Apr 20, 2011 Ken Jackson Uncategorized
“There’s nothing to fear but fear itself” was once stated boldly by a President faced with global upheaval and national economic depression. Programs were put in place that guaranteed a responsibility for the federal government as statistics indicated that our collective living conditions were abysmal. Surplus food and staples were made available at armories or other distribution points depending on the locality.
Soldiers returning from war had the G.I. Bill and other supports that enabled home ownership for many as America expanded and dominated the manufacturing world. Social Security and myriad other programs targeted the out of work American by creating projects that built parks and other infrastructure. As we entered our golden era of production, we made everything here: washing machines, air conditioning; the list would take pages.
Beneath the expanding nation were remnants of bondage which denied opportunity available to most Americans based on race. “Jim Crow” and “separate but equal” were calls of the day. Discrimination against blacks in voting rights, employment opportunities and the denial of basic Constitutional rights were sanctioned by state governments even as a prosperous nation moved forward.
African-Americans by the millions moved out of the segregated South in search of opportunity for a better life, not unlike those fleeing a terrorist regime. Laws were placed on the books that made many acceptable practices of the past illegal: voting rights laws were enforced, educational opportunities expanded for blacks and Affirmative Action throughout the military created diversity in workforce that became more representative of the nation we were.
Programs of the New Deal and the Great Society transformed a nation, made opportunity available to those who once were locked out. White women, the uneducated, and an assortment of “minorities” gained access. The uplifting of the American people was like a tide, and “a rising tide lifts all boats,” as they say.
Now, as our nation hurls through fiscal calamity caused by fighting two wars simultaneously and giving tax breaks to the wealthy, we’re broke. Busted. We have dust in our collective wallets. And the wealthy stand there like the poor orphan in the classic play “Oliver!” holding an empty bowl with their outstretched hands shouting, “more tax cuts please.”
And now there are those in Congress, including our own Anne Marie Buerkle, voting to turn back the hands of time. Recent measures introduced by Republicans virtually destroy the safety net built on the blood and tears of millions. As someone who’ll be 54 in May, I’m one of those who’ll get a voucher for health care instead of Medicare. As a Republican, I’m embarrassed and ashamed of what’s become of the party of Lincoln, the party that was in front of Civil Rights before it became the back end of an elephant.
If you agree with what’s about to happen to key elements of the New Deal and the Great Society, then sit at home and do nothing. In the not-too-distant future we’ll be standing next to each other in line at a Walmart-run health center trying to maximize our Health Care/Food Stamp-style coupon.
The historic phrase should be re-branded:
“There’s nothing to fear, but fear itself and today’s Republicans should be feared.”