Monday, July 15, 2013

The Revolution We Need

Re-Reading Only Yesterday, a history of the 1930's, Mad Dog has been struck by the rhetoric, beliefs and personalities of that era are indistinguishable from today. The Depression was tied closely to banking misdeeds, inadvisable mortgages, speculation in banking.  Conservative Republicans insisted the government had no role in rescuing the economy and Democrats insisted action must be taken.
Herbert Hoover, the Republican President during the stock market crash, said that Roosevelt was irresponsible and would lead the country to debt and insolvency, although Hoover did work hard to mitigate some of the damage tariffs posed to America's ability to deal with the rest of the world. Economies in Europe were tanking and radical elements there were on the rise.

Thomas Jefferson said, when he helped design the new American government, he thought a democracy needed a "little revolution now and then," to steer the ship of state away from perilous shoals. Roosevelt offered such a revolution by promising "action now," and he was able to deliver because the Republicans and the Democrats in Congress gave him everything he wanted, and he sent bill after bill which Congress enacted. He argued the government had to try something, to experiment; to do anything was preferable to doing nothing. 

And that is where the difference is. Mr. Obama does not have a willing partner in Congress. Mr. McConnell, in the Senate refuses to even confirm Mr. Obama's own appointees to his executive team, and by refusing to confirm appointees, the Senate has effectively destroyed a variety of agencies the conservatives do not like, even though the Congress voted these agencies into existence. Consumer protection, environmental protection have been thwarted by conservatives in a sort of back door torpedo maneuver.  Using the filibuster, Mr. McConnell has undone the Constitution by eviscerating the executive.

President Roosevelt was nearly undone by an intransigent, conservative Supreme Court, which Roosevelt tried to "pack" by adding justices, but there the Congress drew the line and would not cooperate. Mr. Obama has not been any more successful and undoing the damage done by the four conservatives on the Court.

 So we are stuck in a bad place. No national emergency has prompted a little revolution in behalf of the many. 
Only the Tea Party has staged a revolution.
And we are stuck with that until the mass of Americans realizes the ship is headed for the iceberg, and in the collision, typically the ship does not come out on top.

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