My impassioned “72-year-old” friend (who is now 75, but who’s counting?), who goes by the Twitter name @42bkdodgr, would like to share his feelings about how the political climate and conservative Congress members have (d)evolved over the past 50 years. I am more than happy to oblige.
But first, a personal note from 42bkdodgr:
Many of you may wonder why I chose to use the “72 year old friend” as the introduction to my Special Comments. I selected the moniker so readers could see that from my age and life experiences I give a different perspective to the issues of today.
Now for his Special Comment:
Then and Now
I was married on Thursday, July 4, 1963, to a wonderful and beautiful woman. So today, I celebrate my 50th wedding anniversary and the birthday of our nation. When one reaches milestones like this, you think about all that has happened in your life during those 50 years: The birth of your children and grandchild, parents, sisters and other relatives, friends, career, the dreams you had when you were young.
It's an inventory-taking time of life achievements. I can say I'm very happy how my life turned out. Did I achieve everything I dreamed of, (becoming a pro basketball or baseball player...lol)? No I didn't, but most people don't achieve everything they desire when they are young.
On milestones like today, I also think about the changes I've seen in the past fifty years: in medicine, electronics, travel, automation, automobiles, life styles, costs of cars and homes, wars, civil rights and politics, to name some. I realized, in those fifty years, I have lived through some very interesting times.
When I got married, John F. Kennedy, was the first Catholic to be president, and as I celebrate my 50th, Barack Obama is president, the first African American president.
The other day, while discussing political events, a Twitter friend asked, "Are we seeing the very dark side of politics today?" and wondered whether it was as dark years ago. Afterwards I started to reflect, on the question, on what our government was like in the first few years of my marriage and what it's like today.
During the years of the 88th and 89th Congress (1963 - 1966), the Congress consisted of such members as: Mark Mansfield (D) Hubert Humphrey (D), Everett Dirksen(R), Barry Goldwater (R), Carl Hayden(D), Clifford Case (R), George Murphy (R), Jacob Javits (R), Abraham Ribicoff (D), Strom Thurmond (D/R), Karl Mundt (R), Margaret Chase Smith (R), Stuart Symington (D), John Lindsay (R) Bob Dole (R), Hale Boggs (D), Tip,O'Neill (D), Robert Kennedy (D), Gerald Ford (R).
During that period the following major legislation was passed:
* Equal Pay Act of 1963
* Clean Air Act of 1963
* Civil Rights Act of 1964
* Food Stamp Act of 1964
* Voting Rights Act of 1965
* Social Security Act of 1965 ( Medicare and Medicaid)
* Freedom of Information Act of 1966
The ability to pass such monumental acts was due to Democrats and Republicans working together and willing to compromise on issues when necessary.
In the 1970s, I saw the growth of the Christian Conservative movement. It was their goal to have graduates from their law schools become involved in school boards, politics, and the judicial system in order to effect changes in the areas of abortion, same-sex marriages, school prayer, teaching of creationism in schools and LGBT issues. I believe, we are now seeing the results of those goals by the various laws enacted or being proposed on both a federal and state level, covering abortion rights, SNAP (food stamps), and voting rights.
While many believe the Democrats currently in Congress are not as liberal or progressive as those in the 1960s., they still fight for the needs of the people.
When you look at the Republicans elected to Congress over the last few years: Rubio, Chambliss, Paul, Vitter, Inhofe, Coburn, DeMint, Lee, Issa, West, Walsh, Pence, Steve King, Bachmann, Ryan, Gohmert, Sessions, Cain, Price, Foxx, Duncan, Wilson, Cruz you realize how far to the right the Republican Party has moved when compared to the 1960s.
In 2011, Republicans became the majority party in the House, and since then, the Tea Party members have been unwilling to compromise on most major issues. As one Tea Party member stated, "Compromise is when the other side comes over to our side." A government can't function when one side isn't willing to compromise on issues. With the Tea Party members in the Senate, we have seen nothing but obstructionism, delayed approval, or non-consideration of open cabinet positions, judgeships and senior management positions.
In the last two plus years, we have seen numerous votes to abolish The Affordable Care Act, no jobs bills presented for consideration, phony scandal investigations, and bills presented that promote Christian Conservative religious ideology.
Is it any wonder, that we now have a totally dysfunctional government, with Congress having an approval rating hovering around 10%?
With the current make up and attitude of those in Congress today, I believe those bills passed during the 1960s would never have been passed or even seen the light of day. Last week SCOTUS struck down the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and Republican are trying to cut down, eliminate, or privatize most the progressive legislation passed during the 1960s.
This "War On Women", is nothing more than the Christian conservatives forcing their religious values on all Americans. This is only the beginning; next will be the breaking down the wall separating church and state (praying in school and creationism) followed by censorship of what one can read or watch on TV or in the movies.
Many will say I'm overreacting, but Americans better wake up before its too late, because the Christian conservatives are our own home grown Taliban. They say we should be worried about Sharia Law coming into our schools, but what we should be more concerned about is the type of Sharia law Christian conservatives want to impose on America.
So in answer to my friend's question, YES, these political days are some of the darkest in my lifetime.
Many thanks again for another thorough, relevant piece, @42bkdodgr. You often say what many of us are thinking and feeling, and we thank you for your unique perspective.