Do you ever feel like the guy in the movie “Network,” who screamed out to whomever might be listening, ” I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore?”
Well, I’m increasingly frustrated and I’m getting madder by the moment. The crazies and the selfish seem to be running the asylum. Human progress is in decline and what we have taken for granted is gradually being chipped away at.
It’s hard to know where to begin. Do we begin at another jobless recovery or do we go back further to the start of combat operations in Vietnam or to the Kennedy assassination?
My personal disappointment and the loss of American innocence happened around the time of the assassination and grew into full flower when the war of my generation began and the end of the progressive era occurred.
For today’s youth or for my daughter’s age group, it is hard to put into words, how proud we were to be Americans, when 1963 began. The United States was finally beginning to end segregation, and Americans sat with awe and pride as each astronaut went into space. All things seemed possible! America did seem exceptional. Our economy was the envy of the world, and our president and first lady, seemed to represent our youth and energy as a nation. That all seemed to end on that fall day, of November 22, 1963.
Positive things continued for a while. President Johnson wound up passing John F. Kennedy’s landmark legislation, the Civil Rights Act in 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. It finally seemed like all Americans were now included in the American dream. It had taken a long time, from slavery’s end to the 1960’s to legally put all Americans on the same legal footing.
Lyndon Johnson did marvelous things to provide for all Americans. By 1967, 75% of all Americans over the age of 65, had no health insurance. President Johnson passed Medicare, so that the elderly would have their health taken care of. We take Medicare for granted. Can you imagine that 75% did not have health insurance. Those were our parents and grandparents who lived in fear of getting sick.
More than 90% of African-Americans were not registered to vote in the South.
We lived in a world without help for the hungry, the blind and disabled, but thanks to the Progressive Era, Food Stamps, increased Social Security benefits and Medicaid helps to prevent pain and suffering of our fellow citizens.
But then the War in Vietnam happened, our society was torn apart by an unpopular war. Many felt that the government lied to the American people and confidence was lost.
Watergate, was like nothing else in our history, as cynicism became rampant, and trust in our government fell to a new low.
As a possible outgrowth of that cynicism a new spirit of it is all about me became the banner headline of the day. We lost our sense of community and it became more about things.
Enough of the distant past, what is important is what has happened to our country in our recent history. The heritage that I believed my children would inherit is disappearing. Our prosperity with a large middle class is under constant attack. Those who are interested in instant gratification, greed and more and more power have outsourced good jobs which sustained our middle class. An ever-widening disparity of income exists with more and more Americans working more than one job just to break even, if they are lucky. We are becoming slaves to our new masters, the oligarchs. We have another jobless recovery. At least, those with 401(K’s) saw their accounts return to where they were 14 years ago. Our economic future is not the only area of concern.
Our political system is broken. Partisanship reigns supreme, with very little getting done. Truman called his Congress the do nothing Congress. Too bad, he never saw ours now. They have set a record for ineptitude. That doesn’t mean that all of our Congressmen and women are bad. There are those who seek to improve the lives of all Americans, but they are in the minority. There is a vocal minority who are exerting a tyranny upon us all by undermining through holds, filibusters and just darn right obstructionism in the people’s House. They would close down the government and put the sanctity of the dollar at risk for partisan gain. We no longer have a Republic. We have a Congress that has been bought and paid for, a Congress more interested in ideology, than they are interested in making anything work. If times get bad enough, only incremental change seems possible. After all, the oligarchs want to maintain their comfort zone, and many members of Congress are controlled by their puppet masters.
Have we had enough, yet? Are we ready to throw out the crazies?
Our court system is increasingly political, with members of the Supreme Court, who are chosen by Republican Presidents, needing to meet the litmus tests of the Federalist Society.
The Robert’s court is an activist court. It is the most political court in our history as his wafer thin majority continues to undermine our country. They are undermining we citizens giving more and more power to corporations. Everyone who is not either drunk with ideology, would agree that Corporations are not people and we know that money is property and not speech. In a case soon to be decided they are trying to devise a way to imbue corporations with the mantle of religiosity. Let me know when any corporation has mass prayer meetings other than to pray to the altar of money.
The current court is proving the value of winning the Senate and the Presidency so that the third branch of government, the Supreme Court will either sustain our rights under the Constitution or continue to reduce them. Will they continue to give more and more power to corporations and to the most wealthy among us? If the current court continues to give our rights as citizens away to the most powerful, it will become exceedingly more difficult to regain the power of the people. A true plutocracy, which we coming closer to having, is for all intent and purposes the dawning of a fascist state.
Some of the oligarchs among us, encourage through financial contributions, the completion of the end of America as a nation. How is this possible you may ask? By using the ideas of the libertarians the far right is seeking to give more and power to the states. One would have thought that the Civil War settled the issue of State’s rights. But no, we are hearing the same worn out ideas and excuses that precipitated the Civil War.
These alluring ideas fostered by the Anti-Federalists during the arguments given during the debate for and against the Constitution are being heard again. They have repackaged them by giving us the lies of how the founders wanted less government, and more power to the states. They have even co-opted the name of the Federalists in naming their society after Federalists but there is nothing federal about their thoughts and legislative proposals.
The attempted renewal of the Sagebrush Wars in the western states is but a clever way of claiming land held in a custodial and protective way by the Federal government, as the state’s own land so that they can exploit the financial value of the resources that exist on Federal land. Don’t kid yourself, it’s all about the money.
So have you had enough? Are you madder than hell or have you been brainwashed into thinking that you too can be a millionaire? Don’t buy into the idea that there is such a thing as rugged individuals. We are dependent and interdependent on each other.
What is the solution to these serious difficulties that we currently have. One, let us be willing to buy things made in America, even if it cost more. The long-term cost to all of us is much greater if we do not start being more self-sufficient. I don’t care how the middle class is doing in China. I only care about how our middle class is doing.
Vote to save what we have by changing what needs to be improved. The status quo is not the answer. Hyper partisanship is killing our country and excessive greed is not far behind. We need to once again stress liberty and equality and reject the notion that somehow, property is more important than equality. Income inequality is bad for business and it is bad for the future generations of Americans. We need to give our young people a reason to be hopeful for their futures and the only way that is going to happen is if we once again move forward into a new progressive era where the value of each person is valued equally to that of our more financially fortunate wealthy.