Caring About Politics

Excerpt from “Caring About Politics” by David Brooks and Gail Collins, New York Times, July 11, 2012

David Brooks: I was going through the decades of the 20th century to try to see which of them were primarily political decades. That is to say, was the most important thing that happened that decade political or not? In at least half the decades, politics was the most important thing that happened, though to be fair in the happier decades politics took a back seat. I think this vindicates my feeling that anybody who is not paying close attention [to politics] is not paying attention to the one of the main arenas of life in their time.

You can try to ignore politics, but it won’t ignore you.

My results follow:

1900s — Industrialization. Not Political.

1910s — World War I. Political.

1920s — Consumer culture and beginning of mass prosperity. Not Political.

1930s — The New Deal. Political.

1940s — World War II. Political.

1950s — Suburbanization. Not Political.

1960s — New Frontier, Civil Rights, Vietnam. Political.

1970s — Feminism. Not Political.

1980s — Reagan Revolution. Capitalist Revival. Semi-Political.

1990s — Silicon Valley. Not Political.

2000s — 9/11, Afghanistan and Iraq. Political.

This entry was posted in Opinion.

2 comments on “Caring About Politics

  1. Sharissa Young says:

    That the author propose that feminism is not political or even “semi-political” in his parlance indicates a categorization problem that undermines his credibility, in my opinion. If anything, understanding feminism as a political issue would serve to add credence to his hypothesis that politics underlies the most important aspect of life in many decades.

  2. Sheila says:

    Great history reminder.

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