Become a Thom Supporter- Click the Patreon button
GOP has Become Fear and Hate President Eisenhower Warned Of
There are some folks who say, well, this is all brand new, right? This Republican tax scam and all this kind of stuff.
Let me share with you a very brief quote. This is from a piece by Robert McElvaine in the Washington Post, but the quote is from William Jennings Bryan.
William Jennings Bryan in 1896 gave a speech called the "Cross of Gold" speech. Now, Eisenhower somewhat reprised this in 1953 with his Cross of Iron speech.
William Jennings Bryan spoke in 1896 about essentially the difference between the Republican idea and the Democratic idea. He said:
"There are those who believe that if you will only legislate to make the well-to-do prosperous their prosperity will leak through on those below."
1896 he said this, trickle-down economics.
"The Democratic idea, however, has been that if you legislate to make the masses prosperous their prosperity will find its way up through every class which rests upon them."
Petty straightforward stuff, right?
In his letter to his brother Edgar in 1954 Eisenhower said, "Should any political party attempt to abolish social security ... Their number is negligible and they are stupid." He was specifically calling out the Hunt Brothers, but he also he also warned us about the whole military-industrial complex.
Dwight Eisenhower gave a speech January 1961. Of course, the new president is sworn in on January 20th of the year following the election, so this is the election of 1960. Eisenhower's party lost. Richard Nixon, his vice president, was running for election as president but lost to John Kennedy and the next day John Kennedy was going to be sworn in as president.
So this is Dwight Eisenhower's Farewell Address. And he starts out talking about how we've never had a permanent arms industry in the United States, but as a result of World War Two and the decade and a half after World War Two. - keep in mind he was he was speaking literally just 15 years after the end of the war - we now have one. And we have to consider the consequences of it.
"We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.
Now, this conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence - economic, political, even spiritual - is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society."
And then Eisenhower drops this famous line:
"In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex."
The President of the United States!
"The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes."
Now, typically that last sentence gets cut off. In fact, typically the whole thing gets cut off. He continues:
"As we peer into society's future, we - you and I, and our government - must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering for our own ease and convenience, the precious resources of tomorrow."
Like a trillion and a half dollar deficit.
"We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without risking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage. We want democracy to survive for all generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow."
Do you recall that Dwight Eisenhower warned that democracy might not survive? He continues:
"Down the long lane of the history yet to be written America knows that this world of ours, ever growing smaller, must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate."
Tell that to Trump.
"And be, instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect."
This is a Republican speaking!
"Together we must learn how to compose differences, not with arms, but with intellect and decent purpose."
And amazingly, Dwight Eisenhower ends his farewell address with a prayer for peace. Check this out.
"May we be ever unswerving in devotion to principle, confident but humble with power, diligent in pursuit of the Nations' great goals."
"To all the peoples of the world, I once more give expression to America's prayerful and continuing aspiration:
We pray that peoples of all faiths, all races, all nations..."
"...may have their great human needs satisfied; that those now denied opportunity shall come to enjoy it to the full; that all who yearn for freedom may experience its spiritual blessings; those who have freedom will understand, also, its heavy responsibilities; that all who are insensitive to the needs of others..."
" ...will learn charity; and that the scourges of poverty, disease and ignorance will be made to disappear from the earth."
This is a Republican?
And that, in the goodness of time, all peoples will come to live together in a peace guaranteed by the binding force of mutual respect and love."
Mutual respect and love: two words that are not in Donald Trump's vocabulary as far as I can tell. Of course, we shouldn't be surprised. This is the guy who basically won World War Two, right? He saw thousands of people die. He saw horrible battles. He understood the cost of war. Which is why, in 1952, when he ran for president of the United States, and Harry Truman had gotten us into the Korean War, although it was an undeclared war, it was a "police action", Dwight Eisenhower, peacenik, ran with this television ad:
"He has met Europe leaders, has got them working with us. Elect the number one man for the number one job of our time. November 4th vote for peace. Vote for Eisenhower"
He really understood. When was the last time you heard a Republican talking about this? John McCain voted for this tax scam which is going to hurt working people. It's going to hurt the middle class. It's going to create another Great Depression. And it's going to massively enrich the billionaires who put all these people in power.
Dwight Eisenhower had some very specific thoughts about the cost of this.
Donald Trump was bragging about how much more money we're spending on the military than ever before.
Dwight Eisenhower gave a speech to the American Association of Newspaper Reporters, April 16, 1953. This was not radical stuff that he was talking about. This is how Eisenhower frequently talked. This is how Republicans frequently talked in the 1950s.
Listen to this. Dwight Eisenhower defines what it costs to deploy a battle group of aircraft carriers, what it costs to build a bomber, what it costs to build a tank, and he outlines this not in dollars, but in how many bushels of wheat, how many schools won't get built, how many hospitals won't get built, how many people won't be employed. Here it is:
"A burden of arms draining the wealth and the labor of all peoples; a wasting of strength that defies the American system or the Soviet system or any system to achieve true abundance and happiness for the peoples of this Earth.
Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.
This world in arms in not spending money alone.
It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.
The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities.
It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population.
It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals.
It is some 50 miles of concrete highway.
We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat.
We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people.
This, I repeat, is the best way of life to be found on the road the world has been taking.
This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron."
So Republicans, when you call in, don't give me this crap about, "oh, the Republican Party has always been a party of great integrity and still is, you know, we're still doing God's work here, you know, trashing gay people and Muslims."
The fear and hate that Eisenhower defined is now the Republican Party.