Unit 9: 2010's

Intro 2010's.mp4

The 2010's

Unit Objective

The 2010's were a big decade for growth and innovation as we go from one extreme to the next.  The decade begins with the United States recovering from the economic recession that began in 2007 and the world was getting used to a new normal of self expression, personal worth and social media.  Programs like Facebook and YouTube changed the way people interact with one another,the way companies market to us and the way politicians get elected or influence the nation.  The decade sees vast freedoms on social media explored and the increased use of the internet raises concerns about deception and the spread of misinformation. Social media platforms like Facebook testify before congress about how it collects personal data on users and sells that information to marketers and influencers.  And platforms like Twitter ban the use of paid political ads noting the power of social media and that influence on their platform should be earned rather than bought. 

Fake news or the spread of misinformation increased dramatically in the decade with a phenomenon known as Truth Decay, diminishing our ability to agree on even the most basic of facts.  As Americans gain instant access to more information, the ability to decipher which information is credible and which information is false becomes increasingly challenging. As technology continues to improve, it is also able to categorize users and customize their news feeds to reflect their personal beliefs.  This digital divide eventually leads to a mass political divide and political organizations like the Tea Party emerge to leverage this frustration with politics through the use of social media and internet chat forums to curate content for niche political ideologies and “personalized” messaging to gain a political advantage.

Political ideologies continued to erode in 2010 when the Affordable Care Act became law and gave every American access to affordable healthcare regardless of finances or pre-existing conditions.  This was the first major step - since the passage of the HMO act in the 1970s which made medicine a for profit business - to make healthcare more affordable for the average American as health care costs continue to rise.  In addition, the 2010's also welcomed the legalization of same sex marriages at a national level marking it illegal to deny a couple the right to be wed based on sexual orientation.  This move afforded millions of Americans basic rights they had been denied for generations - things like access to hospital rooms for sick spouses, shared insurance, tax benefits and the feeling of equality.  By the end of the decade more change occurred as countless states began to legalize the recreational use of marijuana effectively ending the national war on drugs.

All of this progressive legislation caused significant backlash and these programs were often labeled as an affront on American values by the opposition.  By 2015 there was a significant rise in hate speech and a resurgence of hate groups throughout the United States.  

In 2016, with a message of “Make America Great Again” backed by anti-immigration and anti-regulation policies, President Trump won the presidential election and turned America upside down.   Trump virtually eliminates the presidential daily press briefing; instead sending out "Tweets" as a way to share his message.  President Trump’s messages vary from policy decisions to his feelings on recent news stories and often include  incendiary, confrontational and inaccurate information.  

Trump refused to conform to the traditions of the Office of President of the United States or its ethics guidelines and many believe he repeatedly violated the constitution.  In December of 2019 President Trump became only the 3rd President in American history to be impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives.  President Trump was ultimately impeached for working with a foreign power to advance his campaign for reelection. Trump is joined by President Johnson and President Clinton as the only presidents to ever be officially impeached, however, none were removed from office.

As the 2010's come to an end the United States is at a crossroads with technology, government and the basic ideology of the nation.  If the 2010's taught us anything it is that more change is coming in the 2020's and none of us have any idea what it is going to be.