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The White House

As you know, I watch the US.  Canadians share a long border with the United States and our economies are too closely linked for me not to put in a word or two regarding the forthcoming presidential election. 

What I have been hearing from members of the Republican party is alarming as it could further divide the country into two groups: the rich and the poor.  Allow me, therefore to take you back to the presidency of Lyndon Baines Johnson (August 27, 1908 – January 22, 1973), in office from 1963 to 1969.

The “Great Society”

President Johnson (LBJ) escalated the war in Vietnam, which was a huge mistake.  However, according to Wikipedia’s entry on Lyndon Baines Johnson, “he was responsible for designing the “Great Society” legislation that included laws that upheld civil rights, public broadcasting, Medicare, Medicaid, environmental protection, aid to education, and his “War on Poverty.”  The “Great Society” was an expression of nationhood.

Top left: The Tennessee Valley Authority, part of the New Deal, being signed into law in 1933.
Top right: Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who was responsible for initiatives and programs collectively known as the New Deal.
Bottom: A public mural from one of the artists employed by the New Deal.

Civil Rights

Matters have improved.  The Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlawed segregation and the Voting Rights Act 1965 made it clear that African-Americans could vote.  However, legislation does not necessarily reach the subconscious.  Discrimination has survived, particularly among members of the Republican Party.

For instance, voter suppression was/is discrimination against people of colour.  It is a recent event, carried out by members of the Republican party.  I hope it is over, but  given so objectionable a breach of both the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act, one has reason to suspect that, come November 4th, we could be witnesses to vigorous efforts to keep people of colour away from the voting polls.  Moreover, two attendees at the Republican Convention in Tampa, a recent event, threw nuts at a colored CNN camerawoman saying “This is how we feed the animals.” (The Huffington Post)

This, dear friends, is blatant racism.

Medicare

During the October 3rd Denver debate, Mr Romney said he would abolish so-called “Obamacare.”

Where health care is concerned, as you already know, the privatization scenario unfolds as follows. Individuals pay an enormous amount of money to a private company whose goal is profit, big profit, not to mention the huge bonus the CEO takes home at Christmas.

Now, as the narrative continues, having paid his or her premiums, an insured  individual is suddenly diagnosed with cancer and told that he or she is suffering from a pre-existing condition.  Cancer is not a pre-existing condition.  He or she is therefore denied benefits.  That individual will either lose everything in order to pay astronomical medical bills or he or she will simply die in pain.

Medicaid

The same applies to pharmaceutical companies.  They are businesses and therefore want to make a profit, a big profit.  Although one is told that the company has to pay for the research that led to the development of the medication one has to take, such as insulin for the diabetics, just how long does it take to pay for such research: thirty years?

It is altogether objectionable to deny a person the medication he or she needs.  For example, people suffering from diabetes need their insulin.  In fact, even if a person suffers from mere migraines, these can be the source of excruciating and ultimately debilitating pain.  Patients should therefore be provided with the necessary medication at a reasonable cost.

Privatization works for the rich only. They need not fear they will be denied benefits because their illness is considered  a pre-existing condition.  In fact, they do not even need health insurance as they can afford the appropriate treatment and medication.

Taxes

Everyone should pay their fair share of taxes, including and especially the rich.  Taxes provide the money the government requires to provide social programs, defend the nation, etc.  Allow me to quote jurist Oliver Wendel Holmes, Jr. (8 March 1841 – 6 March, 1935) whom I have quoted elsewhere: “Taxes are what we pay for civilized society” in Compañia General de Tabacos de Flipinas vs. Collector of Internal Revenue, 275 U.S. 87, 100 (1927). (Wikipedia)

Conclusion

Lyndon Baines Johnson’s “Great Society” may not be my best example of nationhood, but it is nationhood.  It may have been better for me to look further back to Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s “New Deal,” enacted between 1933 and 1936.  But the New Deal was a beginning.  “Historians argue that Johnson’s presidency marked the peak of modern liberalism in the United States after the New Deal era.” (LBJ, Wikipedia).

However, there can be no doubt that electing into the office of President of the United States a person who does not think in terms of such a concept as the “Great Society” is extremely dangerous.  Seeking the presidency so the rich get tax cuts does not translate into a sense of nationhood.

This is where I stop.  Americans are the voters.  But I have written the few words I wanted to write and have expressed what I believe to be the truth.

Micheline Walker©
October 10th, 2012
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