In January 1976 I arrived on the campus of the University of California at Berkeley to begin a year as Visiting Professor in the Department of History. I arrived on campus shortly after the media started talking about how Ronald Reagan, who had declined a third term as Governor, began making moves to be the POS/GOP Presidential candidate later that year.
When I asked my colleagues how they felt about Reagan running for President, the response was unanimous: “He’s crazy! He’s going to blow up the world! He’s completely nuts!”
I thought about those comments when Reagan left the White House in 1989 and the country was not only still in existence, but things were just fine. I thought about the ‘crazy Reagan’ comments again when I read an op-ed in The (failing) New York Times about how the country is now divided along a red-blue axis and will never be united again.
Incidentally, NYT shares traded on Friday for $28, down from $54 on August 1, 2021. The shares were trading for $10.90 on August 1, 2016. So much for how The (failing) New York Times has failed. Anyway, back to the op-ed and how America is splitting in half.
The gist of this effort to get everyone worried and scared about where the country is headed is provided in the sub-title which says, “On abortion, climate change, guns and much more, two Americas — one liberal, one conservative — are moving in opposite directions.”
What caught my eye was the phrase ‘much more.’ I read the entire op-ed looking for the ‘much’ or the ‘more’ and couldn’t find any mention of either one. In fact, almost the entire text is focused on how for every red state which is now passing legislation to restrict abortions, there’s some blue state which is making it easier for residents and non-residents to make a fetal life-ending decision for themselves.
Just God forbid to put things into some kind of reasonable perspective, let me tell you some ways in which the country is not only not pulling apart but is more connected and inter-connected than ever before.
Ever hear of a little government operation called the Federal Reserve? The last time the Fed ran a study on the value of all credit cards, debit cards, ACH and check payments which flowed through its underwriting system was 2018. The total was $174 billion and change. When a Libertarian schmuck like Rand Paul says we should ‘shut down’ the Federal Reserve, I don’t notice him ever proposing a system to take its place. We don’t need no stinkin’ way to move money from a red state to a blue state, right?
Then there’s a little something called the Federal Interstate Highway System, which allows you eat to buy fresh fruits and vegetables in my Massachusetts Stop & Shop that were picked in California three days ago, maybe in two days if you have a truck with two drivers who every four hours switch on and off. Perhaps the taxes that residents of Pennsylvania pay which go to keep I-80 in good shape as it runs through Kansas or Indiana should be spent instead on planting some carrot or potato plants in front of Philadelphia’s Independence Hall.
And by the way, for all the talk about those crazies who use social media to spread nut-job conspiracy theories around, there are thousands of Facebook groups which bring people together from all over the place to share videos of their pets or are hoping to find someone who can tell them how to deal with cancer or some other dread disease.
My liberal friends continue to get angry every time Orange Shithead or one of his media promoters starts ranting about how bad things are now under Joe and how good they were under Trump.
So how come those same liberals and Fake News followers aren’t just as offended when an op-ed appears in The (failing) New York Times which basically says the same thing?