Most textbooks simplify the fall of the Roman Empire by saying it was in 476, when the last emperor was deposed, though they also tend to admit that many events led up to that point, and that a shell of that civilization lingered on long afterwards.
This election year has me in a frame of mind to ask when will future historians say that the American Republic fell? Let’s say that some history textbook being written 5000 years from now has to simplify our inevitable end and pinpoint a single year for it. What year would that be?
By “fall” here I primarily mean the end of constitutional standards for government, and perhaps secondarily the standard of living–economically and morally–that those defined limits helped prosper.
Right off the bat, I might opt for 2012, the year when the Supreme Court upheld the obviously awful “Affordable Care Act” on the flimsiest of corrupt excuses, and the year in which America chose to retain a failure of a president despite having a reasonable, even a compelling, alternative, purely to advertise their own social righteousness.
You might think that saying “The year of our fall is still far in the future” is a mark of optimism, but I’m inclined to say the opposite–that’s only a feeling that things can still get much, much worse.
Still, I think most of us will agree by now that the year we tipped over past the point of no return can’t be any later than 2016.
Please leave your pick for the last good American year and your reasoning in the comments.