GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

October 18, 2012

Letter: Election seen as a rematch of the ideals of 1936


Gloucester Daily Times

---- — To the Editor;

As the clock winds down on this seemingly endless campaign cycle, one thing that has become clear to me, with the nation almost evenly divided into Obama and Romney camps, is many members of both camps have come to view this election in almost apocalyptic terms.

In many people’s eyes, if the “other guy” wins, all is lost.

More than a few on the right, including a county judge in West Texas who is the leader of a large Tea Party faction there, have publicly called for the taking up of arms if President Obama is re-elected.

People should remember that, in 2010, more than a few Republican/Tea Party campaign events and rallies, especially in the South and West, were full of signs that read, “By Ballot or Bullet, Restoration is Coming” and “If Ballots Don’t Work, Bullets Will.”

On the left, many believe a Romney victory will result in a draconian slashing, if not outright elimination, of many important social programs and the “safety net,” even greater disparities in wealth and income, and a society that will look increasingly like the old “Banana Republics” of Central America where there were — and in some countries still are — just two classes of people, the very rich and the very poor. All of that, of course, would be done in the name of reducing taxes on the already rich in the U.S. still further, even though overall tax rates in the U.S. are at historic lows.

That vision may not be so far off the mark, given that, over the last 32 years — with all but 12 of those years dominated fiscally by the Friedman/Pinochet/Kemp/Reagan/Bush/Romney/Ryan theory of “supply side economics” — the disparities in income and wealth in the U.S. have already reached levels, per capita, like those seen in countries such as Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Honduras.

I don’t necessarily view this election in apocalyptic terms, but I do view it as the most important since 1936. That was the year the people had to choose between sticking with a man who understood the times they were a’changin,’ as difficult as those times and changes may have been; or electing a man who advocated returning to the political and economic policies championed by his party throughout the 1920s that brought the Great Depression down upon the nation in the first place.

This year’s election, symbolically and philosophically, is a kind of rematch between Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Alf Landon.

I, for one, am not only hopeful but confident the American people will embrace the visionary spirit of FDR that Obama personifies, as opposed to the Landon-esque, backwards looking, “return to the failed future” political and economic agenda of the completely out of touch and flip flopping Mitt Romney.

Should I be proven wrong, well, all I can say is “God help us all.”

MICHAEL COOK

Gloucester and Mambiche, Vieques, Puerto Rico