Part I: Were We Always Like This? What William Basinski saw on September 11th, 2001 was a government epiphany. It's easy to say there's a clear difference between pre and post 9/11 American societies simply due to heightened airport security that should have been there in the first place. America's history for the last half of a century shows no difference though, there was just now something tangible to justify it. It wasn't the “Spreading of communism” which makes you wonder why we were bombing rice farmers with zero concept of socioeconomics into oblivion. It was now “They flew planes into the World Trade Centers and also have weapons capable of mass destruction” while carefully forgetting to mention where those weapons may have come from. It's hard to believe, but there was a time where America wasn't distorted by corporation friendly politics and an undying love for showing everyone just exactly what “Democracy” means. The Revolutionary War still stands as the easiest to explain conflict in our history, it's clear as day. Americans wanted their independence from a tyrannical government so they fought through buckets of blood for it. Yet, there is something often lost in discussion. It wasn't all just a bunch of random men ready for a brutal fight against a massive British army, they were backed by powerful French and Spanish armies as well. That's always been our persona though, a bunch of stray idiots who just happen to hold all of the world's power in their palm without question. Bush humanized that. There seems to always be a layer to American History, including the dark irony that while fighting for freedom, slavery was huge and we we're consistently taking away the freedoms of Natives. Nobody can tell The United States what do though. Thomas Jefferson couldn't even stop himself as he called slavery “The greatest threat to the survival of the new nation” while owning upwards of 200 slaves. A prophecy? Yes. Was it acted upon? No. The War of 1812 was caused by the United States trading with France when Britain said not to. Conflict over conscience. We only converge when surrounded by blood. Part II: What Do We Stand For? There was a time when half of the country fought to keep blacks enslaved and it is somehow surprising that the same country may still mistreat that population. The bloodiest conflict in our nation's history still, Jefferson was right. 163 years before we elected the definition of incompetent after having a president who had great character, but ultimately failed in his seat of office, there was Franklin Pierce and James Buchanan. The former was a anti-abolitionist people pleaser who couldn't do anything for a fracturing nation while the latter was just an obnoxious centrist that literally both bought slaves as well as freed them and couldn't help a single soul if he wanted to. Then the unanimous saint of America came into office. Abraham Lincoln would cause the south to recognize the 10th amendment to its limits and to a much larger extent, their disgusting practice was actually in danger. Law was entirely in the south's favor and believing they would notice the moral horrors of slavery was a political pipe dream. So it happened, we actually had to fight a devastating war over something that had been outlawed by our allies for decades or even centuries. We've never been the ultra progressive society that we love to portray. It goes far beyond our current president. The Emancipation Proclamation was signed on January 1st, 1863. I wonder if there were political commentators back then saying black people shouldn't fear for their lives just because a piece of paper was signed. Regardless, the slaves were legally free. Where would they go and what did they have? Nowhere and nothing. They had to stay in the same place that just saw them as property and lesser beings. To make matters worse, Lincoln was assassinated and replaced by the bigoted Andrew Johnson. A man who halted reconstruction to such a degree that he was impeached although for whatever reason they just couldn't remove him nor would the greatest heel dragger in political history resign. It would take 36 years after Lincoln's death to get another leader of his caliber. Before Bush, there was another cowboy that shifted American politics forever.