Republicans + Woke

“Use it up, wear it out, make do or do without.” Millions of Americans were forced to live by these words during the 1930s. The Great Depression swept across the country like an unforgiving force. Millions became jobless while many others went hungry. Kitchen soups and bread lines became common sights in every major city; the nation was on the brink of collapse.

For those who witnessed the country’s incredible growth during the 1920s, the stock market crash of 1929 was nothing more than an inconceivable nightmare. While the U.S. had experienced market downturns in the past, nobody expected the widespread devastation that the Great Depression would cause. 

In their time of need, Americans of every stripe understood the necessity for renewed leadership. Something had gone horribly wrong and it was now the government’s responsibility to ensure that the people of this country aren’t forced to endure such hardships ever again. That unified desire for change resulted in the rise of one of America’s most influential political figures: Franklin D. Roosevelt.

A Democrat, FDR is the only president in American history to have served four consecutive terms in office (he died in 1945 while serving his fourth term). Considered by historians one of the three greatest U.S. presidents (the other two being George Washington and Abe Lincoln), FDR redefined the role of the federal government in ways that, I would argue, remain unmatched.

Aware of the tremendous pain the Great Depression was inflicting on American families, especially on older Americans, the Roosevelt administration set off to implement one of the nation’s most ambitious policy agendas in history: the New Deal. Forgotten by many young Americans today, the New Deal proved very successful at curbing the very negative effects of the crisis. It included numerous programs intended to support rural America, the unemployed, the young, and the elderly. The Public Works Administration or the Works Progress Administration, for example, led to the creation of countless job opportunities and helped lift thousands of Americans out of poverty. But perhaps FDR’s New Deal is better remembered for giving rise to one of America’s most popular government programs: Social Security.

The Social Security Act was signed into law in 1935, creating the Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) program. Colloquially known as Social Security, the OASDI program became the first government program to target the many challenges faced by American retirees, although it also provided benefits for widowed and disabled citizens. Prior to the creation of Social Security, old Americans had to rely on their savings or on family support to make ends meet after retirement. But the Great Depression had severely severed those two lifelines, leaving them without a dependable source of income. Today, millions of retired Americans continue to view their Social Security benefits as an important source of economic security in their old age.

FDR’s unwavering commitment to helping the poor and those in need resonated with his party, and for over forty years the Democratic Party became a resolute advocate for justice and for equality. It wasn’t easy, but progress towards a stronger, less unequal society was made. In 1965, as part of his war on poverty, Lyndon B. Johnson picked up where FDR left off and launched Medicare and Medicaid, thus creating the country’s first national health insurance programs. Today these programs provide health and financial security to nearly 100 million Americans.

At this point you may be wondering why I decided to revisit a chapter of American history most of you are already well aware of. Here is my answer: Our public discourse seems to have fallen victim of increasingly nasty and ill-informed attacks, so I thought it would be quite educational to look back and reflect on this country’s not-so-distant past, a past when so-called “socialist” policies were all the rage. Because let’s face it, folks, this country is drowning in socialism. Every single policy I laid out in this post is an example of a socialist policy. And there is more, of course. K-12 and even your nearest fire department are also examples of socialism in America.

For over forty years, the Democratic Party was a champion of such policies. They cared for the poor. They believed in a more equal society. But not anymore. Today, the Democratic Party is not all that different from the Republican Party. Why do you think the Democratic Party has been running on identity / woke politics for the past twenty years? Because they don’t have anything else to offer. Their economic agenda is the GOP’s agenda.

As I stated in my previous post, the Democratic Party seems to have reached the conclusion that Joe Biden is the best candidate to run against Donald Trump in November. The moment the party understood that Bernie had the resources and voter enthusiasm to secure the nomination, they put together a campaign strategy that will make political history. In a matter of days, endorsements of Biden and opinion pieces trashing Bernie Sanders have piled up like dominoes, seriously wounding the self-described democratic socialist and very likely putting the final nail in the coffin for his historic campaign.

Bernie Sanders is often demonized for not being a true Democrat, and it is no secret that the Democratic establishment has come down hard on Sanders because they believe he poses a serious threat to the party’s identity and future. But nothing could be further from the truth. Sanders is no threat to the party. In fact, Sanders and his movement are the embodiment of what the Democratic Party represented for the better part of half a century. A party that did not shy away from challenging the status quo. A party that understood that widespread poverty and inequality were the true enemies of the nation’s overall well-being and stability.

