By David Glenn Cox
I’ve been accused of being an optimist. Damn near an insult to my cynical nature. But I don’t mind, I don’t think of myself that way, I see history. I remember feeling so sick at heart, with the “Ray gun Revolution.” Thinking, how gullible are these people? (Don’t ask.) You can’t cut the budget and do more. Just as you can’t put half as much gas in your tank and go farther. Then I did the math. It was fifty years since the start of the Great Depression. And a sufficient number had passed on to their eternal reward and had forgotten to warn their grand kids. Beware child, of the politician promising more for less. But it was a wave like disco, and you can’t stop a wave. They’d just have to learn for themselves, the hard way.
What bothered me more in this era of the pied piper of reactionaries, and cardboard cutout tough guys, was the response of the Democratic Party. Conservative Republicans winning elections across the country and too many Democrats saying, I’m like them, I’m sorta conservative too. “School vouchers? Sure, let’s give her try!” The “me too” branch of the Republican Party. But born in the forties, they had no memory or recollection of children eating watermelon rinds out of garbage cans or eating family pets.
Hoover had a plan. Send seed packages to starving farmers and once they figured out how to make the seeds grow in November, in the midst of the dust bowl. The Depression would be solved. He would take two billion 1929 dollars and give it to American industry, to restart their idled factories. Then the Depression would be over. Destitute Americans would suddenly wake up with money their pockets, and everyone would go out and buy a radio. The Hoover plan was to minimize, pacify and marginalize. “No one is starving in America” was Hoover’s cry. Good times are just around the corner. Belief in God will make a hungry belly silent; it is your faith in an uproar, not your intestines.
Oh, how quickly political points of view can change all at once. It segues nicely from, “You don’t need any food, to you don’t need a mask. Just because one condo building collapses, that’s no reason to inspect the millions of others just like it. It is easy enough for Republicans to get away with their bullshit when the public’s not paying any attention. Besides, it always sounds so good. “We are going to cut your taxes by 90%! And build the new High School! And do away with dirty pictures!” That’s why Democratic Talk Radio suffers, they are required to stay on this side of the reality line. They can’t start a story with “And then the alien grabbed me, and I screamed!”
They can’t go on the air night after night, preaching doom and gloom, murder, and sedition, because the plan is “how do we make things better?” There’s just no room for aliens in a story like that. Just no room for anger or sedition, while discussing the school lunch program. Stuck with boring facts and figures, and planning sessions and all. Let’s see, we can’t afford national health care, but we can afford a twenty year war in Afghanistan. We can’t afford to protect the planet because we must protect the economy. Windmills cause cancer! Cattle wormer cures Covid! Donald Twump will be reinstated… wait, wait, let me throw this dart at the calendar!
But the dark night of Twump is lifting, and the world is not the same anymore. After the 1918 pandemic, the world was not the same and we now know why the 1920s roared. (I want to go out!) If you are boring enough to read the Bureau of Labor Statistics report each month, you already know why you aren’t on talk radio. But despite the serious ass kicking, the economy is holding its own. It’s damn near remarkable, and I’m a cynic! But with enhanced unemployment benefits (which expire on the 6th) and food benefits, the advantage of liberalism becomes apparent.
Every American regardless of political persuasion has been changed by the pandemic. It becomes harder to peddle the less is more, philosophy. So, in the era of Twump, they go full tilt Looney Toons trying to garner attention. Lauren Low Rent Bobert, “Vote for me, I’m armed to the teeth!” Or Rand Phony Doctor Paul, “I made up my own board of accreditation!” I wouldn’t even trust his wife’s fish sticks. But this is what passes as Republican thought. Silence is golden, remember the woman who replaced Liz Cheney? Exactly, you know what I mean, right?
So it was, that a large crowd assembled in the Alabama of the North, West Lafayette Indiana. There was no football game scheduled or graduation ceremonies planned. They came to hear a politician, a liberal politician, a flaming liberal politician, a Socialist politician, and there was no election in the offing. These were Americans who had seen their incomes stagnate while Republicans advocated cutting taxes. A generation of opiates and closed factories, and gun crime. Despite voting Republicans time after time, things just kept getting worse. They have heard enough about bleach and second amendment rights, and cattle wormer.
The Funerary arts is the way to go. Folks never stop dying and the generation raised on Ray Gun Republicanism and Twump terrorism, wants no part of the next Republican incarnation. The rising generation is more liberal than any generation since the 1930s. They believe in health care for all, no questioned asked. Equality for all, no questions asked. Republicans attempts to gerrymander districts will fall to naught, without any Republicans living in them. Remember, Hoover didn’t carry a state west of Pennsylvania!
2,300 Indianans came out to politely hear Bernie Sanders speak about the infrastructure bill. No protest signs, no proud boys and no Nazi or Confederate flags. 2,300 people and most of them used to be Republicans! They cheered when Bernie spoke about the Civilian Climate Corps. They cheered for low-income housing and health care. They don’t want their children to taste watermelon for the first time from a garbage can, the same way my mother did.
“And the great owners, who must lose their land in an upheaval, the great owners with access to history, with eyes to read history and to know the great fact: when property accumulates in too few hands it is taken away. And that companion fact: when a majority of the people are hungry and cold they will take by force what they need. And the little screaming fact that sounds through all history: repression works only to strengthen and knit the repressed. The great owners ignored the three cries of history. The land fell into fewer hands, the number of the dispossessed increased, and every effort of the great owners was directed at repression. The money was spent for arms, for gas to protect the great holdings, and spies were sent to catch the murmuring of revolt so that it might be stamped out. The changing economy was ignored, plans for the change ignored; and only means to destroy revolt were considered, while the causes of revolt went on.”
― John Steinbeck