America needs to have a serious, objective conversation about the damage Ronald Reagan did to this country. Sure, Nixon was a crook and W was an ass but Reagan and his policies are more to blame for the current state of things than any other President in the Post War Era. Prior to The Great Depression and the policies of FDR America had a dog eat dog / social darwinist / every man is an island mentality. Compassion was not the federal government's job. If you were poor or sick that was YOUR problem, not anyone else's. The Great Depression changed all of that.
Much like the news footage of dogs and fire hoses being unleashed on civil rights protestors in the south during the 1960s, the bread lines were an unavoidable reality that spurred America to become the great beacon of hope that it had been claiming to be since it's inception. A few years ago the filmmaker Ken Burns made a film suggesting that the National Parks system was America's greatest contribution to history. I argued then and I will reaffirm now that The New Deal was far more historic. It affirmed a doctrine of compassion, that we all sink or swim together. That the government is an extension of the people and thus has a moral imperative to care for those people.
This shift would continue under LBJ's Great Society. Then under Reagan it would begin to end. Reagan's policies benefited those who required that help the least. They rewarded those who life has already rewarded and punished those that could least afford it. It wrapped this selfishness and egocentrism up in 19th century notions of self-determinism. It assumed a level playing field despite clear evidence to the contrary.
It pretended to ignore that sometimes the hardest working Americans aren't compensated to match their effort. It suggested that if you are struggling it is because you haven't tried hard enough. It ignored the lessons the Great Depression taught us.
This shift has permeated our entire culture, with every President, Democrat and Republican alike, having sent us further down the pike towards eradicating everything great about America. We are capable of greatness, we have shown this in the past, so what will it take to return us to glory? This question is not rhetorical.
Submitted by Virtual Newsroom