Love thy neighbor.
That clip is from January 2009
History seems to be repeating itself.
More below the fold . . . . .
As tent cities continue to pop up around the nation I thought it would be a good reminder as to why we used to call them Hoovervilles, and why we should start calling them Bushvilles (although I like Reagantowns, too.)
These are modern day shanty-towns. If this is not a living indictment of the Unfettered Free Market Capitalism espoused by the GOP and others, I do not know what is. Under the misguidance of President George W Bush, and aided by his fellow Conservatives and the jelly kneed status quo in Washington of the Democratic Congressional Leadership, our nation of peace and prosperity is now brought down so low that our people live in wide spread poverty, and our political system is no longer capable of bringing itself to justice. This is the legacy of Conservative politics. It has been it's legacy for over one hundred years, the few with plenty, and the many with nothing at all.
A brief history
Let's start with our nations capital, Washington D.C.
Pierre L'Enfant, designer of the city, thought of it as the Capital City. Jefferson referred to it as Federal Town. Washington, however, considered this undignified, and instead used the name Federal City.
The initial plot of land authorized by the Constitution for the seat of the US government was a 100-square mile area. The first commissioners appointed to acquire the property for the new capital and construct the first government buildings made the obvious choice and named the city Washington. At the same time, they decided to call the entire 100 square-mile area the District of Columbia. Congress later went along with this decision through legislative references to the area.
What was once named to immortalize the greatness of one man, our founding father General and President George Washington, now stands to represent something entirely different. Many people identify Washington DC with the pettiness and corruption associated with politics, but, once upon a time it was just a low land aquifer with a few homesteads on it. It was named as a monument to a great man. The things a person has named after them often have a life of their own, and a life that goes on after them.
I grew up near Washingtonville, NY, and went to school there from grade school up until 11th grade. My family lived there for almost 14 years. My father died there, my sister was raised there, and it will always be a part of my life.
Washingtonville, NY is a small town in the Hudson Valley, not far from the site where the Continental Army had their last encampment. The history of the region runs deep, and the view from the Hudson River is very much the same as it was back in the days of our nations founding in some places. Throughout the original 13 colonies there are all sorts of landmarks that signify some great man (or woman) of history. This is how a great leader is remembered.
There are Washingtonvilles in NY, NJ, PA, and Ohio, as well as Washington D.C.
Theses towns stand as monuments to one man who was so big they named cities after him. Of course, years later things have changed, but we'll get back to that in a bit.
In the 1930s, Hoovervilles (shantytowns) formed coast to coast in cities of the United States. Some families were fortunate enough to stay with friends and family members that hadn't been evicted yet, but homeless men, women and children were forced to take up residence in shacks as a result of the Great Depression. Angry, cold and hungry Americans, who had no other place to reside, dubbed groups of those shacks in honor of President Herbert Hoover.
Those desperate folks blamed Hoover for the downfall of economic stability and lack of government help. The small amount of resources that the federal government actually made available often did not go to the sick, hungry and homeless. That was simply because many city officials were corrupt, and kept those valuable resources to themselves.
One of the largest Hoovervilles lay in the center of New York's Central Park. The Midwest and West Coast regions of the U.S. also were devastated by the depression. "Squatters' shacks" and rickety structures popped up everywhere. The depression affected the poor so much that they felt nothing but hopelessness.
The anti-Washington, President Herbert Hoover was seen as a stooge for Big Business by many Americans, especially after he turned the army against WWI veterans who had built a tent city right in Washington D.C.
More on the old Hoovervilles, the First Great Depression and how history seems to be repeating itself.
Another stooge to the wealthy, George W. Bush defines elitism. The son of a former President, Grandson of a Governor, the owner of a pro baseball team, and the brother of the then Governor of Florida, it was said of W that
he was born on third base, but thought he hit a triple.
The face of fear-mongering, crony politics, incompetence and base stupidity, George W Bush was to Presidents what a month in Vegas is to your liver and savings account. You might end up beat up, in poor health, broke, and with no self respect among your peers if you were to act like that, and by all accounts, America certainly is.
The monuments left behind to commemorate other American Presidents stand as a measure of that persons impact on American History. While George Bush Jr was working on building his legacy, many Americans were working on building their new home in some park or under a bridge somewhere.
Call it a Bushville, call it a Reagantown, call it whatever you will. But remember to call it what it is, a shame, a disgrace, and the result of unfettered free market Capitalism. This is the legacy of Ronald Reagan, this is the legacy of George W. Bush. The legacy of a failed Presidency, a failed governing philosophy, Conservative, Neo-Con, The Free Market, The Supply Side, De-regulation, every single national and foreign policy dreamed up under Reagan was hammered home under Bush, and what did the average American gain? The super-rich gained 40% of all the wealth created in 8 years. The Joe Sixpack class lost their retirements, their civil rights, their jobs and homes, and sometimes their lives, and all in order to propagate and defend an idea that does not work. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. The definition of corruption is doing the same thing, knowing how harmful it is, and seeking to profit from it. This is how George W Bush should be remembered, not as a man who decades from now will be exonerated and vindicated as a visionary, despite the lying eyes of those who lived under his reign. Bush should be remembered for costing us our homes and liberty in our own nation, and our good names and honor abroad, and he and his supporters should be held accountable for what they have done. They should be forced to acknowledge what they have created due to their blind allegiance to the sophistry of the Conservative Movement.
In my mind, and the minds of many others, Washington DC now stands as a symbol of the corruption and lethargy of the Political class. For years the GOP and Democrats who worked with them helped pile up a stack of shit so tall it threatened to bury us all. Now the shit has trickled down and we are up to our necks in it.
Somehow, George W. Bush is free, and we have to do the hard time and clean up his mess. To call what is happening today a recession is an insult to common sense. To pretend it is the biggest recession since the depression is foolishness. Call it what it is. A depression. A crime. A national catastrophe. How did this happen? The American people have been failed by the Conservative ideals of Government, an inclusive, elitist and Corporatist movement that refuses to see what it has become, which is the bane of the working class, and a pox unto out nation itself. Their King was named George. We should never let them forget that.
The people who live in shanty towns, the people who have lost their jobs, or have taken pay cuts, or benefit cuts, the people who are doing more with less, and missing that doctor's appointment so they can go to work in order to put food on their table for their child, the people who will have to put off that hard earned retirement for a few years, the people who will not go to school this semester because of tuition, the people who have to sign up for the military because the last factory in town closed, all those people have a cause. Theirs is a cause, and an effect. The cause was the greed of Elitist Randian Conservativism. The effect was the impoverishment of America.
But, this is not a lost cause. As long as it has a person's livelihood staked to it, and a family's survival depending on it, we can't allow it to be a lost cause. This is a cause we can not afford to lose.
Well, I'm not licked, and I'm gonna stay right here and fight for this lost cause.
For these, and many other reasons.
Thank you, and good luck to you and yours,