In the early ’40s, friends and loved ones said goodbye to young men going off to fight in The Great War. They returned as heroes; huge numbers of caring neighbors celebrated them at the local playground.
Today, a troubled P.O.W. is returned from captivity, greeted with harsh scrutiny from former P.O.W., John McCain, other Republicans, and a harshly speculative media.
In 1933, newly elected President Franklin D. Roosevelt inherited “The Great Depression.” He wasted no time, investing in three major work programs to counter 25 percent unemployment. He raised the top income tax rate to 63 percent for those earning $1 million or more.
Moving swiftly to rebuild America, he then mobilized it in preparation for World War II.
With a Democrat controlled Congress to support Roosevelt, a number of remarkable achievements resulted. For starters, funding was provided to build colossal dams for irrigating the West, freeways that transcended several Southern states, overseas highways in Florida, and The Lincoln Tunnel connecting New Jersey and Manhattan beneath the Hudson River.
In our city today, we drive over crumbling streets, believing it’s standard procedure.
Roosevelt led the “Greatest Generation” to relative prosperity that lasted until the end of the 20th century. President George W. Bush then followed with two simultaneous wars, the financial collapse on Wall Street, and a decade of tax cuts for the rich, bringing our economy to its proverbial knees in 2008.
Today, our fate is in the hands of Bush Republican proteges who pander to the rich and show only contempt for the less privileged. In the meantime, those adversely affected are either oblivious to their fate, or simply don’t give a damn, should they return the culprits to office, this November.