FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Security: a Tipping Point in U.S. History

At no time in the history of the U.S., with the exception of the Great Depression, has our nation been more primed for radical change from the status quo to something better.

Bernie Sanders may never be empowered to bring it, and Hillary Clinton certainly will not, but never has change been more necessary. A scent of it is lingering in the wind.

I recall growing up fatherless in Oregon in the fifties. My mother said repeatedly, unapologetically, “Franklin Roosevelt saved us.”

My unskilled mother, born in 1908 and educated through the 5th grade, had no way to make money after my father’s sudden death in an accident, except by laboring, like so many others, in the fields of the rich agricultural area where we lived.

We lived like a family of migrant worker in our own culture before I knew what the words meant, and long before I knew anything at all about the life-shaping dynamic of familial economics.

I was a baby when Social Security saved me and my siblings from starvation and kept a roof over our heads. Believe me, we did not live in a welfare castle or contrive to hoodwink the system. Or become social pariahs or fake out the rich, or overturn the government. Or attack the Rockefellers or the big banks. Or make a nuisance of ourselves or deny our Americanism.

What FDR did of course was introduce a form of socialism to the body politic, giving our nation Social Security and other elements of the Second New Deal (1935), including a powerful mandate to put artists and writers to work.

His administration worked against all odds. He was successful because the power elite feared a massive revolt was near and that the only way to save capitalism was to acquiesce to a new social reality that said Americans needed security—or else.

Some very ugly people are trying to change that and roll back history. Such is priority number one of today’s Republicanism. Indeed, neoliberalism’s corrupt global schemes against struggling Americans do not absolve even FDR’s old friends, the Democrats.

Back then…

You didn’t have to be rich like the Roosevelts. You paid into the program, which was designed to flourish with nationalistic investments. The theory: When you could no longer work, your money, or a part of it, would come back to aid you.

Time and again the U.S. squandered that investment in war and giveaways to the moneyed, the banks, the plutocrats, and the oligarchs, thus driving this country into massive debt.

The so-called “trickle-down” economics made ordinary by Ronald Reagan and dogmatically followed by his present-day adherents were inverted over time, i.e., turned upside down.

The economy trickled up before becoming a full stream of money stolen and pocketed by insiders, elites, and crooks.

I am tired of hearing today’s youth, college students and other “dreamers” disparaged because they’re prone to look outside the box of the status quo and the present reality.

Many of them are Bernie’s kids. Good for them.

“They’re kids, they’re not realistic,” the critics harangue. They don’t know realpolitik, in other words. Such is the present mantra of the elites in both American parties.

But I disagree with the elites. The kids today are more savvy and smarter than ever. They have a sense of U.S. history—if not a fully nuanced understanding of it.

The kids will, these naysayers argue, eventually learn to fit in. They will, like the children of the sixties, be bought off. Their youthful idealism and anger will diminish.

In the future they’ll embrace capitalism and learn to live with it.

A certain number of them will, of course, if and when they find decent jobs. This always happens. But the numbers game is changing as the concentration of wealth becomes more imbalanced among the haves and have-nots.

I think we’ve reached the tipping point. The majority will not embrace the way things are for very much longer.

They may not be enough to get Bernie over the hump at this time, but a newer and better Bernie will come out of today’s movement.

This will happen for the first time in our history because nothing will be there for the majority, the young and educated.

Hordes of education-indebted young people know this. They intuitively and empirically understand that the jobs won’t be there when they’re ready, no matter their anger, frustration, or discontent—or sadly, their talent.

They are right. It is happening as you read this.

More articles by:

Terry Simons is the founder of Round Bend Press Books in Portland, Oregon.  This story is excerpted from his memoir of growing up in Oregon, A Marvelous Paranoia.

Weekend Edition
December 14, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
A Tale of Two Cities
Peter Linebaugh
The Significance of The Common Wind
Bruce E. Levine
The Ketamine Chorus: NYT Trumpets New Anti-Suicide Drug
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Fathers and Sons, Bushes and Bin Ladens
Kathy Deacon
Coffee, Social Stratification and the Retail Sector in a Small Maritime Village
Nick Pemberton
Praise For America’s Second Leading Intellectual
Robert Hunziker
The Yellow Vest Insurgency – What’s Next?
Patrick Cockburn
The Yemeni Dead: Six Times Higher Than Previously Reported
Nick Alexandrov
George H. W. Bush: Another Eulogy
Brian Cloughley
Principles and Morality Versus Cash and Profit? No Contest
Michael Duggin
Climate Change and the Limits of Reason
Victor Grossman
Sighs of Relief in Germany
Ron Jacobs
A Propagandist of Privatization
Robert Fantina
What Does Beto Have Against the Palestinians?
Richard Falk – Daniel Falcone
Sartre, Said, Chomsky and the Meaning of the Public Intellectual
Andrew Glikson
Crimes Against the Earth
Robert Fisk
The Parasitic Relationship Between Power and the American Media
Stephen Cooper
When Will Journalism Grapple With the Ethics of Interviewing Mentally Ill Arrestees?
Jill Richardson
A War on Science, Morals and Law
Ron Jacobs
A Propagandist of Privatization
Evaggelos Vallianatos
It’s Not Easy Being Greek
Nomi Prins 
The Inequality Gap on a Planet Growing More Extreme
John W. Whitehead
Know Your Rights or You Will Lose Them
David Swanson
The Abolition of War Requires New Thoughts, Words, and Actions
J.P. Linstroth
Primates Are Us
Bill Willers
The War Against Cash
Jonah Raskin
Doris Lessing: What’s There to Celebrate?
Ralph Nader
Are the New Congressional Progressives Real? Use These Yardsticks to Find Out
Binoy Kampmark
William Blum: Anti-Imperial Advocate
Medea Benjamin – Alice Slater
Green New Deal Advocates Should Address Militarism
John Feffer
Review: Season 2 of Trump Presidency
Rich Whitney
General Motors’ Factories Should Not Be Closed. They Should Be Turned Over to the Workers
Christopher Brauchli
Deported for Christmas
Kerri Kennedy
This Holiday Season, I’m Standing With Migrants
Mel Gurtov
Weaponizing Humanitarian Aid
Thomas Knapp
Lame Duck Shutdown Theater Time: Pride Goeth Before a Wall?
George Wuerthner
The Thrill Bike Threat to the Elkhorn Mountains
Nyla Ali Khan
A Woman’s Selfhood and Her Ability to Act in the Public Domain: Resilience of Nadia Murad
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
On the Killing of an Ash Tree
Graham Peebles
Britain’s Homeless Crisis
Louis Proyect
America: a Breeding Ground for Maladjustment
Steve Carlson
A Hell of a Time
Dan Corjescu
America and The Last Ship
Jeffrey St. Clair
Booked Up: the 25 Best Books of 2018
David Yearsley
Bikini by Rita, Voice by Anita
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail