State And Local Governments

The Attack On Teachers And Librarians

Those individuals who dedicate their lives and careers as teachers and librarians are facing a crisis unseen in American history.

The Republican Party and the extreme right wing has declared war on teachers and librarians, promoting censorship and direct threats against those who promote free inquiry and tolerance!

The move of some state and local governments, and of some right wing media, such as Fox News Channel, One America News Network (OANN) and NewsMax, to threaten lawsuits and loss of employment to those who educate our children and to ban books and other materials some find objectionable, is an attack on the Bill of Rights and the promotion of truth and facts!

No wonder many teachers and librarians are leaving their professions, as state laws in Texas, Florida and elsewhere allow for parents or others to begin lawsuits, when such people are not qualified to dictate what the curriculum should be in schools, or to ban books and other materials on book shelves in libraries!

Does anyone promote that medical doctors, attorneys, accountants and others be subjected to ignorant parents and extremist elements to dictate their fields of work and what are acceptable policies and programs?

This blogger and author could not imagine trying to teach in the public schools at any level in today’s environment, where not only is there conflict over teaching of “Social Studies” and “Science”, but also even Literature, Foreign Languages, and most crazily, Mathematics!

Why should the state of Florida, for instance, be able to ban certain Math textbooks on the crazy idea that they contain CRT (Critical Race Theory), and they do not have any connection at all?

How can anyone deal with students at any level in any curriculum field without recognizing the role of teachers and librarians in educating students on issues of race and sexuality, which are and will be dominant factors in their future lives?

This attack on educators and librarians is a movement toward totalitarian and authoritarian Fascism, and the battle against such evil is joined, and must be fought to ultimate victory!

Joe Biden Perceived By Many Observers As Potentially Transformational, As Was FDR And LBJ

It may be hype, but many political observers, impressed with President Joe Biden’s fast start in his first 50 days, are speculating that the 46th President could be a transformational President, in the mold of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon B. Johnson.

One such viewpoint is expressed by NY Times Columnist David Brooks, who is a conservative, but sees elements in Joe Biden to unite the nation, as has occurred with the just signed COVID 19 $1.9 Trillion legislation today, which is seen as a law that will have a great effect on taking many people, including children, out of poverty, along with essential aid to small businesses, state and local governments, and the rapid availability, now said to be on May 1, of COVID 19 vaccine for all adults.

Joe Biden has surprised many in his ability to draw Republican registered voters to be totally supportive of assistance this legislation provides, even as Republicans in Congress refused to support the legislation, but are already claiming credit for some of the programs and aid being distributed rapidly, starting this weekend.

There certainly is great optimism, on this anniversary of the declaration of the COVID 19 Pandemic a year ago today, after the horrible loss of 525,000 Americans, the greatest loss in one year in American history!

The Republican Party Of 2021 Is A Disgrace, Refusing To Provide Aid In A Pandemic And Depression

The Republican Party of 2021 is a total disgrace, refusing to provide aid in a pandemic and economic depression, with not even one Republican Senator or House member voting for the $1.9 trillion legislation, that benefits children, the poor, struggling middle class people, schools, small businesses, and state and local governments who, without such aid, would have to fire teachers, firefighters, police officers, and so many other essential public employees.

With so many people harmed by the disaster of the past year, with Donald Trump doing next to nothing about it, the lifeline of $1400 checks is a blessing.

The Republicans supported, along with Democrats, the two earlier pieces of legislation, for $1200 and $600 aid in 2020, but the minute Joe Biden comes in, they refuse, and this will be remembered by average, every day voters, including Republicans, with many Republican mayors and some Republican Governors finding it hard to fathom why the Congressional Republicans refuse to the last man and woman to support essential aid.

This will reverberate on Republicans in the midterm Congressional Elections of 2022, and already, some veteran Republicans are bowing out of running for reelection, as they see Donald Trump dominating the party and destroying it piece by piece, so the Republican future is extremely dim!

Labor Day: A Day To Celebrate Workers And Unions Which Gave Us What We Have Today!

Today is Labor Day, first declared by President Grover Cleveland in 1894, to commemorate the contributions and sacrifices of American workers in the age of unbridled industrial capitalism in the Gilded Age.

Too many Americans are unaware or uninformed of what labor conditions were like in the Gilded Age, and how the formation of labor unions brought about the basic labor rights that we all have today, nearly 120 years later, due to the blood and sacrifices of workers who were brutalized by corporations and government in the process of bringing about reforms.

