Let’s not repeat history, please – Amanda S. Green
Back in January, I wrote a post asking “how far down the slippery slope are going to go?”. That phrase came back to me this morning as I was reading my way through the interwebs. Between the different posts speculating about yesterday’s primary in New Hampshire and what the results mean, the continued discussion of whether or not Cam Newton is a bad sport – He is and he admits it – there was a story about a 20-something leaving San Francisco for Austin and complaining about the capitalist culture there because “socialism is great”. Of course, he had come to Austin because he couldn’t find a job in San Francisco and it all brought me back to that post from January.
Let’s start with the facts. New Hampshire is just one primary. Yes, there have been times when the winner of the primary, on either side of the political spectrum won the presidency. However, let’s look at the numbers to see just how much of a predictor it really is.
Since 1952, there have been 17 primaries held in New Hampshire. On the Democratic side, only five times has the winner of the primary gone on to win the election. Those winners were Kennedy, Johnson, Carter, Bill Clinton and Obama. On the Republican side, there were nine primary winners who went on to become president. Those winners were Eisenhower (twice), Nixon (twice), Ford, Regan (twice), George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush. That means, if my limited early morning math skills are working, the Democratic winner from New Hampshire has won the presidency less than a third of the time since 1952 and the Republican winner a little more than half the time. So, the election is still a coin flip, no matter what the candidates or the media wants us to believe.
In the meantime, we need to be keeping our eye on what is happening in the nation’s capital. We have a lame duck president sitting there who has shown that he has no problem at all of using his power, real or imagined, to push his agenda through. Now, before his supporters start jumping all over me, I do know that other presidents have done so as well. But none, in my opinion, has done as much damage to this nation, except for FDR, as has Obama. Despite his proclamations that our health care system is so much better now, especially with his Affordable Care Act, than ever before, it’s not. More and more doctors are moving away from accepting traditional insurance and going to boutique practices where you buy memberships to belong. More insurance companies are withdrawing from the pool because they can’t afford it. Insurance premiums, instead of becoming more affordable for those with jobs, have gone up double and triple and more for many of them. Others are willing to take the tax penalty because that is less than the so-called affordable policies – and don’t get me started on how HCA is not a tax.
What concerns me the most regarding the long term effects this presidency will have on our country are some of the decisions that have been made regarding our military and the way we treat some of our allies in order to placate those who would happily destroy this country. With the military, we have not only Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter saying that all military jobs should be open to women – ignoring studies and historical precedents that show the problems with having women on the front line – but now we have the Pentagon ordering commanders to take climate change into account when they do things like training and battle planning. Yep, you read that right. When drawing up battle plans, our military commanders have to worry about climate change. Now, I don’t know about you, but the last thing I want our military worrying about when they are under enemy fire is if shooting off that cannon will impact the environment. Sorry all you politicians who have never had your boots on the ground in combat but the lives of our troops should not take a backseat in battle to a so-called scientific theory that is still in dispute. (and no, this is not an invitation to debate climate change.)
What worries me the most about the legacy the Obama Administration is leaving us is the way it has turned its back on some of our allies and Israel in particular. I might not always agree with what the Israelis do but they have been our allies for years. They have supported this country when we’ve needed it and, in a mere eight years, Israel has become almost persona non grata in Washington because the Administration has been bending over backwards to court the enemies of Israel, enemies that would happily see this nation in ruin.
And that brings me back around to the January post and the realization that we are repeating history with this administration and not in a good way.
As I noted in the article back in January, I spent several months behind the Iron Curtain when I was younger. Our first stop was in Prague. Before World War II, Prague had been a thriving city, known for art and fashion and much more. In many ways, it had challenged Paris as the place where the creative minds of the time went to, well, be creative. Then Hitler rose to power and his Nazi machine went rolling across Europe.
Here in the U. S. we are familiar with how western Europe felt the terror of the Nazis as Hitler pressed for domination. We aren’t as familiar with what he did in Eastern Europe. Oh, we know Hitler made the mistake of trying to fight a two front war and that mistake was compounded by trying to invade the then U.S.S.R. during winter. (Obviously, he hadn’t learned from Napoleon’s mistakes) But we aren’t taught in our schools the full impact of what happened to nations such as Czechoslovakia or Hungary or Romania. We aren’t told how people in those nations, and especially in Czechoslovakia, waited at the end of the war to see who would liberate their cities and towns. Worse, we don’t realize that some of those people could see from the second story windows of their homes and businesses the U. S. and British troops camped outside of town but not coming in because the Allies had agreed to let Stalin and his troops “liberate” those territories.
Oh, sure, there were political reasons for doing so at the time. There are always political reasons and, all too often, they come back and bite you in the butt. What Roosevelt and Churchill did was sentence those countries to decades under the Soviet hammer. The damage done by Hitler was compounded by that inflicted upon them by Stalin and some of his successors. Stalin’s purges made the pogroms under the Tsars look tame.
How did I find out about this? By going to those countries. By being out one night in a small group and stopping to ask directions. One of the men in my group was fluent in a number of different languages, including German and Russian. For whatever reason, that evening Charles decided to ask how to get to our destination in Russian. The up until then friendly Czechs turned decidedly hostile. Not that I could blame them. Between the actions taken immediately after the war when Stalin made sure no collaborators – at least none he couldn’t make use of – continued to live and then the 1968 invasion when the Czechs weren’t falling into line, there happened to be two to three generations of bad blood.
Charles quickly turned to German, which wasn’t much better. Finally, one of us and I don’t remember which one, said something in English. We eventually got our direction but only after we received a history lesson and a warning. We needed to look around and see what was there if you looked beneath the surface. A once proud country had been brought to its knees and our country was at least partially responsible for it.
It was a story we heard more than once. The Czechs are a proud people. They remembered, either personally or through the tales of older family and friends, what the country had been like before the war and they remembered how they were handed to Stalin on a silver platter. And they resented the hell out of it and I can’t blame them. How many of their people died, not only to repel Hitler but in the aftermath of living under the Soviet regime?
This is what I see happening with Israel and some of our other allies as well. The boots Obama promised would not be on the ground months ago, years ago, are still there. He continues to try to disarm our populace through ever increasing regulation on private ownership of firearms and yet he does all he can to avoid calling attacks on our citizens here and overseas as acts of terrorism when it is clear they are. He condemns Israel when it acts to protect itself and then welcomes our enemies with open arms.
I pray I’m wrong about what Obama’s legacy will be but I have visions of Czechoslovakia so long ago mixing with nightmares of what is happening in France and Germany and elsewhere in Europe because of an inability to reliably screen the “refugees” being allowed to seek asylum there. Obama has once again opened his arms to allow these refugees in here. I hope our screening process is better than we have seen elsewhere but I have no faith in it. How can I when reports are coming out now that our border agents are being told not to arrest those they find coming across the border illegally?
So here’s what I guess I’m saying. Don’t throw your hands up in the air and give up on your candidate just because of one primary election. Let those candidates you support know how you feel about the issues and demand an answer from them on where they stand. As I said in another post, stand up and be heard. If that means climbing onto a chair and raising your voice, do it. This is not the time to sit quietly as the nation crumbles around us.
Bernie Sanders said that this is the time for political revolution. That is one thing I agree with him on, even though I don’t agree with him on what type of political revolution. Now is the time to take the country back. To remember what it was that made it great and return to that time. We were a country of innovation and progress, of individuality and pride. We need to remember that and strive to attain those goals again.