"The U.S. of Awesome"picks up, ironically, in 1975 with a not-so-awesome dark cloud hanging over the country. America, many believed, had "peaked" and was now on a steady decline. Five years into the new decade, Americans found themselves standing in long lines hoping to get to the pump before yet another gas station closed – all the while asking, "How did it all go so wrong so quickly?" Defeat in Vietnam, the resignation of a President, an oil crisis at home, and hostages in the Middle East... was this the end of the greatest "empire" since Rome?
Strangely enough, an awesome victory in an Olympic hockey game coupled with the election of a former B-list movie star was all it took to put America back on the map. "Reaganomics" ushered in an awesome new era of domestic prosperity and international toughness. When the Soviets were challenged to "tear down this wall"... they actually did. The demolition of the Berlin Wall in 1989 was only the start of something awesome. Two years later, the unthinkable happened. In 1991, Americans awoke Christmas morning and received the most awesome gift ever: the Soviet Union had fallen. The Cold War was over... and America had outlasted its red enemy.
This newfound swagger gave the U.S. the confidence it needed to reassert itself around the globe. An awesomely high-tech (albeit limited) skirmish in the sand in 1991 saw the U.S. shake off fears of "another Vietnam" and remind the world that it'll willingly bring democracy to any country that threatens the independence of its allies (especially if they are of the oil-bearing kind). In a funny way, the national mood of the 1990s was like that of the 1950s. Both were awesome times of low unemployment and high expectations. Both were awesome decades of seemingly unending contentment (even if it was only surface-deep). The Internet created awesome new ways to do just about everything. Music, TV shows, and life in general was... awesome. Even an impeachment trial, a controversial election, a horrifying terrorist attack, and an economic decline couldn't shake the new poured foundation of a smarter, faster, and stronger country. The election of an African-American to the office of President in 2008 only further demonstrated that America had recognized the failures of its past, addressed its shortcomings, and was ready to lead the world. In short, the U.S. was awesome once again.