Where did the American united national character go?
by btchakir, Thu May 19, 2011 at 06:55:58 PM EDT
A long time ago, in my youth in Connecticut, I remember a really different country than we have now. I didn't learn about the Federal Government through C-Span, which, of course, didn't exist back then, but through the Bristol Press and the Hartford Courant (and, occasionally, the Waterbury Republican.) These were the newspapers that came to our house, either by paper boy or by my father bringing them home at night from the Bristol Pharmacy after the 10 PM close. My parents were moderate Republicans (a concept which doesn't seem to exist any more), but some of my family were Democrats (My Uncle Pete, my Grandfather, my Aunt Helen... etc.) They all got along together. And they were part of a middle class that spent my first thirty years on this globe (I'm 65 next Tuesday) increasing their social and financial strength in a growing economy that was available to most of the population...not just the top 1%. I tripped over a quote from President Dwight D. Eisenhower, a two term Republican and hero of WWII... Republicans and Democrats respected the man... that relates to our latest political conflict. Ike said this on November 8, 1954:
"Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes that you can do these things. Among them are a few Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or businessman from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid."
Now it seems that those of negligible number or obvious stupidity are no longer a tiny splinter group, but a small control force with names like Koch Brothers, or Rupert Murdoch, or Grover Norquist, who are adamantly against the country solving it's economic problems by fair taxation of all economic levels. Nor do they want the remaining middle class, or the even poorer classes that much of that middle class is joining, to have access to adequate Social Security (if they have access to it at all) or Medicare or Medicaid or Food Stamps... you pick out any of the civil advancements we've made over the decades and it seems that this small control force is guiding the Republican Congress members into national devastation. Part of their secret weapon in defying Ike's prediction is in the creation of the Tea Party... getting a group of middle class or lower people to commit crippling torments on themselves... and then blaming progressives, and, indeed, our President for them. How did the rich get the not rich to carry out their self mutilation? One way was to spend lots of money on Republican politicians, on political lies during elections and on encouraging racial and social segregation feelings among folks with a history of the same and a minimum of intellectual dexterity. You can tie this to a previous administration (Read Bush II) that decimated the money kept aside for Social Security, leaving filing cabinets loaded with IOUs that were never intended to be paid while they cut the settled tax rates for the very rich... tax rates that never stopped them either being rich or getting richer ... leaving no more expected income for the needs of government. And the Tea Party folks BELIEVED all this crap. What must the laughs have been like at the Koch Brothers family cocktail gatherings? What was John Boehner's thoughts of getting progressive legislation stopped as he played at his golf outings? Those of us entering the world of Social Security/Medicare supported retirement have much different thoughts. Those who will retire ten years from now have even less positive expectations to think about. I am frustrated with much of what is happening... and aside from making statements in my blog, or on my podcast or on the Friday Morning radio show where I am a co-host... don't see what I can really do about it. I continue to vote and never miss an election, but my level of winning, the level of any progressives winning, is well below 50%... I live in the midst of conservatives and small thinkers, and of Democrats who might as well be Republicans. We have Corporations that are treated by our Supreme Court's conservative majority as individual citizens, with no control of the money spent by such private power. We have oil companies that make billions in profits, but receive billions from our government as subsidies. There is another President, even earlier than Eisenhower, who also had a vision of what could happen in our society:
"The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism — ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. ”
Be afraid, my friends. Be very afraid.