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.

Five Minutes

Joe Biden’s front-runner status has earned him some much-needed attention, but I worry all that attention might wind up hurting his campaign. As I am now being compelled to think more deeply about Joe’s candidacy, I begin to wonder what Joe thinks about regarding healthcare, education, poverty, or foreign policy. If you were to ask me what Bernie Sanders believes in, I could probably give you a few bullet points detailing his key policy positions. But if you were to ask me about Biden, I’m afraid I’d leave you hanging. Yes, he was a senator for a long time. Yes, he was Obama’s VP. But what has he really accomplished for the American people? What is his signature policy proposal? The man is a mystery. I have watched every debate this campaign season and I still can’t tell where Joe Biden stands on the issues. Maybe the media is to blame for failing (perhaps intentionally) to scrutinize Joe’s candidacy, but that’s a different matter.

Those of you familiar with what I write know that I support Bernie Sanders. He may not have been an ideal candidate twenty years ago, but he is exactly who we need in the White House in 2020. The race for the democratic nomination is an uphill battle, however, and there is a chance Sanders may not pull through. As of right now the party seems to be betting it all on Joe, a candidate whose campaign was crumbling less than a week ago. So, I decided to learn more about Joe to see if he has what it takes to defeat Trump.

Campaigning for the highest office in the land exposes you to all kinds of nasty attacks, so whoever wins the democratic nomination will be wise to ready up for an ongoing stream of negative ads and media scrutiny. I needed to know if Joe, the front-runner, could overcome such pressures, so I went online to look for answers, and oh boy we are in trouble.

It only took me five minutes to understand how weak a candidate Joe Biden really is. Five minutes online and this is what I found:

  • Biden was accused of plagiarism during his first year at Syracuse University School of Law, and later claimed that he was not aware of proper citation rules.
  • Biden also claimed to have graduated “top half” of his class when in reality he was closer to the bottom of the bottom half.
  • While running for president in 1987, Biden duplicated parts of a speech by British politician Neil Kinnock. The speech was meant to be a heartfelt account of Biden’s upbringing, but how heartfelt could it be when he didn’t even bother to come up with his own words.
  • Biden once talked about being an active participant during the Civil Rights marches of the 1960s, even though his advisers were aware of this falsehood and warned him against making false claims.
  • More recently Biden claimed to have been arrested while trying to get to see Nelson Mandela during a 1990 visit to South Africa. He later admitted that arrest never took place.

This is what I found by literally spending five minutes online getting to know Joe. Imagine what Donald Trump’s political machine and media allies could dig up if only they tried. At a time when voters crave for authenticity above all else, running a candidate who has a long history of struggling with the truth is an incredibly risky move.

Donald Trump lies all of the time, but somehow comes across as genuine and authentic. That is his gift. That is why he continues to dominate the political landscape. Joe Biden doesn’t have that gift. He can’t play the media the way Trump does, and the Democratic Party must acknowledge this.

We cannot wait for Trump to take down Joe Biden. It is up to Sanders to expose Biden for what he really is. Now, I know how Sanders feels about negative ads, and I admire him for that. But negative ads work, and if we are going to win this thing, we are going to need to play by the same rules everyone else is playing. Let’s worry about changing the rules when Sanders is president.