supervision of voter registration in states and individual voting districts where such tests were being used. The act had an immediate and positive effect for African Americans. In 1965, Mississippi had the highest black voter turnout at 74% and led the nation in the number of black public officials elected. Atlanta elected its First black mayor, Andrew Young, as did Jackson, Mississippi, with Harvey Johnson, Jr., and New Orleans, with Ernest Morial. Black politicians on the state level included first Southern woman Barbara Jordan, elected to the Texas house of as Representatives.
Julian Bond was elected to the Georgia State Legislature in 1965. On April 4, 1968 Dr King was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, and Riots broke out in black neighborhoods in more than 110 cities across the United States in the days that followed, notably in Chicago, Baltimore, and in Washington, D.C. The damage done in many cities destroyed black businesses and homes, and slowed economic development for a generation. But Americans were not deterred. America ushered into an era of real vibrant Democracy with participation of all. But it took America nearly two hundred years to let all enjoy the fruit of freedom and liberty, with real equality still eluding the nation. Economic inequality was destroying the American Dream. The deindustrialization of the late 1960s and early 1970s manipulated by American Bankers and Multinational companies to enhance their own fortunes, forced income inequality to increase dramatically to levels never seen before.
On August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King Jr., prominent figure of the Civil Rights Movement, stood before the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC and delivered his iconic “I Have A Dream” speech. Here was a turning point in the history of America.
Supporters of this illconceived deindustrialization wrote death warrants for American Dream, domestic Industry and the Middle Class; the economists and most policy makers across the isles pointed to the fact that consumers could buy so many goods, even with the inflation of the 1970s, as evidence that the general shift away from manufacturing and into services was creating widespread prosperity. In 2008 economic disasters hit the country and indeed the entire world. 8.8 million jobs were lost and many for forever by July 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The worst recession since the great depression began with the collapse of housing prices and the construction industries all around USA.
Wall Street in New York: Symbol of America’s economic power
Millions of mortgages mostly averaging about $200,000 each had been bundled into exotic financial instruments/securities called collateralized debt obligations that were resold worldwide. Many banks and hedge funds had borrowed hundreds of billions of dollars to buy these securities, which were now “toxic” because their value was unknown and no one wanted to buy them. Number of largest US and European banks collapsed; some went bankrupt, such as Lehman Brothers with $690 billion in assets; others such as the leading insurance company AIG, the leading bank Citigroup, and the two largest mortgage companies were bailed out by the government.
Congress voted $700 billion in bailout money ($418 billion actual disbursement) under the program, and the Treasury and Federal Reserve committed trillions of dollars to shoring up the financial system, but the measures did not reverse the declines. Banks drastically tightened their lending policies, despite infusions of federal money. The government for the first time took major ownership positions in the largest banks. The stock market plunged 40%, wiping out tens of trillions of dollars in wealth; housing prices fell 20% -30% nationwide wiping out trillions more. By late 2008 distress was spreading beyond the financial and housing sectors, especially as the “Big Three” of the automobile industry; General Motors, Ford and Chrysler were on the verge of bankruptcy, and the retail sector showed major weaknesses.
The Critics of the $700 billion Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) expressed anger that much of the TARP money that has been distributed to the rich at Wall Street rather then saving the common people who lost their jobs, houses and life savings. In an international study, Americans ranked 11th in happiness and a discouraging 24th in economy. Another study of 8th graders found only 7 percent of American students rated advanced in mathematics compared to 47 and 48 percent in Singapore and South Korea. Our President, according to a Forbes power rating, comes in second behind Vladimir Putin. Yet, the United States is the world leader and likely to remain there for decades. It has the greatest soft power in the world by far.
The United States still receives far more immigrants each year (1 million) than any other country in the world. The United States leads the world in high technology (Silicon Valley), finance and business (Wall Street), the movies (Hollywood) and higher education (17 of the top 20 universities in the world in Shanghai’s Jaotong University survey). The United States has a First World trade profile (massive exports of consumer and technology goods and imports of natural resources).
It is still the world’s leader for FDI at 180 billion dollars, almost twice its nearest competitor. The United States, spending 560 billion dollars a year, has the most powerful military in the world. Its GDP (16 trillion dollars) is more than twice the size of China’s GDP. As the first new nation, it has the world’s longest functioning democracy in a world filled with semidemocratic or non-democratic countries. Its stock market, at an all time high, still reflects American leadership of the global economy.
For the past 80 years, the United States is the leader in fundamental advances in telecommunications and technology. AT&T’s Bell Laboratories spearheaded the American technological revolution with a series of inventions including the light emitted diode (LED), the transistor, the C programming language, and the UNIX computer operating system. SRI International and Xerox PARC in Silicon Valley helped give birth to the personal computer industry, while ARPA and NASA funded the development of the ARPANET and the Internet. In Physics and Chemistry, Americans have dominated the Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine since World War II. US biomedical research has played a key role in the advancement of diagnosis, medicines, cure and patient care in the world. America’s Walmart is the world’s largest public corporation.
According to the Fortune Global 500 list in 2014, Walmart is the biggest private employer in the world with over two million employees with 11,000 stores in 27 countries, and the largest retailer in the world with a revenue of US $ 476.294 billion. US Entertainment Industry is world leader and generated $522 billion dollars in revenue in 2013. The United States with over $ 48 Billion Dollars; is the world’s leading donor of government aid to other countries, distributing twice as much as any other nation. Besides, another $30 Billion was given by US foundations, Corporations, religious organizations, Universities, Private and voluntary organization.
As the old political saying goes, you can’t beat someone with no one. And, right now, there is no one on the horizon that will overtake or even seriously challenge the United States, however ailing, for at least the next decade or two. I salute the great nation, its vibrant democracy and its people, as we celebrate Independence of America.