcast

Leave It To Beaver was one of the most popular and well-known sitcoms of its era, and is still in repeats even today. It was one of the first sitcoms filmed from the point of view of a child, and it helped to create the iconic vision of the American family – suburban, middle class, and so on. When people talk about the ‘good old days’ of the Fifties in America, all too often they are actually thinking of the kind of idealized family and community depicted on Leave It To Beaver.

Referenced in:

I Love America – Alice Cooper