Round Two Of The Roaring Twenties?
By Emily Harrison
The Roaring Twenties of the 20th Century was a time period in the U.S. where the nation’s wealth doubled along with a rising stock market. On the heels of a deadly pandemic and the first World War, the sudden period of peace and prosperity caused a flurry of euphoria. Social activity in America rose to dizzy heights, and a sexual revolution, as well as rejection of Victorian mores and a defiance of prohibition laws, prevailed. Young men and women wanted freedom, equality, confidence. It seemed that the world wanted to have fun, and economically, they did.
With new wealth, Americans shared in all experiences: they bought the same items, used the same language, and listened to the same music, making young people the most active of all age groups. People started to leave rural areas to migrate to cities, already making for a more active and roaring lifestyle.
Every activity became packed with fun and new technology: new products like radios, cars, and telephones became more common in U.S. households. Not only were products the spark to this wave of energy, but America’s victory in World War I was beyond exhilarating. This celebration created an opportunity for Americans to take pride in their country and not take it for granted.
Flash forward 100 years. As of mid-March 2020, the U.S. will have reached the one year mark of the first coronavirus case reported. What became a global pandemic caused economic shutdowns, skyrocketing unemployment rates, approximately 400,000 American deaths and many more hospitalizations. It is crazy to think that the people of America and those around the world have been living life in a completely different manner for almost a year now.
The U.S., along with many other countries, have suffered a devastating blow socially, economically, and politically.
But now that 2020 is finally over and distribution of vaccines have begun, things may take another euphoric turn. In the U.S. people are starting to think about what life will be like post-pandemic. The sense that the nation’s mood will rise, is common.
Which begs the question: will the “Roaring Twenties” of a century ago, come roaring back to life? The lack of social interaction that people have suffered may propel the desire for people to congregate socially like never before.
We all know what happened toward the end of the 1920s: The decade deflated and settled into what became known as the Great Depression, ruining any last bit of fun for everyone, young and old. This economic drought following a stock market crash in 1929 was quite the opposite of how Americans were living before the Depression hit. As for the U.S., one-hundred years later, we are in a different kind of downfall that has affected people more socially and economically than anything.
However strange the similarities leading up to the 1920s and 2020s may be, the end result is widely believed to be quite different. Since the first case of coronavirus, nothing has been the same and it never will be; but any glimmer of hope pointing toward a hint of normalcy is what keeps the people of America going every day.
Lots of people around the world are getting creative in ways to stay entertained while still following the regulations and guidelines of COVID-19. In Slovakia, for instance, May 2020 partiers gathered outside in sectioned-off, social-distanced squares to dance and enjoy the presence of others. If people are feeling this need to be social, while socially distanced with masks, then it is going to be the Roaring Twenties all over again once COVID-19 is defeated and the world’s citizens are unshackled.
The result may have no likeness to the speak-easy craze of the 1920s, the abundance of wealth and luxury, but the freedom to celebrate with family and friends, to shop with no urgency and no worries, to dine with whomever we choose indoors, to date, to connect, to go to a movie theatre, may be more joyous than ever before.
In order to be able to celebrate like people once did, however, it is important now more than ever to follow the guidelines that have been issued by the CDC since this health crisis began.
People’s social lives will pick up speed again once Americans can band together to defeat this virus. Even though 2020 was a year like no other, there is a hopeful future full of energy, joy, and community once more.