With all the buzz around the Republican National Convention this week and Mitt Romney’s acceptance of the Republican nomination, I thought it would be interesting to look at the historical parallels from the era of Angel. She would have been twelve years old in the summer of 1972, which started out with the Watergate break-in and ended with the Munich massacre, the terrorist attack on Israeli athletes at the Olympic Games. The Democratic Convention was in July in Miami, with George McGovern and Thomas Eagleton as the nominees. The RNC was also held in Miami, with incumbent Richard Nixon and his Vice President Spiro Agnew as the stars of the show and Anne Armstrong of Texas being the first woman ever to deliver a keynote at a national convention. Pat Nixon gave a speech as well, setting the precedent for First Ladies in what has become tradition.The air was charged with war protests and “Women’s Lib.” Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven and Don McLean’s American Pie were hit songs.
Like my character Angel, I was an adolescent at the time. I definitely looked the part of a child of the seventies with my long hair parted in the middle, peasant shirts and wide legged pants. But east Tennessee was far from Miami, and I was much more concerned with band camp and the start of another school year than with a presidential election that seemed to be no contest, or international affairs that seemed a world away. My coming of age over the next few years, however, would be against the backdrop of a president’s and vice president’s resignations, the energy crises, a recession and the ending of the Vietnam era —all things which are part of our collective past as a country. And here we are, forty years later but still a young nation, with a whole new array of issues, debates and controversies. We’re still cheering, ranting and raving, taking our stand, fighting for whatever it is we believe is right.
This is who we are, a dynamic, evolving society that brings its challenges to the public square with the full range of human expression, from civilized discourse to overt violence. We experience victory and defeat, we are both inspired and disappointed in our leaders, we hurt and we heal. But time marches on and so we keep moving forward towards maturity as individuals and as a country. As for all of that, from way back when? Well–it’s history.