Click here to go to the Home Page Inconvenient Recollection - The Other Side of the Tracks - By Perry Redd - Columnist

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Of course, I don’t find it amazing or appalling; I am not dumbfounded, nor am I astounded. America does what it does out of sheer stupidity or self-interest (which could be one in the same). In this highly critical election year, just the thought that the general populace could elect a regressive president and label it “good for the country” is simply par for the course.

Observing the nation’s political twists and turns for more than one score plus some, and how those twists and turns affect the everyday lives of citizens, I know that many voters will be turning cartwheels in the voting booth (those not disenfranchised by discriminatory voter ID laws). A choice will be made between the possibility of progress and a return to failure and personal indebtedness.

It has been publicly documented that I am not the most pleased minion with President Obama’s policy positions over the past two years (although year one was a beast!). I, like many analysts, see that despite corporate greed, government corruption and stalemated legislative change, our country is coming out of the worst fiscal position that we’ve been in since the Great Depression. Unemployment rates are slowly decreasing, the GDP is growing and consumer confidence and spending are up. Even consumer protections are taking hold. In the face of a recalcitrant Congress, it takes a strong chief executive to make any progress.

Strangely enough, there is a wagonload of Americans that desires a different direction. Note, I didn’t say “new direction,” but a different direction. Many want to “take their country back” - both literally and figuratively. But, back to what exactly?

Glad you asked… It is imperative that we not forget how we got into the huge budgetary deficit in which we find ourselves. Under the leadership of “compassionate conservatives” who exercised “fiscal responsibility,” we ended up with the greatest national debt in proportion to our GDP, simultaneous wars and a crashed economy. For the everyday working person, that amounts to stalled wages, unemployed family members and peers, more of one’s income paid in taxes and for consumer goods and greater uncertainty about the foundation of one’s quality of life. We know, as a general rule, leadership charts the course for changing a bad situation - and feeling positive enough to endure a bad one.

We conveniently forget that past Presidential administrations have implemented policies that have crushed the poor and working class and enriched the highest income earners. With the Republican nominee shaping up to a choice between former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney - among the richest among us, and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum (whose eyes are on disenfranchising anyone not defined as a citizen under the original Constitution), the victor will give us a choice between himself and President Obama. For progressives, it’s often seen as a choice between “the devil and Satan.” Unfortunately, none of us have spent the past four years building at least a third alternative, so we’re stuck in this two-party debacle.

Sure, one can elect to not elect. One can choose to sit it out, but as I said in my new book, As a Condition of Your Freedom, you cannot sit it [the next Presidential election] out.” Anyone not blind can see that Romney plans to ingratiate the richest Americans (can you say “$10,000 bet”); Santorum seeks to strip all minority classes of their individual rights (can you say “invasive ultrasounds,” a prerequisite for an abortion, which is a legal service?).

Obama, as an incrementalist, stirs my ire, but what I know is that my choice between backward and forward is clear: No matter how slow my brother is, he’s still my brother. I always want to hold my brother accountable for his actions - or inactions - but I am eternally assured that my brother will be more likely care for my interests, more so than others who openly oppose me. The story has been told on several occasions when recollecting the policies of prior administrations: Conservatives don’t change. They will be as deceptive in secret as they are overtly. One of Richard Nixon’s infamous minions, John Dean, who had a front-row seat to lies and deceit, laid it out. David Stockman, Office of Management and Budget Director during the Reagan Administration, eventually revealed that the budget deficits caused by Reagan’s tax cuts had been a deliberate effort to create a budget crisis that would lead to a slashing of entitlement spending, especially programs for the poor. It worked, as we are now in the throes of the long-term, strategic aftermath of Reaganomics.

It’s a two-fold proposition: Make the rich richer by cutting taxes for them (then allow them to hoard the savings), and keep the poor poor by cutting any aid and assistance that might bring them out of poverty. This proposition keeps America in two distinct camps, as opposed to uniting our nation.

What we all can agree on is that during the two terms of the Bush Administration, his tax cuts did not create more jobs, nor did they grow the economy; they had just the opposite effect. So why would we vote for someone - Romney or Santorum - who pledges to follow in Bush’s footsteps - pledging to do what failed to work? It is disingenuous for us to “fail to recall” our nation’s sordid past simply because the faces are new. Our past of inhumane, deliberate, and deceptive policies has driven citizens into poverty and keeps them there, and thus, a permanent underclass is sustained. The inconvenient recollection of the Republican Presidencies of Nixon, Reagan, Bush I and Bush II reminds us NOT to walk ourselves off the plank - again. Columnist, Perry Redd, is the former Executive Director of the workers rights advocacy, Sincere Seven, and author of the on-line commentary, “The Other Side of the Tracks.” He is the host of the internet-based talk radio show, Socially Speaking in Washington, DC. Click here to contact Mr. Redd.

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Apr 5, 2012 - Issue 466
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