11 Ways 2015 Is Basically Just The '90s All Over Again, From Another Clinton Vs. Bush Showdown To Racial Riots On Repeat
They say that everything old is new again, and I guess there's some truth to it, because 2015 is basically just the 1990s all over again. Everywhere you look, it seems like you see flannel shirts, high-waisted shorts, and platform sneakers. The brands of our childhood are coming back, comic books are in, and superhero franchises are taking over. But the parallels between now and the '90s extend far past pop culture — history is literally repeating itself.
There are some things in modern history that can be depended upon in recent times: upheaval in the Middle East, changing cultural morals, and political shenanigans. But the parallels between our current events and those of the '90s are actually rather alarming. While we've been busy talking about nostalgia and debating the fashion of Doc Martin boots, history has been replaying in the background. Even more concerning is the fact that we don't seem to notice, and we haven't seemed to learn.
The '90s was an era of transition, upheaval, and discovery as the United States grew more culturally aware and advanced. But take a look at some of the major headline stories from the '90s — especially 1992 — and ask yourself if we've actually come all that far.
1. Bush And Clinton Vie For The White House
In 1992, Bill Clinton challenged incumbent President George H. W. Bush for the White House, marking the first Bush v. Clinton election. In 2015, Hillary Clinton takes on Jeb Bush for the same prize.
2. And It's A Bitter Fight For The Presidency
Clinton attempted to wrest the presidency away from Bush after only one term, resulting in a fierce race as he hammered Bush about the economy. In 2015, Jeb and Hillary have set their eyes on each other, producing attack ads as early as the primary and even getting into Photoshop battles on Twitter.
3. The Clinton Campaign Is Rife With Scandals
Before even being elected, Bill Clinton's campaign was besieged by rumors of an alleged affair with Gennifer Flowers. Thus far, his wife's campaign has been dogged by questions surrounding her use of a private email address during her time as secretary of state.
4. An Eccentric Billionaire Is Also Seeking The Highest Office In The Land
A billionaire named Ross Perot threw his hat in the ring in 1992 and succeeded in becoming one of the most successful third-party candidates ever, helping to contribute to Bush's demise. Currently, outspoken billionaire Donald Trump picks up support from the Republican Party and may hurt Jeb Bush's shot at the nomination.
5. The X-Files, Full House, and Jurassic Park Are Currently Being Filmed
Just in case you forgot how much of the '90s culture is truly coming back, these big hits of the '90s are being rebooted, re-filmed, and re-optioned currently. Each one was a reflection of culture at the time — distrust of government, fears over genetic engineering, and normalizing the non-nuclear family.
6. Concerns Over Same-Sex Couples Dominate Headlines
The '90s saw a continuation of the AIDS panic that had consumed the previous decade, and as same-sex couples fought for rights, they were stigmatized. In 1996, Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage as a union between a male and female. In 2015, the Supreme Court made same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states — though the decision is still being debated and protested by some.
7. Footage Of Police Brutality Sparks Racial Riots
Four white LAPD officers were caught on film beating Rodney King, a black taxi driver. The video enraged the black community, and when a court found the four officers not guilty, Los Angeles erupted in racially-charged protests and riots. From Ferguson to Baltimore, 2015 saw a resurgence in the discussion of police brutality and the rise of the #BlackLivesMatter movement that was born out of social media.
8. U.S. Offers Humanitarian Aid To Refugees Fleeing From Civil War
In the early '90s, thousands of Somali refugees fled from the civil war that was destroying their country. Attempts at humanitarian aid for the refugees were largely unsuccessful, and the majority have still not been resettled in Somalia. Currently, the civil war in Syria has produced close to 4 million refugees throughout Europe and is becoming a full-on crisis.
9. Bernie Sanders Is Seeking Public Office
Admittedly, Bernie Sanders has run for office routinely since the '70s. But in 1992, he was running to keep his position as a Vermont representative. Today, Sanders is again running for office — this time for the White House — and his tenacity hasn't wavered.
10. North Korea Is Suspected Of Building Nuclear Bombs
In the early '90s, although the world was positive that North Korea was building nuclear weapons, the country adamantly denied the allegations. But in 1992, they finally gave in to pressure, admitted they were trying to build nuclear weapons, and signed a non-proliferation treaty. Today, it appears that the country has made progress toward building nuclear weapons, as satellite images indicate large-scale uranium mines.
11. The FDA Approves Controversial New Advancement In Women's Reproductive Health
In 1991, the FDA approved Norplant, an implant that functioned as a five-year contraceptive. But within several years of being approved, side effects relating to the implant began to gain traction in the media as the contraceptive measure became more and more controversial. It was eventually recalled in the 2000s. This year, the FDA approved Addyi, a "female viagra" that caused a stir in headlines and was heralded and panned in equal measure.
Clearly the past has come back to haunt us, because the '90s are here and kicking. And if Hillary Clinton wins the presidency, we'll be in yet another Clinton presidency and further prove my point. History is apparently cyclical — but let's just hope we figure out how to go forward, instead of back.
Image: Wikimedia Commons