America is undergoing its latest chapter of the “Culture and Economic War,” between the lower middle class whites and the poorer minorities, which began under the un-enlightened Reagan Era of anti-government, low taxes on the rich, de-regulation, and the revival of the fanciful mid 1840’s idea of “American Exceptionalism” and Reagan’s fantasized concept of the “Shining City on the Hill!” Throughout his eight years in the Oval Office, Reagan created this Hollywood illusion of a “renewed sense of optimism” to a so-called, beleaguered nation disillusioned by war and scandal. He repeatedly described America as the “shining city upon a hill.” In his 1989 farewell address, Reagan said:
“…in my mind, it was a tall proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, wind-swept, God-blessed and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace, a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity, and if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here.”
Of course, that was his idealized view of what we were really about, what our history was and his distorted view of the future. In fact, his administration was fraught with scandals regarding Iran-Contra and eventually would blow-up with the Savings & Loan disaster that cost the country $1 trillion. He came into office not after a war, but picked up the problems of the Carter Administration which was the victim of the 2nd OPEC Oil Embargo, which Nixon had never really resolved. So after his eight years, what did we have in America? The beginning of the end to the Middle Class in America. On the surface, in the Reagan Years, 16 million jobs were created, more than the eight years of Eisenhower, the almost fourteen years of both Bushes and Ford (in Nixon’s five years, 9.4 million jobs were created) combined. Ironically, there were 10.5 million jobs created in Carter’s four years, and since Truman, the Democratic Administrations have created more than 2.5 times as many jobs as the Republicans.
But, what of Reagan’s legacy? Much of those 16 million jobs were connected to the Defense Industry which included his ill-fated Star Wars Program and his 600 ship US Navy, which lasted about two weeks until more older and obsolete ships were de-commissioned. Unemployment, which was 7.5% on January 20, 1981 would rise back to 7.3%, by the time his successor, George HW Bush (#41) left office on January 20, 1993. In between, the National Debt had quadrupled. By the way, at the end of the Gulf War, his Bush #41’s job approval was at 90%. On November 3, 1992, he received 37.45% of the vote, the second lowest percentage for an incumbent president seeking re-election in our history (William Howard Taft received 23.17%).
In between, because of Reagan’s tax cuts and excessive spending, we experienced a growth in the billionaire class. There had been between 10-12 billionaires for decades. Within four years this number grew to 49. That pace has continued to accelerate. By 1992, it had grown to 100 and now there are almost 600. In between, we have seen the exporting of jobs, the growth of the big box stores, and the real beginning of the next chapter of America’s emerging “Cultural and Economic War.” As the Middle Class shrunk with the growth of the upper and lower middle classes, fringe and impact neighbors expanded. That is the legacy of Reagan, whose administration started the country on its downward path of “starving” the government. What has been the result, declining infrastructure, greater deficits, the Crash of 2008 as a result of deregulation and the Deriviative Bubble, and expensive foreign adventurism. Much of today’s National Debt can be attributed to the ill-fated, Bush #43 policy of “guns and butter.” Tax cuts during wartime is indicative of the Voodoo Economics under Reagan. Add on to that the non-financed Part D (Drug) Medicare Plan, and the crash of 2008, our worst economic setback since the Great Depression! What was the result of that, by June of 2009, the DJIA at 6600 and unemployment ay 10.5 %. So much for Reagan and the two Bush presidencies.
The dominance of the white, Protestant, male hegemony that reached its peak on VJ Day, September 2, 1945, began to erode. On that day, over 98% of all the Senate and House seats were held by Protestant white males. The same could be said for every Flag Rank officer in the America Armed Forces, every Governor of every state, the CEO of every Fortune 500 Company, the head of every hospital, every university and college (aside women’s schools), every prestigious law firm, and almost every police department. The American, Protestant male, was now the most powerful group of people in the history of the World.
Since that day, what has happened? Well this ultimate and unprecedented American and World power began to erode. First it was Catholics, and then Jews. Next it was women, Blacks, Latinos, Asians and even Gays. In fact, it was addition to some by subtraction from others. As Jim Crow started to abate in the 15 to 20 years after the end of WW II, women also sought their place in the sun. As these various religious and ethnic groups, with America’s women started to gain power, who lost it? The answer is obvious. Well, White Protestant America and its new Eurocentric allies has invested in the most corrupt human who has ever been elected to office in a Western government since the end of WWII. In the words of cartoonist Walt Kelly’s character, Pogo, “We have met the enemy, and it is us!”