It is truly ironic that in a time of tremendous stress for all state budgets, it is the federal stimulus money passed a year ago by Congress, with the urging of President Barack Obama, that is “saving” many states on cutting teachers, firefighters, police officers, prison guards, and state government agency workers!
For instance, the state of Florida, seemingly hellbent on becoming as reactionary in government policies as South Carolina and Texas and Mississippi, seems unwilling to attribute their final state budget to the help of the federal government, but if it was not for $3 billion in federal money, there would have been no way to deal with state problems in a fairly reasonable way!
Not that what Florida and other states are receiving this year is adequate enough, as already there are hints in various counties in Florida, and other counties in other states, that there will be an education crisis, law enforcement emergency, and public safety shortcomings!
Despite all the attacks on the federal government, it seems clear that another economic stimulus is essential to keep the states afloat in the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression!
What it comes down to, again, is that the states “hate” federal intervention, but in the modern world since the Great Depression and World War II, it has been unavoidable that the national government must play a major role in the lives of all Americans!
Tomorrow, May 4, marks 40 years since the tragic shooting of students at Kent State University in Ohio by the National Guard, leading to the death of four students and the wounding of nine others!
Kent State became the symbol of a divided America over the Vietnam War’s continuation, and expansion into Cambodia by the Nixon Administration. The reaction was for the President, Vice President Spiro Agnew, and Ohio Governor James Rhodes (who called for the National Guard to be sent to the college campus) to condemn the students as causing their own tragedy, and the country was as divided for the next few years on that terrible event and Vietnam as ever before or since the Civil War in the mid 19th century!
Kent State radicalized many, but also confirmed many conservatives in their own self righteousness and patriotism, backing a war that had a lack of support among a large portion of the American population!
The thought that the National Guard was out of control, and took the action to shoot down and kill college students in cold blood, and that many did not see that as a horrible event, is still enough to make one sick to his stomach forty years later!
The problem is that the hate that has developed in the midst of economic crisis now in America reminds one too much of those tumultuous times! Hate speech and heated rhetoric is now employed over domestic affairs, and leadership is demonized as then, and in many ways, the divisions in America today are reminiscent of those days!
It is the old battle of the movement for progress and change, against the forces of tradition and retrenchment! Vietnam was the controversy of that time, while now it is domestic reform after years of stagnation, corruption, and economic exploitation!