Just What Is Radical Today?
The right wing press in this country uses every opportunity to call candidates such as Bernie Sanders “radical.” If you understand the concept of being radical as something or someone who deviates dramatically from a norm, folks like Bernie Sanders are hardly radical. In fact Sanders would actually be the norm. Sanders calls for medical care access for everyone. Americans overwhelmingly want access to medical care for all. Americans are tired of stupid wars that kill and maim our citizen soldiers for no apparent good reason. Americans want jobs that pay a living wage. Americans want access to higher education. Short version, what Americans want is what Bernie Sanders campaign is about.
Despite that the American media treats the Sanders campaign as if it were far from the norm. I focus on Bernie Sanders for this discussion since Sanders is the one most often cited as “radical.” Certainly Hillary Clinton will be cited by our press as being “radical” if she becomes the nominee. Sanders is currently an easier target since he has appended “socialist” to his party affiliation as in “Democratic Socialist.”
When we look back at the Eisenhower era, we see many parallels between what “radical” Democrats of today call for and what President Eisenhower worked for. Here are just a couple of lines from the 1956 Republican Platform to whet your curiosity:
The Republican Party believes that the physical, mental, and spiritual well-being of the people is as important as their economic health. It will continue to support this conviction with vigorous action.
Republican action created the Department of Health, Education and Welfare as the first new Federal department in 40 years, to raise the continuing consideration of these problems for the first time to the highest council of Government, the President’s Cabinet.
The record of performance of the Republican Administration on behalf of our working men and women goes still further. The Federal minimum wage has been raised for more than 2 million workers. Social Security has been extended to an additional 10 million workers and the benefits raised for 6 1/2 million. The protection of unemployment insurance has been brought to 4 million additional workers. There have been increased workmen’s compensation benefits for longshoremen and harbor workers, increased retirement benefits for railroad employees, and wage increases and improved welfare and pension plans for federal employees.
Since that era, the Republican Party has gone on a rightward lurch at first that has now turned into a gallop. Their policy proposals of their current crop a candidates and office holders is positively radical based on what Americans want. The constant proposal to roll back the ACA counters Americans desire that all folks have access go medical care. The Republican actions that have caused the cost of higher education to skyrocket is in direct opposition to Americans desire that education be affordable and accessible for all. Americans want living wages for all. Republican policies of today not only send jobs overseas but are calling for the elimination of even the paltry minimum wages we have today.
* Diplomacy seems to be a dead item in their agenda. Where once President Eisenhower who understood the true cost of war led their party, today armed intervention is seen as the first option when problems arise.
* Immigration is seen as bringing terrorists into our country instead of as a way to deepen and diversify our country.
* Equal pay for equal work is not even discussed. Economic policy can be stated simply: What do corporations want? Less taxes? Check. More government handouts? Check. Kill Unions? Check. Kill regulation and do not enforce those that exist? Check, check and check.
Those are but a few examples of what makes today’s Republican Party is the most radical party America has ever seen. To Democrats shame, some have supported policies of this radical party in the past.
Thanks to a corporate owned media, Americans are not shown just how radical the Republican party is today. The radicalization began with the rise of Barry Goldwater in 1964. But as with much of the problems America experiences today, the radicalization of the Republican Party can be tied back to the so called Reagan Revolution with its blatant use of race to divide Americans and the radical “ supply side” economics that has proven to be disastrous in all its applications. Their crowning achievement was to put their candidate for president in office by an unprecedented action of Republican Supreme Court appointees. This was truly the second American Revolution and one of the most radical actions in this country ever.
So today we have the leading candidates for the Republican nomination calling for rounding up Hispanics and sending them to Mexico while we build a huge border fence thousands of miles long to keep people out. They also call for the tracking of Muslim citizens because of their religion. There is also a major call for more major intervention in the Middle East to battle what started out to be an insurgency but has grown much larger as it feeds off our belligerence. More war in short.
They have also called for the cutting of Social Security benefits and Medicare benefits. And there is the continuing cry to end the ACA and take even the paltriest amount of medical care from the poor. Ending or greatly reducing any aid to the poor is also on the agenda.
And of course during this holiday season, House Republicans have spent your tax dollars to introduce a resolution to make Christmas symbols sacred in the eyes of the government, thus violating one of the most cherished concepts in our constitution that of the separation of church and state.
If all that isn’t radical folks, then I just don’t know what radical is.