As President Barack Obama proposes a program to get the U.S. out of the deep, deep hole the Bush administration put us into, the Republicans scream strange comments about "family values." Family values have been under attack since Ronald Reagan took the presidency and suddenly found Jesus. Reagan, who had a reputation in Hollywood for womanizing, and who had been a labor union advocate and Democrat, found that he could garner far more political capital by being a far right conservative. The right-wing hounds hovered around him eagerly because he could be manipulated by big money and big business. He was led like a puppet to put forth the greed-capitalist agenda. And he "succeeded." The immoral-but-moralizing right-wing was in its glory. And it went out to destroy everything that might get in its way. Labor unions, blacks, and liberals were favorite targets of the right-wing.
Black people were put in prison for minor offenses, but offenses that made for good political headlines. Of course there was racism in this, but it got people elected. Jails become loaded with black people like never before. And in the process America's black society further became imperiled as it became popular to demonize minority women as taking welfare and driving a Cadillac. While black people in America never had a level playing field and had been mistreated throughout our history, the missiles fired from the right-wing on black culture ravished African Americans. There became an absence of black men in black culture outside the criminal justice system. I know all the camouflage the right-wing uses to "disprove" all this, but the fact remains that the Republican programs have aimed there most destructive weapons at black society here.
As the success grew for Republicans, the Democrats became reluctant comrades because they thought this would preserve their political power. It did just the opposite. Both political parties bowed to corporate strength that bought and sold politicians like they did stock. America became beholden to big business. Greed-capitalism not only flourished, it created a belief in it that permeated even the middle classes. Our entire political and economic system became dependent on a population on a shopping spree. Buy-buy-buy, spend-spend-spend. The buying demand drove up the cost of everything. And as the "value" of homes skyrocketed the middle class thought it was experiencing nirvana. What it was really experiencing was a build-up of debt and overspending that would break the economic, protective dam and bring flooding that sank almost everything as the "I've got mine, too bad about you" mentality started to go down the sewer.
Space here does not allow me to present this disasterous and historical scenario fully, and history is loaded with proof. But now the proof is in what faces the U.S. today. The build-up of the rich and the decimation of the poor and middle classes is evidence enough. President Obama has put forth a road map that will get the ship of state more balanced and representative of what a democratic society should be, and in the process he will heal the break in the levee that caused all this. Stimulus? Yes. Jobs? Yes. Economic help? Yes. But also a return of fairness in the American system. Every American, regardless of skin color or economic status, has a right to proper health care, to a decent minimum wage, to understanding for families in which someone is ill and a parent needs to take a sick day, equality of all people of all political persuasions and sexual orientation, religious freedom from right-wing coercion, etc.
If we work together in all this, we can again be proud of the United States of America. We can again be a beacon to what democracy ought to be. We can again be seen as a helping hand not a military bully. We can show the world that there are morality and family values in treating people equally and fairly. Instead of lying rhetoric, we can TRULY become a "city on the hill," proud of what we represent.