Skip to comments.Doblin: 50 years later, 'The Great Society' is under attack
Posted on 04/14/2014 12:19:40 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
WHEN I WAS young, public service television commercials were not uncommon. One of the more famous ones featured an American Indian looking at a polluted landscape. At the commercial's close, there was a tear in his eye. Less iconic was a commercial about fair housing.
A superintendent is showing a substandard apartment it needs a lot of work. If I recall, he shows the bathroom and how getting a nickel washer from the hardware store would fix the plumbing. The commercial's goal was to educate people of color that there were laws protecting them against housing discrimination.
I was nearly 7 years old when the Civil Rights Act became law in 1964. Growing up on Long Island, my neighbors looked just like me. I lived in a working-class subdivision in western Suffolk County. The houses and families were nearly identical. White couples. Lots of children. Maybe the occasional above-ground pool from Harrow's.
The struggle for racial equality was background noise to a little boy. While cities burned and John Lindsay walked the troubled streets of New York City, my hometown was much like any other suburb in America.
It wasn't until I was in my 20s that I learned that Levittown, the model for the mass distribution of GI vets and their families into the suburban landscape, was originally a restricted community. The idea that racial discrimination could have been written into the covenants of a tract-housing project not even an hour's drive from Manhattan disturbs me still.
Looking back, Long Island was always a very segregated place maybe not by law, but by economics, and I expect years back, subtle red-lining. As bad as things may be today, they aren't like that.
President Obama traveled to Austin, Texas, last week to deliver a speech at the LBJ Presidential Library. President Lyndon B. Johnson has a mixed legacy as the man who assumed the presidency after the world stopped on a November day in Dallas, the man who pushed our nation full-speed-ahead into Vietnam and the president who delivered by sheer force of personality the Civil Rights Act, and later the other pieces of legislation that formed The Great Society.
Obama was marking the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act. The significance of America's first black president speaking 50 years after the passage of such extraordinary legislation is important to note. America has come far these 50 years. In many ways, our society has become more colorblind. Interracial marriage is no longer illegal in any state. Progress has been made in lessening the education gap between white and black. But a gap still exists.
And while persons of color do not have to deal with poll taxes or the likelihood of being ousted in the night by men in hoods, new forms of not-so-subtle discrimination have gained favor in some parts of the nation. Under the guise of fighting voting fraud, some states are trying to make it harder for low-income people, poorly educated people and seniors who are both poor and non-white to register to vote.
I'm not a fan of Big Government, but I am a believer in Big Democracy, and the only way to ensure that everyone is treated equally is by the passage of legislation that forces that, not by waiting for the goodness that might lie dormant in all people to awaken in the hearts of each and every American. People who talk about communities always doing the right thing by their neighbors without the added push of government intervention are people who have never been denied service in a restaurant because of their color or ignored in a store because of their color or profiled because they were the black in an all-white setting.
Such things can still happen. If Trayvon Martin had been a white youth wearing a hoodie in a residential Florida neighborhood, he most surely would have been a household name only to his family and friends and not the face of a national tragedy.
The Civil Right Acts of 1964 could only have been pushed through Congress by a Southerner. And by a Southerner who was a consummate politician, unafraid of anyone or anything, and with a personality as large as his home state of Texas. There is no one like that in American politics today.
Obama's signature health care reform is not as radical as the Civil Rights Act was in its day, but it is vilified as an extension of The Great Society. The dark side of the Tea Party movement is a belief that federal social programs are antithetical to the Founding Fathers' goals.
The Founding Fathers lived in a world where even the rich people went to the bathroom in a porcelain pot. The social challenges of modern America require modern solutions. The Great Society is about choices not just the choices of where to live and go to school or whom to marry, but about what things are non-negotiable for a nation founded on the precept that all men are created equal.
