Tag: FDR

Our nation needs a leader to ‘turn on the lights’

FILE – In this July 6, 2020, file photo, Dr. Joseph Varon, right, leads a team as they try to save the life of a patient unsuccessfully inside the Coronavirus Unit at United Memorial Medical Center in Houston. America’s failure so far to contain the spread of the coronavirus as it moves across the country has been met with astonishment and alarm on both sides of the Atlantic. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)

 

By David Reuther

In the darkest days of the Great Depression, after the stock market crashed, half the banks had failed and 15 million people were out of work as the economy bottomed out, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt acted boldly to address the uncertainties and fear that gripped people. He united Americans.

Today, we are struggling with a situation similar to, but in some ways worse than, what was faced by FDR. Thanks to the worldwide pandemic and the administration’s response, not only are more than 30 million people out of work, but more than 180,000 are dead. Instances of police brutality have sparked nationwide protests.

Instead of promoting unity, however, President Donald Trump on Fox News’ Laura Ingraham show recently talked of people in the “dark shadows” who are “controlling” presidential candidate Joe Biden and “thugs” in dark clothing flying into Washington, D.C., to stage violence. On the same show, he claimed, falsely, that Portland, Oregon, had been burning for years.

Asserting that America has descended into chaos and its cities are burning, Trump wants us to forget that if this is true, it is happening on his watch.

To anyone old enough to remember the 1967 Detroit riots, the unrest that followed the 1968 murder of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., or the 1992 police beating of Rodney King, today’s Portland and Kenosha events barely register on the chaos scale.

Trump’s insertion of multi-agency federal troops and mercenaries inflamed these situations, not only in Portland but also right across from the White House at St. John’s Church near Lafayette Square. None of his actions have contributed to public safety.

And what are we to make of Trump, or Culpeper’s Jon Russell, implying that Black Lives Matter marches cause suburban women and children to quake in fear? This is an old dog whistle, which was employed by racist real-estate agents and bankers in the 1950s and ‘60s to keep minorities out of white neighborhoods.

Most of Culpeper’s neighborhoods are a rich combination of races, creeds, ages, and political viewpoints. Today’s “suburbanites” are nothing like those of 70 years ago.

This summer’s Black Lives March in Culpeper and hundreds more in cities and towns all across American were nonviolent examples of our right to peaceably assemble, guaranteed by our Constitution.

Some who may have been fearful appeared to be the St. Louis couple who brandished firearms at peaceful marchers as they passed their door and the 17-year-old in Kenosha who killed two protesters and wounded a third, in cold blood. The St. Louis couple was made heroes at the Republican National Convention. And Trump has defended, rather than condemned, 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse.

Many parents have had to deal with their children’s fears of “monsters under the bed.” The patient parent turned on the lights to show that there was nothing there.

Now, America needs a responsible adult in the Oval Office who will “turn on the lights” and express empathy, inspire hope and faith in the future, and marshal the nation’s considerable resources to defeat the pandemic, attack racial and economic inequities, and restore America’s place in the world.

In contrast to Republican assertions, Joe Biden has responded to these crises as a unifier who understands the need to govern for the common good. He recently remarked, “I want a safe America, safe from COVID, safe from crime and looting, safe from racially motivated violence, safe from bad cops.”

Biden promotes law and order. He clearly stated, “Rioting is not protesting. Looting is not protesting. It is lawlessness plain and simple, and those who do it should be prosecuted.”

Vote like your lives depends upon it because they do.

David Reuther, a retired U.S. Foreign Service officer, is past chair of the Culpeper Democratic Committee. These are his personal observations.

When Labor Fought for Civil Rights

When Labor Fought for Civil Rights

The Rise and Fall of the New Deal Order—memorialized in the classic anthology of that title edited by Gary Gerstle and Steve Fraser in 1989—might be history, but it never gets old. Eighty-plus years after FDR was inaugurated, the New Deal still excites the liberal left imagination even as it, perhaps, stunts it, too. How we got from Roosevelt to Reagan continues to generate conflicting arguments from those who think the New Deal was the “great exception” to American individualism and federalism unlikely to be repeated (Jefferson Cowie); a reluctant capitulation to the white supremacist South which was the best it could do (Ira Katznelson); or, an honorable surrender following the desperate rearguard fight by workers and farmers against the consolidation of corporate capitalism in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries (Steve Fraser).

As for white unionized workers, despite all of the stories about how pissed off they are at neoliberal Democrats and how they were attracted to Donald Trump’s trade message, the fact remains that white men in unions have still voted for Democrats at a rate of about 20 percent higher than their non-union counterparts. (This pattern likely did not hold this year. Exit polls from the 2016 election indicate that Clinton carried the union vote by 51–43, the lowest margin for a Democrat since 1984.)

Two recent books about the New Deal order, one by political scientist Eric Schickler and the other by legal historian Reuel Schiller, complement each other in their attention to the relationship between unions and the movement for African-American civil rights. But while Schickler writes a story of liberal ascension, driven largely by the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO), stopping in 1965 after the monumental legislation of the civil rights era, Schiller chronicles a liberal declension, ending with deindustrialization in the 1970s and tension between labor and civil rights activists. Both books end at roughly the same historical moment. Schickler sees in it labor liberalism’s triumph—the CIO and then the civil rights movement pushing to bring racial justice into the mainstream of the Democratic Party. Schiller, on the other hand, sees the labor movement and those fighting racial injustice, despite their many efforts to work together, as chained to separate legal protocols, doomed to “[talk] past each other.” To paraphrase Bob Dylan, for Schickler, labor liberalism is busy being born at the same time, according to Schiller, it is busy dying.

https://www.dissentmagazine.org/article/eric-schickler-racial-realignment-reuel-schiller-forging-rivals-review

The Legacy of Barack Obama

The First Family

In 2008, we elected one of the most progressive presidents in history. Regardless of the relentless negativity, there has been a lot of significant progress since Barack Obama took office. When he took over in 2009, you’ll recall, the economy was in free-fall and America was fast becoming the laughingstock of the world.

If we want to win elections – and in a democracy, that has to be our main goal – we have to make people want to vote for us. Let’s start by accentuating the positive!

Here, then, are two lists of many of President Obama’s accomplishments (with citations) through 2016. Even with the extraordinary obstacles he faced along the way, this President will leave behind a legacy in league with FDR and JFK.

Barack Obama Accomplishments & Achievements List

A comprehensive list of President Barack Obama’s accomplishments & major achievements sourced & updated with a timeline through 2019.

Download President-Obamas-Accomplishments.pdf