We do not appreciate how much better our work conditions are now than they were back then, although labor unions have declined, and corporations and state and local governments have done everything they can to stifle worker freedom and decent conditions, as the minimum wage has not gone up with the cost of living, and many millions of workers have no sick leave, overtime pay, and lack health insurance benefits, due to conservatives and Republicans who have always fought against working people and labor, in the name of big business monopoly, both then and continuing to this moment.

We cannot thank labor enough for having built up this nation to the greatness it has today, and we need to honor their sacrifices and contributions, and resist corporate encroachment, which would love to return America to the Gilded Age!

Why Did National Government Grow? Because Of Crises State And Local Governments Could Not Cope With!

In the midst of constant debate about the validity and size and scope of national government in America, one truth shines out!

In time of crisis, it is the fact and the leadership of federal government that has saved us from disaster!

It was the recognition that state and local governments were unable to deal with anarchy and chaos during the period of the Articles of Confederation in the 1780s, which led to the Constitutional Convention and the establishment of a strong national government.

It was the reality that the Union was being dissolved by the secession of the Southern states, determined to protect their evil institution of slavery at all costs, that forced the growth of national government to keep the Union together, promote economic growth, expand the concept of human rights to all groups, and put America on the road to being a world leader.

It was the threat presented by foreign powers in World War I and World War II which required the growth of national government to protect our national security.

It was the national government which came to the rescue at the heights of the Great Depression, when the nation was in danger of chaos and possible turn toward dictatorship of the left or the right, triumphant elsewhere, but prevented by our national government.

It was our national government which had the ability to protect us during the period of the Cold War with the Soviet Union from 1945-1991.

Despite complaints about tactics, it was our national government which was looked to after the horrific attack on September 11, 2001, and has prevented any further attack.

Try to imagine leaving all of these crises to state and local governments, which so often have proved their incompetence, their inadequacy, their shallow nature, their narrow mindedness. We would not have had the history we have experienced, and would, most certainly, be under the control and dominance of foreign powers!

State and local governments have legitimate roles in our federal system, but it is the national government which has been the “hero” in our history, saving us from harm, chaos, and a future that would have been much more difficult than our national experience has proved to be!

Nostalgia For The 19th Century: The “Good Old Days” Of The Gilded Age?

Here we are in the second decade of the 21st century, and yet the Tea Party Movement and the Republican Party contains within itself a great nostalgia for the past–the 19th century Gilded Age!

Why is the Gilded Age seen in such a positive light by the Right Wing of the Republican Party? Let us count the ways in no special order!

1. Labor unions were struggling to survive, and workers were working long hours under horrible work conditions with no protection and no basic rights for the working men, women and children. Yes, children as young as 6 were working for menial pay, as well as women being paid less than men.

2. Immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe and Asia were being discriminated against, and paid less than “native born” workers, and living in slums in the big cities.

3. Women had no rights legally and were not allowed to vote or control their work conditions.

4. No one had any health care, pension, minimum wage protection or sick leave or vacation leave, and could be fired on a whim of the employer.

5. African Americans mostly lived in the South and faced segregation, lynchings, and sharecropper poverty, and civil rights of any kind did not exist.

6. Corporations ruled in America, major monopolies which corrupted the political system on all levels–national, state and local.

7. State and local governments controlled just about every aspect of their population’s lives in a very inadequate manner, and the federal government was extremely minimal in its impact upon the people.

8. There was no social safety net of any kind, other than churches and other organizations which were unable to do much for those less fortunate, in poverty, or having serious medical ills.

9. Racial supremacy was a widely held belief, along with Laissez Faire Economics and Social Darwinism.

10. Education was minimal for the vast majority of the population, and therefore allowed little social mobility for the average American.

11. If natural disasters occurred, little assistance or aid was available, except to pray to God for divine guidance.

This nostalgia today is VERY SIMILAR to the above reality of the Gilded Age, but we have had a century of reform, including the Progressive Era, the New Deal, the Great Society and other reforms on specific issues at other times!

We have had reform oriented Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon and Barack Obama promote major changes that have made America a better nation!

Now the proposal of the Right Wing in the GOP is to reverse the reforms and changes that have made America an improved nation over the past century. The desire is to negate, to veto, to wipe out the social safety net, labor reforms, and so many other hard earned reforms. This is being offered as the GOP answer to the economic crisis we are in, as if making things worse and protecting the corporations and the extremely wealthy is the answer to our difficulties!

Returning to the Gilded Age is precisely the wrong thing to do! We cannot allow such a disaster to occur in 2011, or EVER!