In the United States, the early 20th century brought women the right to vote, and progressive taxation meant to address the inequalities of wealth that had developed with industrialization. In the 1930s, Franklin Roosevelt's "New Deal" helped the country through the great depression. The Social Security program was initiated to safeguard the elderly. In the 1960's, landmark civil rights legislation was passed, a War On Poverty was launched, and our leaders envisioned a "Great Society" and the elimination of poverty. Medicare and Medicaid were initiated to provide healthcare to our elderly and poor. Most of these accomplishments took place under what we would today call "liberal" policymakers in charge of government. We were on a roll toward a more just society.
Then, in the 1980s, came along "conservative" saint Ronald Reagan and the ascent of "conservatism" and "conservative" policymakers in charge of government. Let's see how we've been doing under Reagan and the Bushies (I & II.) First, Reagan cut taxes on the wealthy and then he racheted up defense spending. A war on entitlements aimed at the nations poorest citizens, was launched. Welfare was ended, curiously, under Clinton, but who ever accused him of being progressive anyway. Bush Junior tried as hard as he could to eliminate Social Security, but couldn't. He did manage to pass yet another huge tax cut which benefited primarily the wealthiest citizens. Our nation's neediest citizens, our 37 million poor people, have been demonized by right wing conservative zealots Rush Limbaugh and the like, and our 50 million citizens without medical insurance are left to fend for themselves. And then there's Iraq.
Now, I ask you...are we better off since "conservatives" have come to power? Can we possibly stand any more of them? No wonder Junior's approval ratings are at 30 percent.
About the photograph: In my younger, wilder days I did a fair amount of scuba diving. I enjoyed underwater photography. This shot was taken about 20 years ago in St. Croix. Dan and I spent a week at a gay men's resort there. The site is a piling supporting a pier that was used to dock cruise ships. Depth: only about 20 feet. The pier was later destroyed by a storm.
3 PM: The good news is that the sun has returned to Fire Island just in time for Bradly (our dog) and I to take a walk down to the Sunken Forest, an ancient holly tree forest that is both beautiful and spooky at the same time. The bad news is that our computer here on the island has died. I tried replacing the power supply but I couldn't get it to come back to life. RIP. So I'm stuck with a 10 year old clunker and dialup access for the time being. Russ Feingold just sent out an email about a health care bill that he and another senator will be introducing. I'll have to read more about it, but if Russ is involved it must be good.
4:20 PM: I just read online that Don Imus has hired a high powered First Amendment attorney and plans to sue CBS Radio for $40 million dollars. He'll need a magician. This is not about free speech. It's about what is appropriate over the public airwaves.