In 1994, the United States was abuzz with news that 40 years of a Democrat-controlled Congress had come to an end. Newt Gingrich and his cadre of fresh-faced Republican Congressmen and women were going to turn our country around for the better – despite the fact that Democrat William Jefferson Clinton was shaping up to be one of the most popular presidents ever.
Born of that era, as a young Mexican-American raised in East Los Angeles, I grew up watching Ozzie and Harriet, Leave It To Beaver, My Three Sons and Father Knows Best. These shows were reflections of 1950s and ’60s America, with the father being the breadwinner and mom at home taking care of the house and kids. Who knew those shows would be the epitaph of that society?
Franklin Roosevelt’s “New Deal” was having its initial impact on our economy, having settled in and now yielding its fruits. Unionization of many industries and businesses was ostensibly leading to a better life for the American worker with higher wages and a say in what benefits they would receive.
To “stimulate” our economy and agriculture, the federal government was paying farmers to not grow and produce agricultural products. After the New Deal failed to bring us out of the depression as promised, the second new deal was enacted.
The Works Progress Administration, the Wagner Act and new government bureaucracies were creating a bigger government with new, big programs — new, big programs with new, big taxes to pay for them.
As Americans were adjusting their personal economies to pay for the costs associated with the new deals and their impact on the nation’s economy, along came President Lyndon Johnson and his “Great Society.”
I witnessed first-hand the impact of higher taxes and a higher cost of living on my family. Suddenly, my mother was taking in laundry and babysitting for extra money so our family could make ends meet. Eventually, she took a job at a seasonal foods company in Los Angeles. It seemed my dad’s pay wasn’t enough for us to cover our bills.
On top of working to help our household budget, my mom ironed robes and church linens to get a cut in our tuition. We kids also saw a greater frequency of beans and rice for dinner, as these were cheaper meals. Mom used to call it “comida de pobres” (poor people’s food).
We also began to receive phone calls in our home from the finance companies my parents had borrowed from to help keep our home afloat. Family finances were not good.
Our family was not unique. Mothers were leaving households in droves to help their family budgets. Husbands were taking second jobs. As a result, kids were being left alone at home. This was the “new normal.”
As this continued into the 60s, along came the “peace movement” and “women’s liberation.” Even more “movements” aimed at challenging both governmental authority and the values of the “traditional family” – “Chicano power,” “Black power,” “Students for a Democratic Society” and so many more.
The younger generation had more time on its hands and no parent was at home to instill family values and a sense of respect for elders and authority.
What was I witnessing?
It was the destruction of a values-based society from within itself. Our government was growing and the family unit was shrinking. Faith-based family values were becoming a joke.
Kids were running rampant because mom and dad were at work. Who would tell them to stop what they were doing and punish them for doing wrong? Gangs began forming to a degree never before seen.
Crips, Bloods, 18th Street, Mexican Mafia, Wah Chings and many more battled for the streets, and control of kids with nothing better to do. Anything to swell their ranks and become more powerful.
Fast forward to the 1990s and now, so many years later, to the 21st century where we see what in the United States remains as “the new normal.”
When was the last time you heard of a couple getting married and thinking that one parent or the other would be a “stay at home” mom or dad? It almost never happens! No one even conceives of this type of marriage – except, perhaps, for a rich Kardashian family member.
As the government needs to feed its self-perpetuating, bureaucratic tapeworm, it needs money, and taxes continue to rise. Regulation of business increases the weight of its almighty foot on the throats of those businesses.
Feeling that weight, businesses then shed employees. Those employees plummet into poverty and onto food stamps and welfare to the point where 47 percent of our country’s population now receive Food Stamp benefits.
Today we have the “America is wrong” society. President Obama visits the world, apologizing for our country’s past. We are battling a nameless evil in the Middle East, because our administration is too politically correct and afraid to call it by its name — “Islamic Extremism.”
No one wants to win a war anymore. Our military leaders have targets in sight in Afghanistan that they lose while awaiting a “go-ahead” from a “suit” in The Pentagon!
The notion of starting at the bottom and working your way to the top is anathema to our youth and the labor unions.
No one wants to take the time to learn the value of a dollar by sweeping floors and cleaning toilets. It’s $15 per hour or nothing!
“Transgendered” rights (representing a whopping 0.3 percent of our population) are taking precedence over the rights of the other 99.7 percent of the population, and the traditional family.
How much air time has been spent on “Caitlyn” Jenner? How many privately owned family businesses will be ruined or shut down by the hammer of the federal government for not yielding to another minority segment of the population?
We are upside down in this country. Cops are wrong and criminal thugs have all the rights. The United States Constitution has been deemed a relic of the past by the progressive movement.
The world is now a “community” and don’t you dare hurt someone’s feelings with your words or you’ll be in court for the rest of your life.
When the citizens of the United States elect principled statesmen and women, rather than clay-footed politicians, we will steady our ship of state. Until then, God help us!