Whether or not Bernie Sanders wins the nomination, his message is here to stay. Now it is up to those who believe in that message to bring decency, humanity, ambition, and hope back into the Democratic Party, and to carry on FDR’s legacy.

A Sign of Things to Come

Wow. It’s been quite a long time since I got my hands on this keyboard typing away and sharing my thoughts on whatever nonsense the world was delighting us with. A lot has happened in this country and around the world since the last time I published something on this blog and you might be wondering what brought me back. And the answer is simple: Too much craziness accumulated.

For starters, Donald Trump won an upset victory that many didn’t see coming (Yes, that happened and yes, I’m sorry to remind you of that). After that, everything began to unfold. Protests broke out and false realities became the norm. Soon after the inauguration, the new White House began signing executive orders with the potential of dramatically altering the path to social and economic progress that the previous administration had worked so hard to establish. Undoing trade agreements, scapegoating immigrants, alienating our closest allies, and closing our doors on those who need our help the most have become signature policies of the new administration in less than two weeks. And now, and under the orders of right-wing extremist Steve Bannon, President Trump seems to have accomplished what no POTUS has ever been able to accomplish: To seemingly say and do whatever he wants without fearing the consequences.

The sad truth is that, for now, Trump will get a free ride. It doesn’t matter how hard we all work to disprove Trump’s “alternative facts”. His supporters will always stand by his side no matter what he does or says (Remember when he said he wouldn’t lose any votes even if he shot someone in the middle of 5th avenue? Well, he was right). The fact is that the only people who can stop him is the Republican establishment. After all, the GOP controls the Congress and over 2/3s of the state governments. It’s been too long since the last time Republicans had so much decision-making power on their side and they aren’t going to let that go to waste.

Nevertheless, whether or not Trump succeeds in continuously deceiving the public for a whole term in office, his deeds remain just as frustrating and disgraceful.

And now, to the two recent developments truly responsible for ending my patience and bringing me back online. I guess you all still remember Trump’s “drain the swamp” slogan. Yes, his supporters used to chant that during his rallies. They would put up signs and chant along with their beloved leader. Those were some good times, huh. I don’t think he ever thought he would ever have to keep his promises. After all, did he really think he was going to win? Well, as fate would have it he’s now in office and I guess it’s time to start draining that swamp. Or is it?

On Friday it was reported that Eric Trump had embarked on a business trip to Uruguay where he was accompanied by a Secret Service security detail and US embassy staff. To everyone’s surprise, the trip is reported to have cost taxpayers nearly $100,000. Now, wait. I thought Eric Trump was running a business empire the president had “divested” from. What is a private citizen doing conducting private business abroad with the assistance of public officials and publicly funded security guards? Is this really the new normal now? Are they playing us all for fools? The swamp hasn’t been drained. It’s overflowing.

While the news of Eric Trump doing business in South America at the expense of the taxpayers shocked many, the president had a lot more in store for us. In an interview with Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly yesterday, Donald Trump made it crystal clear not only that he doesn’t wish to serve as the President of the United States, but also that he will never put the interests of this county first. In a truly unprecedented statement, the Commander in Chief called the USA out on past mistakes. And he did it for Putin. In a response to O’Reilly’s claims that Russia’s authoritarian president is a “killer” who has authorized the murder of journalists and dissidents in his country, Trump said the following:

“There are a lot of killers. You think our country’s so innocent?”

You heard, or rather, read right. A US President publicly standing up in defense of a decades-long foe of the United States and criticizing his own country at the same time. Can someone explain to me what’s going on? What kind of president is he? This is perhaps the most anti-American statement ever made by a US President.

Trump’s first two weeks in office have been a total disaster, and they’re a sign of things to come. If he weren’t the president, this whole thing would actually be kind of fun. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case. His decisions will make a difference and we’ll all have to live with them. Unless something unexpected happens, the next four years are going to be tough. But please, don’t lose heart. Now it’s the time to stand up and speak out. Remember, every cloud has a silver lining.