Monday, January 7, 2013

(Politics) Guest Post: Teetering on the precipice by Tom Degan

Was this a great country or what! Living in America. It's getting weirder by the minute....
The victims of Hurricane Sandy might finally receive the desperately needed aid from the government this week - but only after the Congress of the United States has been publicly shamed into providing it. In 2005, within a week of Hurricane Katrina's devastation in the south, the people of that region were handed a check for over sixty-five billion to help with the clean up and rescue. Nearly three months after Sandy made her wrath known, the people of the northeast are still waiting. The Republicans have made themselves clear. The only thing that matters to them are tax cuts for a class of people who already have more money than they'll be able top spend in three lifetimes. We here in New York and New Jersey don't matter. Ain't that a scream?
Here's another example of the spreading ethical rot that is killing the United States of America; a country which at one time (Hold onto your hats, generation Xers!) was the best place in the world in which to live. It's not anymore. It ain't even close. Still, we do have the best reality shows on the planet. Stand proud, America!
And I'm afraid the situation is going to get a lot worse before it gets a half-a-shade better. The 113th Congress, which was sworn in on January 3, is still controlled by what used to be called "the party of Abraham Lincoln" (Thank goodness for quotation marks!) The next two years will see more obstruction and legislative sabotage. I like to call it "treason".
The Republican party has spent the last thirty years trying to appeal to the kind of people who historically were not too interested in the political process: insanity junkies. And all of their efforts have payed off quite well for them - a little too well as it turns out. The "party of Abraham Lincoln" has devolved into the party of Uncle Fester. That demographic that the political scientists refer to as "moderates" (I call them "purple agitators" myself) have taken a good look at what the GOP has become and they're headin' for the hills. And many the so-called "Reagan Democrats" are disillusioned to say the least. It's almost as if they got all decked-up for that dream date with Marilyn Monroe, but when the door opened, standing there to greet them was Typhoid Mary in her loveliest party dress.
Since the dawn of the New Deal eighty years ago, that disgusting party's reason for existing has been to undo the programs that Franklin Delano Roosevelt helped bring into being - programs that helped create a middle class that didn't even exist prior to his inauguration on March 3, 1933. Their efforts went into overdrive when Ronald Reagan became president in 1981. Their efforts are bearing fruit, too. The middle class in America is in the process of obliteration. Long gone is the day when a middle income family could provide their children with a decent living and a college education. Here's the punch line: Most of the victims of the so-called "Reagan Revolution" still revere the man. I'm not making this stuff up.
What must be remembered is that Ronald Reagan was essentially a mask - with a twinkle in its eye and a fine, Irish smile. Remove that mask and what is revealed is the hideous, grotesque smirk of George W. Bush. That's the real face of the "Reagan Revolution".
The only way out of the ditch that the "job creators" have dug us into will be by raising their taxes. And I'm not talking about the modest increase that was proposed by President Obama (and denied by the Republicans) - I'm talking about soaking the bastards. That'll create some jobs pretty damned quick. For a period of at least ten years, we need to bring the tax rates of the richest half-a-percent back to where they were when Eisenhower was president, when a lot of them were in a ninety percent bracket. Just to refresh your American history, the economy did pretty well back then. Am I waging class warfare here? You'd better believe it, Buster. And I ain't takin' no prisoners, baby!
FUN FACT: Back in the summer the Texas State Republican Party announced that part of their platform at the 2012 National Convention will be the demand that the Voting Rights Act of 1965 be repealed as unconstitutional. Since they made that announcement there has not been a single word of reprimand toward them from the Republican National Committee - nary a peep. I kid you not.
It wasn't always this way. Once upon a time, the South was predominated by racist Democrats ("Dixiecrats" they were called). For a century after the end of the Civil War, the dear old folks of Dixie could not bring themselves to register with the party of that "bearded, nigger-lovin' bastard that freed the slaves". All that changed in the mid nineteen-sixties when President Lyndon Johnson signed into law the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the said to his aide, Bill Moyers, "We've lost the south for a generation." By "we" he was referring to the Democratic party. It turned out to be the understatement of the twentieth century. Within within a decade, nearly all of the former Dixiecrats fled - like diseased rats - from the Democratic party.
POP QUIZ: Which party welcomed them with open arms?
What happened, quite simply, was a fusion of the economic plutocrats in the Republican north, with the racial bigots in the Democratic south. Had it not been for Nixon's southern strategy in 1968, that coalition would never have come into existence. Had it not been for the south's reaction to the civil rights movement, this country never would have elected a feeble-minded old reactionary like Ronald Reagan thirty-three years ago this November. Indeed, Reagan would launch his campaign from the town of Philadelphia, Mississippi, an unremarkable tiny stain on the map whose only claim to fame prior to 1980 was the brutal murder there of three civil rights workers in the summer of 1964....
....and shame on us if we ever forget their names:
Andrew Goodman, aged twenty
James Cheney, aged twenty-one
Michael Schwerner, aged twenty-four
When Reagan campaigned for the White House in 1980, he had a non-too-subtle had a message for the sons and daughters of Dixie who still flew the Confederate flag on their front lawns (and probably still do): "Jim Crow's gonna be given the red carpet treatment in my White House". And for the most part, that was the case. The slow-but-steady gains that black people in America had seen since the dawn of the Civil Rights era began to falter when Reagan entered the White House in January of 1981. In Dixieland he took his stand....
Think about this, folks: When FDR was elected eighty years ago, he was not able to undo the mess he inherited from the Republicans in one term. He wasn't even able to do it in two terms. It took him nearly a decade! Unlike Roosevelt, Barack Obama will not be allowed the luxury of four terms. It will probably take two - possibly three - different presidents to clean up this mess. Thankfully it seems that the American people are starting to awaken from their thirty-plus-year coma. They've finally opened their eyes to find themselves teetering on the economic precipice.
Did you have a nice nap, kiddies?
Tom Degan

1 comment:

  1. All I can say is thank goodness for the internet so that we now have become aware of what has been going on. But that is a two sided sword, as the misinformation spreads, as well. But the level of entrenchment of those that could care less about the populace still makes me cringe.



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