Fifty years after the enactment of the Civil Rights Act, there is a movement afoot in America to rip apart the safety net constructed thread-by-thread by Johnson. I think back to the old commercial about polluted rivers and streams and I see a new commercial: I see people lining up at polling places denied the right to register to vote, I see roadblocks toward higher education, I see seniors and working moms unable to pay for basic food at a grocery store because they have no government assistance. And I see not an American Indian towering on the screen. I see Lyndon Johnson, a complex and not-always-heroic leader, holding in his hands copies of the legislation that created The Great Society. A single tear streams down his face.
"Schizo-phrene. In most cases it does not last."
That American Indian was an Italian American
>>Under the guise of fighting voting fraud, some states are trying to make it harder for low-income people, poorly educated people and seniors who are both poor and non-white to register to vote.<<
Funny. These people seem to have no problem coming up with an ID to get welfare benefits. And an ID with that EBT Debit card? Flashed out faster than a switchblade!
Actually, he was Italian, and, like most of the 60s Great Society garbage, was an invention of leftist society destroyers.
At this point, WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE?
Way too many people are voting.
The Bergen Record? Haha... I was a paper boy for that rag in the 70s. Didn’t know it was still around.
1964. LBJ touting his underlying intentions for the "Great Society" programs, as LBJ confided with two like-minded governors on Air Force One.
Looking back, Long Island was always a very segregated place — maybe not by law, but by economics, and I expect years back, subtle red-lining. As bad as things may be today, they aren't like that.
No kidding. They're worse. Much worse.
That made me gag.
“I see seniors and working moms unable to pay for basic food at a grocery store because they have no government assistance.”
Maybe if most of these Mom’s got married and then had kids they wouldn’t have to struggle. No sympathy from me.
Don't get me started. GRrrrrr. LBJ was the worst president in history. Even FUBO has yet to reach the substandard levels of evilness that LBJ had. I hope and pray that someday the effects of the Great Sociery will be gone and destroyed forever.
Unfortunately the power, prestige and greatness that was America will likely be destroyed first. Then a rebuilding can occur.
Not only that, but those are almost certainly figments of his imagination. There are more people on food stamps now than there are full-time working women!
Food Stamp Recipients Outnumber Women Who Work Full-Time
Ding! Ding! Ding ding! Ding! Ding ding ding! Ding! Ding!
Progressive ideology is the enemy of freedom and enabler of tyrants. Expressed here in a nutshell. Pretty much explicitly.
And... btw... the Great Society did not create a "safety" net, it created a "poverty" and "dependency" net.
>>Way too many people are voting.<<
The rule should be if you accept welfare you don’t get to vote.
Only people who CONTRIBUTE TO, not SUBTRACT FROM the nation should be allowed to vote.
Nah, no attacks: we just want to know what the exit strategy for the “War on Poverty” is.
We’ve been at it 50 years, and seem to be at the “we were waste-deep in Big Muddy, and the big fool said ‘push on’” stage. It’s obviously a quagmire, and we need an exit strategy.
I also wonder the same thing about the “War on Drugs”, which, despite the name being only about 40 years old we’ve really been at for over a century now.
Would you lump veteran’s benefits into that rule?
The great society has been and epic failure.
We had subsidized the 80 IQ crowd and granted them more “rights” and resources as their numbers have swelled.
Attack the Great Scoity...it should be ENDED AS A FAILURE.
It’s OBVIOUS that Voter ID is breaking open some pretty sophisticated fraud rings, or the push back would not be nearly as strong as it is, and all on one side.
You DO NOT hear the Republicans complain about people not having IDs, because there are very few - on EITHER side. As posted above, if you’re poor, no ID means no goodies from the government. People have ID. If you use health insurance, you have ID. And the list goes on-and-on.
In fact, if an adult is so disengaged from society to be able to survive without an ID, I don’t think that person should be allowed to vote in the first place.
Maybe he was an Italian-NativeAmerican. Do these asshats look up anything other than hildebeasts skirt? Well, pants leg now since she seems to only wear pantsuits now. Thankfully.