Monday, April 1, 2019

So, What's hitting Your Head?

President Harry Truman, Dexter, Iowa, 18 Sept. 1948 
Photo Credit: Harry S. Truman National Historic Site

It’s interesting that the America that Mr. Trump and his supporters want to “Make Great Again” is the America of the late 1930's, 1940's and 1950's.

So, what was going on back when Harry Truman was President and working the campaign trail?

In 1948, the USA was in good shape after Roosevelt and Truman. WWII was over and prosperity was on the rise for everybody.

But, the Republican controlled Congress, the famous, “Do Nothing Congress” was doing its best to undo all of Roosevelt’s New Deal social progress programs. (Later, President Eisenhower, a Republican, knew better than to undo the New Deal just to make the multi-billionaire Texas oilmen happy.)

From President Harry Truman's speech, Dexter, Iowa, 18 Sept. 1948:

“So long as the farmer, the worker and the businessman pull together in the national interest, this country has everything to hope for.

“But it is terribly dangerous to let any one group get too much power in the Government. We cannot afford to let one group shape the Nation’s policies in its own interest, at the expense of the others.”

“That is what happened in the Nineteen Twenties, under big business rule of the Republicans. Those were the days when big corporations had things their own way. The policies that Wall Street big business wanted were the policies that the Republicans adopted. Agriculture, labor, and small business played second fiddle, while big business called the tune.”

“Those were the days of Republican high tariffs – tariffs that penalized the American farmer by making him pay high prices for manufactured goods, while he was receiving low prices for his crops.”

“You remember the results of the Wall Street Republican policy.”

“You remember the big boom and the great crash of Nineteen Twenty-nine.”

“You remember that in Nineteen Thirty-two the position of the farmer had become so desperate, that there was actual violence in many farming communities.”

“You remember that insurance companies and banks took over much of the land of small independent farmers. 223,000 farmers lost their farms.”

“That was a painful lesson. It should not be forgotten for a moment.”

“All through this century the American farmer and worker have been the victims of boom and bust cycles – with the accent on bust. And they have suffered alike in these misfortunes.”

The USA Trump and his cohort are foisting upon us today is a far cry from the USA of the 1930's and 1940's, the Roosevelt/Truman New Deal era (which was continued by every president up to Reagan, who began to dismantle it). Our prosperity was a direct result of the New Deal programs put in place to overcome the Republican Party policy disasters of the 1920’s, policies which are strikingly similar to those the Republican Trumpists are again putting in place.

Mr. Truman made no bones about the difference between the Democratic and Republican parties. He continued:

"How many times do you have to be hit on the head before you find out what's hitting you? It's about time the people of America realized what the Republicans have been doing to them."

“Why is it that the farmer and the worker and the small businessman suffer under Republican administrations, and gain under Democratic administrations?”

“I’ll tell you why. It is a result of a basic difference in attitude between the Democratic and the Republican parties.”

The Democratic party represents the people. It is pledged to work for agriculture. It is pledged to work for labor. It is pledged to work for the small businessman and the white-collar worker.”

“The Democratic attitude puts human rights and human welfare first.”

“But the attitude of the Republican gluttons of privilege is very different. The big money Republican looks on agriculture and labor merely as expense items in a business venture. He tries to push their share of the national income down as low as possible and increase his own profits. And he looks upon the Government as a tool to accomplish that purpose.”

“These Republican gluttons of privilege are cold men. They are cunning men. And it is their constant aim to put the Government of the United States under control of men like themselves. They want a return of the Wall Street economic dictatorship.”

“Our intentions are made clear by our deeds. In the Twentieth Century, every great step forward has come during Democratic administrations of the National Government. Every movement backward has come under Republican auspices, and it is the people who have paid dearly for these reactionary moves.”

“I’m not asking you just to vote for me. Vote for yourselves! Vote for your farms! Vote for the standard of living that you have won under a Democratic Administration!”

“Get out there on Election Day, and vote for your future.”

The problem we have today is that both parties are in the pocket of big business. Both do the bidding of the global corporations to the detriment of small-farmer agriculture, labor, and small business. (The 99.9% of Americans.)

One great hope for our future is that the Green New Deal Democrats will remember that “standing for” small-farmer agriculture, labor, and small business, made the prosperity we enjoyed from the 1950's through to the Great Recession (2007-2009), that very prosperity the Trumpists say they want again but have no idea how it came to be.

I’m guessing that you’re tired of getting hit on the head, too.

Still,  the question remains, how many more bashes to the head will it take before we figure out who is hitting us and we make our system work for us?

News clip from President Harry Truman's, Dexter, Iowa, speech, 18 Sept. 1948

Please go here for the transcript of President Truman's speech.

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