Remember Ronald Reagan

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Chuck Hamilton 

Remember when Ronald Reagan opened his presidential campaign at the Neshoba County Fair, in the same community in which the three civil rights workers were murdered by the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan in 1963?

Remember when the week before Super Tuesday Ronald Reagan gave a “tough on crime” speech in Stone Mountain, Georgia, birthplace in 1915 of the Knights of the Ku Klux, Inc., flanked and backed by white Dixiecrats in front of ranks of black prisoners?

Remember how the Reagan administration sponsored legislation targetting primarily Afro-Americans which increased use of the death penalty, eliminated higher education for inmates, prohibited education assistance for felons, increased money for new prisons, gave money to states for keeping prisoners inside longer, supported the private prison industry, allowed for states to pass three-strikes laws, and barred ex-cons from public housing?

Remember how the Reagan administration sponsored legislation that “ended welfare as we know it” by placing a lifetime limit on welfare benefits, devolving responsibility for welfare to the states and handing them block grants of money, nd instituting a workfare-for-welfare program requirement, drastically cut back on the food stamp program, and all but abolishing Medicaid?

Remember how Reagan pressured his party’s national committee to drop from its platform statements expressing anti-monopoly sentiments that had been there since 1880?

Remember how the Reagan administration sponsored legislation that abolished the prohibition against a bank holding company in one state acquiring a bank headquartered in another state, allowed for media cross-ownership, deregulated broadcast and telecommunications markets, eased regulations on creditors and made it more difficult for clients to sue firms for securities fraud, loosened supervisory regulations over financial institutions and lessened creditor liability, overruled all state laws that regulated savings and loan credit activities, abolished the Glass-Steagall provisions separating commercial banks and investment firms, deregulated over-the-counter derivatives, attempted to privatize Social Security and Medicare, made it harder of buyers to get out of lender required insurance on mortgages, and made it harder to consumers though not businesses to discharge debts through bankruptcy?

Remember how the Reagan administration sponsored legislation that defined marriage as being between one man and one woman and nothing else?

To all you neoliberals and other pseudo-progressives who have not yet gotten the joke, I have to point out that Ronald Reagan only did one of these things. The rest came from “America’s first black president”, Bill Clinton, in partnership with his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton. So, you see, when true progressives and others whom the policies of the Clinton joint-administration have harmed withheld our votes from this year’s Democratic Party nominee or else voted against her, it was not because of misogyny, sour grapes, and contempt for her ability, rather it was because we highly respected her abilities but feared what she would have done with them.

Ronald Reagan may have started the change of the War on Poverty into the War on the Poor, but the Bill Clinton took it to Warp 10 and made it cool. For liberals, the best gift from the Clintons was that they made it acceptable to be dog-whistle racism-spouting, poor-shaming bigots again and still call themselves “progressive”.

Also, it’s way past time for dynastic politics to end. No more Rockefellers, no more Kennedys, no more Bushes, no more Clintons, no more of any families who have had several members in political office. After having spent four years in the Philippines, I learned well what placing such a concentration of power in so few hands can do to a country.

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