Making things worse
Superpowers were a priority for kids in the '80s, because our Russian foes were strong like bear. The only Soviet super-athletes not killing our movie champions in unsportsmanlike conduct were defecting here to steal huge scholarships from underprivileged chess-playing computers. This paranoia was red hot by the '90s! It wasn't till shortly after the Berlin Wall fell that we realized they were but pawns of the Soviet state, thanks to the attitude-changing documentary Gym-Kata 2: Ring Around the Russkie.
It turned out okay, though
Communism was an empty threat by the mid-'90s, but the psychological damage was done. To this day, Americans fear sharing. That, in turn, means more money to fill the emptiness in our lives with mercantile goods! Wooooo! I'ma buy me a jetski! I thank my God I'm a 'Merican!
What was scary about it
Did you have sex after 1989? Holy condoms, Batman, you have AIDS! When you got done watching TV in the '90s, you knew two things: all clothes should be be denim, and two virgins having premarital sex causes AIDS.
HIV is not just a mere thing like a deadly pandemic. That bastard hates everything fun in life, like sex, heroin, and taking other people's blood. It also hates good music, dropkicking Freddie Mercury but leaving hair bands (margarine to glam rock's butter) free to screech their way into their own VH1 shows.
Thank heaven we finally found a cure for Vince Neil