The last things the world needs is another blog. I’m already overwhelmed by the amount of information I process every day. And yet, here I am, adding to the clutter with another blog — Who Stole My Country?
When did you stop believing that government can be trusted? When I was young (1935 to 1948) we believed that government represented us, ordinary people. Government programs had brought us through the great depression, won World War II, established free state universities, linked us together on super highways, set up a retirement program for everyone and encouraged the largest expansion of a comfortable “middle class” perhaps in history.
Today, 87% of Americans do not trust their own government nor mainstream media.
Not only that. Belief in the American dream has plummeted since the 1930s and ‘40s. There are no completely trustworthy statistics for attitudes toward government during the that time. Polls largely ignored women and focused on the affluent, for example. But according Pew Research, “… despite their far more dire economic straits, they remained more optimistic than today’s public.”
“Large majorities favored the federal government providing free medical care for those unable to pay (76%), helping state and local governments cover the costs of medical care for mothers at childbirth (74%), spending $25 million (big bucks in those days) to control venereal diseases (68%), and giving loans on “a long time and easy basis” to enable tenant farmers to buy the farms they then rented (73%).”
Moreover, a 46%-plurality favored concentration of power in the federal, rather than state government (34% favored the latter),” according to Pew. (http://www.pewresearch.org/2010/12/14/how-a-different-america-responded-to-the-great-depression/)
Today that optimism has been almost completely reversed! This blog will explore how Americans turned against their own government over course of my lifetime. It will be a personal recollection of how we got from there to here. I was given an incredible vantage point from which to view these wrenching times as a journalist with a progressive radio network, Pacifica, during the sixties, a hippie drop out and manual laborer in the Seventies, and a documentary producer covering stories around the world ever since.
What happened between 1935 and today? When did you stop believing in the beneficent effects of government?
Or were those good times just a passing illusion, an expression of FDR’s genius and compassion, as ephemeral as his own life?