COMMENTARY: The United States has entered a period where opposite forms of systemic change are mainstreamed; know-nothingism also expands. The social democracy of the last 80+ years is on one side; a possible theocracy and fascism is on the other. We have lost so much; the two, today, have little in common.
Many modern Democrats, even understanding a push towards a “free” economy, could support items in the 1952 and 1956 Republican platforms. Today’s Republicans today reject them completely and utterly – true red flags.
Democratic positions, adjusted for time, are still on target. Republicans, while fostering a “business America,” have radically changed. Some now “irrelevant points” from their 1952 party platform: “America does not prosper unless all Americans prosper. ”…”Government must have a heart as well as a head.”…” Courage in principle, cooperation in practice make freedom positive.”
All are still true, regardless of today’s demeaning words and uncooperative Republicans.
The 1956 Republican platform supported worker and union rights. Though with business favoritism, it still said: “The protection of the right of workers to organize into unions and to bargain collectively is the firm and permanent policy…” Also, “…Labor is the United State…” and must remain strong. In fact “the men and women, who with their minds, their hearts and hands, create the wealth that is shared in this country — they are America.” I hear echoes of Lincoln’s famous 1861 words about labor and capital. It also said “fight for the elimination of discrimination in employment because or race, creeds, color, national origin and sex.” And, “Assure equal pay for equal work, regardless of sex.”
No longer Republican beliefs. They’re heavy into blockading, damaging or destroying long-time gains of workers and unions.
If you remove Republican economic policy and adjust their core social positions from then to now it’s frightening. We know about the improving economy, but the degree of devolution on the social side to old myths? Some examples: We no longer teach history or civics in many elementary and high schools. Texas rewrites history; Arizona puts a “religion first” home-schooler in charge of the State Board of Education; Kansas seems to believe religious freedom is a sword to be used against LGBT and other folks, not a shield for all (ACLU). Alabama’s Chief Supreme Court Justice rejects constitutional law when first, over religion. Our parties have major disagreements on the “how” and the “what.”
However, New Mexico still remains progressive on some social issues.
What happened? Simply, federal policy has shifted wealth upwards since the 1970’s. Now the top 1 percent+ own 90 percent of America’s wealth in a billionaire and multi-millionaire economy. These folks control most communications; they have successfully sold the one per-center’s view of the world. As wealth continues to move upward, we devolve to multi-national corporatism — which can and will overrule sovereign governments (Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy).
Some Democrats want to restore economic and social progress to our nation. Is this not preferred?
Today’s Republicans are unhappy, loud, nervous and apparently fact-free. They are afraid of immigration, growing minority numbers and job losses. Trump uses his fortune to claim “independence” and does what he wants; Senators Cruz and Rubio get almost all their campaign funds from corporations and multi-millionaire/billionaire largess. Their failings are sometimes couched in fuzzy buzz words.
Trump’s campaign is an unusual phenomenon. He works at being loud but is just another “modern” Republican. He spouts few facts, favors capital gains and does some Nixon mimicry. He would like Detroit to close up shop and move to the south, especially Tennessee, where workers are weak and pay is less. As he caters to America’s lowest denominators, is he really a qualified presidential candidate? Senator Cruz, comments welcome.
On the Democratic side we have an uprising on the left, also upsetting the establishment and party machine. The Democratic machine and former Secretary Clinton want to continue supporting Wall Street and the status quo. However, they’ll throw in “some” equality and justice for all as leavening. Clinton also gets 97 percent of her contributions from Wall Street and its friends.
Senator Sanders is no outlier; he is within our two-party system and to his credit has authored many statutes and amendments. Remember, he’s been a mayor, congressman and now a sitting senator. He wants a basic systemic fix for America — not Band Aids that don’t stay on. He gets nearly all his contributions from working people, many of whom want to adapt some Scandinavian practices while emphasizing basic U.S. freedoms.
This makes sense; he is different from all the other candidates. His movement resonates and expands as we recognize he has ideas — and respect for — we, the American voters. A vote for Bernie is a vote for America.
Jerry Nachison is a 10-year Las Cruces resident who is active in local politics and nonprofits. He’s a retired social/housing gerontologist.