- Politics and Social Issues
The Right Wing is Destroying the United States of America
Land of the Free
In the not too distant past, lighthouses were the beacons for those traveling on troubled waters. When a ship’s captain and crew saw the warming light of a lighthouse, through the misty fog and torrential downpours, they knew felt assured that safe harbor was not far away. In other words, captain and crew were given hope, when it seemed at times hope was beyond their grasp.
A LIGHTHOUSE OF HOPE
President Abraham Lincoln was the first lighthouse of the Republican Party. He provided guidance to a sinking nation. “Honest Abe” had an honorable vision for this country and literally and figuratively brought this nation to its knees, with a vision that we could all stand tall again. He was a president who saw people as humans and not some as commodities, who were bought, sold or traded. The hills, valleys, pastures and streams of this country were red with the bloodshed in a hard fought battle to end slavery. President Lincoln showed honor and courage as a Republican and he transformed the course of moral acceptance which sanctioned man’s inhumanity to man. Unfortunately, I don’t think the Republican or Tea Party members would have anything to do with this historic first Republican president sailing on the political seas of 2015.
Calvin Coolidge, a Republican, became the 30th president of the United States of America in 1923 and he held that position until 1929. He garnered favor with his party because of his strong dislike for unions, being a conservative, favoring business (although he offered no assistance to farmers), small government, a belief system that involved tax breaks for the wealthy, reduced estate taxes, and isolationism. Thus, the “trickle-down” theory of economics was born and this flawed Republican ideology continues to this day. Calvin Coolidge stepped down from office and in 1929 until 1933 Republican Herbert Hoover took over the helm as President.
As it turns out, President Hoover was the unlucky guy to follow Coolidge’s failed laissez-faire policies. Unfortunately, within just a few months into his presidency, the United States experienced the Wall Street Crash of 1929. America had fallen into the depths of the Great Depression, with over 25 million people unemployed and over 2 million people homeless. By the 1930s over 9,000 banks had failed and because bank deposits weren’t insured. People witnessed their entire savings evaporate. Subsequently, Americans lost their homes. Finally, there was the Dust Bowl which occurred along the Mississippi Valley, leaving millions of acres of farmland in ruination. Hundreds of thousands of people were being forced to leave their homes. In major cities, those who had lost their stocks, money, jobs and houses erected shanty towns, known as “Hoovervilles.” Soup kitchens sprung up like dandelions in springtime and the food served was as “Hoover Stew.” Additionally, automobiles in disrepair were being pulled by mules and labeled “Hoover Wagons.” Seeking survival, many people called cooked rabbit “Hoover Hogs.” A “Hoover Blanket” was a person covering up with old newspapers. Needless to say, Hoover was not elected to serve a second term.
Even before Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt took over the White House, he had made a pledge for a “New Deal” for the American people. FDR whirled around the country like a tornado…blowing down the old buildings of conservative thinking and rebuilding America almost from the ground up. Instead of focusing on the elite, he vowed to help the “forgotten man at the bottom of the economic pyramid.” Within the first 100 days of office, President Roosevelt took aggressive and progressive moves to reform and relieve the U.S. from the economic collapse that had happened under Republican rule. In these initial 100 days there were the enactments of the Emergency Banking Act, the Economy Act, the Tennessee Valley Authority, he legalized and taxed beer and wine through the Beer-Wine Revenue Act, he put 3 million young men to work under the Civilian Conservation Act, the Federal Emergency Relief Act was formed, he tightened regulations on the securities business through the Federal Securities Act, and established the Agricultural Adjustment Act. The following 100 days were just as ambitious. During that period of time the country saw the enactment of the Farm Credit Act, the creation of the U.S. Employment Service through the National Employment System Act, the Emergency Railroad Transportation Act, the Farm Credit Act, the Homeowners Refinancing Act, and the creation of the Federal Bank Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), along with making many reforms in the banking industry through the Glass-Steagall Banking Act. FDR served two (2) terms as president and also instituted the Social Security Act. His accomplishments are too many to list in this article. FDR creatively devised one way to pay for much of these changes through higher taxes on the wealthy and lo and behold, America recovered. Apparently, taxing the rich doesn’t stop economic growth or businesses from expanding. Huh, who would have figured?
From 1981 to 1989 the GOP idol, Ronald Reagan served as president and introduced us to “Reaganomics,” which focused on lower taxes, supply-side economics, and a reduction in government spending. We now had another conservative occupying the Oval Office and again the country was reintroduced to a laissez-faire philosophy of governing. Of course, you can’t be a good republican without being a union buster and Reagan did just that when he fired all of the Air Traffic Controllers who were on strike. Given the current climate of the hard-line right-wing, neoconservative/Tea Party Republicans and especially “Mr. Pledge” himself, none other than Grover Norquist, President Reagan would not qualify for their endorsement. For you see, much to the chagrin of these well-intentioned folks (a cough, cough) Reagan found out soon enough his ideas really didn’t work and he raised taxes ten (10) times during his presidency. Yet, the Tea Party/Republican Party would be proud of Ronnie’s attempt, while governor of California to ban gays, lesbians, and those who supported LGBT rights from employment in any of the public schools. When Democratic President Jimmy Carter left office in 1981 the National Debt was $900 billion. When “Mr. Reaganomics” term in office ended in 1988, the fallacy of his ideology was all too present when he left us with a National Debt of $2.6 trillion…more than twice what every single president in 200 years…from Washington to Carter…had accumulated. By the time President George Bush #1 left office in 1993 the National Debt was now at $4 trillion. Thankfully, just like FDR, President Bill Clinton brought along progressive ideas and when he left office this country no longer had a deficit but instead had a national surplus of $127 billion. However, by the time George W. Bush departed the presidency he had erased the surplus and instead replaced it with a $10 trillion + deficit.
So here we are in another election cycle and you would think based on past performances and flunking out miserably on economic issues the GOP would adopt a different philosophy. Oh, no…that’s not happening with them, by golly. Instead, the republicans are rehashing the same rhetoric of yore…with tax cuts for the rich, deregulation of businesses, less regulation on banking, eliminating social programs for the middle class and poor, trying to get rid of Medicare and Social Security, attacking education, higher education, teachers, loathing everything and anything union, not recognizing gays or lesbians, declaring war on women’s rights, calling anyone who wants health care for all a socialist, profiling anyone who isn’t Caucasian, drill baby drill, humans have not caused climate change, only the wealthy are responsible for making jobs, corporations are people and they utilize tax cuts to hire more employees, science is opinion, racism doesn’t exist, the government doesn’t create jobs, the majority of welfare recipients are either drug addicts or drug pushers, a free market answers almost everything, buy more guns, don’t separate church from state, as long as it is a Christian church and finally, attack all media outlets except of course Fox News.
So when you are deciding which way to vote, remember one party has a track record of fear and failure and as of March 30, 2012, under President Obama, the Dow Jones industrial average and Standard and Poor’s 500 posted the biggest 1st quarter gain in 14 years. I’ll go with the winner, thank you.