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Foot Soldiers of the Reagan Revolution

Generally, .001%ers have faith in the power of the dollar

If the middle class is destroyed, American society run by .001%ers would, over time, look more and more like a society run by communists.

When Ronald Reagan was elected President, dread swept through the communities of those who had made our revolution in the 1960s.  The counter-revolution had found a hero, and he was a good one. Reagan's "morning in America" smile signaled to us that we were not going to like what happened during this new day.

Many of the former colonial countries that got free struggled not to fall under the control of communism, we here in America fell under the control of Reaganism.  Again, Reaganism is a form of government in which an affable man of less than stellar intellect becomes President while the government is actually run from behind the scenes by fierce, greedy men in suits called Reaganites.

Among those who discerned such thing, there was the sense that Reaganites were not out to simply undo what we had done in the 1960s, they were going to use what we had done to a greater advantage. The ability to use almost any product is the real genius of modern capitalism.

We had fought for freedom. By freedom we meant the freedom to go off and do good things. We meant the freedom for minorities, women and colonial subjects, all humans, in fact, to express more of who we are, express more of our dreams of a unified world.

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The people Reagan bought to power, the Reaganites, used freedom to mean economic freedom, the freedom to make as much money as you can. They were the forerunners to, and enablers of, today's .001%ers.  

The .001%ers were able to enlist "foot soldiers' from among groups who opposed our definition of freedom. These groups did not have equal opportunities to make big money themselves, but they could be convinced that equality meant the dull grey proletariat sameness that communism would create. Any one who spoke of equality could be labeled a communist, as Dr. Martin Luther King had once been labeled.

Under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson we had pulled the government into our revolution. Both Presidents committed their administrations to lighting a candle of freedom, equality, and justice around the world "that shall not be put out," Johnson said. We turned a nuts and bolts master politician into an idealist..

Ronald "The Great Communicator" Reagan convinced the masses that if they got the government out of the business of trying to enhance freedom, equality, and justice life would be better. "Government is not the solution to our problem government IS the problem," he said.

The subliminal message to those who hated our revolution was that their lives would be better, as once they supposedly had been, when minorities were back in their place, and women were back in theirs, and former colonial empires could be controlled for the benefit of America's Gross National Product (American interest abroad, was the code word).

You can still hear these Reaganite longings in the voices of the 2012 Republican candidates, who are not actually Reaganites but mostly foot soldiers in various Grand Armies of the Reagan Revolution -the evangelicals, bemoaning the lost of power of their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the Reagan Democrats, who were convinced that minorities were being favored over them, and advocates of states rights, dissatisfied for any number of reasons.

As happened in some of the revolutionary movements in Africa and Central America, in the United States in 2012 a variety of ambitious Tea Party-inspired foot soldiers are attempting to take the reigns of government.

Of the three Republican candidates who are not foot soldiers of the Reagan Revolution, Ron Paul and John Huntsman are outliers. The other exception, Mitt Romney, is a .001%ers, who seems to believe in neither the liberal values, upon which his past political campaigns were based, nor the conservative values professed by his present campaign.

Likewise, True Reaganites are not ideological. Generally they see making money as the highest good. During Ronald Reagan's two terms, Reaganites waged illegal wars against the flowing of democracy in much of Central America. The region still has not recovered.

To finance those wars, which Congress would not fund, Reaganites, inside and outside the government, facilitated "guns for drugs" trades that resulted in the dumping of tons of crack cocaine into inner city neighborhoods. The neighborhoods have not recovered, leaving them ripe for fortunes to be made in waves of gentrification.

Reaganites deregulated the banking industry and promoted tax policies under the misleading banner of "trickle down" economics. These policies transformed capitalism into a system in which vast wealth could be created in a very short period of time.

The .001%ers did not have to come up with ideas to develop and manufacture products and build companies. They manipulated deregulated money markets and bought companies, squeezed money out of them, and sold them.

They destabilized the entire Western economic structure in a manner not unlike Central America and crack-cocaine filled neighborhoods. They profited from a lucrative arms race that destabilized the Soviet Union. Once Soviet communism was vanquished there was, at the end of the 1980s, a feeling that we, the only remain superpower, owned the world, or soon would.

The previous posts in this series are:

The Coming of the Reaganites

Undoing the 1960s

Will the 60s Revolution Be Undone?

Should President Obama Have Gone the Way of LBJ?

New posts in this series are coming soon.

 George Davis is creator of the series of world-sourced, interactive books, Barack Obama, America and the World. This series contains the background reporting, drawn from sources across the nation and around the world, that give deeper meaning to the ideas in this post.

 

George Davis is professor emeritus at Rutgers University. His latest book is Until We Got Here.

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