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September 7, 2012

Preaching to the Faithful

Roy Meachum

In successive weeks, we have witnessed both the current four-year political orgies, in which the two parties celebrate – most of all – themselves.


In Tampa last week and concluding last night in Charlotte, they preached to the faithful. So-called “truth squads,” capitalizing on the national media present for the conventions, appeared at each site, offering corrections for the other party’s claims. Readers will not be surprised that I skipped both televised ceremonies and speeches. I’ve been through them for more than several decades.


As someone brought up in the depths of the Great Depression, I remember what was then called Hoovervilles, shanty towns in every city and town, named for President Herbert Hoover whose administration was blamed for starting the national economic woes. Not his fault. The guilt belonged to the post-World War I Congress, then controlled by free-enterprise Republicans that reduced taxes and regulations on the wealthier in order to keep the good times rolling.


The stock market suffered Black Friday on October 29, 1929, on Mr. Hoover’s watch; his term expired in 1933. The next time a Republican sat in the Oval Office was General of the Army Dwight David Eisenhower. His inauguration was held on January 20, 1953 – the day I started my career as a journalist, working as a copy boy for The Washington Post. I moved to Frederick almost exactly 30 years later: the city and county was peopled by conservative Democrats, who frequently chose Republicans for office.


Having cast my ballot for Ronald Reagan in 1980, I considered myself an Independent Democrat. Since starting the column at Thanksgiving 1984, I’ve managed to maintain a course between both parties. My targets have become anyone I thought was acting against the public good, both Democrats and Republicans. In the current national election, I feel I have no choice. Republicans have trashed the Constitution in their greedy rush to take back the country’s highest office. I’m reproducing the preamble:


“We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”


The GOP leadership has constantly and consistently ignored “promote the general welfare,” although 46.7 million Americans used food stamps in June, the Department of Agriculture reported; that’s up considerably “since October 2008, when the economy was in free fall.” They are paralleled presently by the numbers in poverty. The Republicans routinely sideline measures meant to ensure “domestic tranquility.” They defer justice for the sake of their policies on immigration. By their policies they have restricted citizens from the right to vote.


Notice the date: “October 2008!”


George W. Bush still occupied the Oval Office, and Dick Cheney was his vice president. They hit the economy with a double whammy, lowering taxes and starting a still-ongoing war, which has to be paid for. This was much of the reason why Barack Obama was elected president, the first African American in 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Immediately, bigotry and prejudice were put in place. While the Republican national platform doesn’t name the Tea Party, the radicals’ points remain strong on the GOP agenda.


Meanwhile, I listen for speeches supporting Mitt Romney with a strong taste of incredulity. Impossible!


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