The Word “Radical” And American Presidents: An Abused Term!

President Barack Obama has been called “radical” by many opponents because he had the “gall” to tackle tough issues, including Health Care Reform and Financial Reform, and to take bold stands on many other issues in his first 19 months in office!

Somehow, if a President takes leadership and tries to make life better for the citizens of this nation, he is labeled by those who want no change, and to keep an elite wealthy group in control of government, as being extreme–and the words “Socialist”, “Communist”, “Fascist”, “Nazi”, “Liberal”, “Progressive”, and any other term that can be thrown at him that is derogatory in nature is utilized! 🙁

So therefore, Abraham Lincoln was “radical” because he dared to challenge the South’s secession from the Union, and moved to abolish slavery!

So Theodore Roosevelt was “radical” because he dared to engage the government in regulation of big business; proceeded to promote regulation of food and drugs; promoted conservation and the environment; and became the first President to see labor and working people as a group that should be considered as having basic rights!

Woodrow Wilson was “radical” because he moved to regulate corporations by anti trust legislation and the creation of the Federal Trade Commission; created a national banking system through the Federal Reserve Act; and promoted the first national labor laws!

Franklin D. Roosevelt was “radical” because he promoted government intervention and action to deal with the Great Depression through his New Deal; dared to challenge the power of big business; and promoted the first “safety net” for the poor and the middle classes!

Harry Truman was “radical” because he dared to promote civil rights in the military and in the nation’s capital, and suggested the importance of health care and education on a national level!

Dwight D. Eisenhower was “radical” because he dared to intervene with federal troops at Little Rock to enforce federal court orders on school integration, and promoted federal intervention in setting education standards nationwide!

John F. Kennedy was “radical” because he promoted civil rights, federal expansion of education initiatives, and suggested a Medicare system for the elderly of our nation!

Lyndon B. Johnson was “radical” for promoting the Great Society programs in civil rights, health care, education, the environment, consumer protection, and the War on Poverty!

Richard Nixon was “radical” for promoting advancements on the environment, consumer protection, labor protections, and other domestic reforms!

If these actions are “radical”, we need more of them, and more Presidents having the guts that these men and President Obama has had!

Understand, this is NOT saying that all of these Presidents did not have faults and shortcomings, and that they cannot be criticized for these areas of failure!

Lincoln violated civil liberties during the Civil War; Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson were white supremacists; FDR tried to “pack” the Supreme Court, and interned Japanese Americans during World War II; Truman is blamed by many for starting the Red Scare to protect his administration; Eisenhower is judged as slow to react in the area of civil rights, before sensing a need to intervene at Little Rock to back federal court orders; Kennedy is perceived as ineffective in accomplishing much of his domestic programs; Johnson is interpreted as promoting too many reforms without careful consideration as to their long range effect; and Nixon is seen as violating civil liberties, and as crooked in using power, leading up to Watergate!

Obama has been criticized as being too moderate by many progressives and liberals, and as too slow to react against conservative attacks!

But all of these Presidents made a long range impact on America, and should be acknowledged for such “radical” change!

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