While I was reading Zinn’s “The Unreported Resistance,” I learned quite a bit about the late twentieth century and saw many connections between government issues and activism back then as well as in present-day America. One of the main points that stuck out to me while I was reading was the idea that many of the injustices that the public protested so passionately against during the sixties, seventies, eighties, and nineties are injustices that are still seen and fought against today. It made sad and a bit discouraged to see how, despite advances in certain areas, we are still faced with the same inequalities and still fighting the same battles that we were half a century ago. Some examples of these commonalities include the mass incarceration rate of poor people, specifically poor Black people, in response to widespread poverty. Both then and now, welfare was seen as a dirty word that people and politicians wanted to avoid. However, as pointed out by Zinn, people in general wanted to help and give more resources to the poor, with one poll showing 64% of people saying they supported guaranteeing food and shelter for needy people (612). The rights of the poor and oppressed have been overlooked since the foundation of this country, rather favoring policies that help the rich stay rich at the expense of the poor, and protect wealthy corporations that exploit the poor in the name of capitalism. Another example of common issues seen both today and throughout the period Zinn discusses is the fight for equal protection and reparations for Native Americans. Widespread opposition to the celebration of Columbus Day was first seen in 1992, a movement that is still continuing, with some but not widespread success. The wealthy, corporation-focused capatalist government of America was too concerned with the economic successes of the rich and the illusion of the “American Dream” to recognize and attempt to ammend the pain, suffering, and death they caused to get there, and it appears that this is still a fight that must be taken on by the people today.
Another part of Zinn’s chapter that specifically stood out to me were the quotes about the imperalism and international interference of America and our troops, despite the fact that our government is unable to solve the problems domestically it claims to solve, and ultimately creates, in other countries abroad. The quote on page 625 by historian Marilyn Young demonstrates the superiority complex of the United States in thinking that we have the authority to invade whoever we want and take whatever resources we want, while not even having the power to solve our own domestic issues of poverty, race relations, health care, infrastructure, drug addiction, mass incarceration, and more. As usual, Zinn’s chapter helped shed light on an issue I was already relatively aware of. His chapter provided me with information to drive home the point that America was not made and is not meant for all types of people, and that we will continue to see these same issues for decades and centuries to come if we do not shift the priorities of the government from the top ten percent to the general public it is actually meant to serve.